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Author Topic: Not sure if to buy a Contax G2 or get a Micro 4/3d's instead - advice please?  (Read 10240 times)
andrew00
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« on: September 16, 2010, 08:22:09 PM »
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Hey!

So for ages I wanted to get a Contax G2 as I like quality in a small package and my eyes aren't too good so I want the auto focus, but decided I couldn't afford it for ages. However, recently I came across some text about some photographers I admire, people like Juergen Teller, William Eggleston etc all using it, I even saw a picture of David Bailey with one and decided ok I'll check out the prices again.

Again I thought they were a bit much, so began to look at the Micro 4/3rd's range, specifically the Pana GF1 with it's speedy auto-focus or the Oly E-PL1 with it's stabilisation, wireless flash triggering and EVF. Then I realised it'd blatantly cost the same for a M4/3 package as it would for a G2, 45mm lens and flash anyway!

So now I'm at an impasse. I don't know if to take the plunge on the Contax G2 and use that - get some great pictures but also spend a boat load on film, processing and scanning to CD (looks like £30+ a roll for that process at a pro place).

Or just use the M4/3rd's for now and accept I'm saving the running costs by going digital and maybe try to give some filmic life to the images in Photoshop.

The thing is, I've read so many guides at people trying to get digital to look filmic and often with not great results. They just seem to tweak the curves but every image I see is always over-cooked and horrible. I know part of that is trying to extend to a filmic dynamic range when you clearly can't, so the pictures ends up being too contrasty, but still it just looks so bleh.

I certainly intend to be shooting fashion/portrait/life type shots and want something small. The reason why I like the Juergen Tellers of the world is for the intimate and random look to them and certainly that look suits film. Digital tends to be focused on clarity not the warmth of film.

But the cost scares me and as a 27 year old lad who ain't the richest in the world, I've really never got 'into' film beyond P+S's. Admittedly I've had some good ones when young, had a Stylus Epic and a Pentax Espio which were both, looking back, really good, but those were all sent to a lab/one hour place, not done to a modern professional standard.

Basically I could use some advice here. I know the Contax is a better camera but I just don't know if it's worth the continual cost or if I should just bite the bullet, go digital, after all, I've used Photoshop for years and know all about the digital world etc.

I even thought about buying both and selling the one I don't like but it seems madness!

Cheers in advance if you got any pearls of wisdom!
Andy
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DarkPenguin
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« Reply #1 on: September 16, 2010, 08:39:12 PM »
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If you like film buy a film camera.

I don't agree that the Contax is a better camera but then I don't care for film.
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k bennett
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« Reply #2 on: September 16, 2010, 08:49:22 PM »
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I really like my GF-1 with the 20mm lens. It takes me back to the days of high quality compact cameras, like the Leica CL and the Canonet, and yes even the Contax G series. I've been shooting professionally for 25 years now, and owned all sorts of film cameras in various formats, and as much as I like the cameras themselves -- as works of art, really -- I wouldn't want to go back to shooting film.

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eddysmit
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« Reply #3 on: September 17, 2010, 02:54:52 AM »
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I have a similar problem...
I own a G2 with the 28, 45 and 90mm.
Now you can buy a very nice adapter to use this lenses on 4/3 camera's and on the NEX5.

I wonder if someone has tryed this combination and what the results are?
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Christoph C. Feldhaim
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« Reply #4 on: September 17, 2010, 03:18:42 AM »
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Some months ago I had a similar problem. You will not be able to solve this by just comparing the facts of both systems. You need to solve the problem of your identity as a photographer.
What kind of photographer are you and want to be?
How fast do you want your workflow to be?
Which importance does the physical existance of a negative or slide have to you?
What are your main motives?
And so on .....
I myself decided to use my Mamiya Universal and go with film for serious work and use my Compact Canon G11 for the faster work. This works for me.
But there is no egg-laying-wool-milk-piggy as we say here. (I hope that literal translation from German works).

Maybe you need two systems and your decision has to be with which to start.....

Good luck!
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dudu307
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« Reply #5 on: September 17, 2010, 03:20:51 AM »
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I own a G2 with the 28, 45 and 90mm.
Now you can buy a very nice adapter to use this lenses on 4/3 camera's and on the NEX5.

But in a 4/3 you'll have a FOV of a 56, 90 and 180mm. Not very nice.
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andrew00
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« Reply #6 on: September 17, 2010, 08:26:26 AM »
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Thanks for the replies!

As for what kinda of photographer I want to be...well yes I do understand, unfortunately, that there's no golden goose that'll give everything I want (thou fingers crossed for an affordable FF digital rangefinder w/auto focus at Photokina! Not that it'll happen heh).

I would say that I am a digital guy in the sense that I'm fully involved with the computer work, I edit my own music videos so I'm used to colour and using a computer to bring out the image and so on. My preference would certainly be to shoot digital in that sense.

