Contax RTS Data Back

I like collecting data backs for my 1970s 35mm SLR cameras because they were such a hot item when new. The idea of recording information on your image was kind of a novel idea back then and adding the date the image was taken could be useful. Do you want to know how many images I took back then with the date imprinted? Zero. Back in the 1970s and ’80s data backs were really expensive and money spent on one could be better spent on another lens or a year’s worth of film. But they’re fun to collect now and I have one for my Canon F-1, Canon A-1 and I had one for a Canon T-70 that I owned.

I thought adding a Contax Data Back for my RTS would add to its classic look. Notice that the first year that could be imprinted was 1975 and on this model of the data back it went up to 1993.

The good news is that this data back is fully working. It takes the same battery as the camera which is handy (A544 6V).

The back is covered in the same material as the RTS body which means it’s slowly peeling off just like 99% of all the rest. I may try and save the skin on this one since it’s only lifting around the Contax label ATM.

I imagine quite a bit of engineering went into designing these backs which explains why they were so expensive when new. This one came with its original box but no instruction booklet. Time to chase one down.

The data back pictured here will only work on the original RTS and not the RTS II or III. The Yashica branded back for the FR is very close in design but it’s not interchangeable with the Contax.

Comments are always welcomed as I’ve learned quite a bit from reader feedback. As always, thanks for stopping by and while you’re at it, feel free to visit my camera shop at (CC Design Studios hosted by Etsy). – Chris Whelan

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