• Captured with the Zeiss Ikon Contessa 35 on Arista Edu Ultra 400at ASA 200

    Zeiss Ikon Contessa 35

    After World War II, Hubert Nerwin of Zeiss Ikon in West Germany created a line of folding cameras to help rebuild the company after the war. He relocated to the United States in 1948 through the government program Operation Paperclip, according to sources. Project Paperclip was an interesting program, but that’s a topic for another post.

    The 533/24, Contessa 24, is futuristic in its design and function. It’s a true conversation starter. I recently took it out for a film test to write this article and was bombarded with questions about it. People asked me what type of camera it was. One person even thought it was some kind of Geiger counter. Considering its background, that’s not too far off.

    As cool and unique as it is, the camera is not the easiest to use. As is expected with folding cameras, you have to cock the shutter on the lens. There’s no way to do that on the camera body. Personally, I’m used to shooting with folding medium format cameras, so this wasn’t a deal-breaker for me. However, for most people, the placement of the shutter button right above the lens will be a challenge. I tried reading the manual again to hold the camera as depicted, but it still feels awkward.

    Depressing the shutter button can be difficult, resulting in some blurring at slower shutter speeds. Anything under 1/100th of a second tends to be blurred. The only way to alleviate this is to mount the camera on a tripod and use a remote release. It’s an amazing camera that looks magnificent from afar or up close and it’s definitely interesting to carry around.

    I’ve owned this camera for a year and a half and have only used it two or three times during that period. Normally, I rotate my cameras and they get more use, but due to the awkward shutter button, this one has been neglected. It’s a shining example of engineering from the early 50s, although perhaps a bit over-engineered. The lens is incredibly sharp and the shutter never misses a beat or feels sluggish. It’s absolutely superb.

    I am selling my early model 533/24 on Ebay. The price is right!

  • Episode 2

    In this short Labor Day Special, I discuss previous podcasts and Pentax rumors about their new film camera coming out sometime next year, we hope! Please stay tuned for a episode ever Wednesday.

    Coffee with Jefferson Davis
    Coffee with Jefferson Davis
    Episode 2
  • podcast

    Episode 1 of Coffee with Jefferson Davis

    In this first Episode of ‘Coffee with Jefferson Davis’, I discuss the Minolta SR-7, Yashica MG-1, Zeiss Ikon Contessa, and different black and white films. I talked about the cost of film and different options available to us currently. My favorite is Kentmere 100 and 400. They are just as good as Ilford’s FP4 and HP5, but that is just my opinion. I hope to see Kodak or someone in the states come out with a competitive film. Arista Edu Ultra films are merely rebranded Fomapan films. They do work, and I have got some great results from them, yet they are prone to curling and scratches. The base on the Arista Edu films is very thin and easily scratched. I will have a review of the Contessa up by the end of next week.

    Thank you for listening to this episode. I appreciate your time and attention. It gives me immense pleasure to know that you find value in the content I provide. Your support means a great deal to me, and I am grateful for the opportunity to connect with such an amazing audience. I hope you will continue to enjoy future episodes and find them even more insightful and engaging. Your feedback and suggestions are always welcome as they help me improve and cater to your interests and preferences. I look forward to the thought-provoking discussions that will undoubtedly arise from these episodes. So stay tuned, subscribe, and be ready for more captivating and enlightening conversations ahead. Thank you once again, and let’s embark on this exciting journey together. 🙂