Contax G1 vs G2

Discussion in '35mm Cameras and Accessories' started by RoBBo, Oct 19, 2007.

  1. RoBBo

    RoBBo Member

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    I'm looking to get a Contax G2, though looking at the price differences between the two, I'm trying to convince myself that a G1 would be a better choice.
    I've been working on this project mostly with a Minolta AF2 (Quite the shitbox, I'm aware, but it's been getting the job done well enough for the $5 I paid for it).
    I am however, getting very sick of 'missing' half my shots due to the poor autofocus and just the general unsharpness of most of my images.
    I don't look through the viewfinder much, if ever, and thus don't really plan to use the manual focus much...though it'd be a very nice option.

    I could really use some convincing that a G1 would be good enough, but please don't bullshit me on it.
     
  2. bjorke

    bjorke Member

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    G2 is better, just for the focus
     
  3. mckenna

    mckenna Member

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    I have a G1 that is an excellent piece of equipment. I have never used a G2 so , honestly I can't give an opinion about the differences. I have experienced some focus problems with the 90mm lens but no problems with the 28mm or the with the 45mm. with the 90mm I will have a couple of frames on each roll of 36 exposures that the focus is off but the rest will be sharp. I've had the G1 for 4 years and the only problem that I have encountered is the registration of the film got off and I was getting 37 0r 38 exposures per roll of film, the space between the frames almost disapeared All in all a great little rangefinder.
     
  4. TheFlyingCamera

    TheFlyingCamera Membership Council Council

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    If you can in any way afford the G2, get it. I have a G1 currently - wonderful little camera, but as noted, the 90 has focusing issues on the G1. The G2 is faster autofocus, more precise autofocus, and has better flash sync options.
     
  5. Ray Heath

    Ray Heath Member

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    g'day Robbo

    why do you feel you need another camera? why Contax?
    maybe you should learn how to get the best out of what you've got
     
  6. RoBBo

    RoBBo Member

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    Maybe you're not familiar with the Minolta AF2?
    Simply, the lens is not sharp, the autofocus is slow and very unreliable, and the "good" images off a roll are the ones that happen to be in focus anywhere.
    Even in the situations where I get a chance to look through the viewfinder and can actually get the bracket over my subject, it has no AF lock, and the AF itself is not trustworthy.
    My pressure plate scratches half of my rolls.
    I can't use film faster than 400 ISO.
    I have absolutely no manual control over any function except for when the shutter goes and when to wind.
    Looking at the images I've gotten out of it and considering it's worth, I think I've pushed this little $5 point and shoot 70s family vacation camera to the limit.

    I actually haven't 100% decided on Contax yet.
    I'm also still tossing around the idea of a Hexar AF.
    But I need a quiet, autofocus, 35mm camera that's reliable, has nice glass, and will allow me a decent amount of control.
    I'm turned off by the Hexar by it's top shutter speed of 1/250, compared to the Contax's 1/6000th.
     
  7. Roger Hicks

    Roger Hicks Member

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    Well, I had a G2 outfit for a year, and wasn't too unhappy to give it back to the importers. The autofocus was super-sharp when it worked, which (to be generous) wasn't always. From all I've heard, the G1 autofocus was even worse (thank God I never tried one).

    Suggestion: buy manual focus. Any manual focus. A far wider choice of lenses (not all as good, some better) and arguably quicker to use.

    Cheers,

    Roger
     
  8. Mike Kovacs

    Mike Kovacs Member

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    I've been shooting a G1 (green sticker upgrade) for about 6 months now. It never skips a beat, its been working great. I can get shots with AF that I just couldn't manage with a manual focus RF.
     
  9. nicolai

    nicolai Member

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    RoBBo, I went through the exact same thought process you did a few years ago. I borrowed a G1 for a few weeks and thought that while it looked good on paper, it was disappointing in actual use, and I didn't see what the big deal was. It was a close-but-no-cigar thing for me. While the lenses are truly great and relatively cheap, the AF was slow and persnickety. Since it's a mainly AF camera, it's an important issue and was a deal-breaker for me.

