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Should I buy a Contax N1 and 24-85 zoom



I am a photorealist painter and I currently use a Contax G2 and 45 to take photos from which to produce my work (if anyone is interested have a look at http://www.photorealism.uklinux.net), however I really need to go back to an SLR as I would like a bigger viewfinder and a D.O.F preview, but I dont really want to lose autofocus or Zeiss lenses. Which leaves me with the N1 and the 24-85 zoom which would be an ideal focal length range for me. I dont really fancy the NX or the lighter 28-80 zoom.
I have read that the autofocus performance of the N1 is not very good , can anyone clarify this , is it worse than my G2 ? bearing in mind I usually work in good light and shoot contrasty street scenes or still lifes. Does it hunt a lot or find it difficult to lock on to something you think it wouldnt have any trouble with? Is it noisy ?
I have read that the 24 - 85 zoom is an outstanding performer and can rival prime lenses for quality , is this true ? as it would be the performance of this lens that would sway me to invest in this system.

I am new to these types of forums and asking questions like this so if I have broken any etiquette rules or been too long winded , I apologise in advance.

David Finnigan
> David,


I have the N1 with the 24-85. The camera is very good and the lens is great. Once in a while, the autofocus is a bit of a problem (dark rooms, or very, very poor light at a distance). But, overall the focus works just fine for 99% of the types of shots that I do (portraits, some action ... football, etc.)

The lens is great. I also have the G2 with the 35mm lens, and while I love the G2 for its' ability to be a stealth shooter, I shoot alot more with my N1 or my ND.

I think you would be very pleased with the N system. Great system.

I just posted a shot to www.outbackcoyote.com that I just took with the ND with the 24-85 lens. Very poor light, but the image still works.

I look forward to checking out your work. Welcome to the forum.

> David,

I looked at your images at the gallery. Very lovely, I liked several, (tabletop still life, motorcycle, smokers ...)

I've always enjoyed the old masters that could paint a portrait, and the vivid clarity would be the impact. So, it looks like you convert your photos to oils??? or acrylics???

Please let me know. I marked your gallery on my favorites list.



Thank you for your comments regarding the N1 , very helpful.
To be honest as much as I love the results from my G2 In certain situations I have had problems in getting the autofocus locking on to something even in bright conditions in a busy city street. As I dont like to hang about too long I have sometimes walked away without the shot . I wouldn't want to be in the same boat with the N1 , its not neccessarily the speed I am interested in its how positive it is , ie whether it 'hunts' around or is uncertain about whether to find focus or not.

Also thank you for your kind comments about my work , as a matter of fact I work in oils and paint on stretched linen. The canvas sizes go up to about 50 inches by 40 inches. I aim to produce a large oil painting which has all the 'artifacts' and look of a photograph.


David Finnigan

With talent like yours I think you could use any camera! I do think the design of the N series focus system would lend to your work as you can select the precise area you want to focus and without recomposing make the photograph.

Thanks for sharing you work.
I am amazed by the detail and how you can duplicate chrome, shining and in shadow.

> [David: Sounds like the N1 and 24-85 would be perfect for the work you plan to do. I am selling my mint condition N1, 24-85 and TLA 360. I have decided to go digital and am currently using a Canon digital SLR. I purchased the N1 last December; hate to part with it, but I can use the money to purchase premium lenses for my Canon digital. Email or call me if you are interested.

Joseph - jvmurray@comcast.net]
> Hi David,

Let me add my dos centimos here. I found that my N1 with the 24-85 was the best handling SLR I have ever used. Everyone says the autofocus is slow, but it is not, in a real world where you are NOT shooting sports for a living. The autofocus is quicker and surer than my lovely G2's, and the lens is a chunky beauty. The lens quality is, simply, Zeiss. 'nuff said.

For what you want to use it for, you will not be bothered by the weight and bulk, and you will find the instant change to manual focus very useful and satisfying. I heartily recommend this camera.

Hope this helps.

Saludos, Robin
I have read a lot about the autofocus issues surrounding the N1. Does anyone know if earlier models had more issues than more recent ones? (That is, was there some type of software/hardware fix that was ever employed?)

I have also read that the autofocus is better with the NX. Is this true?
The AF for N1 + 24-85 combo is super fast and super quiet due to the USM. It does hunt sometimes in low light or low contrast situation.

A friend of mine owns the NX with the 28-80 and he was impressed how much faster the AF for the N1 + 24-85 combo. The 28-80 zoom does not have USM. So I guess the lens itself would be slower and nosier. I cannot tell if the AF with the NX is better than the N1. But the handling in N1 is so much better IMO.
Thanks Albert. Has anyone else had experience with either improvements in the N1 since it first came out and/or differences in the N1 vs NX in terms of autofocus reliability and speed?