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File: 714001.jpg (77 KB, 1000x750)
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Why was Contax so underrated especially with their Zeiss lenses?
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>>3468786
They were extremely expensive at the time. There's a reason why they only sold moderately well, and why the most produced camera and lens were the 139 Q / 137 MD & MA and the 50/1.7. They also have electrical problems. I've had a 167 MT overcurrent and die an elecrical burny smelling death, and its successor a 137 MA has developed shutter problems. Only my RTS still stands. The RTS is excellent though, and some of the lenses are as performative as modern highly corrected 15-something element lenses.
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>>3468786
They're fragile and so are the lenses.
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>>3468786
They were too expensive, and sometimes not very reliable. Even though Contax had the best lenses and best features at time, they ended up not selling much. Especially not the N series, much like Rollei 6K series in MF.

The Contax 645 was a bit more popular because it was a great studio camera, and its alternatives like Pentax 645N weren't cheap either.

Btw, used Contax prices were always high, even in late 00s when film cameras hit a bottom low.
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the first 3 posters are right, they weren't reliable or durable.
pros (especially photojournalists) are extremely hard on their gear, that's why the F3 was the camera of choice for so long, it was literally a fucking tank.

Same thing with the Hasselblad 500c/m, anyone who has owned one will tell you that is is in no way the best MF camera, but they are solid and you can beat the fuck out of them and they keep working.
Contax made some of the best cameras for things like lens quality and film flatness, but they don't stand up to real use/abuse

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>>3468786
Discount Leica. I haven't really liked the ones that i've owned. A lot of good posts in this thread though.

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>>3469338

Good one.
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Love my G1 and T2.

Wish I could try a 645, since they seem pretty tight.
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Someone educate me on the RTS iii. Would I be buying into a dead end system? Are there alternatives under the same name?
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>>3473715
>Would I be buying into a dead end system?
It's a system that is literally dead and has been for decades. Still perfectly usable though. Unfortunately the RTS III has electronics issues and parts are impossible to find. If you can get one for dirt cheap, go for it, but I wouldn't spend any significant money. If you want a more reliable camera with similar ergonomics that still works with some modern lenses, get a Nikon F4.
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>>3469338
I haven't really liked the ones that i've owned
>CONTAX Tvs Digital
Go figure
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>>3473775
I owned the film TVS before it.
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Is there a reliable Contax?
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Given their price they weren't too reliable, great optics and all but they were nowhere near as tough as a Canon, Nikon, Pentax or Minolta. Also why the FUCK is the shutter speed dial where it is... so stupid
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>>3474008
The pentax 67 has the same dial placement, yet is revered for being the best portrait camera
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>>3474004
139Q, RTS, RTS II, maybe Aria but I've seen reports even of those (the last Contax SLR) breaking on people. My RTS is in great health, even the clockwork self timer works.
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>>3477462
Having the best ergonomics for a 6x7 camera is like being the tallest midget.
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>>3473715
>Would I be buying into a dead end system?
Yeah and that's a great thing.
A dead mount always has the best value for money lenses, because they can not be used natively on dSLRs.
The RTS series is the closest you can get to Leica M smoothness and heft in SLR form, plus advanced features.
(And if you want the absolute best in feel and heft, above even leica M levels, it's the Zeiss Contarex).

It was a pro camera through and through.
You can tell by things like 1/8000 max shutter, 1/250 flash sync, 100% viewfinder, 5fps burst.
And then some crazy stuff like the ceramic vacuum pressure plate.
The closest match would be a Leica R8, which sells for about double the price (body only), and lacks some of the features of the Contax.
For me the "issue" is it's over 1kg without a lens, at this weight and bulk I might as well shoot medium format and not obsess which $500 zeiss lens is the sharpest when I can outresolve it with a $100 lens and get better tonality to begin with.

