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Which Contax System suits best to your needs

I've been looking to pass on my G2 kit, I can't live with the viewfinder anymore and the inaccurate framing, although I'd love to keep it I can't afford two systems.

So, the Aria/RX with 18mm and 45mm


N1 with 24-85?

I've read all the posts above, but any opinions on which system to go for would help (I hope) me make up my mind.

I have both the N1 and G2 systems. They are both great. I use my N1 for situations where I need critical framing, depth of field preview, or flash.

My G2 has been reborn as my lightweight travel and backpacking system.
I brought a Yashica FX2 from e-bay and it arrives today. I like the body. it is under USD100 including mail service to send it from Canada to Hong Kong.
The reason I like it very much is its stability against mirror vibration. It is definitely more stable than FX3, N1, Aria, S2 and ST. The secret behind is having a very light mirror flap. It is consisted of a glass mirror and a very thin metal plate,with the metal plate being thinner than the glass mirror. The feature is certainly more favourable than the newer SLR N1 and Aria.

On the other hand, FX3 is notorious in its poor performance in low speed, so is Aria. FX3 is too light. Aria has a chunky mirror flap consisted of thick plastic, so is N1.

Another important point of FX3 is that it is a mechanical, battery independant camera. I have RX, aria, AX and to me FX3 is an great body with very favourable performance to price ratio.

(Silicone rubber is applied for the d&ening of the miiror flap in order to reduce vibration even further, I have discussed this in other part of this forum)
Recently I received an email concerning the choice of systems. Basically he/she is not happy with G2 28-45-90. He/she wishes to buy ST and other lenses like 21 2.8, Planar 1.4, Macro 60 1:1, 100 f2, 135 f2.

I prefer answering e-mails here so that others could discuss about this.

If you have G2 28 45 90, the system is one of the best in the world. You should be happy with this. The only problem with this system is the poor maintainance of the services in some part of the world. I had problem with my system and I could not get it fixed in Japan by Kyocera because we had a communication problem.

G2 is the fastest focusing rangefinder. It is superior to SLRs to produce high quality images because it does not have a mirror.

G45 is superior to C-Y 50 1.4 and 1.7, Zeiss Ikon M50 2, Leica M50 2 that it produces image with the highest resolution of fine details.

G90 is very good.

If you decide to enter the C-Y system, not because you are not happy with the G system, but because C-Y system allows you to use lenses like macro and large aperture lenses. It is good to have both systems when you can make a choice which system to use for different situations. For flowers, I use my S2b and 28 2. For long distance travelling I use my M system or your G system.

Since you mentioned that you are going for the C-Y 21 2,8, I might talk about the pricing of this lens. It is the best 21 in 35 mm photography. The second hand price is too high because of large demand and non-existing production. The alternative is to buy the G21 which is very good.

In 6-12 months time, Zeiss would anounce the production of 21mm lens for Nikon F mount.
Dear WANG , you are right : is better for all of us using public e-mail .
So I thank you for the answer and I think to stay with my G2 and buy a Contax ST used ; I have found a Zeiss T* 21mm. for 1060 $ and a Planar 135 f.2 at 1000 euro .

Best Regards

Diego Salom Pedemonti
No doubt that ST is a very good body. I find S2/S2b better for you need. S2 has 2-7 seconds mirror lock mechanism. This mechanism could be important when you are operating your 135 f2. I certainly find it useful for my 200 f2.
My Contax way

