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Author Topic: Contax 645 Camera Problem, Please help! :)  (Read 1731 times)
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« on: January 04, 2013, 10:54:18 PM »
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I have a Contax 645. I have the battery grip for it so I power it with 4 rechargeable AA batteries.

The problem: sometimes without any explanation the yellow exposure scale in the viewfinder goes blank. The f/ numbers and shutter speed info disappear in the viewfinder and the whole camera goes blank. I try to press the shutter button but all I can hear is a clicking noise. I keep trying and all of the sudden the viewfinder is back and I can see the exposure, shutter speed, etc. I have tried to change the batteries and replace them with freshly charged ones but I don't think that the low battery is the problem. I have another Contax 645 and that works without problems with the batteries.

Did this ever happen to you? How can I fix it? I can't rely on the camera if it just decides not to show me exposure, shutter speed, etc info. It always comes back but some times it takes 4-5 minutes... What to do?

Thanks for helping!
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elf
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« Reply #1 on: January 04, 2013, 11:33:49 PM »
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You might try cleaning all of the electical contacts.  A rubber eraser may work well.

Check all of the contacts for the possibility of a loose connection/broken wire.
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EinstStein
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« Reply #2 on: January 05, 2013, 01:50:33 AM »
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I will check the followings
1. There are two power switches, one is next to the shutter speed dial, the other is at the bottom right. See if you accidentally switch on or off the bottom.
2. Insert the 2cr5 battery besides the 4 aA. The purpose is to see if the aA battery connect is reliable. Switch the battery to use the 2cr5. If the problem goes away, you know what causing the trouble.
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« Reply #3 on: January 05, 2013, 08:59:04 AM »
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You might try cleaning all of the electical contacts.  A rubber eraser may work well.

Check all of the contacts for the possibility of a loose connection/broken wire.

Thanks so much!!!! I will do it this morning. I hope this will solve the problem.
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« Reply #4 on: January 05, 2013, 09:01:25 AM »
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I will check the followings
1. There are two power switches, one is next to the shutter speed dial, the other is at the bottom right. See if you accidentally switch on or off the bottom.
2. Insert the 2cr5 battery besides the 4 aA. The purpose is to see if the aA battery connect is reliable. Switch the battery to use the 2cr5. If the problem goes away, you know what causing the trouble.


I will! Also, I will order 2cr5 batteries right now. (I don't have any...)
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bcooter
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« Reply #5 on: January 05, 2013, 03:00:18 PM »
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The Contax is durable but finicky.

You must run CR5's i the handle even if your using AA's and I only use the AA's as a backup to get through the session, then we go to a new CR5.

The contacts between prism, back and lens are also sensitive and must be very, very clean.  Take a little alcohol on a swab and lightly clean the contacts, then a lintless cloth and polish each contact like your polishing a jewel.  Really polish, not just a quick swipe.

The prism connections are the most sensitive and fragile.  Never pick the camera up by the prism or you can break the two clips that hold the prism to the body.  If they crack the prism will still mount and feel secure but have an non secure connection to the body and cause the readouts to cut in and out.  You can order replacement clips through Tocad (or at least I ordered a few about 3 years ago) and those will fix it, but we never travel with the prism on and once again never pull up on the prism to lift the body.

You can test this by cleaning everything, putting fresh batteries in and place the camera on a flat surface.  If you look through it and it the read out goes on and off or is just off press down firmly on the center of the prism and if it connects then you know you've cracked the prism clips.

Now this doesn't mean the contax is fragile and actually mine have gone through more than any camera I've owned.  One assistant dropped a body on a blasting white light roof top studio in Miami and it hit so hard the prism bounced off and the ground glass shot out by 30 ft.  We put it together and it still worked.

I also go hit by a wave a little north of Miami shooting some lifestyle ads and the wave completely covered me and the camera, even pushing me about 4 feet into a rock reef.  I thought the camera and phase back we're ruined and one of the assistants immediatley dried it, but not a drop of water go it and everything worked fine.

(don't try this at home).

Hope this helps.

IMO

BC
« Last Edit: January 05, 2013, 03:03:20 PM by bcooter » Logged
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« Reply #6 on: January 06, 2013, 07:57:22 AM »
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I cleaned all the contacts this morning. So far everything works well. I will keep my fingers crossed!!!! Smiley

THANKS for help!!!!!
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« Reply #7 on: January 06, 2013, 07:58:04 AM »
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The Contax is durable but finicky.