Likewise I don't really know much about film technically. I'd be happiest, for example, if when I've shot a roll I could get it developed and get back a CD with DNG raw files to edit myself. (Unfortunately most places seem to only do poor quality Jpegs, which due to their compressed nature don't really have the headroom to edit much, which kinda defeats the point)

I don't even know if I have to send things to a pro to get developed - I mean could I just get them developed cheaply and send the best shots off to get developed by a pro lab, or is it a one-time deal - hence you gotta go with the better one (read more expensive!)

But at the same time, I've just not seen anyone edit digital files that give the type of results I want, which is the intimacy of film, the sense of a personal moment etc. Essentially it's not the technical but the emotional feel I like. The G2 seems therefore the best combo film camera wise b/c it is small and compact but high quality.

But - If I were able to do that editing digitally I'd certainly prefer that, although I've never seen anyone successfully edit in that manner that brings in that emotionally feel to the photo. Maybe part of it is the dynamic range - digital doesn't have it enough so most PP ends up going too far, whereas with film you can have a more balanced image.

I have a 5dmk2 etc but I don't want to use something big as I want to have something small and intimate with the subject, so anything bigger than a Leica M9 (waaay beyond my budget of course) wouldn't work for me. The M4/3rds see the best bet digitally at the moment in that regard.
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Slobodan Blagojevic
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« Reply #7 on: September 17, 2010, 08:27:03 AM »
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You might want to check Ken Rockwell's site, he is quite a vocal proponent of film, and has a bunch of reviews and examples for Contax cameras and lenses. He also has a favorite film scanning service he raves about.

As for myself, although I still have some film in a freezer, I can not imagine going back. And it is not about different esthetics (not even sure there is such a thing), it is about different workflow, and I find the film one quite tedious.
« Last Edit: September 17, 2010, 08:29:40 AM by Slobodan Blagojevic » Logged

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« Reply #8 on: September 17, 2010, 12:50:30 PM »
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If you have color slides developed, it doesn't really matter who develops it - unless the Contax you're talking about is 35mm, anyone doing MF and LF slides these days will be doing a good enough job. I've no experience with color transparencies or B&W film, but especially B&W developing is a very different beast and does require expertise. You can start doing it yourself with very modest investment, which might or might not be interesting for you. I couldn't be arsed.

FWIW my workflow with MF (and recently LF) slide film: shoot, have it developed by local shop (who sends it to god knows where), scan proofs and for-web shots myself with Epson V700, have keepers going for large prints scanned by a pro drum scanning service.

Also, color transparencies have less dynamic range than any modern dSLR. Again, don't know about negatives, I think B&W might be on par with a good dSLR.

As others have pointed out, digital and film cameras are very different beasts. You have to really like film and the process to be bothered with it, the considerable time and expense in buying, developing and scanning it. I'm always careful with the qualitative assessment of digital vs film, but nothing beats a well-scanned MF or larger Velvia or Provia Smiley But film is not good for many subjects - or more accurately, digital is better-suited for many applications. Film is much more restrictive, but many revel and embrace that.

I have the Oly E-PL1, and you can't really go wrong with MFT. There are new lenses being released soon, a few being announced, and new manufacturers have joined the MFT camp. Sony's NEX is also promising at the same form factor, although its UI is reportedly very clunky, and I believe lens choices are more limited.

To close off the ramblings, for film I'd also consider an MF rangefinder folder, Mamiya C220/C330, or Rolleiflex.
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ErikKaffehr
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« Reply #9 on: September 17, 2010, 03:24:50 PM »
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Hi,

I have done some tests with film on MF, 6x7 cm using Velvia. The results are here:
http://echophoto.dnsalias.net/ekr/index.php/photoarticles/16-pentax67velvia-vs-sony-alpha-900

If you are lucky enough to find a lab who can make drum scans it is very well possible that better results are possible than mine.

There is another aspect. When doing these tests I needed to shoot a roll of film for such simple thing like checking focusing accuracy and wait a week for development. Finally, I shot something like 40 frames and spent something like a month doing the tests. On the DSLR I just used a single exposure for all subjects.

Digital is much more convenient and gives fast feedback.

Best regards
Erik
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feppe
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« Reply #10 on: September 17, 2010, 04:31:24 PM »
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Hi,

I have done some tests with film on MF, 6x7 cm using Velvia. The results are here:
http://echophoto.dnsalias.net/ekr/index.php/photoarticles/16-pentax67velvia-vs-sony-alpha-900

If you are lucky enough to find a lab who can make drum scans it is very well possible that better results are possible than mine.

There is another aspect. When doing these tests I needed to shoot a roll of film for such simple thing like checking focusing accuracy and wait a week for development. Finally, I shot something like 40 frames and spent something like a month doing the tests. On the DSLR I just used a single exposure for all subjects.

Digital is much more convenient and gives fast feedback.

Best regards
Erik

I really don't want to get into this tired discussion, but Dimage has a poor dmax (especially important with Velvia), and doesn't come even close to a drum scanner in overall scanning quality. Pretty useless comparison for anyone making big prints from MF or LF chromes.

