Total gratuitous indulgence- Contax RTS III

Discussion in '35mm Cameras and Accessories' started by TheFlyingCamera, Jun 25, 2012.

  1. TheFlyingCamera

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    I really shouldn't have. REALLY. But I was in New York this weekend, and stopped by Adorama. They had a Contax RTS III in stock in the used department. I have no idea on earth why they had it priced at $399. Aside from a couple of very minor paint scrapes, the thing looks nearly new. Nothing broken, nothing malfunctioning. I had drooled over one of these for years but they were always out of my price range. They were the equal of a Nikon F4 when new, and in some ways superior (better glass, the ceramic film pressure plate with the vacuum system for ultimate film flatness, TTL flash metering even for non-dedicated strobes [read studio flashes or Vivitar 283s]). And I had a project to shoot my remaining stock of Kodak HIE coming up that was not going to work well in my G2. So into the shopping cart it went. I'm now a very proud papa. Pictures to come later.
     
  2. pstake

    pstake Member

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    Nice find and congratulations! I use an RTS and RTS II ... and they are each a pleasure to operate. Previously owned an S2. The RTS III was always too much camera for me, but its merits are undeniable if you can utilize all of the extras. Welcome to the world of Contax SLRs. I hope you stay a good, long while.
     
  3. erikg

    erikg Member

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    It's amazing what some pro gear is going for now, amazing and dangerous for the wallet. I assume you have some lenses for it already. The Contax was a nice line, too bad they shut it down. Congrats, hope you get a lot of enjoyment from it.
     
  4. BrianShaw

    BrianShaw Member

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    Good for you. I always liked the concept of the RTS but never left the Nikon line to experiment with them. I'm sure it will be a very nice camera to work with.
     
  5. Richard S. (rich815)

    Richard S. (rich815) Subscriber

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    As a user of an RX, RTS and RTSII I would have done the same! Don't need it but for that price I'd give it a try. Let us know what you think...
     
  6. PhotoJim

    PhotoJim Member

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    Oh, a man after my own heart. I knew I should have tracked you down when I was in Washington last month. :smile:

    Sweet purchase, in any event. I hope you have a few nice Zeiss lenses to put on it.

    I owned Yashica bodies until they got stolen in '94. I've been tempted to get what I might have had my system become - a couple of Contaxes (including my lust object of 1986, the 167MT) and some sweet Zeiss glass, plus a targeted Yashica ML lens or two just because.
     
  7. TheFlyingCamera

    TheFlyingCamera Membership Council Council

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    I used to have a very nice Contax SLR lineup - two 167MTs (with the P5 battery grip) and an RX, with 35 f2.8, 50 f1.7, 85 f1.4 primes, 35-70 and 80-200 zooms, and a Sigma 18-35 zoom. I unloaded it at a time when I wasn't shooting much 35mm and migrated to a Contax G2 outfit. That now consists of a G1 body and a G2 body, the 21, 28, 35, 45 and 90 lenses. The only two lenses in that system I don't have are the two I'd either never want or never be able to use enough to justify the cost (the 35-70 and 16mm, respectively). Since I was starting the RTS system from scratch all over again, I just got the 50 f1.4 to go with it. As a bonus, I can get one of those Leitax lens mount adapters so when the mood and the need strikes, I can pop it on my Canon 5D if I need a fast medium length prime. Eventually I may re-acquire the 85 1.4, and if I get blindingly lucky, track down a 28 f2 and a 35 f1.4. This is NOT going to grow into a big system. I swear, I promise, I'm NOT going to start collecting more gear again!!!!!! Well, unless I sell that 16" B&L Tessar 11C and the 11x14 it goes with ...

    Jim- go get a 167 MT - it's a fantastic little camera. About the only thing it doesn't do I would have wanted it to do was matrix/evaluative metering. Don't forget the P5 battery grip- it solves the really dumb weaknesses of the standard 167 - the off-center tripod socket (why anyone in their right mind would put the tripod socket on the end of the baseplate for a camera that nice instead of centering it on the lens is beyond me) and the AAA batteries (the P5 uses AAs instead). It also balances the camera better when shooting verticals or if you just have big hands.
     
  8. Richard S. (rich815)

    Richard S. (rich815) Subscriber

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    The 100-300 zoom is simply unmatched.
     
  9. naaldvoerder

    naaldvoerder Member

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    This may well be gratuitous indulgence on your behalf, but owning one RTS3 myself ( + various primes), I can only tell you that your indulgence is totally and utterly justified. It's an awe-inspiring piece of machinary and makes you make photograph's.

    Jaap Jan

    P.S. I use my 2 Aria's for the frivolous stuff
     
  10. TheFlyingCamera

    TheFlyingCamera Membership Council Council

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    It's a gratuitous indulgence in the sense that for the project I have an immediate need for it, it's total overkill. But otherwise, yes, I know it is a beautiful, awesome camera that will inspire me to pick it up more often and shoot with it.
     