As a youngster I dreamed of Contax Rf, my grandmother had one IIa and later a IIIa too. I got a 120 plastic boxcamera with a F 1:8 as biggest opning. In that time I started the darkroom habit.
When I started earning own money I did get a Kiev Rf with some Jupiter lenses 35, 50 and 85. Ofcourse I did get a CZ Sonnar 1:1,5 to it.
As I got more intrested in the macro world I started with a Practica SLR and some CZ lenses. (Here the Practica was 1/3 of the Contax SLR.)
As time went on I got a 139Q and some CZ lenses for it.
I then inhered my grandmothers IIa, IIIa and the base lenses between 21 and 135.
I did get a panflex housing and some Conta repro outfit. When I was in selling one of my Kievs a friend informed me of a G1 outfit with 28, 45 and 90.
Presently I'm using the G set for Slides and my II&IIIa for B&W. I have become a film and slide scanner to be able to manipulate in my apple.
I have just bought a G2 and uses my G1 mostly in manuel mode. I'm looking for a late 16 mm lens for them. The first of them are said not to hold in Artic winter weather, and up in the north we have some of it.
I also uses my old Ikoflex a lot.
Tessars, mounted backways, are terrific macro lenses.
I for some 18 years had a Gotemburg Camera a 500c and an SWC with a full set beween 38 and 250, but due to weight and a good offer I sold it. Deliverd very good slides and negatives. Can still miss my SWC somedays.
Maybe we meet out in the light?
I use the 645 & G2 systems mostly. The G2 is great for portability, so I use it more than the 645. I also use the RX & RTSIII which are great for the 50 & 85 f1.4 lenses.
Not sure if this is the right place and apologies if I've got it wrong but;

I'm still using Contax film cameras and lenses, but need to rationalise my collection. I have N system and C/Y system as well as some Contax P&S cameras.

At some point no doubt I will have to go fully digital, but I still love to use Contax cameras and Zeiss lenses. (The only digital I have is a Sony DSC N-1, which is several years old).

In a moment I will list what I have in each system and my question will be which would you keep N, C/Y or both? I will be having at least one eye on my possible move to digital in the future.

I see three possible future digital options:-

1. Keep N system and in future get Bo Ming at Conurus to convert all of my N lenses. This would most likely result in me moving to Canon 5D MkII and retains full autofocus and open aperture operation etc.

2. Keep my C/Y system and buy adaptors to allow C/Y lenses to be used again most likely on Canon 5D MkII, but with only stop down metering and manual focus.

3. Choose an alternative system, sell all of my Contax/Zeiss gear and buy modern new Zeiss lenses designed to work with various current digital slrs, with the belief that autofocus is not available, but at least open aperture metering still works. (A sub option is to go Sony and have Zeiss lenses with autofocus).

What do I currently have:-

N System 2 x Contax N-1, Zeiss 17-35mm f2.8, 2 x Zeiss 24-85mm f3.5/4.5, Zeiss 50mm f1.4 and very likely soon to get Zeiss 70-200mm f3.5/4.5. One of my N-1s has D-10 databack which I find really useful and the P-9 battery/vertical grip.

C/Y System Contax AX, Contax RX, Contax Aria, Contax 159mm, Contax RTS I, Contax 139Q, Yashica 24mm f2.8 ML, Zeiss 28mm f2.8 MM, Zeiss 28mm f2.8 AE, Zeiss 35-70mm f3.4 MM, Zeiss 50mm f1.4 MM, Zeiss 50mm f1.4 AE, Zeiss 50mm f1.7 AE, Zeiss 85mm f1.4 MM, Zeiss 85mm f1.4 AE (West German if that matters), Zeiss 100mm f3.5 MM, Tamron SP 300mm f2.8 model 60B c/w 1.4 and 2x Tamron convertors. I also have a mint but broken AX which I'm not sure would be worth repairing.

Suitable for both systems I have 2 x TLA 360 and 2 x TLA 30.

To suppliment these and especially when I don't want to carry a lot of gear, I have Contax T3 c/w SA-2 and TLA 200, Contax TVS (original) and a Contax T (original).

I love the handling and features of the N system, but find focusing, particularly the 17-35mm and 24-85mm at the wide end in poor light difficult. By difficult, I mean that the standard focusing screen is not clear enough for me to see if the camera has got it right. With the AX and it's split screen, OK you only get one focus point, but you know straight away if the camera has got the focus right.

For some reason I find myself more drawn to AX than N-1.

As far as lenses are concerned, I like fast primes, but N system zooms are very convenient in reducing number of lenses to carry.

I like to be inconspicuous sometimes (LOL with that pile of gear) so find the older Contax T nice to use as the shutter is almost silent and no autofocus or wind on motors either.

Bearing all of the above in mind and the fact that it is hard to justify keeping it all, if you were me, what would you keep and what would you sell?

Regards, Piginho
C/Y on EOS 5D

I wouldn't recommend using C/Y lenses on a 5D, they can crash into the mirror. I suspect that an EOS 1DS would be a better bet.