Contax RX - opinions?

Discussion in '35mm Cameras and Accessories' started by celluloidpropaganda, Oct 15, 2007.

  1. celluloidpropaganda

    celluloidpropaganda Subscriber

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    Been flirting with buying a manual-focus SLR, as I no longer have one that's working. Looked through the usual suspects - OM, FE2, etc. - but I'm curious about the Contax RX. Never heard much about the system back in the days when people discussed such things as film cameras, but I assume the Zeiss T* lenses are top-notch.

    For a little over $600, I can get an EX RX body and EX+ 50/1.4 from KEH. Seems like a pretty good deal on a good system. Am I missing anything (like Contaxes falling apart after X years?).

    The side-benefit is that I could use the lenses with my dig...cough. Never mind.
     
  2. celluloidpropaganda

    celluloidpropaganda Subscriber

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    Also looked into the RTS II, but KEH doesn't have any decent ones, and the RTS III is more expensive than an FM3A.
     
  3. TheFlyingCamera

    TheFlyingCamera Membership Council Council

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    I have an RX. I love it. Mine gets pretty light use, but I bought it pre-owned, and it is still kicking along just fine. The optics are of course first-rate. They're the primary reason you buy that system. There are several big reasons to get the RX - the viewfinder, the DFI, and the overall ergonomics. To me, the camera just fits very naturally in the hand, and is very comfortable. All the controls are very sensibly laid out. The DFI (Digital Focus Indicator) is a terrific boost for focusing. You can customize it to show not only how far off your focus point you are, but which side of it (focused too close or too far), but also to show depth of field from your currently selected aperture, so you can play around with hyperfocal focusing (very handy when you need to shift the focus to blur a background when lighting levels require you to stop down too far). Finally, the viewfinder itself - it is a 98+% viewfinder (most of the other cameras you were looking at have a 95% finder, which means that they crop the image to show what the typical minilab print would give you, not what the whole negative captures). It is also one of the brightest viewfinders out there in an SLR.
     
  4. Roger Hicks

    Roger Hicks Member

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    My wife and I had one on loan for a year. VERY nice camera. We found the DFI less use than we expected but far from useless. Unfortunately the UK importers wanted more for the outfit than we could afford. Then again, the lenses -- all stunning -- were a 35/1.4, 35PC and 100 makro, so no wonder they wanted a lot of money...
     
  5. TheFlyingCamera

    TheFlyingCamera Membership Council Council

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    Nowadays, most of the lenses for it can be had at significantly lower prices than they went for when the system was still in production. The 100/f2, 35/f1.4, and some of the rarer lenses like the 35PC and the fast Telephotos (200/f2, 300/f2.8) are still quite pricey, but they have some classic optics that aren't, like the 85/f1.4. I've kept mine if for no other reason than to have a camera on which I can mount that 85/f1.4 .
     
  6. alien

    alien Member

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    Hi,

    I have used the RX for 3 years now.

    The best thing about it is that is it extremely well dampened - you don't really feel the mirror slap at all. That makes it really easy to use hand-held.

    On top of that, the viewfinder is one of the brightest I have ever seen, and it seems to have just the right size and weight (at least for me).

    I do a lot of hiking, and the RX together with the 2.8/45 (pancake lens) + the 2.8/28 are an unbeatable combination. If you REALLY need to travel light, the 2.8/45 with the RX is quite a good package!

    Ansgar
     
  7. naaldvoerder

    naaldvoerder Member

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    Allthough I sold the RX in favor of a RTS3 and an Aria, I have to say that the RX is really the ideal cross between the two. Solidly made, excellent ergonomics and, as Ansgar said, an exceptionaly well damped shutter. The 50mm 1.4 is a very, very fine lens. 600 dollars for both in good condition seems like a good deal to me. Go for it...

    Jaap Jan
     
  8. Vincent DiPietro

    Vincent DiPietro Member

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    I've owned and used the Contax RX for nearly seven years and I love this camera. It fits perfectly in my hand, is sturdy and a top quality camera. I don't think the viewfinder is as bright as the Aria but that is because of the DFI. This is a manual focus camera with autofocus elements. $600.00 at this stage of the game sounds a little steep to me. I've seen KEH listings of ex or ex+ RX's for a lot less. In my opinion the RX is the finest camera Contax/Kyocera ever produced, and I've owned a number of models.
     
  9. TheFlyingCamera

    TheFlyingCamera Membership Council Council

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    Vincent- that was $600 for camera AND 50 f1.4 . Not a bad price at all.
     
  10. Vincent DiPietro

    Vincent DiPietro Member

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    I stand corrected TFC. Considering the quality of both camera and lens I guess it is a bargain.