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Mint 159MM with the W-7 pro winder

The Contax 159MM was released in 1985. It ushered in a new type of aperture indexed Carl Zeiss lens called the MM Mount (Multi-Mode). The MM lens allows the use of the Program modes on the 159MM and subsequent cameras. MM lenses are distinguished by their minimum f-stop being painted green. Other technical distinctions are that the MM lens has a tab at the lens mount to signal the camera body that it is an MM lens, and that the MM lens has a lighter weight diaphragm assembly which allows the camera body to set the f-stop for program or shutter preferred modes. The top shutter speed on was 1/4000 second and X sync was at 1/250 second. It had three program modes, High Speed, Low Speed and Normal, as well as Aperture Preferred and Manual exposure modes. TTL flash metering was also standard. It was the first Contax with a high-speed Copal shutter with 1/4000 sec. as shortest time (Nikon had set this mark with its FE 2) and a shutter-priority and a program mode. It was also their first camera to use rubber coatings on the body rather than traditional leather. Some of the 159's have been reported to have had reliability problems with electronics or shutters, but I know of others that have never had a problem, and I have one myself that is problem-free and it is my main body right now. I use it with a pro motor drive that provides me with a front grip and two more shutter releases, one vertical and one at the top of the front grip. It is a great blend of old and new technologies, still having a manual rewind crank, yet having the newer rubber coating instead of leather which looks and feels nice but doesn't last, and having the MM mount and a fast shutter speed.


TYPE: 35mm direct drive SLR featuring auto/manual exposure; TTL auto flash control. 
IMAGE SIZE: 24 x 36mm
LENS MOUNT: Contax/Yashica mount.
SHUTTER: Quartz-timed, electronically controlled vertical travel, metal focal plane type.
SHUTTER SPEEDS: Semi-continuously variable from 60 sec. to 1/4000 sec. in AE modes, 1 sec. to 1/4000 in Manual, with B.
FLASH SYNCH: In Direct X synch with TLA units, automatically synchs at 1/100 sec., at 1/250 or slower in manual flash mode. X synch also. ELECTRONIC SELF-TIMER: Quartz-timed, electronic self-timer with precise 10 sec. delay. LED flashes to indicate operation, accelerates 2 sec. before shutter is released.
SHUTTER RELEASE: Real Time Electromagnetic Release System featuring quartz-timed operating sequence; aux. remote electronic release socket.
EXPOSURE MODES: Normal Program AE Mode, High-Speed Program AE Mode, Low-Speed Program AE Mode, Aperture-Priority AE Mode, Manual Mode, TTL Program Auto Flash Mode, TTL Aperture-Priority Auto Flash Mode, Manual Flash Mode.
METERING SYSTEM: TTL center-weighted with SPD sensor. EV 0 to 20. Film speed ASA 12 to 3200. Coupled to main switching circuit.
EXPOSURE COMPENSATION: +-2EV by rotating exposure compensation dial. Click stops at 1/4 (-2), 1/2 (-1), X1 (0), 2 (+1), 4 (+2) with intermediate settings.
AE LOCK: Using main switch, exposure is held in memory.
VIEWFINDER: Eye-level penta-prism; field shows 95% of picture area. Magnification of .82x
FOCUSING SCREENS: Horizontal split prism standard. Four others available. 
VIEWFINDER DISPLAY: LED digital display indicating aperture and exposure compensation signs, LED display indicating shutter speed, over and under exposure, program AE modes, dedicated flash mark array indicating shutter speeds.
FILM ADVANCE: Lever operated. 135 degree winding angle and 30 degree stand-off angle, provision made for 159 Winder W-7.
FILM REWIND: Film rewind crank-handle with clutch action, and film rewind release button.
EXPOSURE COUNTER: Auto resetting type; at all shutter settings except B, camera shutter system automatically operates at 1/100 sec. until counter reaches 1.
MULTIPLE EXPOSURES: Enabled by turning multiple exposure lever.
ACCESSORY SHOE: Direct X contact and TLA contacts.
CAMERA BACK: Opens by pulling film rewind knob all the way out. Provided with memo holder. Removable.
MIRROR LOCK: None provided.
POWER SOURCE: 2 1.55v silver-oxide SR44 or alkaline LR44 batteries. Switched.
BATTERY CHECK: Indicated with battery check lamp activated with main switch.
OTHER FEATURES: Provisions for Data Back and motorized winder W-7.
SIZE AND WEIGHT: 138mm x 89mm x 55mm. 520 grams without batteries.

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