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Author Topic: digital back for contax 645  (Read 4887 times)
yodelyo
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« on: February 02, 2006, 04:30:50 PM »
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Hi, i have a contax 645 kit ( two bodies, three film backs, three lenses, much much more) and would love to someday buy a digital back for it ( when the prices come down) but some people say i should dump it and buy a mamiya or hassy system, since they are still making bodies for both film and digital, which I want the option of. Any insight on this topic would be appreciated. would love to put a P25 on the contax, anyone have any problems with this combo? someone said they had focus issues.
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michael
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« Reply #1 on: February 02, 2006, 04:46:39 PM »
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Why would you sell it just because it's no longer made?

Other than the fact that Contax 645s eat batteries, they are in my opinion one of the finest cameras ever made. The Zeiss lenses are second to none, and the bodies very reliable. With two bodies you're probably set for a long long time. Repairs should be no problem for a couple of decades at least.

I have nothing bad to say about the H1 or H2, and the lenses are fine, but the whole Hassy system is very expensive. I am less enamoured of Mamiya.

I bought my Contax system some years ago because I found at the time that it offered the best combination of price, features and quality of any MF system, and nothing that I'be seen since makes me change my mind.

I've never heard of anyone having a Contax / Phase One focus issue. Why would they?

I don't know that I recommend anyone go out and buy a new Contax outfit today if they were looking for a fresh start in MF, especially for a digital system. But since you already have what you need, my recommendation would be to stick with it and enjoy.

Michael
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yodelyo
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« Reply #2 on: February 02, 2006, 06:03:40 PM »
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great to hear this from you. i guess i will have to wait for someone to make a digital back for me in the $10,000 range. maybe the P25 will come down in price, used , etc. Do you have any insight on new developments or if these digital back manufacturors will continue to make digi backs for the contax system?



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Why would you sell it just because it's no longer made?

Other than the fact that Contax 645s eat batteries, they are in my opinion one of the finest cameras ever made. The Zeiss lenses are second to none, and the bodies very reliable. With two bodies you're probably set for a long long time. Repairs should be no problem for a couple of decades at least.

I have nothing bad to say about the H1 or H2, and the lenses are fine, but the whole Hassy system is very expensive. I am less enamoured of Mamiya.

I bought my Contax system some years ago because I found at the time that it offered the best combination of price, features and quality of any MF system, and nothing that I'be seen since makes me change my mind.

I've never heard of anyone having a Contax / Phase One focus issue. Why would they?

I don't know that I recommend anyone go out and buy a new Contax outfit today if they were looking for a fresh start in MF, especially for a digital system. But since you already have what you need, my recommendation would be to stick with it and enjoy.

Michael
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michael
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« Reply #3 on: February 02, 2006, 07:52:57 PM »
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There is enough of an installed base that as long as back makers are making interchangable backs, there will be versions for Contax.

But, (and it's a big but) I expect that most new products will move toward dedicated MF cameras rather than backs for existing ones. The need for interchangable backs is ending, and the camera itself is not that big a cost compenent compared to the back itself. Look for integrated MF cameras in the next year ot so.

Michael
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eleanorbrown
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« Reply #4 on: February 02, 2006, 07:59:52 PM »
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Michael, so where does this leave Phase One  with Contax out of the picture and Hasselblad making it's own dedicated camera/back combinations?  eleanor

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There is enough of an installed base that as long as back makers are making interchangable backs, there will be versions for Contax.

But, (and it's a big but) I expect that most new products will move toward dedicated MF cameras rather than backs for existing ones. The need for interchangable backs is ending, and the camera itself is not that big a cost compenent compared to the back itself. Look for integrated MF cameras in the next year ot so.

