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  1. #11
    Rol_Lei Nut's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by slnce-z-gsi View Post
    - Rol_lei_nut -
    You mention that I should avoid the early 25/2.8 models - do you know approximately which serial numbers would that be?
    I don't have much solid information: just read an article about C/Y lenses where there was something to the effect that "Zeiss quietly improved the scheme of the 25mm around 1984".

    Plus my own experience with Rolleiflex-mount 25mm lenses is that I went through two earlier "Made in Germany" samples which were quite soft before finally getting a later "Made in Singapore" sample which is excellent.

    Whether that really means that the scheme was changed can certainly be debated.
    The C/Y 25mm also often got bad reviews, which I'm guessing is due to old versions, as my last Rollei one, as I mentioned, is excellent.
    Sample variation could also explain the situation, though that would be untypical for Zeiss.
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  2. #12
    Richard Sintchak (rich815)'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by slnce-z-gsi View Post
    I see - I guess you are right. I have checked the webpage of conurus - guys that actually convert the N series contax lenses to Canon EOS while preserving the AF. It costs about $550 for the 24-85. And that is already developed product they offer. So even if possible I would guess it would not be economically feasible.

    - rich815 -
    You are right about the slowness of the lenses selected (though I would probably add a 50/1.4 to the setup for exactly that purpose), as well as about the usability of the rangefinder. In fact - I have used Bessa R3A in the past and use Mamiya 6 today (speak about slow lenses ). But I just recently used Minolta 7 and it was so nice and fast to use and focus - I just enjoyed using the SLR. I would also like to get some nice matrix metering (one of the plus points for Aria). I plan to shoot mostly slides and present them with projector - so the results should look 'out of the box'.
    Understood, though personally I think "matrix" metering is over-rated. Some of my best slide work was years ago using Nikon FM2 and FE2. That said if you can find a good used Aria and better yet have time to get a CLA on it you'd be golden. If you have time consider maybe a C/Y to M42 adapter and a Pentax 50/1.4 Super-Takumar. Awesome lens and works great on my Contax bodies.
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  3. #13

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    The NX and the Aria have different lens mount. If I were to get the NX I might as well get the N1. I don't worry too much about parts although that the Contaxes are too expensive today.

  4. #14
    TheFlyingCamera's Avatar
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    Frankly, if you want a Contax product to haul around as a travel camera, forget the SLRs altogether and get a G2 with 21, 28, 45 and 90 mm lenses. Those four are some of the best glass ever made, and they're light, compact and easy to work with. I have a G2 and a G1 as a backup camera plus those four lenses (and the 35mm f2, which is by no means a bad lens, but probably the weakest of the bunch). You will pry that kit, and my Rolleiflex, from my cold dead hands. Let me put it to you this way - I took the kit with me on vacation to Barcelona. When I got back, I sold some prints - that single sale paid for the G2 and the 21, plus some walking-around money. And that was just from snapshots!

  5. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by TheFlyingCamera View Post
    Frankly, if you want a Contax product to haul around as a travel camera, forget the SLRs altogether and get a G2 with 21, 28, 45 and 90 mm lenses. ...
    I new somebody will come up with the G2. You make a completely valid point. However - contrary to my expectations - once I have put down the numbers it comes out that 4 lens G2 kit weights about as much as Aria with 25, 35, 85 lenses (all f/2.8 though). And indeed the lenses are great (the 21 and 45 became legends)

    Surely - I consider the G2 strongly - but I just would like that SLR feel. So - the G2 is on the candidate list, but here I just wanted to discuss Contax SLRs

    Quote Originally Posted by TheFlyingCamera View Post
    ... Let me put it to you this way - I took the kit with me on vacation to Barcelona. When I got back, I sold some prints - that single sale paid for the G2 and the 21, plus some walking-around money. And that was just from snapshots!
    I just keep telling myself that it is the photographer and not the camera that matters . Seriously - I would actually love to sell a few prints here and then, just do not know where to start. But that is an entirely different topic.

