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  1. #1

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    Need to know more on Contax slr system

    Hi friends,

    I had a great opportunity to use a contax aria with the 50mm CY lens.Blown away by the handling and the ease of use of it. Have been thinking to sell all my bronica medium format system as its getting too heavy to carry on hikes. Hence would like to invest in a Contax system.

    Thus, would like to know your viws as to which ody to go for - Aria or RX?
    I am interested in 28mm or 25mm lens for landscapes and 85mm/100mm lens for portraits. This would complement my Leica M6 with 50mm f2 hexanon.

    Please let me know your thoughts and key points I should consider as I am looking forward to use the same for street portraits as well as 28mm for landscape shots.

  2. #2

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    Bear in mind a Contax is little more than a Yashica with a more expensive set of clothes!

    They have not been made for quite a while now and the accessories that are available are damn expensive, lenses especially. The 25mm wide angle retails for nearly twice the price of a Nikon manual focus 24mm. Yes they bear the Contax name and they are seemingly well made, but having said that I don't think they are actually worth what they sell for.

  3. #3
    PhotoJim's Avatar
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    Yes, a nice Nikon (e.g. FE) with 24/2.8 and 85/1.8 or 105/2.5 Nikkors would be a lot less expensive and do just as well, not to mention be a lot more repairable.

    That having been said, there is a mystique to the Zeiss lenses.

    If one really wants to get crazy, Zeiss now makes Nikon-mount 25/2.8 and 85/1.4 lenses, so one can use a modern or vintage body and brand new Zeiss lenses, if one wants.
    Jim MacKenzie - Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada

    A bunch of Nikons; Feds, Zorkis and a Kiev; Pentax 67-II (inherited from my deceased father-in-law); Bronica SQ-A; and a nice Shen Hao 4x5 field camera with 3 decent lenses that needs to be taken outside more. Oh, and as of mid-2012, one of those bodies we don't talk about here.

    Favourite film: do I need to pick only one?

  4. #4

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    Some Contaxes are now more expensive than when they were new which don't make sense to get one.

  5. #5
    Richard Sintchak (rich815)'s Avatar
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    Need to know more on Contax slr system

    Contax SLRs and their lenses are awesome. I have the RTS, RTSII and an RX. Many love their Aria but I handled it and it felt too cheap and was too small for me. Consider some of the others like the 139 or even aforementioned Yashicas. There was a nice 139 for sale on APUG recently. I got an FX-3 for very cheap and all my Zeiss C/Y lenses fit just fine. That said I also shoot Nikons (F2, F3 and FM2) and mostly older 60's and 70's manual focus glass. I use the Nikon glass mostly for more classic look of B&W and the Contax and Zeiss lenses for when I want a more contrasty B&W look and/or color. Both systems are terrific.
    Last edited by Richard Sintchak (rich815); 03-25-2013 at 03:22 AM. Click to view previous post history.
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  6. #6

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    The Contax cameras aren't dressed-up Yashicas. Most of the models don't have equivalent Yashica models.

    That said, the reason you buy a Contax is for the Carl Zeiss lenses and not for the bodies. And you either believe that the lenses are a notch above what others offer, or you don't.

    By the way, nearly all of the cameras will need to have new foam seals (but that's true of any Japanese camera from the 1980s or earlier), and many Contax cameras (and certain Yashicas) will neeed to have new body coverings.

  7. #7
    flatulent1's Avatar
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    I have the RX and the Aria (as well as the RTS-III, AX, and S2). I much prefer the RX over the Aria for just about everything, but sometimes I want something small and the Aria is definitely small. I have the 25, it's my most-used Zeiss lens. I also have the 80-200 f4 which I like very much, as well as the 50 f1.7 and the huge 28-85. Zeiss lenses will definitely blow a large hole in your bank account, and while I'm not convinced they're actually worth it I'll never sell mine and plan to acquire at least a 100mm macro when finances improve.
    Fred Latchaw
    Seattle WA


    I am beginning to resent being referred to as 'half-fast'.
    Whatever that's supposed to mean.

  8. #8
    Patrick Robert James's Avatar
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    Contax bodies have gone way down in price over the last few years while the lenses have increased in price for the most part. I have always thought the Aria was a little too light. The RX is a good camera. The ST is nice. If I were to rank the bodies, I would say the RTS III is the best (it is large though) then the ST, RX, S2. If you want a small body the Aria is good.

    Zeiss makes (and made) great lenses. I wouldn't call it a mystique, just higher quality with better precision. I can see the difference, and I have used practically everything, but a lot of people will swear that there is none. You won't regret getting a Contax though. Try it for yourself and you will see.

    For lenses, a 28, 50 and 85 (sonnar) would be a great lightweight setup for hiking.

  9. #9

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    The original RTS body was Porshe designed. I have owned the 139 and the 167MT and held others including the Aria. Contax cameras are so ergonomic and felt better in my hands than any other SLR camera from the 1980's. Pick your favorite body and go with it.

    I owned the German 25 and 180 and the Japanese 35, 50 and 100. All the glass was made in Germany by Zeiss. All my lenses were bought brand new and were all the original lenses before the program mode contact. All were tack sharp and contrasty. Just pick the lens focal length and maximum aperture that you want. They are all great lenses.

  10. #10
    naaldvoerder's Avatar
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    Go for Contax. Apart from Zeiss lenses, the camera's are really well made. I own 1 RTS III, 1RTS II and 2 Aria's. The Aria's are my hiking camera's, together with 28mm,50mm and 85mmS. A really lightweight set-up. The RTS III is a rock, really nice, but heavy, usually supporting the 85mmP. If I could have only one body I would probably have kept my RX, a wonderfull camera with the most well-demped mirror.

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