Having just received my second Contax 139 (to replace my beloved original one that I got when I was 16), I reckon this is the right time to summarise my photographic equipment.
I am not a collector. I own cameras and lenses because I use them, with the only exception of the first in the list below:
- Zenit 12XP with the screw-mount Helios 58/2: I still keep it because it was my first serious camera (I was 14), and I shot many pictures with it. My father, of course, would always pay for the development and print, without objecting to their inherent non-art.
- Contax 139 Quartz: two bodies, since the first one is almost dead for the lens-hit-with-the-mirror syndrome.
- Carl Zeiss Contax/Yashica Sonnar 135/2.8: mechanically, I love it, it’s a jewel. Optically, it is good, which is a disappointment, because with such a name, a lens should be excellent. I often think of selling it.
- I used to own a Carl Zeiss Contax/Yashica Planar 50/1.7, but my aforementioned father damaged it while trying to un-mount it from my 139 as if it were a Nikkor lens, so I sold it.
- Carl Zeiss Contax/Yashica Tessar 45/2.8: just lovely, optically excellent and compact. Probably in conbination with the 139 is the most compact SLR solution ever.
- Tamron SP 90/2.5 Adaptall macro 1:2: I can use this on my Fuji S3 as well as on my Contax and Nikon. Supersharp and contrasty, I could easily live with this one and sell the Sonnar.
- Olympus XA: could well be my only camera need, but the lens vignettes too much (at all apertures). Fantastic otherwise. I have pictures shot with it accepted into iStock Vetta and Alamy!
- Nikon FM2n: I never doubt it will work. I bought it after watching Blowup (yes, I know the camera in the movie is not the same) and I mostly use it today with the Ilford Delta 3200.
- Nikkor AF-D 50/1.4: optically fantastic from f/2, but flimsy and ugly plastic otherwise. I also had an AI 50/1.4 but, unwisely, I sold it.
- I had a Nikkor AF 35-135 3.5-4.5 zoom (see pic in the post), that I soon sold because it was really, really bad, optically.
- Wide-angles: a fantastic Nikkor AI UD 20/3.5 that today replaces the wide-angle lenses I owned in the past, all sold: a Vivitar 24/2.8 screw-mount, a Nikkor AI 24/2.8, a Tamron SP 17/3.5
- Nikkor AF-S 24-120 VR: optically bad, my first experiment in terms of VR, that works great.
- Bronica SQ-A, with a Zenzanon PS 80/2.8 (great!) and a Zenzanon PS 150/4 (great!). I bought it to replace my Mamiya C220 with 80/2.8 that was fantastic but, unfortunately, defective.
- Fuji S3: my only digital camera. Great sensor (great dynamic range and great colours, bad resolution), very slow, small and dim viewfinder, heavy and bulky.
It’s time for another camera bag.