Need some advice on my newly acquired Contax RTS & 139Q SLR’s


TPF Noob!
May 31, 2021
Reaction score
Hey guys... first post so be kind lol... here’s my situation & question... my father was a photographer in the navy in the 60s & he recently gave me a box of 2 Contax SLRs & a box of some amazing Zeiss lenses... the RTS & the 139q... plus a Zeiss 50mm F1.4 Planar T*, a 60mm F2.8 Makro-Planar T*, & a 200mm F3.5 Tele-Tessar T*... and from what I’ve read & can tell... these are some pretty incredible lenses... so here’s my question... my only experience with film is from point & shoot stuff from the 90s... didn’t really get to into photography until the digital age had already hit & even now I’m still very much an amateur... I have a little bit of money that’s burning a hole in my pocket... & I’m trying to decide between investing in some more Zeiss lenses (in more standard sizes) to go with these contax slr’s... like a 28mm or 35mm... or an 85mm or 135mm... because the 50mm that I have now gets used 99% of the time... because the other two are pretty much specially lenses... OR... do I take a little money & invest in a classic set... like a Canon AE-1 or a Nikon F3... & some standard Canon or Nikkor lenses... to kind of cut my teeth on a classic old school SLR & kind of get the feel for what other cameras feel like, how they perform, etc... I can get both cameras & a ton of glass for the same price at 2 or 3 more good Zeiss lenses... but what do you think? And compared to the AE-1 or the F3... how good are these 2 contax cameras that I currently have? How do they stack up? What do you all think? Any guidance would be much appreciated... thanks!
If it were me I'd keep and use what you have and maybe get a 28mm lens later.
I’d stay with the Contax if I were you. Cut your teeth with these cameras and lenses.
420, welcome to TPF!
I think the most difficult of all of this is if you are trying in some way to honor your fathers legacy and history?
Page 1, Let me tell you what I did. I shoot with a Canon digital but for years have had and still have a Contax 137. It's a pretty typical Japanese 35mm camera. what I like about mine is that it looks like a regular slr but it's motor driven, since I no longer remember how to wind anymore anyways!! LoL
Like you, it has a Zeiss 50mm 1.7 which is a decent lens. Unlike you, I started with film in the 60's and still shoot film for certain projects today.
And just like you I was thinking of a couple more lenses to make my projects a bit more versatile, though I've shot with a 50 for 25 years almost exclusively.
Page 2...., LoL! Then at some point The bulb in my head went off and I realized I was virtually torturing myself photographically!!
I already owned a whole complement of Canon EOS L glass for my current photography work, from the 200 1.8 to an 85 1.2 and all L zooms in between! So my solution was to BUY a used Canon EOS 1n film camera for $150. It's the first EOS pro model.
So now when I shoot film I can use any of my current EOS EF L lenses and don't need to have any additional lenses for my film camera!! It's the best of both film and digital worlds.
Your 139 is probably onlt worth about a hundred dollars, the other I don't know. Some of the Zeiss lenses are worth quite a bit. If you don't use them maybe display them nicely since they were your Dads. Let us know what way you go.
I'd love to see some of your Dads Navy shots! Good luck!!!
I would run at least a roll through each SLR and see if it is light tight, accurate shutter speeds, and the electronics are in good order. If they are, use them. The camera is just a box to house the film and if you like the ergonomics and smoothness of operation, no need to get a different body and system. You have 3 useful lenses to start with. I hope everything is in good working order. If it is, use that money and take a trip somewhere and capture images you would normally not be able to take.
Just buy some film, man! :)
Last edited:
Just buy some film, man! :)
I think that was never in question, he already has film!
His question was whether to invest heavily into his Contax system with more lenses.
My advice was to that he invest in a film system that would share his current digital systems lenses, not have two completely different systems for both convenience and to save money.
Instead of buying a bunch of mediocre lenses for two systems he could invest in higher end lenses that fit both systems!!!
My advice was to ...
Yeah, I know. I can read.

And, my advice is to go ahead and use what he's got.

You see, different people have different opinions and everyone doesn't necessarily agree with yours. See how that works?
Yeah, I know. I can read.

And, my advice is to go ahead and use what he's got.

You see, different people have different opinions and everyone doesn't necessarily agree with yours. See how that works?
I agree, he has got a normal, a close, and a telephoto.

Most reactions

New Topics