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Contax N1



When the N1 had a review in Popular Photography magazine I wrote a short paper on how the "Custom Function 8" could simulate the Scheimflug methode without any Tilt/shift lens.
Don't know if this subject fits on this forum, but here is the address (URL)
The other method for <Very large DOF>, which I mentioned, is more difficult than I though, but Professor Brian Slater (E-mail Address(es):
slater.39@osu.edu ) has found a program which might do it.
For what it's worth ---- Harry
Friends, seriously thinking of buying a N1 (need a SLR to compliment my rangefinder) or perhaps a Nx (but I do like the feel/handling of the N1 better).

My concerns:
- battery consupmtion - 10 rolls... that sounds very low, not to say odd. Has this been confirmed as standard w/ Contax?
- How is the initial quality? Given the amount of electronics, I would feel safer by buying it new w/ warranty, but I was wondering about ppl's opinion about buying used.
This has nothing to do with the fact that I am selling my N1 kit, but I get much more than 10 rolls from a set of batteries, probably nearer to thirty plus, the quality is superb and I have had no issues or glitches at all over the past nine or ten months. I did have the 24-85mm lens tightened up to prevent the zoom creep but that is all.

The thing just works.

Actually, just back from comparing the N1 to the Nikon F100. Needless to say, the N1 feels like a tank in the hands, but at the same time brutally big/heavy (my M6TTL feels like a tank as well, it is a quality feeling I really enjoy, but bulk/weight is less appealing).

I find the controls of the N1 to be very intuitive, and the aperture priority ring very easy to work with. The lenses feel great.

But I'm still not convinced. Size/weight is definitely a factor. Access to lenes is another.

Not easy decidnig on a new SLR system in 2002...
I recently purchased a used N1 thru Adorama. I Love this camera! With all the debate about Zeiss Lenses, let me say one thing, Seeing is believing! It is a battery hog though, but 10 rolls per battery is a bit pessimistic. I havent really kept track of how many rolls ive gotten but it has been more than 10, and i have been playing around with the camera alot so ive been hard on the batteries to boot. But really, i Love this camera so much i wouldn't care if i had to replace the battery every 5 rolls! I just wish the lenses were a bit less pricey! But my daddy always said that you get what you pay for! I say go for the N1 and never look back! Steve Voss
Is the focusing accuracy of N1 not so good? Is it better to use the FX-1 Split Screen for manual adjustment?


Terry Sham

A little over a year ago I was in the same situation as you - continue and upgrade to F100 with Nikon or change completely. My reason for changing to the N1 was not so much the camera body; the F100 is great, and so is the N1, and many other bodies too. In fact, there aren't ANY "bad" bodies out there in that price range. My decision was based on the 24-85 lens; this is much better than either Canon or Nikon has to offer and it is the range that I really like. Now, with the new 70-200, Contax has become even cheaper than Nikon because the equivalent Nikon lens in terms of quality would be their F2.8/80-200 AFS...
really, your lens is what makes your system in this category and Contax rules with the 24-85 and 70-200.
I've been using the N1 for about a year now, and I shoot mainly candids at weddings with it. I find the results fantastic...generally. However I feel I could still get more from the camera and was hoping some of you chaps could give me a few pointers. I shoot mostly in AF mode and very rarely use manual focus. When using AF I always shoot using just the center sensor. I also find I use the sf mode rather than continuous. This is fear based as once I used the Cf mode when a bride and her father were walking towards me and five out of the seven shots were out of focus. I suspect the camera had a hard time with trying to focus on either black or white! I tend to find a point on the subject that has a clear edge and focus on that, then recompose. I also find when I'm holding the focus the battery life is greatly effected. I get about 30 to 40 rolls of 36 exposure film from a battery. I shoot Portra NC 400 of Ilford HP5 and find that all(but group shots) make 8x10 prints as good as my medium format system.

So...would I get better results (sharper) using CF over SF mode. Should I be using the camera in all sensor mode on moving subjects? Would I get better results tweeking the lens with manual focus (something I've never actually done as I still have the origional screens)

Thanks for the input.

Gareth Rockliffe

I just bought FX-1 focusing screen, and here I'm a little confused. When I use AutoFocus mode, I notice that upper half is a little shifted to lower half of the center circle. Then a little adjusting is required to set perfect focus subject. It is not every time when I use AF, but in my opinion it happens a little too often. It also happens when there is a sharp edge with good light condition. The correction I need to adjust is very small, just a few degrees rotattion of the ring. I'd like to ask as many of you noticed the same problem? I know that I have to set CF-19 to compensate this FX-1 and I already did it, but it does not help. I noticed (in this forum) that some people just life with that and they use lens ring for adjusting focus. I'm curious if this is acceptable, or I should send my N1 for adjusting?

Hi Kris,

unfortunately the AF of N1 is sometimes not exact calibrated, even coming out of a new box. Contax will fix that for free usually. The AF should have the exact same focus point as with the split indicator. I do not think that you should stay with it like this. THis is part of the fun with the N1 to use both AF and MF without this refocussing. Send it to Contax and they will help you.