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G1 and the low light focus assit light


New Member
This is my first post here! Please forgive me if I am not posting appropraitely. Im thinking about getting the G1 but I had a specific concern. I heard the G1 has an active focus assit light. My question was, does this light always come on or only under (what the camera determines) is a low light situation?

I ask because I like to do candids and street photograpghy and I dont want to distract people with a focus light. If it does only come on under low light condistions does anyone know how dark? Maybe to quantify it in terms of EV values?

Thank you very much! I hope to buy a used G1 or G2 sometime soon...
Hi Peter! You don't have to worry: Contax G1 and G2 do not have a (visible) focus assist light. The only light emitted is ( invisible ) infra-red! If I were You I would try to obtain a G2: it is a much more sophisticated camera. Good Luck! Frank.
In terms of focusing accuracy and invisible focus light, go for G2. G1 is using passive autofocus system and emits red focusing assist light, needs some practice to focus accurately.

[I've never used a G1, but I do have a G2 which I love for daytime work. As fabulous a camera as it is, it's not my choice for low light photography. It seems to work reasonably well when I test it at home in low light but doesn't leave me confident. Some of the external settings for ex&le, transport selection dial and AF selections etc. can't be seen in low light by my aging eyes. It doesn't have an aperture indicator and the lenses are a bit too slow for low light stuff. The AF is a bit quirky and indecisive in low light and the focus brackets in the viewfinder can be difficult to see at times.

I've been using my 50 and 85 1.4 lenses with a 137MA for over 20 years now. That camera design fits me perfect. Simple, logical design / layout with all the important features (and nothing more) that I happen to know like the back of my hand. In fact, I have 6 of them. Not one has ever been in for service other than to replace the foam on the back door.

I've been known to do a lot of late night streets, dive bars, subways, Mardi Gras etc. I've never believed this to be the domain of auto focus in general but I may have to re-think this as my eyes just aren't what they used to be. I've always been comfortable shooting quality hi speed prime lenses wide open allowing me to capture images that simply can't be done with most modern day combos of AF and zooms. Besides, shallow depth of field is cool. It calls for fast thinking, critical focus, holding your breath and crossing your fingers. Diopters are next on my list :)

To be fair, maybe I should force myself to use the G2 in the low light world, but I'd probably be overly protective of this beauty because it's still flawless and worth a bit more coin. I kind of felt the same way when I bought a newer car. Damned!! Love those beaters! :) ]
I just purchased a G1 as a back up body, and the AF assist light was visible, and red in colour. Of course it turned on only in low-light situations. The dog I was trying to focus on didn't seem to get annoyed even though the red spot is right on his eye, but I can see a red spot in my finder.

The G2 emits no visible beam. If this is a concern you should pick the G2 over the G1.
@Bobby Thong and others ?
Do you also descovered the Outo Focus of the G1 is more accurate than of the G2 in the dark. I migt got a problem with the G2 but it seems to be my G1 focus in the dark or in a not so bright room more accurate than the G2, in close distance up to 4meter.
Thanks for your answer
My experience has been the exact opposite. My G2 is more accurate than my G1 in all situations, bright or dim, at both medium and near distances. The G1 is particularly bad at focusing on three dimensional objects and its focusing system can be far more easily fooled than the G2.

By "accurate" I wasn't referring to whether the distance readout matches a measuring tape. I was referring to whether you consistently get the same distance reading when focusing on different objects at the same distance. If your distance readout doesn't match a measuring tape, it does not necessarily mean your camera is out of calibration as the only way to be sure is to shoot a test roll.
> As I recall, one of the major differences between the G1 and G2 is that the G1 only has one type of autofocus system which recognizes lines and shapes in order to focus. The G2 has that PLUS an active infrared system that allows focusing in very dim light or even darkness. So the G2 should never be slower than a G1 and should also allow accurate focusing in some situations where the G1 will not focus at all.