Contax 137 MD Quartz

I was actually really disappointed when this camera arrived. I had seen it advertised on eBay and for once didn’t look very closely at the photos. The title said Contax 139 and that was the camera I was looking for. When this arrived I went back to study the photos. The camera had been miss-titled, but the photos clearly showed the camera name on the back.

I was doubly disappointed as I thought I already had this camera, but it turned out I had the MA, not the MD. I also had the 50mm f1.4 lens and not the f1.7 that came with this one. Unfortunately, the lens had an issue, the focusing ring was loose, other than that it looked clean. So I sent it off to be fixed and a week later it came back. In the meantime, I figured out that this was a camera I had not actually tried.

The MA and MD look almost identical except for one significant difference. On the MA, there is a speed selector around the rewind lever. This is missing on the MD, making it an aperture priority only camera. This reviewer states the differences are…

While retaining most of the same specifications as the 137 MD, the 137 MA upgraded some features of the 137 MD by providing more manual control, hastened the integrated motor drive from 2 frames per second to 3, and improved the film transport system.

So if I was going to only keep one, I would choose the MA version, but now I have both 🙂 You can read more about the 137 MD here.

But either way did this one work? I bought it for parts and took a gamble. I loaded it with a new film, Exeter Pan XX 400 and used the camera in two places. Firstly, I used it at my place of work after getting permission from the Head Teacher. I then took it to New Brighton along with another camera. When the film was finished I developed it in 510-Pyro, here are some of the results.

I loved the results. I quickly loaded the camera with some more film and took more photos around my workplace again in order to make a zine which you can buy here.

As for the camera, I just love all things Contax, but I can’t usually afford them. This one was cheap as the lens was broken and, like many examples, the skin had fallen off. I decided to do something a bit different when choosing how to reskin it, I ordered some rainbow stickers.

I know many people will not like this choice, but I do and so do some of my friends…not all, but you can’t please everyone.

Here is a bit more about the actual camera. It is easy to use, the viewfinder is bright with a split screen and a matrix. On the right is a speed indicator, so you know what the camera has chosen. On the left is a film counter, there is another on the top plate. It has a motor drive which loads and advances the film powered by 4 AA batteries in a rack. The film is rewound manually. You can set the camera to single-frame shooting, continuous, or with a self-timer. Finally, there is an auto-exposure lock and a depth-of-field preview.

That is it, simple, beautiful and now…rainbowy.

6 thoughts on “Contax 137 MD Quartz

  1. Roger B. says:

    Truth be known, if you could fit a Planar on a Brownie, you’d get great photos. The f1.4 and f1.7 Planars are considered by many to be the best 50mm manual focus primes ever made.

    Liked by 1 person

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