  6. #16

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    The issue about service and spare parts must be considered. But i don't think it's that serious. I use contax from the early '90.
    My first 167 (heavily used for 18 years without any maintenance) has been working very well. A couple of years ago i bought another 167 from KEH ( 5 US$) in AS IS condition. Nowadays it's my main choice. In other words my advice is to get a Aria (i heard it's really good) and a spare mechanical body that can be serviced by a good repairman. I guess that a Contax S2 or a Yashica FX3 may last for, at least, the next 4 decades.
    I own both the S2 (beautiful camera. A pleasure to handle) anf the FX3. I bought this one a year ago for 50€ (brand new, boxed).
    The advice for lenses is more difficult (it depends much on your preferences/attitudes) . I don't like zooms. I use mainly the 35 2.8 and the 85 1.4. Should i make an "important" travel (and have some money to spend) i would get a 18 3.5 or, alternatively, would let at home the 35 and get a 28 2.8 (much cheaper). Good luck and let us know

  7. #17

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    Thanks. Should I decide to go with the Aria I would probably aim for the 25/2.8, 35/2.8 and 85/2.8 - as this would be my travel trio, but in a slower pace. Quite probably I would start with 50/1.7 to get accustomed with the camera before investing further. Also - I do my best to get as much information about the MM and AE versions of the lenses as it seems that some designs changed over the time (in particular the 25/2.8 and 50/1.7). On top of that there are not too many out there so haste is not an option. Rarity helps to fight the GAS

    You mentioned the 18/3.5. How is it? Sounds like and interesting lens, but it seems hard to find and I guess it will be on the expensive side. The 85/1.4 is supposed to be a great lens, but it is more than double the weight of the 2.8 version. The 21/2.8 is supposed to be great, but is huge and costs more than 35/3.5 for 645. ...

    Concerning the camera - while I am primarily oriented to Aria because it is compact, light and rather recent, I am a bit confused about the rest (167, RX ST AX). As far as I understand the basic features are pretty much the same. 167 is really cheap and could be a good backup camera.

    Actually - what about the Yashica - I am curios both about the bodies and lenses. My understanding is that the bodies are manual only (no AE), but how is the build quality, user friendliness, viewfinder, etc compared to Contax cameras?

  8. #18
    TheFlyingCamera's Avatar
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    The 85 1.4 is a big heavy lens, but worth the weight- the image quality from it blows away the 85 2.8. I took it with me to Cambodia and it ended up being one of my most-used lenses when I was there.

    The 167MT is a really nice camera because of the automation you can have if you want to. It has a little bit of motor drive (3fps), program, aperture and shutter priority exposure modes, and auto bracketing. The RX (which I also had) became my absolute favorite camera, even more than the 167. I loved the Digital Focus Indicator (DFI) with the depth-of-field indicator in the viewfinder. All the controls were beautifully designed and easy to use. The ST is somewhat like the RX minus the DFI, but I believe it also had the ceramic pressure plate (without the vacuum) of the RTS III. The AX is not worth considering for you as it is a total pig of a body- it auto-focused by shifting the film plane back and forth, which makes it fat and heavy. On the upside, you could do macro work to a certain degree with it without a bellows or tubes by setting the lens to minimum focus then using the camera's auto-focus feature to give you a bit more. But it was still a pig. Very un-ergonomic to use.

  9. #19
    Rol_Lei Nut's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheFlyingCamera View Post
    The 85 1.4 is a big heavy lens, but worth the weight- the image quality from it blows away the 85 2.8.
    Here I have to disagree, though my 85mm f/2.8 is the Rolleiflex version, which *may* be optically different from the C/Y version (a rumour I've heard, but have no concrete information about).

    The f/2.8 is as sharp and analytical as any lens out there. The f/1.4 excels in better Bokeh and perhaps a more 3-d look.

    But as an architecture/landscape lens, the f/2.8 is almost unbeatable.
    It is also a small fraction of the size and weight of the f/1.4.
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  10. #20
    Jeff L's Avatar
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    I have an 85 2.8 and find it to be an outstanding and very sharp lens. Hard to imagine not being totally satisfied and impressed with its image quality.

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