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Author Topic: Why CONTAX refuses to die?  (Read 19249 times)
Alex MacPherson
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« Reply #40 on: March 21, 2009, 07:48:27 PM »
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I recently bought a Hasselblad H2 kit with the 80mm lens. I got it for a good price but  I guess I should have done more research. I do love
the camera but... I can't afford the lenses!

I am shooting film while saving for a back. I love the images but eek! I want more lenses.

I am thinking of jumping ship to the Contax 645. How do the lenses compare in quality to the HC lenses?
I could probably get a pretty nice Contax setup for the price of the H2 kit.

Are they close?
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evgeny
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« Reply #41 on: March 22, 2009, 12:08:20 AM »
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Quote from: Dolce Moda Photography
I am thinking of jumping ship to the Contax 645. How do the lenses compare in quality to the HC lenses?

I don't know how this compares to HC lenses, here is a 100% crop of an image shot with 45-90mm Contax 645 lens



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mcfoto
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« Reply #42 on: March 22, 2009, 01:13:22 AM »
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Quote from: Dolce Moda Photography
I recently bought a Hasselblad H2 kit with the 80mm lens. I got it for a good price but  I guess I should have done more research. I do love
the camera but... I can't afford the lenses!

I am shooting film while saving for a back. I love the images but eek! I want more lenses.

I am thinking of jumping ship to the Contax 645. How do the lenses compare in quality to the HC lenses?
I could probably get a pretty nice Contax setup for the price of the H2 kit.

Are they close?

I tried both the Contax & Mamiya AF in 1999 & went with the Mamiya. I liked the 80 mm lens better, more contrast & had a sharper B&W neg than the Contax. I was selling my Hasselblad 500 CM to go into a AF system. At that time the Contax lenses were twice the price of Mamiya, not sure about today in the used market. I would just wait & see if there are any more news on the Mamiya/Phase front.
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« Reply #43 on: March 22, 2009, 03:09:45 AM »
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Quote from: mcfoto
I tried both the Contax & Mamiya AF in 1999 & went with the Mamiya. I liked the 80 mm lens better, more contrast & had a sharper B&W neg than the Contax. I was selling my Hasselblad 500 CM to go into a AF system. At that time the Contax lenses were twice the price of Mamiya, not sure about today in the used market. I would just wait & see if there are any more news on the Mamiya/Phase front.
Denis

Some of the Contax 645 lenses are at the top of the heap, like the 35/3.5 and 120/4 Macro (which goes all the way to 1:1, by the way!). I have both, but unfortunately don't have any digital back, so I cannot confirm this. I think though if you look around at how many people in the platform thread use Contax, that is a testimony to the strength of the system. You should have an extra body though, since repair facilities are few, and there is no warranty any more.

I was out shooting with mine yesterday, T-MAX 400 with the 120 Macro, and I really enjoy the system. I am thinking about getting a Maxwell focusing screen though, as the stock one is a little dim.

On the topic of Mamiya, the Contax 645 80/2 is not the sharpest lens wide open, but it is f/2. I find it a bit, erm, unusual to judge a system based on its kit lens, to be honest, since this is rarely going to be the working focal length. The Mamiya system is popular, but if you look at threads in the last couple of weeks around here, and on getdpi.com, you will also see that there are quality issues with it. Not for everyone, but various problems come up with regularity. If I were shopping for a Mamiya, I would wait for the new camera from Phase (being designed currently), but then, it probably won't be that cheap compared to the current one and the Contax.

I picked up my Contax 645 + film back + 80/2 for a little over 1000 Euro, my 35/3.5 for 1400 and the macro lens for about the same. I am hoping to pick up a 210/4 at some point, which should cost a little less than 1000 Euro. At the moment the prices seem lower, however, so you could get some really good deals.
« Last Edit: March 22, 2009, 03:24:36 AM by carstenw » Logged

Alex MacPherson
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« Reply #44 on: March 22, 2009, 04:58:54 AM »
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I dumped my Mamiya system for Hasselblad. I am not going back
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« Reply #45 on: March 22, 2009, 09:14:43 AM »
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While I am a lover of the Contax 'feel', I would have grudgingly concluded that their lenses are no better overall than Mamiya or Fujiblad.  Each line has its gems and so-so offerings. Any difference in optics isn't worth switching over.  That said, there may be reasons to switch.  It appears that used Contax lenses continue to draw premium prices on the used market, so it's not a money-saving measure, either.

