Last week, after SxSW, Shannon and I took a short detour to San Antonio to visit my grandmother. After lunch, she surprised me with an awesome gift — a Contax 137 MD camera and a few Zeiss Planar lenses. My grandfather was an avid recreational photographer, and in their retirement, he and my grandmother spent a huge amount of time driving around South Texas taking pictures. Over two decades ago, he gave her the camera as a gift; since then, she’s gotten a few other cameras, and when she realized last year that she’s not interested in taking SLR pictures anymore, she decided to give the camera to me. It’ll never replace the two Contax RTS bodies — fully restored — that my grandmother gave me immediately after my grandfather’s death and were stolen when my apartment was broken into in 1999, but it’s going to be fun to play with SLRs again! (Of course, I guess it means that I’ll have to get film developed again, which is a pain that I haven’t missed one whit since moving to the digital world.)


Do some B&W, developing is fun! Just get a nice Nikor stainless steel developing tank and metal reels, they’re cheap ($10 on ebay) and easier to use than the plastic crap tanks everyone sells nowadays. A liter bottle for developer, a gallon bottle for fixer, a kitchen sink, and you’re all set. I rather enjoy the little ritual of developing B&W.
Anyway, congrats on the vintage cameras, There’s nothing quite like Contax and Zeiss equipment.

• Posted by: Charles on Mar 26, 2004, 5:48 AM

I recently discovered that my local Shopper’s Optical offers a free Kodak CD with every reel developed. You get all the chewy goodness of an honest-to-goodness from-emulsion print combined with the convenience of digital pictures. Stick the CD in the drive, fire up iPhoto, import, click-click and there you go —- photo galleries on the web (nearly) as easily as with digital. And grannie still has something physical to look at next time you go and visit.

Mine’s a Contax 139, by the way. It needs minor servicing, but still takes beautiful pictures. Never could afford the RTS bodies…

• Posted by: Fred on Apr 17, 2004, 11:27 PM
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