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Contax 139 Quartz – Camera Review

Contax 139 Quartz Review (8 of 11)

I recently found myself the reluctant owner of a Contax 139 Quartz 35mm SLR, a camera about which I knew little and for which I cared even less. After all, if this rebranded, electronic Yashica were anything worthwhile I’d have heard about it from my friends at the camera shop, or spied one scrolling by in my Instagram feed. Yes, surely if the 139Q mattered I’d have known about it.

Still, it was being sold with a fairly legendary Zeiss lens attached, so I bought the whole kit and awaited its arrival. Getting hands on this beautiful glass would be a big win for anyone, no matter what substandard camera so lecherously clung to it.

Luckily, this uncharacteristic bout of arrogant self-assurance was not much more than a 24-hour bug. When the camera arrived and I pulled it from its packaging my pompous windbaggery was justifiably and firmly checked.

I held the Contax, flicked its controls, squeezed off a few shutter releases, and decided my next action should be to insert into my gaping opinion hole the proverbial sock.

Just over a month later the Contax has become a constant companion. While it’s not a perfect camera, it’s surely one of the best I’ve ever shot. With objectivity (and humility) happily renewed, here’s the great, the good, and the bad about Contax’s electric wonder.

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Not Everyone Needs a Leica


While shopping the local camera store, I happened to overhear a teenage-looking customer inquiring about some gear. He wanted a certain type of lens, but was actively rueing the fact that the lenses his friends were using cost more than he was able to spend. He asked to see a lens he could afford, listened to the clerk tell him it wasn’t as good as the glass his friends were shooting, got discouraged, and ended up leaving the shop with nothing.

I must admit, the whole thing kind of bothered me.

It’s been a few days now, and I keep catching myself thinking back to that dejected-looking kid at the camera shop. I wish I had gotten his attention as he walked out the door. I wish I had asked him what camera he was shooting, what kind of subjects he likes to shoot, and if he had a Flickr account where I could check out his shots. I wish I had shown excitement that he was a new photographer, and told him to keep at it. I wish I had asked him to see his camera, and been impressed by the machine he’d have pulled from his bag- whatever camera that might’ve been.

But I didn’t do any of that. And that’s a real shame.

Thinking on it since then, it seems that there exists in photography an almost unhealthy preoccupation with names and numbers. Some folk look askance at all but a select few makes of camera, even though any camera would be rightfully regarded as pure sorcery to human beings from any other era than our own. Even so, to some shooters these incredible machines capable of capturing the photons of our universe just aren’t all that good, on account of their lacking a certain name, digit, or engraving.

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How To Process Black and White Film at Home – Part One: What You’ll Need

how to process your own black and white film (1 of 2)

There’s no better way to connect with the very essence of the medium than by shooting black-and-white film, and while the C-41 process B&W films are at times excellent, our curiosity will inevitably get the best of us. Whether we know it or not, eventually all film photographers are going to want to develop their own black-and-white images.

Luckily, developing at home is neither costly, nor difficult. So what stops us from jumping into the world of home processing? I suspect that it’s simple uncertainty. We’re not sure how to do it, and we don’t know where to start.

Well, fear not. Today, CP begins a multi-part feature in which we’ll walk through the entire process of developing a roll of black-and-white film at home. From stocking your supply cabinet to printing your final image, we’ll take you through the entire process one step at a time, ensuring accessibility for all shooters of any experience level.

In this article we’ll show all of the supplies that we’ll need to develop our first roll of B&W film, which products work best, and where to get them. Let’s get to it.

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Five Best Cameras for Photography Students

Five best student cameras (3 of 5)

There’s a certain question that I get asked virtually every single day. People need to know what camera they should buy for their upcoming high school or college photography class. It’s a great question, and one that I’m always happy to answer, as it means that someone’s about to begin a process of discovery that often grows into a lifelong passion for the medium.

After fielding this question three times today, I’ve put together a quick article showcasing what I believe are five of the very best cameras for new students of photography. These cameras provide everything that most high school teachers and college professors insist their students’ cameras offer, while being affordable, quality machines.

Take a look, pick the one that suits you best, and get shooting!

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Canon AE-1 – Video Review

After much filming, lots of trial and error, and countless hours of editing, we’ve finally finished our very first video review. We’ve started with a camera that’s among the most popular film cameras of all time, Canon’s AE-1.

Take a look, and let us know what you think. And while you’re at it, why not point us in the direction of a camera you’d like us to talk about next?

If you’d like to read our in-depth review of Canon’s AE-1, check it out here.

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