I'm done with film vs. digital discussion, once again.
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Slobodan Blagojevic
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« Reply #11 on: September 17, 2010, 05:26:57 PM »
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... Dimage has a poor dmax (especially important with Velvia), and doesn't come even close to a drum scanner in overall scanning quality. Pretty useless comparison for anyone making big prints from MF or LF chromes...

Allow me to disagree.

I have the scanner and have been following a dedicated Yahoo group for years, and if anything, the consensus would be that the "not even close" phrase is not accurate. It is actually pretty close, especially given wide variations in drum operators experience and quality control. I had drum scans made that were clearly inferior to what I got with Minolta Multi Pro (bad operator, sure). Now, if you take the absolute best practices and the most experienced operators, the drum scan would be definitely superior... whether "not even close" or "close enough" is a matter of debate, of course.

But for most practical purposes, let alone cost considerations, such a comparison as Erik did is still highly valuable.
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Slobodan

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« Reply #12 on: September 17, 2010, 06:40:19 PM »
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Allow me to disagree.

I have the scanner and have been following a dedicated Yahoo group for years, and if anything, the consensus would be that the "not even close" phrase is not accurate. It is actually pretty close, especially given wide variations in drum operators experience and quality control. I had drum scans made that were clearly inferior to what I got with Minolta Multi Pro (bad operator, sure). Now, if you take the absolute best practices and the most experienced operators, the drum scan would be definitely superior... whether "not even close" or "close enough" is a matter of debate, of course.

But for most practical purposes, let alone cost considerations, such a comparison as Erik did is still highly valuable.

Good operator is critical, for sure. You get what you pay for with scans, just like everything in life.

To give an idea what a good operator can do with a drum scanner, here is a good comparison.

For making proof scans yourself vs. shooting digital Erik's comparison is good. For best practices with analog vs digital one would have to compare drum scans done by a good operator - or contact prints.
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ErikKaffehr
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« Reply #13 on: September 17, 2010, 09:15:03 PM »
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Hi,

I cannot say about the D-MAX. The Minolta scanner is said to have a D-MAX of 4.8, but that has nothing to do with reality. My guess is more like 3.2. In my test I also tried different aproaches using an enlarger lens on bellows with a digital camera but got similar results regarding resolution.

In the article I also compare my scans with those in the great MFDB shootout of 2006, which also include scanned Velvia 645. The Velvia scans in the MFDB shootout show dark details that are not visible in my scans but in my digital image.

The point in my posting is that it the article gives some indication about what can be achieved used reasonable equipment. The other issue is convenience. With digital you can make a picture and check on the display to assure that it is reasonable. With slide film you need to wait for processing and scanning.

Incidentally, Charlie Cramer and Bill Atkinsson who took part in the 2006 MFDB shoot out both own a drum scanner or at least owned one at the time of the test. Charlie Cramer essentially found that his P45 matched drum scanned Velvia 4x5.

How much are you paying for your drum scans? Are you suggesting that he would make contact prints from 35 mm film?

Best regards
Erik
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« Reply #14 on: September 18, 2010, 09:13:39 AM »
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The point in my posting is that it the article gives some indication about what can be achieved used reasonable equipment. The other issue is convenience. With digital you can make a picture and check on the display to assure that it is reasonable. With slide film you need to wait for processing and scanning.

Incidentally, Charlie Cramer and Bill Atkinsson who took part in the 2006 MFDB shoot out both own a drum scanner or at least owned one at the time of the test. Charlie Cramer essentially found that his P45 matched drum scanned Velvia 4x5.

I was very clear in my earlier post that digital is cheaper, faster, more convenient, easier, and at least implied that one can achieve "better" IQ (for most definitions of IQ) with less effort and expense. So no argument on any of your points above.

How much are you paying for your drum scans? Are you suggesting that he would make contact prints from 35 mm film?

Of course not. I don't know what Contax G2 is.

It would make for an interesting fine art project, though Smiley
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ErikKaffehr
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« Reply #15 on: September 18, 2010, 10:42:46 AM »
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Pocket size 135 camera, AFAIK.

http://www.kenrockwell.com/contax/g-system.htm

Quite nice actually...

Best regards
Erik


Of course not. I don't know what Contax G2 is.

It would make for an interesting fine art project, though Smiley
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« Reply #16 on: September 18, 2010, 12:12:30 PM »
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Pocket size 135 camera, AFAIK.

http://www.kenrockwell.com/contax/g-system.htm

Quite nice actually...

Best regards
Erik


Sure is.

But now I need to take a shower to get the Rockwell off me Tongue
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ErikKaffehr
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« Reply #17 on: September 18, 2010, 03:24:14 PM »
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Ah sorry I exposed you to Rockwell but it's not as bad as Rhoca-Gil ;-)

Erik
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« Reply #18 on: September 18, 2010, 05:49:32 PM »
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Ah sorry I exposed you to Rockwell but it's not as bad as Rhoca-Gil ;-)

Not. Gonna. Google. That.
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andrew00
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« Reply #19 on: September 19, 2010, 06:58:06 PM »
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I've just seen the specs for the new Fuji X100.

Perhaps that might be a new step into getting a digital Contax G2?

Everything looks great except the fixed lens!
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