Michael
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michael
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« Reply #5 on: February 02, 2006, 09:59:58 PM »
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Time will tell.  
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Sfleming
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« Reply #6 on: February 04, 2006, 12:10:09 AM »
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I think Phase has really blown it by not picking up the Contax 645 system and marketing an upgraded unit rebadged for their own integrated system.  It shows a real lack of .... hormonal fortitude.  If you read over on rob galbraith you'll see that the Fugiblad is not respected and in fact problematical.  Mamiya is falling through their sphincters.  The  Contax and the wonderful zeis lenses would now be the system of choice if Phase had had any real class and struck while the iron was hot.   As it is now it looks like MF digital will die.
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michael
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« Reply #7 on: February 04, 2006, 07:46:34 AM »
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Phase One tried very hard to get the Contax line. For months and months.

The problem lay with Kyocera and Zeiss. They are caught up in a contract pissing contest and neither side would back down.

Kyocero said, we're losing money and so we're out of here. Zeiss said, no you're not, we have a contract and you have to stick to it. Phase One said, we'll commit to buying X amount of cameras and lenses, let's keep the brand alive. Zeiss, said, we can't because we have a contract with Kyocera (notwishstanding the fact that that it was unilatterally abrogated).

So, not wanting to deminish its legal case, Zeiss cut off its nose to spite its face, so to speak, and now the Contax 645 line is effectively dead. To my knowledge, Phase One has since moved on to other alternatives.

By the way, the above is all simply conjecture on my part, not based on any first hand knowledge.

Michael
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eleanorbrown
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« Reply #8 on: February 04, 2006, 09:30:41 AM »
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Sooooo....what's to keep Phase from making an integrated camera/back with a choice of mounts---say one to fit the contax/zeiss lenses, one to fit Hassie lenses, and so on.Huh  Eleanor
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michael
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« Reply #9 on: February 04, 2006, 11:34:58 AM »
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Nothing. But.... making a camera with different mounts would be a huge undertaking since the electronic interface is a big deal. Beyond the ability of a company like Phase One. Doing the multicamera back interfaces is a huge job in its own right.

No. My guess is that Phase will head in a different direction.

Then again, maybe Zeiss and Kyocera will realize that while they argue and litigate there's a market opportunity rapidly passing them by. Stranger things have happened.

Michael
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eleanorbrown
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« Reply #10 on: February 04, 2006, 11:44:49 AM »
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Soooo....(again!) if Phase probably won't continue making separate backs, and probably won't make an integrated camera/back combination to meet current lenses,(and it doesn't seem likely that they will be making their own lenses), then where does that leave Phase?  Can't see them just disappearing into the sunset....eleanor

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Nothing. But.... making a camera with different mounts would be a huge undertaking since the electronic interface is a big deal. Beyond the ability of a company like Phase One. Doing the multicamera back interfaces is a huge job in its own right.

No. My guess is that Phase will head in a different direction.

Michael
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michael
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« Reply #11 on: February 04, 2006, 12:57:26 PM »
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I can't say much more, but there is a healthy future ahead for Phase One as far as I can see.

And, don't misinterpret what I've written. I never said that they would not be making backs for interchangable back cameras. Just that the number of new interchangable back cameras is diminishing, and will eventually die out. Not tomorrow, or next year, but eventually.

The future of MF is integrated body / cameras. Hasselblad Imacon is clearly heading in that direction, as will those others remaining.

Stay tuned. It ain't over by a long shot.

Michael
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jani
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« Reply #12 on: February 04, 2006, 03:57:21 PM »
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Stay tuned. It ain't over by a long shot.
I can certainly afford to wait, I still haven't made my first million selling photographs.
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Jan
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« Reply #13 on: February 04, 2006, 05:04:31 PM »
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My apologies to Phase then.  

Zeiss .... Kyocera ... whoever   YOU FREEKIN IDIOTS!!!

That being said ... I had my Contax out the other day and shot three whole 120 rolls of Astia in one late afternoon.  It was fun!  I was just blasting away.  I was capturing a frame every ten minutes or so.  Felt like chimping compared to my usual shot rate with the 4 x 5. =%^)))
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