5 Frames with a Contax T3 on Fuji Superia 400 - By David Marshall

5 Frames with a Contax T3 on Fuji Superia 400 – By David Marshall

Who buys a Contax T3 these days? Who would pay upwards of a grand for a small, overhyped analogue camera?

Well, me.

I bought a T3 just under a year ago from Bellamy Hunt. An expensive, probably unnecessary investment in my burgeoning interest in film photography.

A few months later, I took a trip with a couple of buddies to the west coast of Ireland. We were on our way round the Dingle peninsula when one of us pointed out a couple of odd shaped rocks way off the coast: “Hey, doesn’t that one look a bit like the island in Star Wars?” A few minutes’ furious Googling later and it emerged it WAS the island they used for The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi.[1] We knew instantly it was our destiny to visit.

Little did we know it was also the weekend of May the 4th and we were about to stumble on a fully fledged Irish Star Wars festival.[2]

All was quiet when we rolled into Port Magee, a small town on the coast of Kerry. I said I’d catch the others up and went to use the public toilets. I was in the bathroom when the first storm trooper appeared, followed soon after by two, three more and a photographer. Luckily, I had the Contax with me. I’m not sure if the geniuses at Kyocera had anticipated this. Even if they hadn’t conceived of the exact scenario, I’m sure they would have agreed that this is the sort of situation the camera is made for. It’s easily slipped out of a back pocket, the autofocus is sharp and quick (for its age) and it can be pocketed again quickly. I took it out and started snapping away as they all posed for publicity shots.

Grinning wildly, I headed out, bumping into a couple of chattering jawas and, later in the pub, a life-sized cardboard cutout of Mark Hamill.

The journey to the Skellig islands was choppy but magnificent. As we got closer, I lay down at the front of the boat to capture shots of the islands. Little Skellig is home to the second largest gannet colony in the world (around 70,000) and Skellig Michael (Star Wars island), once home to a small monastic community in the 6th century, is now inhabited only by puffins.

The Contax T3 is a stupidly expensive camera, and one I definitely do not need. It also has limitations, not being quick enough to capture the dolphins that appeared alongside the boat. But it’s also a fine tool with an excellent lens. Even in my hands, it yielded nice results. Like Star Wars, it attracts way more attention than it deserves. But also, like Star Wars, I just can’t stop thinking about it and I guess I’m always going to love it and keep coming back it.

May the (analogue) force be with you and, uh, if you wanna chat about The Rise of Skywalker OR film photography, you can find me on Insta @filmbum81

[1] Featuring in no particular order, grumpy Luke, angry Rey, some lanais and a handful of porgs.
[2] Based solely on a bad pun (“May the fourth be with you”) the 4th of May has become the official Star Wars day.

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