>>3474004
>Is there a reliable Contax?
Contax II, Contax IIa.
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>>3469310
I'm under the impression that the hasselblad was popular because it was the only 6x6 inter lenses system with zeiss glass, not because of its ruggedness
when i was checking out a kit, an ex-wedding photog acquaintance said he didn't use hassy because while mechanicals can last forever they require maintenance, and there are issues with jamming
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>>3468800
>the most produced camera and lens were the 139 Q / 137 MD & MA and the 50/1.7
I don't think this is strictly true. The 137/139 probably sold less than the RTS becuase beginners were actually just buying Yashica cameras like the FX-3/D plus this only takes into account earlier cameras from the 70s and 80s. The best seller for Contax during the 90s was almost certainly the RTS III and the 645 because what you need to understand about the brand niche is that it really was primarily for extremely wealthy people who wanted over engineered cameras. The G2 and TVS had reputations as "Dentist cameras" during the 90s.

>some of the lenses are as performative as modern highly corrected 15-something element lenses.
I think people both overstate the quality of the Contax zeiss lenses and the quality of modern glass so I think you are wrong about both assumptions here.

>>3468820
This isn't really true especially about the lenses which are in almost all cases completely fine and nicely engineered. Early bodies were a little rough but later the electronics got better.

>>3468827
I would say "best features of the time" is a bit of an overstatement. A lot of the advances like quartz timing and vacuum induced film flatness were pretty much meaningless and unnecessary. The AX was a legitimately interesting advancement but again extremely over engineered.

>>3469310
I think people overstate the reliability of the F3 but I don't think contax ever really went for the photojournalist market and arguably their only "rugged" camera was the the RTS III (or the Yashica FX-3)

>>3469338
The R series cameras were much worse products than anything contax made.

>>3473715
It's a great reliable rugged camera that is huge and runs on batteries. Personally I would guess that you could buy an RX and be just fine for much less money. The system was fully fleshed out and has everything you need (even AF if you want to take a dice roll on an AX body)
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>>3473741
>RTS III has electronics issues
I don't think this is any truer than with anything else that was fully electronic from the 90s. The problem of course is that there is no support other than Nippon Photo Clinic.

>>3473993
The TVS digital is a rebodied Kyocera s5. The TVS is a mediocre travel zoom camera. Try an RX.

>>3474004
Like really most of them are fine just buy one that doesn't look beat and has buyer protection then don't get them wet. It's just that when they do break no one is going to fix them (except for me). I have personally fixed two 167MTs, an Aria, a G2, and an RTS III. Most of the time there aren't unfixable electronic issues but rather mechanical issues caused by wear such as stuff going out of tolerance.

If you want the most reliable contax though, the S2 is fully mechanical and the Yashica FX-3 is also fully mechanical (and very mechanically similar the S2 minus the titanium body)

>>3474008
Better than EF cameras where the shutter speed is in the menus.

>>3477815
Any camera will have broken examples I remain unconvinced that it is more unreliable than similar cameras of the era. The biggest design flaw of the Aria for instance isn't that the electronics go bad but rather that the spring that resets the latch when the film door closes is connected to a piece of plastic that breaks easily. Like literally half of Arias have latches that you need to manually close. Luckily though the aria is by far the easiest body in the Contax SLR line to work on.

>>3477854
>>Is there a reliable Contax?
>Contax II, Contax IIa
Hahaha, No. The Contax RF cameras are ridiculously complex and nearly impossible for most people to work on. I would feel much more confident with a 137 (probably the least reliable Contax SLR) than one of these unless it was just CLAd bu the one guy who still works on them.
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>>3470373
kind of a pain sometimes though.
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>>3473775
I wanna try this tvs digital. Anyone have thoughts on it? I’m sure it’s shit compared to today’s standards, but it looks fun and I want a cheap digital p&s camera.
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>>3479875
>The Contax RF cameras are ridiculously complex and nearly impossible for most people to work on.
While this is true, they barely needed "fixing". The rangefinder never got out of alignment accidentally because it used a single huge prism and not mirrors and lenses to fuck it up (like most everything else).
You wouldn't get holes in the shutter with a lens pointed to the sun, cause the shutter was brass and not cloth. Adjusting shutter speeds was more or less like any mechanical shutter camera, by adjusting spring tensions and having a couple control points.
Remember, these cameras were competing with the screwmount Leicas at the time, and maybe the M3 at the very end of Contax's production when Zeiss was out of the RF business and making their Contarex SLR.