You must run CR5's i the handle even if your using AA's and I only use the AA's as a backup to get through the session, then we go to a new CR5.

The contacts between prism, back and lens are also sensitive and must be very, very clean.  Take a little alcohol on a swab and lightly clean the contacts, then a lintless cloth and polish each contact like your polishing a jewel.  Really polish, not just a quick swipe.

The prism connections are the most sensitive and fragile.  Never pick the camera up by the prism or you can break the two clips that hold the prism to the body.  If they crack the prism will still mount and feel secure but have an non secure connection to the body and cause the readouts to cut in and out.  You can order replacement clips through Tocad (or at least I ordered a few about 3 years ago) and those will fix it, but we never travel with the prism on and once again never pull up on the prism to lift the body.

You can test this by cleaning everything, putting fresh batteries in and place the camera on a flat surface.  If you look through it and it the read out goes on and off or is just off press down firmly on the center of the prism and if it connects then you know you've cracked the prism clips.

Now this doesn't mean the contax is fragile and actually mine have gone through more than any camera I've owned.  One assistant dropped a body on a blasting white light roof top studio in Miami and it hit so hard the prism bounced off and the ground glass shot out by 30 ft.  We put it together and it still worked.

I also go hit by a wave a little north of Miami shooting some lifestyle ads and the wave completely covered me and the camera, even pushing me about 4 feet into a rock reef.  I thought the camera and phase back we're ruined and one of the assistants immediatley dried it, but not a drop of water go it and everything worked fine.

(don't try this at home).

Hope this helps.

IMO

BC

You are awesome!!!!
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« Reply #8 on: January 06, 2013, 07:59:21 AM »
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I will check the followings
1. There are two power switches, one is next to the shutter speed dial, the other is at the bottom right. See if you accidentally switch on or off the bottom.
2. Insert the 2cr5 battery besides the 4 aA. The purpose is to see if the aA battery connect is reliable. Switch the battery to use the 2cr5. If the problem goes away, you know what causing the trouble.


Thanks so much EinstStein!!!!
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bcooter
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« Reply #9 on: January 06, 2013, 02:34:44 PM »
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The Contax 645 always used a lot of power that's why it has a sleep mode and you have to get use to pushing the shutter button to wake it up, then shoot.

You didn't mention if you were shooting film or used a digital back and different backs use more of the camera power.  I found my Aptus 22 used more power than the Phase backs on the Contax.

Also using autofocus not only used the camera battery up, but also the digital back, or at least it seemed that way.

Personally, I don't think the AA batteries add much and rarely use them.  I actually would take off the right angle grip if not for the use of a right angle grip.

Once again and I can't stress this enough.  If you keep all the contacts clean the camera will run forever. 

One other thing to be careful with, if you travel or store the camera without a back, get a back cover and add some gaff tape to it to keep it secure.  It's way to easy to pick up the camera and punch a hole through  the shutter with your thumb.

I am probably making the camera sound fragile and it's not, but it does have a few quirks and it's somewhat old tech (that is good and bad) so some things have to be kept in mind.

If treated well, it will work forever.

IMO

BC
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EinstStein
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« Reply #10 on: January 06, 2013, 05:56:42 PM »
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If the Contax 645's battery hungry bothers you too much, you can try the Quantum Qb1+ battery. You can use it to power both your camera and the flash. The weight is about two film back, not that bad. You can carry it on you wait belt.
Too bad Quantum doesn't make a battery that can also power the digital back.     
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revaaron
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« Reply #11 on: January 09, 2013, 11:50:56 AM »
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I've had this same exact issue and thought the body was dying.
reseated/cleaned contacts and it hasn't happened since.
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haring
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« Reply #12 on: January 29, 2013, 10:33:57 AM »
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Cleaned and it works like a charm!!!
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TMARK
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« Reply #13 on: January 29, 2013, 11:01:45 AM »
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Her eis how I clean contacts:  DeoxIT D5 paste and pencil eraers.  The hard ones on a Toconderoga.

Get a hold of some DeoxIT D5, in the paste form.  It really, really cleans contacts.  I keep some of teh spray under the seat of my motorcycle.  I find the kill switch and starter electronics get funky, and there is nothing worse than being stranded at night.  I spay in some Deoxit, work the switches, and back to normal.  I've used the paste on all of the camera's and lighting gear I've used in the past six years or so.
 
Glad everything worked out for you!

T
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