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Author Topic: Contax 645 Digital Back Compatibility  (Read 7566 times)
GCecchetto
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« on: November 18, 2012, 09:04:55 PM »
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Hello;

Can anyone tell me what the Contax 645 digital back compatibility is like? I've owned one many years ago and it was by far my favorite medium format camera, it seemed everything I pointed it at became a great photo. When it came time to try digital the Kodak backs were all the rage but the integration with the contax wasn't that good so I bought a hasselblad H1 and never was happy with it. The camera was fine, but the lenses just didn't stack up to the Zeiss glass of the Contax. Anyway, I'm thinking about giving medium format digital another try and the camera I lust for (Sinar M) I'll never be able to afford, so I'm thinking about the Contax again. The camera has obviously been discontinued for quite some time, so I'd really like to make sure I understand what I might be getting into. As much as I like the camera, I really want to make sure I get something that integrates well. I would like the camera and back to behave as if they belonged together. If someone in the know can fill me in on the Contax situation I would be much abliged. The situation is somewhat complicated by the fact that I really can't afford medium format digital, so I'll be looking used equipment that can be had for a reasonable price, relatively speaking.

Thanks

GCecchetto
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lowep
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« Reply #1 on: November 19, 2012, 04:09:49 AM »
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have had good experience with contax 645 & legacy sinarback eMotion75 for the reasons you mention
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avelpavel
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« Reply #2 on: November 19, 2012, 07:53:54 AM »
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Hi,

I'm working at the moment with a P65 on a Contax 645. The lenses are really good with this sensor (35 stellar,55 very good,80 very good with great bokeh,120 Makro astonishing and 140 very good with good bokeh.) and the integration with the back seems to me really good. I had a Sinar 54LV in the past with a Contax adapter but I found it had a very distinct shutter delay, maybe due to the Sinar adapter. With the Phase One the shutter works flawlessly even if you can't use the B setting (there is a hack to make it work it however). The P+ back is really good too working with the sensor+ mode, with 15Mpx images which are on par or even better with a 5d II, thanks to the great zeiss lenses.

I used to work with a RZ but my love is in the Contax, sometimes it's better to get a precise feeling when working with a camera, the Contax gives me that.

Greetings

Rob

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GCecchetto
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« Reply #3 on: November 19, 2012, 07:55:51 AM »
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Thanks. I've heard they integrate well with phase one backs as well, have no direct experience with anyone using that combination though. I guess the other question would be whether or not the integration with current backs is good, leaving me somewhere to upgrade to in the future.
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FredBGG
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« Reply #4 on: November 19, 2012, 03:03:41 PM »
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Thanks. I've heard they integrate well with phase one backs as well, have no direct experience with anyone using that combination though. I guess the other question would be whether or not the integration with current backs is good, leaving me somewhere to upgrade to in the future.

My friend has a Contax 645 and a phase One p25 that I occasionally use. They work just fine together. Actually more stable than my Phase One DF/P25+ setup.
No freezing or erratic behavior.
« Last Edit: November 23, 2012, 04:33:32 PM by FredBGG » Logged
GCecchetto
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« Reply #5 on: November 19, 2012, 06:15:09 PM »
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My friend has a Contax 645 and a phase One p25 that I occasionally use. They work just fine together. Actually more stasble than my Phase One DF/P25+ setup.
No freezing or erratic behavior.

Thanks, that's good news. Sounds like I just need a bunch of money now.
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EinstStein
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« Reply #6 on: November 22, 2012, 12:04:39 AM »
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The Contax 645 works better and integrates better than Hasselblad H1, H2, 500CM, and Flexbody  with Hasselblad CF-22 and CF-39.
When the same backs work with H1 or H2, I frequently encounter start-up errors, which needs to recycle the power. I've never have any problem when the backs work with Contax 645.

The Contax 645 has a long reputation of battery hungry, but interestingly, the Hasselblad H requires much higher power from the firewire, it does not work well with the current iMac which has only 8 watt from the firewire ports, it requires the firewire port of 12 watts, but Contax 645 has no such problem.



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GCecchetto
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« Reply #7 on: November 23, 2012, 12:17:31 PM »
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The Contax 645 works better and integrates better than Hasselblad H1, H2, 500CM, and Flexbody  with Hasselblad CF-22 and CF-39.
When the same backs work with H1 or H2, I frequently encounter start-up errors, which needs to recycle the power. I've never have any problem when the backs work with Contax 645.

