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Author Topic: Contax 645 - still viable? a reliable system?  (Read 20851 times)
william
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« Reply #40 on: November 15, 2006, 07:14:57 PM »
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Scott,

You have mail!

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Hi all,

Haven't been around much  lately.  Have gone all 4 x 5 all the time and am now selling 52" x 38" prints in a local gallery and through an art consultant.  Sales are brisk.

I'm about to list my entire Contax 645 Autofucus system on ebay.  Listing starts tomorrow.  If anybody is interested I can delay it and we can dicker.

I have the kit with 80mm.  Three years old (Like New).  35mm lens (2yr old bought full retail from B&H - Like New),  120 makro (9++),  210 mm (9),  battery grip ( Like New never used), flash (Like New never used ), metal hoods:  101, 72, 73 and 74 (Like New).  An extra film back with cap and 120/220 insert. (9) Three Duracell batteries I'll throw in and a cabel switch. 

Hope I'm not violating forum rules.

Scott Fleming
s_fleming@hughes.net

PS:  Give me a break here Michael.  You got me into this system and I'll never be able to afford a digi back.   
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Sfleming
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« Reply #41 on: November 16, 2006, 10:32:13 AM »
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I can't believe I sold the whole thing.  :^0

Entire kit.  Obviously I did not do adequate price research and I've left some money on the table here but ... c'est la vie.  It's going to a good home and has come to the end of it's abondonment by me ;^}

How I loved that curvacious glass and ample body in my hands.  But I had to have the film real estate of the 4 x 5.  If somebody dies and leaves me enough money to go out and buy a P45 any time soon I'm gonna regret this sale but then that would be old territory for me.  I'v been broken hearted before and I'll be broken hearted again I'm sure.

Off to the post office I go.

 

PS:  Thanks Michael
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dseelig
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« Reply #42 on: November 20, 2006, 01:22:21 PM »
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well Michael wioll you indulge one more contax 645 seller I have the kit plus flash tla 360 the 45 and the 145 lenses and an extra back thanks David
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I can't believe I sold the whole thing.  :^0

Entire kit.  Obviously I did not do adequate price research and I've left some money on the table here but ... c'est la vie.  It's going to a good home and has come to the end of it's abondonment by me ;^}

How I loved that curvacious glass and ample body in my hands.  But I had to have the film real estate of the 4 x 5.  If somebody dies and leaves me enough money to go out and buy a P45 any time soon I'm gonna regret this sale but then that would be old territory for me.  I'v been broken hearted before and I'll be broken hearted again I'm sure.

Off to the post office I go.

 

PS:  Thanks Michael
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Pham Minh Son
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« Reply #43 on: November 21, 2006, 06:52:47 AM »
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Experience is the finest teacher that I have learned from and theory guides me to the best probability where I can start my application. However, without resources the first two elements cannot be carried out and from this point I see the advantage of every medium format systems serving the finest resources for us to learn and to get final results from our images. A personal customized and integrated system yields the flexibility; it relects the freedom for the photographers to choose the most fitting tool for their applications. Up to date there is no system by itself can give us the flexibility of tools and thus I choose to adapt many different systems to a personal integrated system.

From a personal experience, I find the Contax 645 system to be the most attractive system for me. It provides some of the optics that I love most in term of characteristics from the lens. In addition, the camera system also provides me to adapt other medium format resources and the biggest resource comes from Hasselblad V system, which has a long and reliable history.

I am like everyone else love to see new and better products in the market. However, I believe we are still sitting in a transitional time of film and digital sensor and not one single system will serve our best interest. At this point in time, I see there are plenty of resources for us to use. Perhaps it should not be pure anticipation but we should look back in history and start to integrate our own system. One last point, fear is the anti experience.

-Son
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vgogolak
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« Reply #44 on: November 21, 2006, 09:18:43 AM »
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I defer to Son on broader understanding, but my experience with Contax 645 has also  been quite positive. It beats H2 and H555 in my mind since both H 500 and 200 as welland Contax 645 lenses are usable.

Also, with proper mounting exposure works, as well as focus confirmation. I find the focus confirmation actually MORE useful for critical work than fullAF.Others are finding this wit Leica lenses as well.

regards
Victor
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James Russell
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« Reply #45 on: November 21, 2006, 10:33:04 AM »
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I defer to Son on broader understanding, but my experience with Contax 645 has also  been quite positive. It beats H2 and H555 in my mind since both H 500 and 200 as welland Contax 645 lenses are usable.

