About a month before Photokina 2018 I got invited to attend with the team from Camerarescue which I work with throughout the year. It was as it always is, in Cologne Germany. There is a wonderful film camera shop the next country over in Delft, Netherlands which I always dreamed about going to. So I decided to extend my trip to Germany by 5 days and take a visit to the film camera shop in Delft as well as check out Amsterdam. Upon viewing the website of the shop before the trip I saw a Contax Tessar T* 45mm f2.8 listed for 200 Euro. As a huge fan of pancake lenses and the 40 to 45mm focal length I emailed straight away to put the item on hold. There's nothing better than taking planes, trains, and buses in a new territory to hunt down some film gear. Getting there would be relatively easy. My biggest problem was that I did not own a Contax film camera body to put the lens on.
One day around lunch time in the midst of Photokina I got word of a huge camera flea market with over 100 sellers just 40 minutes away. I immediately set off and upon my arrival I found the entire place empty with one guy left packing up. He had said that no one had come in for a few hours and all the sellers collectively agreed to go home. Disappointed I looked over his gear with a fine toothed comb hoping to find something to not make a waste of a trip. I spotted a Contax 139Q body and asked the price. "20 Euro" He said. So I battery tested it and a few other things and handed him a 20. A great deal considering it was exactly what I had needed at the time.
I went on to Delft and purchased the Contax Tessar T* 45mm f2.8 as well as a Leica M4-2. A month later I was in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzigovina where I first put the camera to good use. The camera itself felt a bit plastic compared to the Leica IIIg I took with me, but I knew how sharp the Contax Tessar T* lens was and I could almost feel the beauty of the final image just knowing this fact. I'm happy with the pictures but expect a little more, either from the lens or from myself. I will buy a new leather grip for this camera and continue to shoot it.
I also have a Nikon FM2/T with a 45mm F/2.8 P pancake lens, and a Pentax MX with a Pentax-M 40mm F2.8 pancake lens. The three make a great team - but the idea to keep only one of them. Unfortunately I have yet to decide which one is best for me.