The only point that gets hyped online is about the II (not IIa) shutters and their silk cords. But that's not a failure of the camera, those were designed to be replaced as regular maintenance at every x thousand exposures. Like the engine oil in your car. Even though they're hard to source (essentially you have to get the russian version) today, it's not a reliability issue but a lack of parts issue for scheduled maintenance.

Tbh I've never seen a single misaligned rangefinder in a Contax II, Contax IIa or the russian clones (Kiev 4 and variants). You literally have to unscrew the lens mount (which is attached to the body) to mess up the rf, or break the prism in the RF.
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>>3481485
>it's not a reliability issue but a lack of parts issue for scheduled maintenance.
That's quite seriously still a reliability issue. Doesn't matter if it's working as designed
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>>3481475
I have one, going to list it on ebay soon. It's decent in a way, slow startup but the images are fairly decent. Be prepared to spend $130+ on one though.

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>>3481495
Still wouldn't call it a reliability issue. Cause you can use the cords from Kievs and it's gonna be fine, there are tons of them lying around in functional condition for less than 50$. And you might need to replace the cords once in 20 years or so, if you use the camera quite a bit.
I think it's on the same scale of (cloth) shutter curtains needing replacement cause the rubber is cracking or whatever. You might have to do it once in a couple decades and that's it.

Anyway, this was an issue with the II though, the IIa has a redesigned shutter that doesn't use silk cords and doesn't need replacement parts.
(Ironically, the thicker brass shutter of the II has a smoother sound and feel).
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>>3481529
I would spend $130 easily but I haven’t seen that one so low.

Why are you selling yours? And when?
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>>3481475
Buy a Kyocera S5. They are exactly the same camera with the same lens. The lens just doesn't carry Zeiss branding.

>>3481485
I have owned a IIIa (that had a vertically misaligned rangefinder, btw) and liked it but the shutter mechanism simply is much more complex than other stuff and very few people work on them. These are problems if you want to use one in the modern day regardless of how it was designed to work. I should also note that you can easily realign a Leica M3's rangefinder using really common tools.

>>3481571
Have you ever tried to work on one of these cameras man? It is not a simple as you are making it out to be unless you just have tons more experience and skills at doing it than me and I have worked on quite a few cameras.
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>>3481571
>Still wouldn't call it a reliability issue.
Lessening the available supply of a critical wear item is absolutely a reliability issue.
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>>3481653
>Have you ever tried to work on one of these cameras man?
Yeah. I've sacrificed a couple Kievs in the process. Don't get me wrong, the shutters are absolute hell to work on, the saving grace is you never need to fully disassemble the shutter and work on it. If you want to fully CLA the shutter, forget about it. But most times cleaning the dried lubricants and upping the tension a bit (if not overtensioned already) is enough to fix slow shutter speeds without disassembling the shutter.

>hat had a vertically misaligned rangefinder, btw
It's not much consolation but it means the front lens got loose in its casing, usually the cement went bad. The fix is to find the spot where the images coincide as you move the lens (the squarish rf lens) vertically on its casing/frame, and then glue it down to the correct position.

I like these cameras because of their design and operation, as well as the (tiny) lenses which are completely unadaptable and thus kept at reasonable prices. And also the fit and finish of the Zeiss ones, although the Kiev clones are functionally identical (to the II not IIa).
For me the real consideration in using one in the modern day is the viewfinder. It's too small and dim (by modern standards) and with no framelines.
But with a widengle+external finder they shine.
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>>3468786
back in the film days film bodies were pretty much just dark boxes that all did the same thing. Yashica (kyocera) made Contax and had the same mount, so why ever go for a Contax?
Add to that, the Yashica lenses are not that different from the Zeiss, and Contax is kinda pointless in 35mm



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