Also, with proper mounting exposure works, as well as focus confirmation. I find the focus confirmation actually MORE useful for critical work than fullAF.Others are finding this wit Leica lenses as well.

regards
Victor
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I think it's interesting that the Contax is gone, but I have never heard the "official" reason why they stoppped production.

Like everyone I've heard rumors, conjecture, though no one has ever said "they lost X numbers of dollars a quarter so they ceased production.

Or Zeiss and Kyocera just didn't get along.

I can't help but think that if the Contax was still in production there would not be a sustainable market for it.

JR
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larryg
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« Reply #46 on: November 21, 2006, 11:04:30 AM »
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QUOTE(PhaqueName @ Oct 29 2006, 07:32 PM)
to be clear, do the Hasselblad FE lenses work on the Contax 645 only in stop-down mode? i guess if you were shooting wide open, there'd be no comproise, but otherwise, you'd have to stop down to meter? if you shot wide open with the 110 FE at f2, do you trust the MAM to be focus-perfect? is the tolerance of manufacture that good? thanks."

I sold my Hasselblad 205FCC bodies and purchased the Contax system.  I also purchased the adapter to allow the usage of F/FE lenses with Contax.

No auto focusing (don't use anyway) and no auto exposure.  You do have to stop down to have the lenses work well.  
I ended up selling the Hassy lenses in favor of getting Contax (Zeis glass) lenses that were made to work with the Contax.

This camera has been a stellar performer.  I purchased another camera system as back up (for around $1,500 like new) and now can't believe the prices that this stuff is being sold on Ebay.

The only question in my mind is long term (especially the digital back support) is Phase One or any other back going to continue to support digital backs for this system.

The images from the Contax/Phase One P25  are great.  I enlarge my images for gallery display up to 24 x30 or panoramics  24x60  with exceptional results.

If I was starting fresh I would probably now purchase the H3 system and the lenses??? (Only because Hasselblad is still in business)
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James Russell
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« Reply #47 on: November 21, 2006, 01:34:10 PM »
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QUOTE(PhaqueName @ Oct 29 2006, 07:32 PM)

If I was starting fresh I would probably now purchase the H3 system and the lenses??? (Only because Hasselblad is still in business)
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I hear this all the time that Hasselblad wins by default.  

As far as we know, Mamiya still makes cameras but the  645 is pretty much off the list of most people because it feels cheap, the lenses are lego construction (sharp or not) and If I had a nickle for everytime someone told me their cameras got an error message I could buy a house next to Cher in Malibu.

The blad is ok, but I don't understand that mirror distortion in the viewfinder.  Stick a person's head in the corner and it looks like a fun house mirror.  The file is ok but man, what a brain breaker to look at a stretched forehead and the mirror slap is really unforgiveable.  Once again a nickle for every complaint and I could buy Cher's house and evict her.

What a sad state and tells you a lot about our industry and one of the reasons the Contax is still selling, that and the fact that the Contax feels good, has a focal plane shutter and won't jerk everytime you fire a frame.

Knowing this I wouldn't worry too much about buying a back with a contax mount.  After all there is no moving firware upgrades so whatever Phase or Leaf figured out two years ago is still good today.

Also from what I'm told mfdb sales for Contax have taken a big jump up and you can buy a Phase back with a contax mount and have it delivered tomorrow.  For some reason leaf takes longer.

You can also buy three contax systems in good shape for the price of one hasselblad system and last time I looked everybody still rented Contax gear.

There really is a lesson here that few of the camera manufacturers are looking at.

JR
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BrianSmith
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« Reply #48 on: November 21, 2006, 04:19:49 PM »
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Knowing this I wouldn't worry too much about buying a back with a contax mount.  After all there is no moving firware upgrades so whatever Phase or Leaf figured out two years ago is still good today.

Jeez James, no firmware upgrades that result in brand new error messages??? What do you do with your time?
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andrewparker
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« Reply #49 on: November 22, 2006, 04:04:09 AM »
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I think it's interesting that the Contax is gone, but I have never heard the "official" reason why they stoppped production.

Actually the Kyocera website says that they just couldn't keep up with rapid strategic developments in the digital camera business,  and if you read this forum its not hard to see why! (H3D row).

I have some second hand information from the one time UK dealer for Contax, Robert White. He claimed that the owner of Kyocera, which is principally a high tech ceramics company- they make some pretty amazing stuff-  was a very wealthy enthusiast rather than a dedicated camera maker. I believe Leica is also partly owned by such an individual. In other words from a strategic point of view Mr Kyocera (I forget his real name) was buying Contax history, not the futire.

