Just picked this up and I’m quite excited about it.
It’s a Contax III (at least it appears to be) from about 1936 according to the serial number. If it’s real it could be worth about ten times what I paid for it! Even if it isn’t it’s still a well priced camera.
I wasn’t really looking for one of these but stumbled across it. The seller didn’t really know what it was and incorrectly labelled it as an SLR rather than a rangefinder. No one was interested it seems and the price was low enough for me to take a risk; which I did and SOLD!
The thing with these is that they are very high end (think Leica) and after the war the plans went to Russia and they were remade under the Kiev brand, quality dropped off and so there are lots of cameras out there exactly like this that are not what they seem and have been faked to look like the original Contax.
Also, they are not easy to work on I understand and there are a lot of people badly ‘fixing’ them making them relatively worthless or not economically viable to repair.
My research so far indicates it is correct, most of the tell tale signs of a fake aren’t there. I’ve taken it into my local camera shop and their specialist agrees with me. Another customer who was in the store and happened to own a Contax also agreed it looked right.
There are issues with it; apart from needing a lens, some of the leather is missing on one corner, the self timer doesn’t work, neither does the light meter and there is a crack in the glass on the viewfinder. Shutter speeds seem to be okay but I don’t have the equipment to be sure.
I’ve left it with the shop so they can send it away to get an estimate on getting it CLA’d. Not sure I will have them do it I may send it off to a proper Contax specialist.
I may stick a cheap Kiev lens on it and push a film through it before deciding anything.