Contax 645

Discussion in 'Medium Format Cameras and Accessories' started by Evgeny, Jan 28, 2008.

  1. Evgeny

    Evgeny Member

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    I currently use Nikon F6 and D40 with 17-35 AFS, 70-200VR AFS, 55mm AIS for studio work with Hensel Integra Pro, which mostly includes portraiture, modeling and still life.

    I never used medium format. Will I benefit if I add Contax 645 with three lenses Planar T* 80mm F2.0, Distagon 2.8/45 and Sonar 2.8/140 ?
    Will Nikon D3 be a better buy ?

    Thanks
    Evgeny
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 28, 2008
  2. MikeSeb

    MikeSeb Member

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    You will be blown away by the sharpness and tonality attainable with medium format in general, and with the Contax 645 system in particular.

    As far as the D3 is concerned...well, you're asking the wrong question on the wrong forum! :smile: [Better whisper it to me or else you'll get smacked.]

    In the Contax system, I'd go for the 140 first as it's a superb portrait lens, one of the best. It stays on my contax 90% of the time. After that I'd look at the 80 or the 55, depending on what you usually shoot. The 55 is very hard to find. If you need more background isolation the 210 is available and is under-rated, in my view.

    If you need wider than this, I'd skip the 45 and go for the 35. It's one of the best very-wides around.

    So the short answer is, without a doubt, yes, YES, YESSS! you will benefit by adding the contax system, or any medium format system.
     
  3. BobNewYork

    BobNewYork Member

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    Never used the Contax but I've heard so many people rave about them. And the results I've seen from them were truly amazing. I have to use a D200 quite regularly for some of my commercial clients, but I'm pretty sure that the Contax will still out-quality the D15 when it comes out!!
     
  4. david b

    david b Member

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    How is the metering system in the Contax? I've been thinking about adding the camera to my collection as well.
     
  5. Jeffrey A. Steinberg

    Jeffrey A. Steinberg Member

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    The metering is great. You get center weighted or spot (I can't remember if spot is with the AE finder or just with the waist level finder). That Waist Level Finder goes for crazy prices on eBay (over $600). From time to time I want to sell my Contax/140/80/35 set up but then I just think how wonderful the images are when I do take them.

    If someone wants to make a reasonable offer on the entire kit including the camera battery grip, AE finder, Waist Level Finder, 80mm, 35mm and 140mm hoods, 2 backs (one with vacuum), Polaroid Back, lens bags, tripod plate and a Contax camera bag, Private Mail me on APUG. All is in like new condition. You can't see a scratch anywhere (the carbonite-plastic does leave some light marks but if you lick you finger and rub it over, they go a way for a while. Its a very interesting material). That said, there are no scratches or gashes on any of the equipment.

    I live outside NYC if you want to see the equipment. I do think its time to thin out the heard. I have bought too many systems. What can I say, I love to buy and use film cameras.
     
  6. Evgeny

    Evgeny Member

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    Thanks all for replies.

    Commercial photographers warned me to stay away from Contax as this is a dead line. They told to buy RZ II if I really want try a medium format.
    But they recommended Nikon D3 for commercial work.
     
  7. TheFlyingCamera

    TheFlyingCamera Membership Council Council

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    Nothing at all wrong with the Contax. It could be a concern if you were going to shoot commercially and put tens of thousands of frames a year through it, but if you're not, get the system and enjoy it.
     
  8. imazursky

    imazursky Member

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    I have used the Contax 645 many times. Its the IMHO its the best MF camera ever made.
    Everything was razor sharp and the built in meter was also accurate.
    If i had the money i would ditch my Mamiya 645 Pro and get a Contax.
    The only drawback of the system is the price of the lenses. Even used they are high.
     
  9. keithwms

    keithwms Member

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    Buy a D3 or contax 645? Neither! Buy a Mamiya 645 AFD and shoot film with it until you feel like you need the ZD back. That way you can support a great company that still makes modular film cameras with wonderful lenses.... plus keep your digital options open. The contax body is amazing but the prices of the lenses and the overall range of available lenses and accessories are not so impressive. Bear in mind there are a lot of different Mamiya lenses. Personally, I'd rather have a brand new system with a full warranty and modular upgradability, even if it is somewhat more plasticky to the touch.

    As for the Mamiya lenses, well...

    http://www.mamiya.com/assets/pdfs/645AFD/645AFLensesChart.pdf
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 1, 2008
  10. Evgeny

    Evgeny Member

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    I don't like Mamiya 645AF. It's like a big Canon. Lenses don't compare to Zeiss.
     
  11. keithwms

    keithwms Member

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    lol

    Spend your money as you please :wink:
     
  12. timlayton

    timlayton Member

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    Trying to compare a Nikon D3 to a Contax 645 is like trying to ask if someone likes apples better than oranges. In other words, there are no right answers, only benefits and challenges with both. I think the better way to think about your options is to consider specifically what output you need or want. In modern times your options are so vast that the camera has very little to do with the output in my humble opinion. For example, I use 8x10 large format because of the incredible details in my floral still life. I use a 903SWC Hasselblad superwide because I love the 6x6 square format along with the size and quality of prints I make from this camera. The 38mm lens on this camera is literally distortion free and I shoot the majority of my street and environmental work using the sunny 16 rule from my hip literally because there is no viewfinder in this camera. I use a Mamiya 7 rangefinder with the 43mm when I need a portable solution for landscapes and don't plan on cropping from the 6x7. I choose to use film over digital because it is my preference. I am a fine art photographer and I love the look of my prints from film over digital. Are there times when digital is the right tool for the job... sure, just not in my fine art and for others it is the best tool for the job. I work at a slow pace and I am focused on making fine prints. You get the idea.... I have specific reasons why I choose my equipment. In the end all of the various equipment is a luxury. If forced to I could use my C220 TLR from 1969 and produce beautiful fine art prints all day long. Good luck in your journey and just enjoy whatever your decision is.

    Tim
     
  13. Darkfilip

    Darkfilip Member

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    I own Contax 645 with planar 80mm and sonnar 140mm - i love that camera... I came a long way to get contax... Kiev 60, mamiya RB 67, y. mat , pentax 645 , pentax 67II ... now i own Contax RTS II, Contax 645 , Rolleicord Vb - i got everything now :smile: