I had the Super Contaflex model that came out later - same looks. It was a consumer grade camera that competed very successfully against the pro and very expensive Leica M2 and M3.
The Contaflex was a very interesting camera and I believe the first of its kind. It had a leaf shutter and SLR without an up-and-down mirror. Therefore, only the front element could be interchanged. The advantages were a smaller and quieter SLR. The main disadvantage was that the lenses focal ranged from 35mm - 110mm.
The Zeiss Tessar 50mm f/2.8 is probably the best lens I ever had. I used to blow the slides up on a massive screen and they never lost resolution. On the other hand, when I "upgraded" to the Canon A1 and AE1 system, the photos taken with the Canon 50mm f/1.4 lens, projected on the same screen, lost resolution, they were not as sharp, and the color rendition was not the same.
After the 70-200 VR, I thought I was done, but it is no fun. It is always nice to have something to look forward to, but with time. However, I will not go over 12 lenses; any new one has to replace a present one. The lenses that could be replaced with only Zeiss lenses (the exception being the Nikon AI-s 50mm f/1.2) are:
- Nikon AF-D 35mm f/2
- Nikon AF-D 50mm f/1.4
- Nikon AI 28mm f/2
- Tamron 17-35mm f/2.8-4
My criteria for selecting mid-range primes is not according to focal length. That is easy: 24mm, 35mm, 50mm, and maybe 85mm. However, the Nikon 24-70 is as good as any of the primes, if not better, and has all those ranges in one lens at f/2.8, at considerable less cost. My criteria for selecting mid-range primes is based on use.
The 28mm is my "normal" lens for the D300 (42mm DX format) and the 35mm for the D700. The 50mm f/1.4 is for low light situations and as a portraiture lens for the D300. I very seldom, if ever, go out with more than one lens - hate with a passion to change lenses in the field. If I ever reconsider the 85mm range, I'll get the Zeiss 85mm Planar f/1.4 T*. However, it will be at the expense of the Tamron 17-35mm.
My biggest hurdle in selecting the ZF 35mm was that I believe that my copy of the Nikon AF-D 35mm is a very sharp. The ZF 35mm is a no-brainer, imho. On the other hand, what does it gain me? I do not think that it is much of an upgrade, besides being a manual lens - an important consideration. My problem is that I simply want a Zeiss lens and the 35mm is the right one to start out with. In other words, I "crossed that proverbial bridge."
One main reason for starting with the ZF 35mm is the obvious one - the multiple-role one. It gives me the 35mm focal range on the D700 and ~ 50mm effective focal range on the D300. It is also less costly than other Zeiss lenses ($826) and among their sharpest - better than either the ZF 25mm f/2.8 or the ZF 28mm f/2.
I really do not care for screw-driven lenses. The turning barrel gets me all the time and no override. I much rather have manual lenses. My plan is to go with fast prime lenses, f/2 or faster, and AI-s compatible, in the mid-range. They have to be better, faster, and different from zooms. Manual lenses give me more control and they are more fun to work with. I compare manual lenses to a manual transmission in a car; I have enough "automatics."
My AI 28mm f/2 is almost untouchable. If, and only if, the ZF 35mm is head and shoulders over the AI 28 in color rendition, IQ, and sharpness then I would go after the ZF 28 f/2. I love my 28mm and it will take some kind of a lens to displace it (I seriously doubt it.)
I have another consideration or issue. My eyesight is not what it used to be. What am I doing, then, manual focusing in low light? Low light = D700 (not D300) = AF 50mm f/1.4 = Nikon AF-D 50mm f/1.4 or Nikon AF-S 50mm f/1.4 (I have not evaluated the AF-S version, yet.) Therefore, I'll start with the Zeiss ZF 35mm f/2 and take it from there - I cannot go wrong with the ZF 35. In addition, my need and desire for a Zeiss lens would have been fulfilled.
Would it be nice to have all Zeiss mid-range primes? No question about it. Why not go after them? The short answer is D800 or D900. I just do not have the resources to do everything. I have no idea what the D900 would be like, for example. It could be that this is the camera you mount on your head and control with your eyeballs :). Only Nikon knows. Therefore, it becomes a choice between excellent mid-range primes and latest technology camera or excellent+ mid-range primes and no latest technology camera.
In conclusion, I have run a whole series of scenarios with different combinations of the mid-range primes, they all have the Zeiss ZF 35 in it (I won't list them, for obvious reasons.) This is the process I go through before pulling the trigger on any new equipment. Therefore, I can safely state that it is not NAS. On the other hand, my mind is very adept at coming up with convoluted reasons to justify a purchase and/or camouflage NAS. In all honesty and at this time, I really do not know. Regardless, once I create the need - it is not worth living without the ZF 35 - I also create the urgency - I cannot survive one year without the ZF 35. This is bad, because I know that a week after getting the ZF 35 - my final purchase - another lens or equipment is in my sights and the process starts again. These things are expensive and it is not like purchasing a pair of pants or shoes. In other words, once the need and urgency is there, I'm miserable for not fulfilling them.
I will always be miserable then, because something else will be in my sights. One big reason why I fought tooth and nail against getting the 70-200, so soon - I lost. The ZF 35 will have to wait; my AF-D 35 is just as good. I have to be happy with what I have and thankful for having it.
(This was a big effort being my first message. This software is not that user friendly especially when posting images. I will get better with time, but at least I started using it.)