The recent steep increase in the market value of the Contaflex TLR camera has led to a lot of fraud. Cameras shoddily prepared for sale that have been made to "look good" to unsuspecting buyers are being sold on Ebay and other Internet camera sales sites at vastly inflated prices. Many of these cameras are presented here and it is my unfortunate and very unpleasant duty to educate the camera's owner that he has been robbed. Because so many Contaflex TLR's are being "worked" and are extremely costly to restore I can not specify particular prices for restoration services.
I have it on the authority of the last owner of the Official Zeiss Ikon Repair Center in Canada that today only about 2400 Contaflex TLR's exist out of the total 4,500 that were ever made.. You can be sure that at least half of these have been trashed by the effects of time, bad handling, bad storage, and bad maintenance as well as general abuse. This leave about 1,200 purchase worthy cameras. A truly good Contax TLR is going to cost about $6,000.00. If you buy one that needs a lot of work and parts the camera that seemed like a good deal to begin with is going to be extraordinarily costly to restore. There is only one source of replacement parts for a Contaflex TLR and this is another Contaflex TLR.
Effective 1/1/15 all Contaflex TLR's sent here for service must be evaluated before any discussion of restoration price can occur. Evaluation of a Contaflex TLR is time and labor intensive because it involves considerable camera disassembly and parts examination and it cannot be done at a low cost.
I can offer you some buying advice.
1. Do not, under any circumstances buy a camera from any country in Europe and particularly the Netherlands. The US post office offers strong anti-fraud protections that you do not get on a shipment from outside the USA. Regarding the Netherlands, the Netherlands are mostly below sea level making it a very cold, humid and damp place. It is perfect camera wrecking territory. There is also a criminal gang of phony camera repair "artists" who "fix up" and sell cameras on Ebay USA out of there. Do not ever even think of buying a camera out of the Netherlands. It's just not worth the risk no matter how good the deal may look. That gang of criminals are true camera butcher artists. They know how to wreck a camera so completely it will cost at least $3,000.00 or more to correct their bad work. A camera from the Netherlands is just not worth it so don't buy from there ever.
2. Do not, under any circumstances buy a camera that has a light meter that is dead. A camera that even weakly responds to light, however weakly is good and can be purchased. A replacement light meter can only be obtained from another Contaflex TLR and this means a replacement light meter will cost you at least $3,000.00 if not more.
4. Strongly consider not buying any camera with leather that has been cut. Replacement leather is extremely costly to replace and it's usually better financially to buy a camera with good leather that has no cuts in it. Leather that is not cut also means it is very likely the camera has not been worked on by a camera butcher. Cut leather always means that someone who did not know what he was doing and who was thinking only of money worked on that camera.
5. Make sure the hood has not been repaired and that it operates properly. A bad hood is extremely difficult to replace because it is riveted together. In most cases a damaged hood must be replaced and just like a replacement light meter it will be extraordinarily costly. A replacement hood will cost at least $2,000.00. A perfect hood with a perfect Albda lens in it is always a very good sign the camera has not been dropped or otherwise abused.
6. Get an assurance from the seller that he will allow a full refund if the camera is found to have been dropped or is otherwise not as described.. The leather on a Contaflex TLR is very thick and easily disguises if the camera has been damaged beyond repair if it has been dropped.
7. Always tell the seller the camera is going to be sent to Zeisscamera for an appraisal before the sale is final and that if I find it is not a good camera that he will allow a full and prompt refund. Strongly consider having the camera sent to me directly.
8. Always buy on Ebay and pay with PayPal using your credit card. Ebay and PayPal buyer protection programs will force the seller to accept a return and issue a refund up to 180 days after the sale. This is plenty of time for you to have your camera evaluated here and to be returned in time to use the Buyer Protection program if you need to.
9. Always use the U.S. mail to have your camera shipped to you. This will invoke powerful anti-fraud federal laws that you do not get with UPS and FEDEX.
|Complete Camera Overhaul||Varies|
|Camera Evaluation and Estimate||$495.00|
Light Meter restoration is at additional cost.An estimate can only be provided after the camera has been opened and the meter and associated electrical components are examined for damage or excessive wear.
If a parts body is submitted as a source of parts to be used for the overhaul of another body there will be the following additional charges: