I’ve been shooting film for over 50 years, in the last few years mainly with medium format (Mamiya, Fuji and Hasselblad primarily) but still actively shooting 35mm with a broad range of cameras. Aside from my Leicas (M3 and IIIc) and a few others that I’ve purchased over the years, most of what I shoot with are from cameras that have been given to me by friends and associates from my camera club and strangers.
The Contaflex in this article was given to me along with a bunch of other old cameras in a musty suitcase that had been in someone’s closet for quite a few years. It was manufactured in Germany by Zeiss in the late 1950s and 60s and was intended for the casual shooter. It has a fixed lens 50mm f/2.8 Tessar and a (still working and accurate!) selenium cell meter which was connected to the lens via the EV (Exposure Value) system wherein you set the EV number from the exposure readout and matched it to the linked aperture and shutter speed on the leaf shutter lens. Sounds cumbersome — and it is — but it works.
After brushing off the dust and haze, I found this model to be in excellent working condition, not quite mint but still very clean and well taken care of.
I use Kentmere 400 (an ILFORD film) because it is very cheap in bulk 100ft/30.5m rolls and has pretty good quality. I first started using the film when I was teaching a summer photography program for middle schoolers at a local non-for-profit. Since the organization that I was working with had very few cameras to work with, I put my extensive collection of manual focus, non-automatic SLRs to work. None of these youngsters had ever seen much used a film camera and it became a novel learning experience for both teacher and pupils. I developed the rolls, scanned them and reviewed them with the kids.
In using the film for my personal use, I found it to have high acutance overall with moderate grain and high contrast. It reminded me of the older Kodak Tri-X from the 1960s and 70s. I’ve been processing it in my primary developer, HC110 dilution B (1:31) 6 to 7 minutes (times from the Massive Development Chart). I used my Microtek i900 Scanner with Silverfast software and uploaded to Lightroom CC.
These photos were taken at a local art class. Hope you enjoy this!
Submit your 5 Frames... today
Get your own 5 Frames featured by submitting your article using this form or by sending an email via the contact link at the top of the page.
Share your knowledge, story or project
The transfer of knowledge across the film photography community is the heart of EMULSIVE. You can add your support by contributing your thoughts, work, experiences and ideas to inspire the hundreds of thousands of people who read these pages each month. Check out the submission guide here.
If you like what you're reading you can also help this passion project by heading over to the EMULSIVE Patreon page and contributing as little as a dollar a month. There's also print and apparel over at Society 6, currently showcasing over two dozen t-shirt designs and over a dozen unique photographs available for purchase.