The Russian Contax: Kiev 4 & Jupiter 12

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There is a camera that I love very much, but I haven’t been too lucky with. It’s the Soviet version of the legendary Zeiss Contax II, which in the 30’s and 40’s disputed the primacy to the eternal rival Leica in the 35m range. Immediately after the war, as partial compensation for damages, all equipment and materials present in the Zeiss factories were moved (along with a good number of technicians and specialized workers) behind the Iron Curtain, in Kiev, at the plant of Zavod Arsenal. Here, in the years immediately following the war, they were therefore produced the Kiev II (almost exactly the Contax); later underwent some changes in later models III and IV. Unlike Zorki and the Fed, that “copied” the Leica models from afar … these Kiev, in fact, can not be considered copies but, delocalized productions …

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By the Sea – Contax 159mm Test

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Today it is raining so, instead of going out to photograph (that is the thing I love the most), better stay dry and write a nice post on my blog. This time we’ll talk about a high-end camera …. lent by a friend (yes, the same one who gave me the Leica R5) for this test. Some general thoughts before strating: the history of photography, especially of lenses, before the advent of Japanese ones, was made almost entirely by two brands: Zeiss and Leica. Two houses that have marked the mass diffusion of 35mm photography and  in the case of Zeiss, also of medium and large format.

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