Contax 167 MT

This is my favourite, non-autofocus SLR…at the moment. I know I have raved about Olympus cameras, but holy-moly I love this camera. I have recently tried another Contax camera and that persuaded me to get this one. But the road to my love was a long and windy path.

I saw the body on eBay from a Japanese seller I have used before. It seemed very cheap compared with the others for sale, but it said excellent condition so I thought I would take a risk. Practically the next day the camera arrived, it even had the blue plastic cover on the screen (I have resisted pulling it off). I set about getting a lens as soon as possible. I was going to Akihabara, Tokyo to meet a friend and try out the VR Zone (for the second time). Gosh, it is fun. Anyway, I stopped at a camera shop to buy a lens…no C/Y lens. Hmmm. I tried another, they had ONE, one, a f1.4 aperture 50mm and it had a bit of dust in it and a scratch to the front. The shop-keep said none of these things would be an issue but these lenses were also very rare in Japan. I had already told my friend I had a budget and it was all the money I had in my wallet. If the lens went over that, I had to wait….It was under my limit by 20yen, about 20 cents. The guy asked me what camera it was for and I said a 167MT. He replied it was a very reliable camera. He carefully wrapped the lens and I put my bag in a locker at the station so I wouldn’t virtually or literally damage anything and then we went off to be terrified by virtual heights and speed.

When I finally got home I put the lens on the body and thought…behold my beautiful camera!!! Yeah…..no. Behold my camera that doesn’t seem to focus and has a funny image in the viewfinder????

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WTF???? Was it the lens? Was the camera? Was it me? WHAT WAS WRONG WITH IT!!!

Calm yourself and ask the internet gods, I thought. I have recently joined a facebook group of vintage camera lovers who make me feel normal again as they seem to have way more cameras than me. The members quickly said…”You’ve got no focusing plate there mate”. Oh. And there on the listing for Ebay, right at the bottom, “missing focusing plate” 😦

I have never removed or replaced one. I didn’t know where to begin. Luckily the internet gods did. I found a replacement and ordered it. Then I sadly put the camera away and waited for it to arrive. Two weeks later….

It came with a little tool and instructions. It was a lot easier than I thought it ever would be and voila..it worked. Here is a shot through the viewfinder…focusing achieved.

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And after all that, did the damn thing work?

Here are some shots around my house and school to try out my handy work.

Yeah, Look at that focusing!!! Since I fixed this camera, I love it more. I have taken it out a few times. This camera and the autofocus NX are all the cameras I should ever really need. I should stick with these two cameras and get to know them better, but gosh that G.A.S.

Oh, this camera is from 1986 and takes 4 AAA batteries, how convenient.

Keep or sell: Go away little man, this is all mine forever. Oh, but do you see the black tape on the photos. As I was trying it out the plastic window fell out, or it was never there. I kind of remember it being there, but I can’t be sure. Whatever, black tape fixes it.

Interestingly, after writing this I left it in the draft section for ages. Plus, I seem to be using my Pentax ME Super more than any other camera. It is super light compared with this one. Fewer buttons and bells too.

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6 thoughts on “Contax 167 MT

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  1. Another photo blogger I follow says the Contax 167 MT is the bomb dot com, the only SLR he ever needs. Of course, he has had as much GAS as anybody, so it’s not the only SLR he owns.

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  2. I had a 167MT and they are absolutely fantastic. If you want an auto wind on but manual focus SLR, which feels super well built and a joy to use, then for me this is the pinnacle. Gorgeous viewfinder too – I bought the plain focus screen for mine with just a tiny dot in the centre and it remains I think the best viewfinder experience I’ve had with any SLR (and I’ve had a few dozen!)

    I used mine mostly with an M42 adapter so I could fantastic lenses like my Takumars on it.

    In the end I did sell it, a couple of months back. Two reasons – first I just don’t shoot much film anymore. Second, when I do, I like something more “old school” with more manual control like the older Conrad 139 Quartz. The poor 167MT was just gathering dust so I sold to someone who would use it more.

    But I couldn’t agree more with how fabulous the 167MT is if you want this kind of balance between automation and manual control.

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    1. Yes, I brought it to Hong Kong for Xmas. I think if I lived here I might not do so much film, but japan is cheap as chips. I don’t think I will sell mine. I have to many others to sell first.

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