Some Favourite Kit...
Cleaning Cloths etc.
Some Other non-Contax Gear
Bags - The Contax alloy case
that came with the kit has been assigned to an honoured position under the bed,
unused. Even the supplying camera shop suggested putting 'Tesco' labels over it to
down-market the expensive look !
All was not lost. I spent many happy hours annoying the local camera shops trying to get the perfect bag using the unused cut-outs from the alloy case.
The final choice was a Lowepro Off Trail 1. 90mm lens in left hand pocket, flash and 28mm or 45mm lens in right hand pocket and camera and any lens in main pocket. Polariser and small gadgets in tiny belt bag given away by a camera magazine many years ago.
The whole system is so light I forget it is there around my waist. As a result it gets taken everywhere thereby complying with the adage "f8 and be there...". The Lowepro bag also seems sufficiently waterproof as once it got wet as I got soaked on the beach by a rogue wave. All the contents remained bone dry though the zip was of course fastened.
However the Lowepro still looks too new and needs 'antiquating'. No one gives a second glance to my 8 year old Tamrac bag slung over one shoulder. Some carefully organised neglect, sans camera and lenses of course, is therefore in the pipeline !
Film - My favourite at the moment is Fuji
Velvia. This gives lovely rich colours which seem true and expressive.
I have not been happy with the colours of Kodak Elitechrome Extracolor. The results can at times seem to over the top and unrealistic, almost too yellow (like the box).
Agfachrome 100 ASA is very good with clear neutral colours. The extra stop over Velvia can be very useful.
For Black & White Agfa Scala 200 ASA is a gem. I have had lovely slides from this film though the exposure and lighting must be right for full effect.
Local D&P for prints are so crummy that everything looks the same!
Filters - I strongly believe in using filters on the front
of every lens I use. Even the most expensive filter is cheaper than a Contax
lens. The fact that every filter I have is more expensive than three disposable
cameras is not important just reassuring.
I use Hoya MC UV filters on my Contax though in the past have used Skylight 1B on other cameras with no problem with picture quality or colour. I also use a Hoya circular polariser 49mm with 46>49mm step up ring. There is a difference between circular and linear polarisers with their individual effect on colour rendition and reflections.
I also use a Contax A2 and a B2 filter (bought mint second-hand).
Tripod - I bought a Benbo Trekker a few years ago. It was far too light for my SLR and telephoto zoom so never got used. (I know I should have got a Benbo 2 tripod then). It is however just perfect for the Contax and is now used extensively with a generic quick release plate.. The Benbo ball head now holds without slipping or slightly dropping as it did when tightened with heavier gear.
As an aside, the curved bolt holding the tripod together recently stripped its threads from past excesses. Benbo replaced this free of charge without quibble.
Cleaning Cloths etc. - Gunge invariably seems to attract itself to the front of my lenses. As I always use filters nothing drastic happens as they can either be cleaned or if scratched discarded. If really mucky then wash in warm water with a drop of detergent and dry. If dusty, first blow off with duster brush (check the brush still is pristine clean or else you are adding more muck!) and then wipe with a Hoyalux cleaning cloth My Hoya filters are still good as new.
Other Gear - A Canon Ixus
camera (the original) is always in my pocket during my travels. For such a small
convenient unobtrusive camera and when using Fuji 100ASA Nexia
film the results are excellent. It slips in the pocket and with the wrist strap in
place is virtually un-pickpocketable. As an added bonus, APS film does not set off
airport metal detectors as the canister is plastic. You can carry the film in your
pocket through airport metal detectors un-detected and un-degraded by radiation.