The Contax 645 has a long reputation of battery hungry, but interestingly, the Hasselblad H requires much higher power from the firewire, it does not work well with the current iMac which has only 8 watt from the firewire ports, it requires the firewire port of 12 watts, but Contax 645 has no such problem.

Thanks for the info. Sounds like a Contax system would be a pretty good investment. I wonder about future back compatibility and repair services five years down the road though. It's a shame Contax was unable to make the transition to digital. Do the current Phase One IQ series backs work on the Contax?



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EinstStein
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« Reply #8 on: November 23, 2012, 01:05:07 PM »
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Contax 645 is still supported on all Phase One digital backs.
I guess there are still enough Contax 645 in the field and almost everyone would wants a digital back.
However, you might consider Hasselblad H. The used digital back for H is much cheaper and more accessible than Contax.
What you need to consider is the total system price, the Contax 645 camera and lenses are about half the price of the H, but H's used digital back is about half the price of Contax.
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GCecchetto
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« Reply #9 on: November 23, 2012, 01:20:31 PM »
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Contax 645 is still supported on all Phase One digital backs.
I guess there are still enough Contax 645 in the field and almost everyone would wants a digital back.
However, you might consider Hasselblad H. The used digital back for H is much cheaper and more accessible than Contax.
What you need to consider is the total system price, the Contax 645 camera and lenses are about half the price of the H, but H's used digital back is about half the price of Contax.

Thanks. Once upon a time there was a rumor that Zeiss might adapt their line of 645 optics to the Hasselblad H platform. Had that happened I might consider an H2. I had an H1 after my Contax 645, and while I liked the camera, the lenses just did not compare to the Zeiss 645 optics. The fuji glass for the H cameras are sharp but the coatings just don't handle flare like the Zeiss optics. Not really sure I would want to get into that all over again.
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tho_mas
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« Reply #10 on: November 23, 2012, 02:52:54 PM »
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As much as I like the camera, I really want to make sure I get something that integrates well. I would like the camera and back to behave as if they belonged together.
a Contax 645 and a Phase One digiback feel exactly like that - a perfect match. I use a P45 and a P21+ on a Contax (actually on 2 Contax) and have never encountered an issue as far as integration goes (both shooting tethered and in the field with batteries and CF cards).
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FredBGG
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« Reply #11 on: November 23, 2012, 04:53:25 PM »
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Hello;

I'm thinking about giving medium format digital another try and the camera I lust for (Sinar M) I'll never be able to afford, so I'm thinking about the Contax again.




If you like the tilt shift view camera abilities of the Sinar M you might want to look into the Fuji gx680 with a MF back.
Tilt and shift on all lenses from 50mm to 500mm.

You could even add one as a side kick to your contax system as there are adapter plates to mount Contax mount backs onto the Fuji gx680.



« Last Edit: November 23, 2012, 04:56:26 PM by FredBGG » Logged
GCecchetto
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« Reply #12 on: November 23, 2012, 05:42:09 PM »
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If you like the tilt shift view camera abilities of the Sinar M you might want to look into the Fuji gx680 with a MF back.
Tilt and shift on all lenses from 50mm to 500mm.

You could even add one as a side kick to your contax system as there are adapter plates to mount Contax mount backs onto the Fuji gx680.





I love the Fuji GX680lll, always wanted one. There is on available locally with all three bellows foe $750, but I shied away from it because, while it looks clean, the body has over 40k exposures on it. I'm also a wide angle guy and that gets tuff with the smaller sensors of the digital backs relative to it's native 6x8 format.  I also have concerns about the back integration, don't think it will feel like they were meant for each other. Still wonder if I should buy that camera though.
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EinstStein
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« Reply #13 on: November 23, 2012, 11:44:34 PM »
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While GX680 is an excellent film camera, it does not equiped with the precise focus/movement adjustment. In the digital era, you need the fine-geared adjustment. -- unless you have a very very precise hand adjust skill.
Another problem of the GX680 is it's lens design, which is not perfectly suitable for digital sensor. I have a GX680 system set, I tried to sell it but didn't find the proper buyer. I'm still using it. I like it very much, especially for film shooting.
For digital back, you really really need to know its limitation.
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