1other Contax camera in my collection:


JapanContax 137 MA Quartz [1982 - 1987]



The Contax 137 MA Quartz is essentially a 137 MD, but with a few significant additional features.

  • Shutter speeds can be preferentially selected from the range of 1 sec to 1/000th sec (plus B).
  • The motor drive has been upgraded from 2 frames per second to 3 - for continuous shooting.

  • The back is removable, and can be replaced with a Contax Quartz D-5 Data Back.

In normal operation (auto aperture priority exposure), the shutter speed ring is set to A (auto). When a preferred shutter speed is manually selected, this speed is shown by a flashing light in a bank of viewfinder LEDs, while the meter recommended speed for the set aperture is lit continuously (not flashing). Thus, correctly changing the aperture will bring the meter reading into agreement with the user selected shutter speed, leading to a match-the-light shutter speed priority system.

In common with all Contax SLRs, the shutter speed dial isn't in the usual place: it's at the base of the rewind knob. Of course full manual override is also available, and the meter recommendation can be ignored.

In a 1982 edition of Amateur Photographer, the 137 body was advertised at £174.80, which was pretty much the same as the average UK weekly wage (but the listing did not state whether this price was for an MA, or an MD, so perhaps this pre-dates the UK availability and relates to the MD?).




Lens mount: Contax/Yashica bayonet.

Contax viewfinderFocus: Silver-coated prism with horizontal split-image spot, surrounded by a micro-prism collar. 0.86x magnification shows 95% of picture area. Shutter speeds indicated by 16 LEDs, plus over and under exposure indications; aperture selected; exposure counter; exposure compensation warning LED; Shutter speed LEDs flash to indicate AE lock operation; effective flash range indication; DOF preview.

Shutter: Quartz-timed electronically controlled horizontal travel type cloth focal plane shutter. Step-less on AUTO from 1/1000th to 11 seconds, plus X (1/60th) and B. Manually selectable speeds from 1/1000th to 1 second. Electromagnetic shutter release. Quartz-timed electronic self-timer with precise 10 sec delay. Front facing body LED flashes to indicate operation, accelerating 2 seconds before shutter is released.

Meter: TTL, centre-weighted averaging metering at full aperture using SPD (Silicon Photo Diode) cell.

Exposure: Aperture-preferred automatic exposure. +/-2 EV exposure compensation button, click stops at every half EV and is marked 1/4, 1/2, 1, 2, 4. Setting AE lock lever locks in shutter speed in effect at time of setting.

Film Speed: 125 to 3200 ASA.

Flash: Standard X-synch hot shoe at 1/60th, and TTL flash metering with dedicated flash units.

Film Advance: Automatic. Either winds-on one frame, or continuous shooting at 3 f.p.s. Includes a small film advance indicator/confirmation window.

Frame Counter: Automatic count-up and reset.

Rewind: Via crank and release button, located under a shield on the top plate (near to the shutter release button).

Size: 143 x 92.5 x 51mm (W x H x D).

Weight: 665g with batteries.

Battery: Four 1.5v AA. The camera has a switchable battery check/tester light.



My Camera

I paid £25.00 for my 137 MA in February 2014 (body only). That's way more than I'd normally pay, but Contax are a classy camera. It camera came with a detachable grip, which is comfortable to use, but I think it spoils the look by adding bulk (yes, I'm shallow). I stuck the grip back on eBay and got a few quid for it, reducing the cost of the camera to £21.65.

Everything seems to work, but the camera needed a good clean, and a fresh skin (I picked ochre ostrich embossed leather from Aki-Asahi). The new leather is a bit more camel than ochre, but some you win ... some you lose. It still needs new light seals and mirror damper; everything's a bit gooey (Contax 137 light seal replacement instructions). I'll get around to it.



Contax 137 MA

Contax 137 MA

Contax 137 MA

Contax 137 MA