Repair: Zeiss Ikon Contax 2 Part 3

Hello, everybody. We’re finally here at the end of our Contax 2 article. In part 2, we took apart the rangefinder and removed the shutter mechanism from the chassis. It’s not an easy task to take this camera apart but the real fun begins here in part 3 where we repair the broken shutter and adjust it until we get something acceptable. This is probably the deepest most repairman will bother to open this camera to, any further disassembly will be too time-consuming and should only be done when absolutely necessary. The shutter’s clockwork mechanism should be left-alone as much as possible. A very good flushing of the gears and its parts is usually more than sufficient to get this camera back into smooth operation. If your shutter mechanism is corroded then a good ultrasonic cleaning will be the best option for you. Just don’t forget to clean it very well afterwards to prevent your shutter from corrosion due to residual salts or acids from the solution. Some liquids use citric acid or ascetic acid and that will eat-away at the metal and leave crystal-like white deposits as corrosion (“white rust”). Use distilled water to prevent mineral deposits. Use alcohol or naphtha to do a final flushing just in case.

IMG_8018Does this look fun? Depending on who you ask, this can be a fun activity or a nightmare. The shutter of the Contax is a marvel of its time. I have never seen a shutter that is more intricate that this. Just think about it, it stood the test of time and it’s still functioning well into its 80th year. They really don’t make things the way they used to.


Repair: Zeiss Ikon Contax 2 Part 2

Hello, everybody! We are going to continue with our Contax 2/3 repair series with part 2! In part 1, we tackled how to remove the covers and outer castings of the camera so that we can access the inner mechanisms and correct any problems with the shutter or any of the inner workings of the camera. This part is going to be more extensive as we work on the shutter and rangefinder of the camera. You’ll need to be an experienced repairer at the least before you tackle this part because this is complicated work. Remember what I said in part 1, this article is just for you entertainment and education. If your Contax 2 is needing repair, please send it to a competent repairman. The repair of the Contax series of rangefinders isn’t an easy task but it’s not impossible or overly-difficult as some would make it appear. Any competent repairman will be able to repair this. You can check out Hayata Camera here in Tokyo if you want. However, they don’t speak English fluently so if you need to send your camera there for repairs I can help you do that for a small fee. It is mostly for my transportation and time so I guess it’s reasonable.

IMG_7843This is the sort of thing that we will be looking at in this article. We will begin opening its internals and look deep into the camera to diagnose its troubles. This is delicate work so I will highly suggest that you prepare yourself and your workspace before you begin this. More

Repair: Zeiss Ikon Contax 2 Part 1

Hello, everybody! How are you today? I just had a little midnight snack with my wife and we had some sushi. Sushi is as Japanese as cherry blossoms despite having its origins in Southeast Asia in the distant past. It’s a throwback to old Imperial Japan but its taste has not changed much since the late 1800s. It’s a testament to how something good can stand the test of time. Today, I am going to show you something that was designed long before most of the people who are reading this blog was born and like sushi, its design is still as relevant today as the day it debuted. Read the rest of this article to find out more.


Today, we are going to tackle Zeiss Ikon’s masterpiece – the Contax 2 camera! It was made from the second half of the 1930’s all the way to the post-war years and it’s the product of  Hubert Newrin’s genius. He presided over the development of this camera and he vowed to make a camera that would fix all of the bugs of the previous model (the Contax I). The previous model was troubled with numerous flaws that it was updated so often that new updates would come out just a few months after the previous updated was sold. Reliable isn’t the word that you’ll see used in the same sentence with the Contax I except if it was used in the negative. While the last model was fairly trouble-free, it’s considered to be a lemon. The Contax 2 changed all that and it restored Zeiss Ikon’s tarnished name because it is so much more reliable and the ergonomics made plenty of sense. It feels like it was a design that came out of Bauhaus and its ergonomics and design was copied by many. It’s such a breakthrough that you can still see its influence in the camera designs that were made in recent years. This Contax 2 is to cameras as the Model T is to cars.

IMG_4930The Contax 2 is a beautiful camera, it’s amazing to think that this camera was designed in the years leading to the rise of the Third Reich before the mid 1930’s. The design endures the test of time and it’s still a joy to use this camera despite being almost 90 years old.


Shopping: Hayata Camera (Asakusa)

Hello, everybody! I am going to feature Hayata Camera (早田カメラ) today in Asakusa. It’s a well-known shop for repairs here in Japan and they repair almost every type of gear. If they can’t fix it, you will have a hard time looking for somebody who can here in Japan. I seldom go there because they’re on the other side of Tokyo so I just buy from them when I see them at the bazaars. They have been in business for some time now and they have a very reputable name when it comes to repairs. Read my article to see what they have.

IMG_8264This is the storefront of their retail shop. It can be easy to miss because it looks like a café from the outside serving overpriced coffee but a closer look reveals that it’s not. More

Report: Ultra-Micro-Nikkors Exhibit

Hello, everybody! I just renewed my working visa here in Japan and along the way home I decided to give the Nikon Museum a visit. I have been making articles on the museum in this blog and you can find older articles here in this link. The museum has new exhibits from time-to-time and I visit here as much as I can to cover them for you. It’s kind of far from where I live now so I cannot go there often but I just try my best. The exhibit today is related to the very important field of precision manufacturing, one of Nikon’s biggest source of revenue and when we talk about precision manufacturing by Nikon we only think about the Ultra-Micro-Nikkors because we are photography nuts! Enjoy the rest of this short article and I will update this on my next trip to the immigration office so please come back when I update this with new pictures.

IMG_8338This is the centerpiece of this exhibit, the 500kg monster lens used for lithography. You’ll never find this anytime soon in the auction sites so don’t even bother. More

Repair: Zoom-Nikkor 80-200mm f/4.5 Auto

Hello, everybody! It’s Spring now, it signals the beginning of nature’s cycle. The sakuras are in full-bloom earlier than usual this year, nothing heralds the coming of spring in Japan better than seeing sakura trees blooming. It’s a time for festivals, people go out and enjoy life under these beautiful trees, forgetting what happened last year and looking forward to a new and joyful beginning. Speaking of beginnings and originations, I’ll show you a lens that started a whole-new class of zooms which we still use and enjoy to this day in one form or another. Read the article to know what this is.


The Zoom-Nikkor 80-200mm f/4.5 Auto is one of the most important lenses in modern photography. Ever wonder how the 70-200mm class of lenses came to be? Well, it all started with this. It started the standard compact telephoto zoom for professionals, even the latest 70-200/2.8 lens could be traced back to this. Before it thing came out, the telephoto zooms were all big lenses that you could barely hand-hold for a whole day. It gave us the freedom to bring a telephoto zoom and shoot with it the whole day while still being able to do the same the next day. As expected, it became a big hit, everybody who shot sports, news, weddings and everything else got one. Sure, the current lenses of the 70-200mm line have wider apertures, autofocus, VR, etc. but the basic concept is still the same, it hasn’t changed much since this lens came out.


It’s a tough lens. The last zoom that was made that’s closest to it is the Zoom-Nikkor 80-200mm f4 Ai-S but its build pales in comparison to this even if the Zoom-Nikkor 80-200mm f4 Ai-S is considered by many to be tough. The scale at the sleeve is beautifully-made, it is a real work-of-art. I love Nikon’s since the scales are usually colorful so it’s easier read. It’s all these small attention to details that convinced me to go Nikon years ago.