  11. rthomas

    rthomas Member

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    I'm rather jealous... I always liked that camera.
     
  12. flatulent1

    flatulent1 Subscriber

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    I researched various mount adapters last month. Leitax offers mount converters, not adapters. No popping anything there, you have to remove some screws from the back of your lens to put the converter on, set them aside, and put the Leitax screws in their place. Nothing wrong with that, I may do it myself someday if I manage to squirrel away some spare C/Y lenses, but not something you're going to do in the field.

    Otherwise, congrats on the RTSIII. I got mine only last year, after a lust affair going back 20-25 years. What a camera!
     
  13. M. Lointain

    M. Lointain Member

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    That is a heck of a deal. The RTS III has always been my dream camera but I have never been able to buy one. I limp along with a Contax ST instead as my main body which I don't use much (mostly Leicas these days). I love the cool blue viewfinder info of the RTS III. It is a joy to look through.
     
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  15. TheFlyingCamera

    TheFlyingCamera Membership Council Council

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    The ST was a close second for me - had this deal not come along I probably would have "settled" for an ST (or another RX) - which is far from settling. They're also beautiful machines - the one major flaw to me in the ST is the red viewfinder readout. But the RTS III is just so... I feel sexier when using it. It's a camera that proclaims, "I AM a professional camera, bow before me".
     
  16. M. Lointain

    M. Lointain Member

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    I was being a bit facetious about the ST. Where is that facetious emoticon? :smile: I lucked into the ST at KEH with the vertical grip a couple of years ago for a measly $160. Too cheap to pass up. While it is a beautiful camera that does everything I ask of it, the RTS III is just sooo perfect. I agree about the red readout with the ST. It looks like the old calculator displays from my youth which makes it nostalgic and annoying at the same time.
     
  17. TheFlyingCamera

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    That's a deal on the ST!

    One other nice perk of the RTS III - it gets respect from non-film users. I had it out with me at lunch yesterday to test some film and several people all said, "Wow that's a great camera", and not just the guys at the camera store where I dropped off the film. Not that you buy a camera for an ego boost, but it was nice to hear instead of "Can you still get film for that?" or "is that a film camera? Why are you still using THAT?".
     
  18. Viggi

    Viggi Member

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    I'm slowly building up my contax / yashica collection... I have 167MT, and I hanker after an RX. By extensions, I guess once I get the RX, I could easily start dreaming about adding the RTS3, even if I've told myself that the RX will be the top of the line for me and other purchases will just be to ensure I have enough bodies to continue shooting with the Zeiss and Yashica ML lenses for years to come. Does anyone really use their RTS3 in anger? Or is it mainly a 'quality time' camera?
     
  19. BrianShaw

    BrianShaw Member

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    The other day I had a Nikon F3 (with MD4) and a 135mm lens at a party. One of my buddy's asked those same questions, but in reverse order. Then he ponedered and asked... "so how big is the display?"
     
  20. TheFlyingCamera

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    It'll be a "quality time" camera for me, for the most part. But I have used the 167MTs and RX "in anger" - I shot my entire Cambodia/Singapore trip with them, and the Belize trip as well... Cambodia was I think about 20 rolls in 5 days, Belize was about 15 rolls. My G2 outfit has been definitely used professionally and paid for itself with a single print order. At some point I may indulge and get the 60 macro to start doing copy work and other close-up stuff. It would be good for photographing my carte-de-visite and other photographs collection.
     
  21. Viggi

    Viggi Member

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    When I walked into Greys of Westminster, London Nikon specialists, with the Hexar AF hanging around my neck, one gentleman working there spotted it among all the Nikon artillery and remarked it was a very nice camera. And I agree. But in a small town in Scotland, I was shooting with a Yashica body and the local lads rained stones on me. When I confronted them and asked why they were pummelling me, it wasn't because I was shooting film (!), but because they thought I was a journo pig. With a Yashica FX70!!! What would they have done if I had an RTS3....
     
  22. Richard S. (rich815)

    Richard S. (rich815) Subscriber

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    Ha! I hate getting pummelled by lads.
     
  23. Viggi

    Viggi Member

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    On RTS3 vs RX - is the latter quieter? I gather that RX has a very soft shutter sound, but not sure about the film advance. The 167MT has quiet shutter, but the film advance is a bit high pitched.
     
  24. Richard S. (rich815)

    Richard S. (rich815) Subscriber

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    I cannot comment on the RTSIII as I only have the RTS I and the II but the Contax RX is THE quietest SLR for shutter sound and film advance sound I've ever used. Others non-Contax SLRs used: Nikon FM2, FE2, F2, F3, N60, F80s, Fujica ST801, Minolta SRT.
     
  25. TheFlyingCamera

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    The RTS III is a little noisier than the RX - the shutter makes more noise I think, but the film advance is very quiet.
     
  26. TheFlyingCamera

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