- N.
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« Reply #46 on: March 22, 2009, 10:36:19 AM »
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Evgneny,


Your images shot with the Contax 645 45-90mm zoom, is it film or digital capture?  I have that lens too and find it to be as sharp if not sharper then its prime version.
Unfortunately, I do not have a digital back as I'm still shooting film with it. With the limited amount of film I shot with it, I am seeing that this zoom is a gem.

The Contax 645 has great ergonomics in how it feels in ones hand.  The balance and use of Hasselblad optics and Pentacon6 optics (Schneider, CZJ. and Hartblei)
opens more lens choices to the user.  I understand that Zorkendorfer makes a cross platform adapter that will allow the use of Mamiya 645 optics on the Contax 645. I do not have any experience with that adapter.

Evan


Quote from: evgeny
I don't know how this compares to HC lenses, here is a 100% crop of an image shot with 45-90mm Contax 645 lens



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evgeny
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« Reply #47 on: March 22, 2009, 11:20:15 AM »
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Quote from: Evanjoe610
Evgneny,


Your images shot with the Contax 645 45-90mm zoom, is it film or digital capture?

Evan, I shot this with an Aptus digital back. My another digital back, called Sinarback 54M, and Nikon 9000 scanner with Nikon glass holder, Wolf calibration targets and other extras are now for sell, contact me if you are interested.

Evgeny
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CBarrett
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« Reply #48 on: March 22, 2009, 05:08:08 PM »
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Man, you guys are making this hard on me... LOL  I'm going to be picking up a P45+ in a couple weeks and am getting their camera and an 80mm along with it (though the back will spend most of it's life on my Arca).  I loved my Contax G2's and have wanted the 645 since it first came out, and have actually been considering getting the back in a Contax mount since you can still get Contax - Arca adapters...

Damn!

-cb
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carstenw
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« Reply #49 on: March 22, 2009, 05:16:59 PM »
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Quote from: CBarrett
Man, you guys are making this hard on me... LOL  I'm going to be picking up a P45+ in a couple weeks and am getting their camera and an 80mm along with it (though the back will spend most of it's life on my Arca).  I loved my Contax G2's and have wanted the 645 since it first came out, and have actually been considering getting the back in a Contax mount since you can still get Contax - Arca adapters...

Damn!

-cb

So, what's the problem? Get one  There are many good cameras out there, and the Contax is very popular with many. You certainly won't go wrong with it.
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Alex MacPherson
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« Reply #50 on: March 23, 2009, 12:36:08 AM »
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Quote from: ndevlin
While I am a lover of the Contax 'feel', I would have grudgingly concluded that their lenses are no better overall than Mamiya or Fujiblad.  Each line has its gems and so-so offerings. Any difference in optics isn't worth switching over.  That said, there may be reasons to switch.  It appears that used Contax lenses continue to draw premium prices on the used market, so it's not a money-saving measure, either.

- N.

I disagree.

The difference in price between Hasselblad HC lenses and Contax is substantial.
 For instance, the Contax 120 Makro sells for about $1500 while the Hasselblad HC 120 Macro sells for $3000.
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ddk
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« Reply #51 on: March 25, 2009, 10:17:55 PM »
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Quote from: ndevlin
While I am a lover of the Contax 'feel', I would have grudgingly concluded that their lenses are no better overall than Mamiya or Fujiblad.  Each line has its gems and so-so offerings. Any difference in optics isn't worth switching over.  That said, there may be reasons to switch.  It appears that used Contax lenses continue to draw premium prices on the used market, so it's not a money-saving measure, either.

- N.

Well, it depends what you mean by better or worse, of course if sharpness is the only criteria then yes, all 3 systems are pretty close and quite wonderful. The difference is in the rendering and feel of each system, at the end of the day its subjective and personal and they all have something special to offer but for me Contax 645 is the ONE and ONLY for now.
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« Reply #52 on: March 26, 2009, 10:44:13 PM »
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To me there is a running theme on these threads: there are many differences between an amateur and professional photographer, and it has nothing to do with skills or abilities. Amateurs can use what ever equipment they want, what ever feels good, what ever makes them happy. Professionals need the tool that gets the job done, every time, and is bulletproof reliable. How a lens draws or which is sharper or which feels nicer is an irrelevant if you are worried about your gear crapping out or worst of all if it actually does on a shoot (been there, done that with nearly every manufacturer, have the grey hairs to prove it).

