Today I bought a second-hand Contax G1. The main purpose is to use it for a street photography, because with my big SLR I'm not really inconspicuos ;).
It looks like new, there're no signs of any physical "damage", except for a thin black curvy line inside the viewfinder. I have no idea how it could get in there. The line doesn't obstruct the view, though.
Comparing to my SLR the sound of the lens, when focusing, is noisier. Is it OK or wrong?
I'm going to shoot the first film within the next couple of days to see how it works. So far it seems to be working properly, but of course, I'll see after I develop the negative.
I have 1 week to test it and return it if it doesn't work well. Is there anything else that I should observe/test carefully? What is your experience with this camera? Are you satisfied? Did/do you have any problems with it?
Thanks for your advice.
first of alll congratulations to u.
what lenses have u bought with it...
what is your background (electronical or mechanical camera)
check out for your camera that the focus is fast enough. check out as well that the focusing ring (for menual position) works well. with wide rf lenses u may like to use scale focusing, it is very usefull.
the glases for this camera are really really good. u can trust them if u explore them in the proper way.
the lens is Planar 2/45 (Carl Zeiss). It was part of the deal. Next time I'll get bonuses :) I'll buy a 35 mm lens which will be better for the street. But for the time being 45 mm will be fine.
I use both mechanical and electronical cameras, all for different purposes. What is "scale focusing"? Can you explain please? thanks.
Kate, here is a link to a pretty good article regarding the basics of "scale" or "hyperfocal" focusing. A good begining...
kate hi again...
well, first of going on normal lense (in terms of geometrical perspective) is allways the best to study a new system. the lense is very good as i told u. i dont own this system (hate electronics) but i have seen my very close friends photos (pro), and i can say - great.
about the scale focusing...
there are some methods so take the camera and follow.
1. one way is to take the f-number u use, and to put it referance on the depth of field scale that on your lense at infinity. means.. if u use the f8, turn the focusing ring so that the f8 on the lense scale will mutch the mark of the infinity.
this is a very good way when u want that the far objects (say beyound 10meters in case of normal lense) will be in focus but with it the closer will be as well. if u follow the example of f8 and infinity i gave u now, your depth of field on f8 will be about 5meters to infinity.
2. this is the best way in my opinion that personally i use very much, but many photgraphers hate it. it needs some practice though and lots of confidance. what u do here is that u aproximate the distance of your main interest object. actually what u do is focusing "like normal way with your rangefinder" but without looking at the rangefinder at all.
why this is usefull... well, wether u focus manually or in your case u may do it automatically, it take some time, and actually it needs the object that u want to be focused on in preparation. in street kind photo and the snapshots no way to do it many time. u loose the reall moment. the solution is to prepare youorself a moment before. to scale, while the light reading is also know already and to look through the viewfinder very fast in order to frame in push the shutter.
practice... in the next comment
the practice of the scale focusing and aproximation...
do it first of all in your home. just for fun. take some object or be in some space and just guees what is the distance. then check it with your rangefinder if u r rite.
u will get used to the space where u maek the practice, but in other places u will not feel it anymore. that means again, practice. at some point u will allways feel the distance.
now about so called tolarance of this focusing. it is never supposed to be the most accurate. but the u have the natural depth of field of your lense. that means that in order to be confident u have to be in the tolarance range of about f4 on the normal lense, which means that u can practically use the f8 for serious work etc.
the tolarance is: since u cannot be perfectly accurate u still can make focused image because of depth of field. if u have this mistakes - the depth of field compansate for it. but the more accurate u are the better for u. u can use wider opening.
then of course u will be expirieanced wit hit and u will know very well how to place the focusing since u will know to sense the distances of the object and what u want to be in focus and what not.
i know that it sounds complicated but, but with practice it gets much eassier and the most useful thing (u cannot even imagine how much) in all those situations that because of focusing u loose the moments. u will feel very free and very intuitive if u will master yourself in this way.
of course when there is possibility to focus perfectly accuratly, u should focus the normal way.
for longer than normal lense this way of focusing is not practical, while with wider lense like 35 or 24 etc u will feel even more confident than with the normal lense.
Kate check out contaxg.com which is full of Contax shooters. I have a G2 with 28/45/90 myself, and it's been my dominant camera for the past three years or so.
Don't be quick to dismiss that 45mm -- it's sharper than the 50 M-summicron. The AF will be the hardest thing to get used to, I'd wager.
Dunno about speed and noise but the G2 is faster than my Nikon, though noisier. Still when it's more than a couple of inches from you head, chances are you won't notice the sound from focusing (or even the wind motor).
thanks for the explanation. So far I have always used AF (with SLR) but you're right that in the street it takes too long to focus, recompose, and press the shutter. Therefore I like the method you described very much. Sounds much much faster.
The camera, even if it is set to fully manual mode, still measures the distance of the subject and compares it to the distance which I have set manually. It indicates the difference inside the viewfinder. It is quite annoying and I hope I'll learn to ignore it because it cannot be switched off. I start to understand why you dislike electronical cameras :). But anyway, I'm definitely going to learn the method.
thanks for the link. I'm glad to get a good reference. I realised I should've asked first and then buy it. I did it just the other way round so I'm happy to get a positive feedback about the camera.
thanks for the link - it was a good kick-off and I am now collecting more detailed information about the topic. Best regards.
Bjorke, saying that the Planar 45 is sharper than the Summicron is a bit of a stretch. To me, all rangefinder lenses are sharper than SLR glass. They're both excellent performers!
Kate, the Contax G1 will always make a bit of noise and its focusing mechanism doesn't always allow for prefocusing. You can prefocus and shoot with any manual focus camera, but the Contax will prove to be a bit more difficult on account of its lenses always needing to move and to return to where they started. In Costa Rica, however, while the camera wasn't ideal for street shooting, it was an excellent travel tool, tough to take to the beach.
If you find the Contax focusing a bit slow... check the batteries before taking it out for a test. And welcome to the Contax G world!
It's a fine camera. I was interested in one a couple of years ago, but I decided against it. Be sure it meets your needs though, before your 1 week return period is over. The G1 can have some focussing problems. Also, it may or may not be the best choice for street photography. The reason I say this is because it relies on autofocus. Most street shooters rely on having a wide-angle lens on the camera, like 35mm or 28mm, and on not focussing at all (using hyperfocal or zone focussing instead). There are other alternatives. For size, many of the autofocus SLRs today are as big as medium format cameras, But a more traditonal SLR like a Nikon FM2n, FM3a is really no larger than a G1 or a Leica. I much prefer an SLR myself. Another relatively inexpensive but very effective setup is one of the new Cosina "Voigtlander" Bessa R2's. As far as I'm concerned though, a manual SLR such as the FM3a, with a prime lens on it, is just as effective a street shooter as any rangefinder. I've got a little Russian Fed 3 rangefinder made sometime in the 1950's that works pretty well. It cost me less than $30 plus shipping, but as I said, I can use a Nikon FM3a the same way as I would any rangefinder for street shooting. I just use hyperfocal or zone focussing using the marks on the lens. I would generally use a 35mm Nikkor on it for that. I actually haven't used it much since buying it due to illness, but I used a Pentax K1000 in much the same way for like 20 years. However, I've spent a lot of time on some Contax forums in the past, and I know those who like the G1 and G2 like them a lot. One big difference it has compared to a more traditional rangefinder is that there are no frame lines in the viewfinder. It's a telescopic finder that adjusts itself for the lens that's mounted, and you have to look in it just right - it's like a tunnel. Again, many people who love rangefinders love those frame lines, so the G1/G2 is a big departure from that.