If I were launching a new compact, straight-to-the-point, limited function, but quality camera, I might call it the Contessa.
It’s a sweet name for a well designed, small 35mm camera.
German camera and lens maker Zeiss introduced its Contessa in the early 1960s, and around that time, somebody in the Batavia area bought a unit of this nice tourist camera.
That camera, complete with a US customs sticker from some foreign travel on its leather case, went up for sale in auction at Bontrager’s on Wednesday and I was the fortunate soul who was the highest bidder.
After stopped the camera at Bontrager’s on Monday, I did a little research and figured it would be a bargain at $15, but anything over $90 would be too much. I put a stop-loss-limit on myself of $60.
I won the auction at $55.
Today, I ran through it a roll of generic color film from CVS and had it developed. The results can be viewed below.
While the Contessa was hardly the point-and-shoot of its day, it is as high-end as a good SLR. The fixed-lens camera has a max shutter speed of 1/500, which makes it hard in many lighting conditions to shoot wide open at f2.8.
It may just be a product of age or something unique to my camera, but it’s not necessarily use to adjust shutter speed and aperture on the camera, and it’s certainly not easy to change the ISO setting.
As for the quality of the pictures, the Zeiss lens certainly is sharp.
Mostly, though, I was just happy my shots turned out.
Besides the cool retro design of the camera — this is going to look great on display — I wanted the camera because I’ve never even held a range finder before. I was curious to give one a try.
While it’s no Leica, Zeiss has a grand reputation, especially in lenses, so I was happy to get it for that reason, as well.
I’m pleased with the photographic results of some quick-take pictures today on just so-so film.