Contax TVS

In a previous post on the snapshot aesthetic, I mentioned zone focusing with Olympus XA2 and auto-focusing with Minolta AF-C.

And now, ladies and gentlemen, behold my Contax TVS. It has an aperture priority mode and a program mode. There’s auto-focus (which you could override with a dial).

IMG_20140327_0002 640

This allows me to be more stealthy, and the motorized whirring is not too loud.

I consider the Contax TVS series to be the baby brother of the Contax T1/2/3 series of which T2 is much celebrated, or the Contax G series of cameras.

It has the Vario Sonnar lens which allows for zooming, for days when I’m too lazy to zoom with my feet.

IMG_20140327_0005 640

This lady popped out and I responded quickly enough…

IMG_20140327_0011 640

“Oops, what’s this?” I thought as I was looking at the negative.

The panoramic mode was activated without me knowing.

IMG_20140327_0027 640

Oh oh …

IMG_20140327_0041 640


The panoramic mode is basically a cropping of the frame by the camera, and the panels were unhinged.

IMG_20140327_0028 640

I felt there was an intuitive bond between me and the Contax TVS… was I imagining things?

It’s built like a tank, and I could take myself seriously when I’m holding it… I was so looking forward to serious days…

After a moment of reflection and in that rare moment of sanity, I returned the camera to the store.

There were 2 Nikon 35Ti‘s beckoning, and a Fuji “sardine can” Tiara as well.

It was then that I had a Prufrockian moment:

Do I dare disturb the universe?

In a minute there is time

For decisions and revisions which a minute will reverse.

I waved goodbye (in my mind only) to those cameras.

The person at the store kept my number, noted my mournful expression, and 3 days later, I was told there’s another Contax TVS in the store, this one with the original strap, manual (in Japanese), case and lens cap.

I took it out for a spin.

IMG_20140401_0006 640


IMG_20140401_0005 640

The panoramic mode here was fully intended. This was the only panoramic shot I took. I don’t expect to use it much. It’s a bit tacky I think…

IMG_20140401_0014 640

Happy happy joy joy.

IMG_20140401_0026 640

All is fine – I tilted the camera and shook it this way and that to see if the panoramic mode would kick in.

IMG_20140401_0028 640

I zoomed in and out and it’s fine.

IMG_20140401_0032 640

Zooming in … and it’s still ok.

IMG_20140401_0036 640

Yup, we have a winner here.

The Force is strong with this one…

O happy day!

The Snapshot Aesthetic

I’ve been using Olympus XA2 for quite some time now and have been mulling over how zone focusing allows me to compose more quickly.

I happened to come across the lesser-known Minolta AF-C and yes, it’s auto-focus.

IMG_20140327_0038 640

Load it with Kodak UltraMax 400 and it’s pure joy if you’re pursuing a snapshot aesthetic.

You could focus really quickly and the saturated colours would work for those with a taste for lomography.

IMG_20140327_0037 640

The word “snapshot” hints of amateurism, and I suppose it goes against the conventional rules of professional photography concerning proper framing and lighting, etc.

There’s a scholarly article here on how the snapshot aesthetic is being used to persuade in advertising photography.

You could say that commercial photographers have appropriated the style of the amateurs.

The entire style (and persona) of Terry Richardson, right down to his use of non-professional cameras, is based on this approach.

On the other hand, it also has also allowed the work of folks like Lee Friedlander and Garry Winogrand to be taken seriously by the establishment.

IMG_20140327_0036 640

Me, I like the reds and greens.

IMG_20140327_0048 640

I suppose there’s something covert about street photography in that it is aligned with the transgressions of street art.

IMG_20140327_0051 640

IMG_20140327_0057 640

It’s true that I tend to take photographs of people in candid moments.

When I’m in the zone, I’ve become quite adept at reading body language and tracking eye movements…

IMG_20140327_0062 640

Though sometimes, non-humans are fascinating too.

IMG_20140327_0068 640

So are serendipitous arrangements of objects that “make sense” and cohere.

IMG_20140327_0073 640

I’m making a point to look for “found exhibitions”.

After all, the entire world is an exhibition if you know how to look.