Robert White also did everything he could (successfully) to stop me getting a Contax, citing horror repair stories and lack of support.  This is in the UK where the uptake of Contax is much less than in the US. I don't know who repairs them over here or ever did.

It's easy to believe that the Contax is beautifully made when you look at the ceramics products that Kyocera make in their original business (kitchen knives, highly durable parts for textile machinery etc.)

If only there were some real statistics on camera reliability- because otherwise all we have is anecdotes like the above.

Andrew Parker

Blue Window Ltd
Surrey UK
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stewarthemley
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« Reply #50 on: November 22, 2006, 04:36:25 AM »
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...Robert White also did everything he could (successfully) to stop me getting a Contax, citing horror repair stories and lack of support.  This is in the UK where the uptake of Contax is much less than in the US. I don't know who repairs them over here or ever did.

If only there were some real statistics on camera reliability- because otherwise all we have is anecdotes like the above.

Andrew Parker

Blue Window Ltd
Surrey UK
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That's interesting, Andrew. Contax is my favourite camera brand and I'd love to get the 645 with a good back but I had a bad experience with an RTS2. The back overheated, got too hot to touch, and so I took it in for repair to the official UK place. (Sorry, can't remember their name and I don't know whether they are still the official repairers.) Their attitude was incredible: they quoted a silly price, I could have almost bought a new one for the same amount, and were in no hurry to get it fixed. Fortunately, I wanted the camera for a trip to Japan so I "advised" them that I would be contacting the relevant director at Kyocera to tell him how his products were bing handled in the UK. (I had the resources to do it: my wife is Japanese and get's much angrier than me). This did the trick. Price halved and the repair got done within a week.

Point is, if that's still the case, then a 645, beautiful and well made as it is, would not be a good idea in the UK.
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Pham Minh Son
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« Reply #51 on: November 22, 2006, 05:04:52 AM »
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This camera has been a stellar performer.  I purchased another camera system as back up (for around $1,500 like new) and now can't believe the prices that this stuff is being sold on Ebay.

The only question in my mind is long term (especially the digital back support) is Phase One or any other back going to continue to support digital backs for this system.

If I was starting fresh I would probably now purchase the H3 system and the lenses??? (Only because Hasselblad is still in business)
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1. I purchased my Contax 645 kit system new for $3999 when it first came out. Thus, given the MF systems in existence I am not surprise to see the rise in demand again for the Contax 645 system. Given the fact for something that has been discontinued and yet still serving professional photographers well, I am surprise that the market value has not get back to at least close to the original price. For the first time in photography, we see something that is collectible and yet functionally is still one of the best in the market. This is very similar to the Contax/Yashica manual lens for the 35 mm where the Planar T* 1.2/55 100th Jahre and the 1.2/85 50th and 60th Jahre are the best SLR lens that I have tested including Leica-R latest lens.

2. I believe when it comes to MFDB, the niche is small and selective in conjunction to the high expensive price tag of MFDB, Leaf and Phase One should continue to support the Contax 645 system as long as there is enough demand. In addition, let's take the most pessimistic point of view, even if there are no more services available for the Contax 645 system tomorrow, there are plenty of these Contax 645 cameras that would fill a great number of orders for Leaf and Phase One backs. The question is, are there enough Contax 645 users demand for MFDB? It is at this junction is where folks make their subjective thoughts, whether out of fear, passion, or analysis, which leads them to choose one system over another. It is in my believe that you simply cannot go against quality and flexibility whether it is the gear to create art or art itself; it is our nature to drawn to and our passion to love. Thus, we are the engine that move these companies to the direction of their supports.

3. Like James mentioned, Hasselblad H wins by default at the superficial level. I see Hasselblad H system has its own problems which I will not go into to be fair for their business. However, to be fair for Contax 645 system of all the negative comments, Hasselblad existence is also in question and let just leave it as that.

-Son
Philadelphia and LA, USA
« Last Edit: November 22, 2006, 06:20:35 AM by Pham Minh Son » Logged
tonypassera
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« Reply #52 on: December 11, 2006, 10:00:21 PM »
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I can't believe I sold the whole thing.  :^0

Entire kit.  Obviously I did not do adequate price research and I've left some money on the table here but ... c'est la vie.  It's going to a good home and has come to the end of it's abondonment by me ;^}

How I loved that curvacious glass and ample body in my hands.  But I had to have the film real estate of the 4 x 5.  If somebody dies and leaves me enough money to go out and buy a P45 any time soon I'm gonna regret this sale but then that would be old territory for me.  I'v been broken hearted before and I'll be broken hearted again I'm sure.

Off to the post office I go.

