image by John Nuttall (Image rights)
The Contax 139Q was introduced in 1979.
The camera was designed as a smaller 35mm film SLR that was still full-featured, and was intended for use by serious amateur and semi-professional photographers. Like other Contax cameras of that era, it used C/Y bayonet mount, manual focus Carl Zeiss T* lenses. The body is made of a machined aluminum chassis and bearing-mounted film advance and shutter mechanisms. The 139Q could also be fitted with an optional winder for motorized film advance. A 45mm, f/2.8 Tessar lens was introduced specifically to mate with the 139Q and provide the smallest top quality SLR in the world.
The 139Q had a quartz-timed, electronically-controlled vertical metal shutter that was very advanced for its day. It has speeds of 11 seconds to 1/1000 of a sec in auto, and 1 to 1/100 in manual exposure mode.
The metering system is a center-weighted system with a range of 0 to 18 EV(f/1.4) using a silicon photo diode cell. The through-the-lens TTL synchronized flash with the TLA20 and TLA30 flash units. Other new features included manual or aperture-priority exposure controls and a DOF preview lever. An AE lock feature available to hold metered shutter speeds, and an improved flash sync speed (1/100th sec.). Exposure compensation is available and can be adjusted by over or under 2 EV.
The finder has a matte field with a horizontal split-image device surrounded by a microprism. This aperture information is on the top of the finder. full exposure information visible in the viewfinder with individual shutter speeds on the right lit by LED. It is powered by two SR44 batteries.
image by Mark Nicolson (Image rights)