If you look on the threads, with little exception, you will see pros recommending the camera that is good enough for their work and clients, is reliable, has a good warranty and a strong dealer network. I'm not really shooting professionally an longer, but I have enough shoots that I have not been able to make time to send my partially working Leica DMR/R8 back Leica to get fixed (both bodies need repair) because I have no idea how long they will keep it and for that reason it is not a professional quality camera -- regardless of the image quality. With Canon or Nikon, they would send me a replacement, I would send in my camera to get fixed, get it back a week later and send the loaner back. That is what makes Canon and Nikon professional level tools, regardless of the image quality.

So back to the question at hand. If you are an amateur, get what ever makes you happy. My vote goes to the Contax because it feels nice and is a joy to use and the lenses have that great Zeiss quality (it's not sharpness, it's something else). If you are a professional photographer that involves working with models or clients on deadline (pretty much anything besides fine art), or aspire to become one, manufacturer or dealer support is king and that means Mamiya AFD or Hasselblad H2 or H3D. With Contax, bodies may be cheap enough to keep a spare or two, but if your back craps out will you be able to get another digital back with a Contax mount on very short notice? Honestly, I have no idea. But you should.
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Khun_K
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« Reply #53 on: March 27, 2009, 02:23:38 AM »
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Quote from: Gandalf
To me there is a running theme on these threads: there are many differences between an amateur and professional photographer, and it has nothing to do with skills or abilities. Amateurs can use what ever equipment they want, what ever feels good, what ever makes them happy. Professionals need the tool that gets the job done, every time, and is bulletproof reliable. How a lens draws or which is sharper or which feels nicer is an irrelevant if you are worried about your gear crapping out or worst of all if it actually does on a shoot (been there, done that with nearly every manufacturer, have the grey hairs to prove it).

If you look on the threads, with little exception, you will see pros recommending the camera that is good enough for their work and clients, is reliable, has a good warranty and a strong dealer network. I'm not really shooting professionally an longer, but I have enough shoots that I have not been able to make time to send my partially working Leica DMR/R8 back Leica to get fixed (both bodies need repair) because I have no idea how long they will keep it and for that reason it is not a professional quality camera -- regardless of the image quality. With Canon or Nikon, they would send me a replacement, I would send in my camera to get fixed, get it back a week later and send the loaner back. That is what makes Canon and Nikon professional level tools, regardless of the image quality.

So back to the question at hand. If you are an amateur, get what ever makes you happy. My vote goes to the Contax because it feels nice and is a joy to use and the lenses have that great Zeiss quality (it's not sharpness, it's something else). If you are a professional photographer that involves working with models or clients on deadline (pretty much anything besides fine art), or aspire to become one, manufacturer or dealer support is king and that means Mamiya AFD or Hasselblad H2 or H3D. With Contax, bodies may be cheap enough to keep a spare or two, but if your back craps out will you be able to get another digital back with a Contax mount on very short notice? Honestly, I have no idea. But you should.
Very true, as professional, the last thing you need to worry is whether there is a back up but as a professional you always need to prepare a back up, so overall consistency and performance is what defined a good system, apart from pure optical excellence. The Contax 645 is perhaps the best Contax body ever built, it is a nature extension of photographer's hand, and it is very important because that's how one can fully concentrated on shooting, rather than figuring out the camera. Contax 645 in this regard, is beautifully, robust, and just keep going.  It has just enough essential electronics to make it stable, require less maintenance, while on the other hand, my Hasselblad system although working beautifully when they are working OK, and focus better and sharper, but since it has much complicated electronics, it has more problems. One of my most favorite camera, the RTSIII is also a beautifully design and crafted camera but just not as reliable as 645, although perhaps until today it is still the one camera that gives the best feel when it is in a photographer's hand, too bad that it is long gone, and too bad that it feels more robust than 645, but at less built quality - meaning putting parts together.
The only problem I can find on Contax 645 was the vertical grip, and same as on the previous N series, is the integrated grip is not robust enough, especially when you use a heavy lens. Tools for medium format digital photography, to me, needs to be simple and Contax did just that. We only need ISO, the combination of shutter speed and f stops, enough battery and enough memory cards, and what else is needed?
The optical performance of all major camera/lens makers are all have their royal lovers, people would argue to death for which is better, but it does not matter as much as the photographer himself or herself.
We have all heard enough bad news for awhile, the fact that a long discontinued camera system continue to produce images of highest quality and show no sign of stopping is perhaps one of the best thing in this industry.

