Contax G shooters?

Discussion in 'Rangefinder Forum' started by Mike Kovacs, May 13, 2007.

  1. Mike Kovacs

    Mike Kovacs Member

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    I've been struggling with rangefinders for quite a few years now. Grab shots in generous lighting are no problem but shooting out on the edge where RFs are supposed to excel the most, I've found difficult. RF patch focusing, no TTL metering, separate viewfinders, etc slow me down; especially when chasing the kids around. Its certainly not from lack of trying. I've owned classic Contax, Nikon, Leica screw, etc - only Leica M has evaded my curiosity simply because of the price.

    So I find myself with a Contax G1 camera body. I'm hoping AF, metering, telecoping/parallax corrected finder is going to bring some spontaneity back to my RF photography. I got to play a little with one and it seems like a solid little camera. The optics appear to be first rate. I like the fact the short lenses focus as close as my SLR. (another gripe of the RFs I have used)

    Any Contax G system users here? I'm in the market for a lens. I'll start with the 45/2 and go from there.
     
  2. TheFlyingCamera

    TheFlyingCamera Membership Council Council

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    I have one and I love it for travel work. Nice, pocketable (more or less), spot-on metering even in challenging lighting. Flash performance leaves a fair bit to be desired, however. The 45 is a great first lens for the system, and with prices being what they are, you can finish out the 28-45-90 kit quite reasonably.
     
  3. Pete H

    Pete H Member

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    I carry a G2 when I want to travel light (compared to MF/LF). I use the 21 & 45 a lot, the 28 less and the 90 least, but that is a matter of shoooting style. You have to learn its idiosyncrasies, but I really like it.
     
  4. bjorke

    bjorke Member

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    I much prefer the G2 because the operational details are worked-out better. It's a tad bigger. The 21 28 and 45's are fab lenses. The 90 too though I rarely use it.

    Have you touched base at http://www.contaxg.com/ ?
     
  5. coigach

    coigach Member

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    I've got a G2 which I use for urban / people work. Makes a nice nice change from lugging mypentax 67 around! I think its a brilliant camera, but it takes time to get used to its little quirks. I've got the 28, 45, 90mm lenses, all wonderful. Here's a quick focussing technique link:
    http://www.botzilla.com/blog/archives/000378.html

    Best wishes,
    Gavin
     
  6. Stewart Skelt

    Stewart Skelt Member

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    I bought a G1 last year for taking with me on work trips when I didn't have much room. I only have the 45 and the 28 but I love the quality of the lenses. Seems to me that you can't do much better in the price/performance ration in 35mm.
     
  7. Mike Kovacs

    Mike Kovacs Member

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    Sounds good. My G1 has the green ROM upgrade and I added a 45/2 Planar last night, so I should be good to go.

    I think a G2 will be in my future if I get along with the G1. Two bodies would be an ideal travel outfit.
     
  8. toyotadesigner

    toyotadesigner Member

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    A few weeks ago I've aquired a G2 with the 21, 28, 45 and 90mm. The lens I'm using most of the time is the 21mm. It's far superior to the Nikon 2.8/20mm because it really is distortion free. I'm even using it for portraits. The G system is the next best tool to the Rollei 35s because it's small enough to be carried around for long days. Some samples here:Contax G2 2.8/21mm Biogon
     
  9. Tom Hoskinson

    Tom Hoskinson Member

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    I agree! I love my G2 with my 21mm Biogon
     
  10. Jean Noire

    Jean Noire Member

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    I have used a Contax G1 for several years now. Never had any problems and only use 45mm lens. Need to get used to the focussing and be careful not to move focus knob inadvertently. Simple to use and excellent results.
    Regards
    John
     
  11. luvcameras

    luvcameras Advertiser Advertiser

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  12. Dorian Gray

    Dorian Gray Member

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    I've always wanted a G1 or G2 to see what the Hologon and Biogon lenses are like. Maybe someday.

    Dan, I noticed you mistakenly used the 21 mm MTF charts for the 35 mm charts on your website.

    toyotadesigner, your pointing to heaven photo is excellent. Great light and angle for revealing the architecture. The leaves at the very top of the photo have a significant effect on the feel of the composition: try covering them with a thumb and the image becomes more generic and weak-willed at the top. Good stuff!
     
  13. luvcameras

    luvcameras Advertiser Advertiser

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    Dorian - nice catch..I have corrected and uploaded the 35mm planar chart...fairly poor wide open...

    Dan
     
  14. Mike Kovacs

    Mike Kovacs Member

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    Dan - thanks for the link.

    10-20-40 cycles/mm = 20-40-80 lp/mm ???

    Late addition: doing some poking around on photodo, the MTF values don't look any better for the Summicron M 35/2 at f/2. (I presume not the ASPH type) I do have a green sticker G1, but I'm not certain whether I will need the 35/2 between the 28/2.8 and the 45/2 focal lengths.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 16, 2007
  15. Dorian Gray

    Dorian Gray Member

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    Oh, I wouldn't go so far as to call the 35 mm Planar "fairly poor wide open". The MTF values are not as stellar as those of the rest of the Contax G lens range (and perhaps that's all you meant), but they're still similar to or better than other good 35 mm lenses from Leica (pre-ASPH), Canon, Nikon, etc. I've noticed that fast 35 mm lenses from many manufacturers have historically displayed poorer optical performance than their slightly wider or longer siblings. If I had to guess why that is so I'd blame:
    • The tendency for fast 35 mm rangefinder lenses to be based on a modified double-Gauss design, which is already uncomfortably stretched in 45-50 mm f/2 designs. Lenses wider than 35 mm require different, more expensive designs (often retrofocus), which are better tuned to their focal length and aperture, so perform a bit better at much greater cost. Longer lenses are well-served by the double-Gauss design.
    • The curvature of field problem that results from trying to use an almost symmetrical design (truly symmetrical designs suffer from poor flatness of field because any curvature created by the first half of the lens is doubled by the second half).
    The Contax G 35 mm is a double-Gauss design with a thin positive meniscus inserted between the two halves, probably to flatten the field. This design is appealing for 35 mm lenses because it's small and light despite the specification, it's affordable to compute and manufacture, and any slight compromises in image quality have to considered in the context of how a fast 35 mm lens is typically used: often handheld at slow shutter speeds with close subjects near the centre of the frame. The 35 mm Planar is the easiest lens in the G range to shoot handheld in low light, and in those circumstances it should perform admirably based on the MTF curves. Note also that it's among the lightest and smallest of Contax G lenses, and also quite affordable, justifying the use of the modified double-Gauss design. I can't vouch for its flare and ghosting resistance though, which are also very important in low light.

    Mike, you've probably figured this out by now, but 10 cycles/mm is roughly equal to 10 line pairs/mm (not 20). The difference is that cycles follow a sine-wave pattern while line pairs form a square wave. The difference isn't very important in this case.