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User comments btil June 2003



I am turning back to photography after several years. My Pentax Super A stopped working 7 years ago, and I just stopped taking pictures.

Now I want to go back, and I am buying a Contax G1 (mostly because I can't afford a G2).

Any comments on the camera's performance -is it discontinued by Contax- is it just a nice as it looks? I have to say I was sold when I actual held the camera body -what a nice camera!!


I bought the G1 a year ago because the price was just right...I also like the size and feel of the G1 better than the G2 and the 35-70 zoom lens was not an issue for me. I know there are many who say this camera does not focus as well as the G2, but I feel any AF camera will have it's own problems in this area. For what I do it is fine...I prefer my T3 as it is smaller and more convenient to take around with a minumum of effort.

Joel Stern
> [Hi Joel,

I have been using Contax SLRs for years but am interested in getting a smaller camera. I've been considering the T3, a used T2 or perhaps the G2. The G2 is a little bigger but I do like the idea of being able to change lenses. My question is regarding the image quality of the T3 vs G2 system. Aside from flexibility (G2) vs portability (T3), any noticeable difference in the image quality? Thanks.

Hi Jason,

Since the T3 has only one lens, the 2.8/35, it would be also only fair to compare it to its equivalent, the G 2.0/35.

I owned both and made testshots side by side. The lens of the T3 is better. This is not that surprising, because the G35 is the weakest lens in the G-system and the T3 lens was just impressive desigend.

But of course, if you want to have more lenses to use, no compact model can replace a complete G-system.

On the other hand, once you have a T3, because of its tiny size, it will really go with you everywhere and this is in my view the major point in thinking about a T3.

If you want to use a G1 with only one (the 35mm)lens anyway, go for the T3. You have better performance and smaller size. Check the T3 review on this site.

What about the other lenses, the 45mm and 21mm?

I want a 45mm right away, and buy a 21mm when I can afford it, but is that a bad idea? I didn't really consider the 35mm, don't know why really.

Don't touch the G1!!!

It is as addictive as crack cocaine.You will neglect your SLR to the extent that it will become a retirement home for spiders.

OK! The autofocus is not that great compared to an SLR. But, compared like for like with other rangefinders it is comparible. When you squint through a Leica's viewfinder trying to gauge whether the ghost image is directly over the true image you need an area of contrast to aim at. The G1 is no different.

True, you focus with your thumb in manual mode - no big deal - you soon get used to it. And if you write the hyperfocal distances of each f stop on a small piece of adhesive label and stick it on your lens barrel so that they correspond to the apertures, you can outdo HCB and set hyperfocal focus before shooting.

Yes, it needed a spot meter and a focus lock would have been nice too. But, since it has an AE lock the former is not too great an issue and anyway when did you last see the perfect camera?

One final point - check your intended purchase out first. If it has a silver and not a green label inside the film chamber it will not couple with the 35mm.
>Sorry, I already touched it ;) And Iike it very much. Just delivered my >first film in today. Can't wait. The viewfinder is not perfect, I agree, >especially if you want to read the shutter speed. The AE lock is >essential, and yes I had trouble holding the focus without making the >camera re-focus. I hope it's just a matter of practice. I haven't really >used manual focus yet. About the label in the film chamber. It's silver. >Please explain about the 35mm and why it won't take it. Do I have to take >it back now?
Aaaargh too late, you're hooked!!!!!

The older G1's had a silver label inside the film chamber. When Contax introduced the G2 they also brought out 35mm & 21mm lenses that would not couple with the G1. To get round this they offered to upgrade the G1 free when you purchased a new 21mm or 35mm lens. The upgrade amounts to increasing the camera's ROM. When this was completed they put a green label inside. Later G1's had the modification done before they left the factory and also bear the green label.

If you want to use a 21mm or 35mm lens on your 'silver label' G1 then you must have it upgraded by Contax at your own expense. How much this costs I don't know. Personally I will stick with the 28mm / 45mm / 90mm set until I get a G2.
OK, I understand.

I will probably never be able to afford a G2, so maybe I have to stick with the lenses you propose. Anyway, I wrote to the shop I bought it from, and mayne they will tell me what an upgrade costs. Or maybe swap my G1 to an upgraded one, I don't know. I had kind of set my eyes on the 35mm, so it was a bit of a disappointment.

I wrote to the shop where I bought the G1 and asked about the upgrade for the camera to take a 21 and 35mm. The guy confirmed that my G1 wasn't modified, but promised me that it would be, free of charge, if I bought one of the lenses there.