    Then I went to a camera store ad played with a G2. While it does have some additional features that are nice (x-sync at 1/200 instead of 1/100, faster shutter, higher fps rate, etc., full chart here), they nailed the AF. It's also got active IR that focuses very accurately in extremely low light (only works up to 12 feet or so, but it still make a huge difference). And it all WORKS in actual use.

    Most people I've heard or read complaining about AF accuracy with G2s (I'm not saying this applies to you, Roger, this is just a general observation) seem to not fully understand how the AF system works. It's not a point-and-shoot, and its focusing system doesn't work like one: it doesn't automatically focus on the closest object or use any fancy subject detection algorithms. There are a pair of brackets in the viewfinder (looks like [ ]) that indicates the AF point, and it works a lot like an optical rangefinder focusing patch: you aim the bracketed area at the point you want to focus on, lock focus (configurable as half-shutter or rear button), and recompose. If you understand how contrast detection AF works (like knowing that you can't point it at a blank white wall), fast and accurate use should be no problem whatsoever. However, if you just frame the shot the way you want it and fire the shutter, you and the camera will have a mismatch of expectations, because it will focus on whatever the AF point happens to be looking at while you're expecting it to automagically do the "right" thing.

    Money-wise, I'm sad to say that while I'm ecstatic with the G2--to the point where I bought a backup body and set of lenses, because they're out of production and I never want to be without one--the G1 just didn't cut it for me. I'm sure that in time I could have learned to deal with it, but for me, the G2 is noticeably and significantly better in real-world use. While the other improvements are (for me) in the nice to have category, the difference in AF performance is what makes the G2 and breaks the G1, at least for the type of shooting I do with it.

    Obviously there are loads of people who get along just fine with manual focus rangefinders, and I'm not saying they're wrong. (Hell, I've got a Canonet QL-17 Giii, an Olympus XA, a Kodak Retina, a Zeiss Super Ikonta, and a Hasselblad XPan myself, and my first real camera was my grandfather's 35mm Zeiss folder.) But unless you're using hyperfocal pre-focusing, the G2 is pretty much inarguably faster to operate (maybe not even then, because the G2 has a fast-advancing motor drive and most manual focus RFs don't) (and you can also use the G[1/2]'s manual focus mode to set and lock hyperfocal). Obviously not everybody shoots this way, but there are of course times when hyperfocal just isn't a practical option, like in normal-sized rooms with low light. The G2's IR AF can accurately focus in light that I have a really hard time seeing a normal RF focusing patch in.

    What works for me may of course be a train wreck for you, but I was looking for a fast, reactive RF I could use in low light (and didn't have to be taken half-way apart to load) that disappeared in my hands, and I found it in the G2. Sadly, nothing else comes close for me, including the G1.

    BTW, I have a Hexar AF. The lens is great, but you obviously only get one choice. The interface is notoriously quirky, but you can kind of get past that. However, the AF is comparatively slow, and I do find its top speed of 1/250 to be somewhat limiting. It is freakishly quiet, though! When all is said and done, I reach for the G2 over it every time, though.
     
  10. garysamson

    garysamson Member

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    Nicolai has covered the G2 verse the G1 issues very well. The G2 is a great imaging tool when properly used and the lense will impress you with their outstanding resolution and contrast (I have the 28, 35, 45, & 90 lenses). If you zone focus and stop the lense down a bit you should have good depth of field for most street photography. I will try to post an image from the G2 in the standard gallery. Don't hesitate to get the G2.
    Gary
     
  11. Roger Hicks

    Roger Hicks Member

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    Dear Nicolai,

    No offence taken. As a long-term user of manual RFs (since about 1970) I tried to use the brackets like a true RF but found that it often hunted on targets I could have focused manually, e.g. a pit or crack in a concrete wall (which I was using yesterday for 19th century graffiti). As ever, a lot depends on experience with other systems, and expectations. The G2 seldom failed, but when it did -- AAARGH!


    Cheers,

    R.
     
  12. bjorke

    bjorke Member

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  13. TimVermont

    TimVermont Subscriber

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    Another vote for G2, my favorite street and light travel camera. Take the time to learn to drive/lock the focus using your right thumb on the back button before loading any film and you will be a very happy user.