New Contax 645!

Discussion in 'Medium Format Cameras and Accessories' started by F/1.4, May 4, 2012.

  1. F/1.4

    F/1.4 Member

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    I LOVE the 80mm f/2, but damn this is a tricky and sometimes frustrating camera to use! It's got some of the weirdest field curvature i've ever seen, and the backs don't do to well to keep 120 flat.

    It's an intriguing departure form the Mamiya 645AF, the Contax is better in some respects, the Mamiya in others. If this was still the 1990's and I was a professional, I'd use the Contax for weddings and outdoor portraiture that would be generally shot wide open, and use the Mamiya for everything else. The Mamiya 80mm f/2.8AF I believe is technically a better lens, but the Contax/Zeiss 80mm has some of the most interesting and unique rendering i've ever seen.

    Has anyone else had similar experiences? Here are some recent scans of a mix between Ektar 100 and 400H off the Contax, enjoy!

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  2. Slixtiesix

    Slixtiesix Subscriber

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    Great shots. I really like the bikes. Wonderful bokeh!
    You should try the 120/4. It is regarded as one of the best medium format lenses ever.
     
  3. Jeff Kubach

    Jeff Kubach Member

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    Wonderful pictures. Hop you enjoy your camera more!

    Jeff
     
  4. TheFlyingCamera

    TheFlyingCamera Membership Council Council

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    If you're worried about film flatness, Contax did make a vacuum back for the camera a la the RTS III. They were quite pricey when new, so I think they're somewhat of a rarity. They may also only work with 220 but I don't recall.
     
  5. sandermarijn

    sandermarijn Member

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    I tried to like the Contax 645 (45/80/140) hard, really hard, but I didn't manage. Thought it would give me Contax G like quality in medium format. Somehow it didn't. Maybe it was the rendering in b&w, or the form factor, the abundance of electronics, the fear of breaking it and not being able to get it repaired with Contax RIP; I don't know. The whole thing made me nervous. So for no better reason than that I sold it. Freedom regained.

    It was a good experience though. I learned to reappreciate my Contax G1 and my Rolleiflex. I learned that 6x4.5 isn't for me. I learned that what is good and what is not good isn't something to ask another person; one has to try for oneself in order to know. Maybe I simply learned that there are no good systems and no bad systems (except for the really good ones, and the really bad ones :blink:).

    About the 80: it's probably at its best in colour, and not at its best in contre-jour sort of situations. Focusing at f/2 can be tricky, and that's an understatement. I would have been happier with a less flare prone 80/2.8, but then there are other systems that can do that same trick. The 80/2 does have 'character'. It's one of those lenses that you can pick out on flickr without reading a single letter.

    I can see how people love the Contax 645 system. To the OP: I love the top four samples. Seems like the camera is in good hands!
     
  6. scottejohnson

    scottejohnson Member

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    Really great shots and congrats on owning that stellar kit... I seriously do believe that it's near impossible to make a bad photograph with that system. As you mentioned, the Zeiss' rendering is just on a whole different level.. Let's see some more!
     
  7. F/1.4

    F/1.4 Member

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    They do make a vaccum back, but it's only for 220, and the only color film that's easily accessible in 220 is Portra. If 400H was still made in 220, i might have gotten some inserts for it, but I doubt it still because Ektar is so beautiful...and only availible in 120.*
    It's funny how you say "abundance of electronics" when a G2/G1 has digital displays. the only display on the Contax 645 is the viewfinder. Everything else is real knobs and dials. Now the Mamiya 645...That's more like a DSLR. I would love to be OK with shooting everything on 35mm, but after using 645 for a year on the Mamiya, 35mm just looks muddy in comparsion. Medium format is much more graceful in the detail and shadow areas because the grain isn't enormous at equiv. print sizes or scans.



    Here are some more that I picked up yesterday!

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  8. sandermarijn

    sandermarijn Member

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    True.

    Before my Contax 645, I wasn't used to a medium format camera with AF and motorized film transport. This made the Contax 645 feel more 'electronic' than it really is. You can even focus the lenses manually with a proper focusing ring- try say the same thing of the G1.
     
  9. TheFlyingCamera

    TheFlyingCamera Membership Council Council

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    Well, you can manually focus the G2 with a dial - a la the original Contax rangefinders. But that's a neither here nor there.

    Don't diss the Portra 160 as a film choice. I like Ektar too, but I LOVE Portra 160nc, and not just for portraits either - It's an awesome night photography film, as it handles colors so well...

    pearldivevespa.jpg

    14thrhodemoon.jpg

    https://dcphotoartist.wordpress.com/2012/05/02/fun-with-night-color/
     
  10. Marc B.

    Marc B. Member

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    Check with East Coast Photo.


    Fuji 'Pro 400H' - $54.95 - 5 roll Pro Pack
    (link)

    Here are twelve other emulsions in 220.

    Fuji 'Pro 160C' - $35.50
    (link)
    Fuji 'Pro 160S' - $37.45
    (link)
    Fuji 'Pro 800Z' - $46.25
    (link)
    Portra '160 NC' - $44.70
    (link)
    Portra '400 VC' - $9.20 ea
    (link)
    Portra '400 NC' - $54.95
    (link)
    New 'Portra 160' - $58.95
    (link)
    New 'Portra 400' - $61.95
    (link)
    Fuji 'Astia 100' - $43.95
    (link)
    Fuji 'Provia 100' - $37.95
    (link)
    Fuji 'Velvia 50' - $8.59 ea
    (link)
    Fuji 'Velvia 100' - $39.25
    (link)
     
  11. polyglot

    polyglot Member

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    I wish I could believe you, Marc, but their prices and indications of long-discontinued films being "in stock" are way too good to be true. It looks like they're a classic bait and switch joint.

    If you've successfully bought some 220 from them recently though I'd love to hear it.
     
  12. mredr81

    mredr81 Member

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    I just ordered the 800z. Bought 2 packs. Hopefully its not a B.Switch.
     
  13. tnabbott

    tnabbott Member

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    Try JapanExposures for 220 film. They seem to have more offerings than other retailers. I've ordered from them and they appear to be an honest retailer. I did a search of EC -- also enticed by their offerings of long discontinued film favorites -- but the reviews were not encouraging.
     
  14. mredr81

    mredr81 Member

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    Thx tnabbott for the advice. Eastcoast just sent me an email that they cancelled my 800z order because it was out. Now my contax is mad at me.
     
  15. mredr81

    mredr81 Member

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    @f1.4: What were your settings when shooting the clouds. Lately, I have been infactuated with clouds and sky...
     
  16. tnabbott

    tnabbott Member

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    I meter off a portion of the blue sky. If there is none, I'm not sure... :sad: To make the clouds look really nice, a circular polarizer (for color) or red filter (for b/w) are helpful.