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Need G1 Advice


Well-Known Member
Hi Folks,

I'm considering the purchase of a gently used G1 green label with the 45mm/f2 lens as my first ever interchangeable lens camera of this type. It would also be my first autofocus camera as well. All previous experience has been with Contax SLR's. This one is being offered to me at $250.00 USD.

First, what does the group think of this camera as a starter? I'd like a competent film camera to carry with me all the time that is a little less obtrusive than some of my SLR's. For that duty right now, I use a 139Q with the 45mm Zeiss pancake lens, but would like to go even a little bit smaller without resorting to a P&S camera.

There is also just something about the look of the G1 and G2 cameras that appeals to me. I've not actually put my hands on one, having just seen pictures and looked over the manual a bit. Any comments on the "feel" and handling of this camera would be appreciated. Is it very much different from the G2?

Second, for those who keep track of such things, does this sound like a good price?


You won't regret it. The G system is great in most every way, including handling, feel and results. Some complain about the AF but it never bothered me. I think the lens are superb. It is just a pleasure to use. The other lens are among the best in my opinion. Others may differ.
The G-1 sounds perfect for your use and at that price you can sell it later with no loss. I like the G-1 - its a little ligher, smaller, and simpler than the G-2. The lenses are superb for resolution, lack of distortion, and color. Just decide what you want to focus on and point the autofocus bracket area on that object. The viewfinder is harder to use than the G-2 but I never had a problem.
G1 is a great camera with superb optics. Great for travel. Check out the viewfinder as it is small for some. The G2 has a larger viewfinder which I find easier to use.
I don't know about the G1 but I love the G2. Some non Contax people, mainly it seems Leica afficionados, rather tend to turn their noses up at the the G series saying that they are not proper rangefinder cameras. This is rubbish. It is tantamount to saying that an autofocus SLR is not an SLR.
The G series lenses are excellent, if a little slow. They are also now excellent value.
As for the autofocus, on the G2 anyway, it is fine provided you are aware that it won't always "lock on" to the subject if there is insufficient contrast for it. Grab shots can be occasionally lost through this. But it is a comparatively elderly system which has not been kept up to date by Kyocera much to our lament. Despite this, it works fine most of the time and if it won't initially lock on you just have to refocus with the central area aimed at something it recognises, lock the focus with the shutter release half pressed and recompose.
The 90mm lens is the slowest to focus and it would help if the lens could remain at its focused setting between shots rather than returning to its default each time and then having to find focus again. This slows it down.
Apart from these quibbles, it all works fine and on occasions, autofocus can be a very useful feature.
I have to say though that I find the "manual" focus to be a dead loss.
The camera also sounds a little noisy to me but this appears only to be to me as the user and happily, not to the subject.
I understand that Kyocera have said that they will repair their products for 10 years. After that time, there may be a problem with getting parts and repairs for such a complicated electronic camera.
Hope this helps,
>I don't own a G1 but I've had the G2 and used it professionally for about 10 months and find it to be an exceptional camera - it takes a while to get into the swing of using if you are accustomed to SLRs, but it's well worth the time spent learning the ins & outs. I don't agree with the previous comment about the Manual focus being a dead loss. I find it very handy in certain situations (pre-focussing) but it also helps if you're a dab hand at judging distances by eye. Overall tho', I love these cameras, and it goes without saying that the lenses are superb in every
Hi Dave,
I must admit that it hadn't ocurred to me to use the manual focus for pre-focusing but I shall give it a go. I can definitely see the benefit of that as it will speed up the camera's response.
It is so long since I used the function having written it off, that I had fogotten that the focus remains where you set it in manual mode and doesn't revert to its default. I can see that is a useful feature.
Thanks and apologies for libelling the camera.
It just shows the benefits of this forum - the friendly interchange of ideas, opinions and experience.
Let me compare G2 with G45mm f2 and 139Q with Tessar 45mm f2.8 as this could be what Tom wish to know.

You will find focusing with the little Tessar not easy. The focusing barrel of the little thing is narrow. Focusing at 2.8 is very demanding to the eye sight. I find the autofocus of G2 accurate from f2.8 and higher. Focusing at f2 is not that reliable. I have tried all the ways, read the manuals thoroughly, but still find the G2 45mm combo at f2 is just not good enough. This is why I switched to the M system. Otherwise, G45 at f2.8 and above are great, accurate and fast focusing.
In low light, G2G45 performs better than 139QTessar45 in the absence of mirror vibration at long shutter time hand held. G45 is very much sharper than Tessar 45. At f4, the performance of the Planar is just breathtaking. I like to use the Tessar at f5.6, the stop I find to be sharp enough. On the other hand , I like the out of focus pattern of Tessar, the pattern of Planar is rather harsh.
I do like to use G2G45 except at f2. 45mm Tessar at 139Q is worrying. As I like to use the Tessar at 5.6, I worry very much on mirror vibration. I would rather use the lens on S2 in which it has mirror lock up.