 

PS:  Thanks Michael
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Thank you Scott for selling me the whole kit!  I've never bought anything sight unseen
before (at least not such a large purchase). I appreciate your conservative description
of the system, and that you took amazingly good care of it.   Your honesty, integrity
and patience reduced my stress considerably.

I'm grateful to Michael as well for allowing this and similar posts to occur on LL.  It's a
nightmare trying to piece together a system on ebay.  It's sooo much better to acquire it from
another professional. Thank you.

I also want to thank James Russell whose comments about 'buying what's available' hit
home with me.  Not to mention his occasional reminders that Contax gear is remarkably
cost effective.

All i need now is a DB ...
Tony
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« Reply #53 on: December 12, 2006, 01:21:58 PM »
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inspired by this treat and after thinking a while for which mf system i will go for my emotion 22/75 backs, i decided to go the contax 645 way, just bought a 645 kit for € 1400 and will search now lenses and battery grip. maybe the 35/45/140/210 lenses.
never was thinking much bout contax, but after short research and reading here i am convinced.... sure the rollei is fine also, but i prefer the more little 645 systems for less weight and the fast shutter speeds for aereal shooting,- although 1/1000 with the rollei should be fine here also,- not 1/500 what delivers my hassies.
« Last Edit: December 12, 2006, 01:22:54 PM by rehnniar » Logged

rainer viertlböck
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marcwilson
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« Reply #54 on: December 12, 2006, 01:56:50 PM »
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Hey rehhniar,

Good to see you getting into the contax system..it really is great.
One thing.
With all the extras being so expensive..
I am now using some recharegable cr5 batteries and find them to give much more use than the standard cr5's so you may not need the battery grip if you don't need the AA capability and extra grip.

I know a few others here use them also and seem to like them.

Marc
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rainer_v
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« Reply #55 on: December 12, 2006, 02:14:34 PM »
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i just checked the 2cr5 rechargeable akkus. they have 600ma as biggest sizes as it seems. the normal 2cr5 batteries have 1300 - 1600ma. how many shots are making these rechargeable akkus?

to make the things complete without thinking too much about i ordered the 45/140+210 lense from keh.com aside the  kit with the 80/2 lense and 4 of this rechargeable 2cr5 batteries. now i have just some days to wait ..... i paid for the 4 lenses and the body with accessories  around $ 4400. not bad for an excellent mf system, as i hope and as you tell.... i think.
« Last Edit: December 12, 2006, 04:48:10 PM by rehnniar » Logged

rainer viertlböck
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« Reply #56 on: December 19, 2006, 11:02:58 PM »
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i received the camera and the 4 lenses yesterday. to my surprise there also was included in the camera set, which i bought on ebay, the flash grip, the pola back and the battery grip. everythings in very good condition. i think after short testing that i will love the camera.
its a real modern concept.... incl. 2.curtain sync, writing the lense/shutter/app data to the electronic connector, not any cable to the emotion.....
great alteranative till the HY6 will come out ... and the price is great too.
autofocus seems to be very accurate, the manual override, the focus-fix button, the ael knob ..... everything fits perfect in the hand. i never was working with a modern mf camera, for using this format very little in the past. usually i took 4x5" and 35mm or now my shift camera and the old 500 hassy or the 5d. will be a pleasure to use the contax i think i will do so often....
still couldnt shoot with the digibacks, waiting for the adapter. post slows down so much before christmas...
« Last Edit: December 19, 2006, 11:06:31 PM by rehnniar » Logged

rainer viertlböck
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Tomas Johanson
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« Reply #57 on: December 20, 2006, 03:43:15 AM »
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Congratulations! I´m sure you will be satisfied, I have used mine for nearly six years without any problems.
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filip baraka
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« Reply #58 on: January 11, 2007, 10:19:37 AM »
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Hi all

I think i will go Contax route, based on what i read here and on some other forums I'm 99% positive about this. Still some Q:

Is there a downloadable manual or brochure (just to check everything while waiting for shipment:)
I'm planing to use it with film for few months, how reliable is metering in this camera?

what are the must have lenses?
extra accessories?
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marcwilson
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« Reply #59 on: January 11, 2007, 10:34:14 AM »
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Hi Filip,

Good to see you here.

here is a link to download the manual..I have not tried it but it should work..

http://www.contaxusa.com/downloads.asp?sec...0&contax=190000

best accessory is the wasit level finder if you are used to using one..really nice.
35mm lens is stunning


Marc

(yes Marc from ebay!!)
« Last Edit: January 11, 2007, 10:40:24 AM by marcwilson » Logged

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