Regards, K
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jaffa_777
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« Reply #54 on: April 14, 2009, 08:17:52 AM »
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I'm a film shooter in medium format at the moment until I can afford to buy a digital back for it.  I bought a Contax 645 because its such a great handheld camera with beautifull lenses.  I love this system hand downs and feel their is only one reason why I may have to sell it for something like Mamiya.  The slow flash sync.  I think I would be fine for most studio/shade and dusk/dawn shoots.  

But shooting at midday might be impossible?  How do you peoples out their who shoot this camera professionally deal with the 1/125th flash sync speed on a shoot outdoors? Especially using the sun as a back light and wanting to increase the shutter speed to cut down your ratios?   Its a big problem if you need to use the camera professionally.  I am looking for every reason to hold onto it though.
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« Reply #55 on: April 14, 2009, 08:40:48 AM »
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Quote from: jaffa_777
I'm a film shooter in medium format at the moment until I can afford to buy a digital back for it.  I bought a Contax 645 because its such a great handheld camera with beautifull lenses.  I love this system hand downs and feel their is only one reason why I may have to sell it for something like Mamiya.  The slow flash sync.  I think I would be fine for most studio/shade and dusk/dawn shoots.  

But shooting at midday might be impossible?  How do you peoples out their who shoot this camera professionally deal with the 1/125th flash sync speed on a shoot outdoors? Especially using the sun as a back light and wanting to increase the shutter speed to cut down your ratios?   Its a big problem if you need to use the camera professionally.  I am looking for every reason to hold onto it though.

Leaf shutter lenses are a much better solution to the problem, but they are not the only solution. Add a 2 stop ND filter in front of the lens and then turn up your lights 2 stops and you accomplish the same as syncing at 1/500th. The becomes limiting when you run out of extra power on the packs and have to either upgrade to higher wattage lighting packs, reduce light-to-subject distance, reduce use of of diffusion/bounce, or use multiple packs. Or you could rent a system with leaf shutter lenses when needed.

In other words, if you need high-speed-sync often then you need leaf shutter lenses. If you only very occasionally use high-speed-sync then you can get by without them.

Can't wait for Mamiya/Phase to release leaf shutter lenses. That could change this entire equation.

Doug Peterson (e-mail Me)
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Alex MacPherson
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« Reply #56 on: April 14, 2009, 03:27:30 PM »
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Quote from: jaffa_777
I one reason why I may have to sell it for something like Mamiya.  The slow flash sync.


Uhh... the Mamiya has a 1/125 flash sync too.  
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« Reply #57 on: April 14, 2009, 03:43:23 PM »
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Quote from: Dolce Moda Photography
Uhh... the Mamiya has a 1/125 flash sync too.  

He may mean the Mamiya RZ which syncs at 1/400th or may be looking forward (as many are) to leaf shutter lenses announced, but not yet released, leaf shutter lenses for the Mamiya 645 platform.

Doug Peterson (e-mail Me)
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« Last Edit: April 14, 2009, 03:43:51 PM by dougpetersonci » Logged

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« Reply #58 on: April 15, 2009, 10:38:39 AM »
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Quote from: dougpetersonci
He may mean the Mamiya RZ which syncs at 1/400th or may be looking forward (as many are) to leaf shutter lenses announced, but not yet released, leaf shutter lenses for the Mamiya 645 platform.

Doug Peterson (e-mail Me)
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I thought I saw somewhere that the Mamiya AFD III was being released with leaf shutter lenses?  Thats the only reason really.  If so Mamiya are starting to make things interesting.  I am not sure what the lens quality is like, but I read one guy who uses a Leaf back on both the AFD and RZ, and said the RZ lenses still outshine their little 645 brothers.  RZ's so heavy though, I gotta shoot handheld most of the time, tripods too restricting, I like to move around my subjects.

Thanks for the idea on the ND filters too Doug.  I was thinking about that. I have never used ND filters.  Would good ones like B&W have any affect on image quality?   I'll have to try an ND filter on and my lights out with soft boxes on a bright day and see how much power I really have.  Their 750w Bowens.  I wonder if I could over power the sun with these, plus 2 more stops?  Hmmm.

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