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  1. #11
    Jeff L's Avatar
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    I really like my RTS II. Still going strong. My RTS III is in Japan at Kyocera for repairs right now. Both great cameras, the RTS III is magic though.

  2. #12
    hadeer's Avatar
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    I have used two RTS bodies for 20 years before I changed to Arias. They never gave me a single problem. And as said the lenses are superb. Stil going strong on the Aria I have left now. That camera is lighter though and has more modern electronics which ultimately is the reason I switched to it.
    Have you seen the light..?

  3. #13

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    I shot the RTS and RTSII for about 5 years and never had a problem with any of them in any regard. Great cameras in my opinion.

  4. #14

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    I have every Contax from my original RTS bought in 1977 through to the later models such as the AX, RTSIII and now even an Aria (still hate its logo though). I am still using the RTS and RTSII with the 5fps drive and occasionally the 250 back. The original RTS was last serviced 8 years ago and has still not missed a beat. However, if they do have a problem with their electronics, they're dead. I have bought about a dozen RTS/RTSII bodies with varying faults for spares and you can also buy the Yashica FR1 for its shutter which is the same Sugaya ytpe as in the RTS, but not calibrated beyond 1:1000 sec. If your passion is the Zeiss lenses, then save your money and buy either a Yashica FX3 Super or if you can afford it, the Contax S2 or better still the S2b; these all have mechanical shutters and only require a battery for metering. The essential difference between the S2 and S2b is that the S2 only offers spot-metering - both of these cameras have a top speed of 1:4000 whereas the Yashica FX-3 has 1:1000 and the FX-3 Super/FX-3 2000 has the higher 1:2000 top speed. There is a further alternative for C/Y lenses and is the most recent camera produced with the mount - the Braun SR2000Y which is in essence a rebadged Yashica FX3 Super. If you are still keen to get an RTS (and who would blame you) try instead to get the RTS Fundus (it's the Scientific version) if it's in good condition as these had a few extra advantages over the RTS (protection for the shutter button, a lock for the shutter speed dial and a better mirror damper) - an RTSII offers you the mechanical fail-safe of 1:60th sec and has more robust electronics. The RTSIII is in a league of its own with its vacuum film back to get the best out of the Zeiss lenses and amazing build quality.
    If it was up to me, I'd buy the Yashica and use the money you'd save to buy an extra Zeiss lens!

  5. #15

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    Dear msbarnes,

    I purchased a well used (pretty well brassed and slightly dented ;>) ) RTS in June of 1999. It had an issue with the film advance as purchased but after having it fixed (I live in Illinois if you are interested in the shop) it has worked flawlessly. I did replace the light seals myself at the same time. For a good 10 years I used it with a winder for most situations, but I have been using a Canon Elan 7ne with an adapter the last few years for sports because of the faster film advance. The RTS is still my main "walking around" camera and I put about 15-20 rolls a year through it. I would choose it for a shot I had to get over the Elan. I did pick up a backup RTS cheap (it was missing the battery cover) but have used it sparingly after making a new cover as the first one has had no issues. Finally, Yashica FX-2s can be had for very low prices and are decent fully mechanical backups for using your Contax lenses. (The Yashica ML line is awfully nice too.) One last thing. Any lens you get with an RTS will probably not operate in shutter priority mode if you purchase one of the newer bodies.

    Neal Wydra

  6. #16
    eSPhotos's Avatar
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    My first Contax camera was 176MT which died on me - electronic problem. Then 139Q and it too had electronic problem so I sold it.
    Then I bought an RTS. I liked it very much so I bought an RTS II which came with mirror slip ..
    Reliability????
    Not as reliable as my Nikon F2 and F3 but Contax cameras are easily the best picture takers.

  7. #17
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    I have an original RTS that works beautifully. My understanding is that the insides are neater, cleaner, on the RTS II. But both have gold contacts. The RTS uses a cloth shutter curtain while the RTS II has the titanium, vertical curtain. I have an RTS II as well, and the most noticeable difference between it and my RTS, is the viewfinder. You can see more through it on the RTS II. I probably use my RTS more often mostly because I got it first. They are both a pleasure to use.

    Have an FX-3 and FX-2 as backup bodies. They are both solid and reliable. I had a Contax S2 for a while. It was the camera I learned on. The FX-3 reminds me very much of the S2. Whatever build differences exist between the two, you won't notice them for many years. The S2 had a spot meter, which takes a microsecond more to use when you're shooting street scenes. Someone told me once that the S2 was built to a tolerance that ensures it will function perfectly through 20,000 shutter actuations; the Fx-3 through 5,000 actuations. I don't know if this is true, and while I sometimes miss my S2, it was not as much fun to use as the RTS or RTS II.

    Sorry if that was confusing ... I tend to wander (both when writing and photographing!!)

    I realize this post is several months old. What did you end up getting?

  8. #18
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    Yes, with a few caveats. There are a few known problems, some of which apply to earlier cameras, while others plague all bodies (i.e., mirror slip, degrading light seals including the internal ones in the RTS II -- a very serious problem, by the way, as it can cause shutter problems or even damage, even in little-used bodies, and intermittent problems at temperatures far below freezing).

    Several improvements were made during the production of both the RTS and the RTS II. To the original RTS, they later added a brake to one of the gears under the base plate. The winding mechanism of the RTS II was upgraded at some point by a sturdier sector gear assembly (coupled with a smaller A gear) with a metal pin instead of a plastic one and a few additional parts. I've also noted some differences in the electronic components on the main PCB, but I can't tell which are the more reliable ones. Luckily I've never come across any electronic problem in a Contax. The most common electrical problem I read about is battery drain.

    I currently own and use three RTS II bodies, which I service myself (being a mere self-taught enthusiast). A slipped mirror can be reattached relatively easily. Any half-capable technician can do it. The internal light seal can be replaced after removing the mirror box, which takes quite a lot of work, but isn't terribly difficult either. A common source of problems is the main release magnet being dirty (located under the mirror box). The same applies to the shutter magnet on the winding side of the shutter assembly, which is susceptible to contamination from the adjacent decomposing internal light seal. Some cameras require cleaning and lubrication (e.g., gears and ball bearings in the winding mechanism under the top cover or the rotary limit guides and levers at the bottom of the shutter shafts). Of course, there are several other things that can go wrong; for example, the aperture indicator in the viewfinder, but these are seldom irreparable. The repair manual, at least for the RTS II, can be downloaded for free. I encourage camera technicians to embrace these wonderful, durable, extremely high quality cameras. It is an awful shame that many are not being maintained as they should be.

    I love RTS IIs very much and regard them as true workhorses when they are cared for properly. Still, this hasn't stopped me from acquiring the S2, which I find to be vastly superior to the Yashica FX-3 in every way.
    Fred

  9. #19
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    Can't speak on the reliability of the RTS, however I've owned a couple of 137 MA's (that's the one with the built in motor drive) for a very long time with no issues. My oldest 137 (purchased in '83) developed some shutter issues, and rather than get it repaired, I just got another on e bay for $75 with an outrageously sharp Yashica 50mm macro lens and dedicated flash--a fantastic bargain! Although I like Zeiss glass, I've never purchased it for the Contax. I've been using Tamron and Yashica glass with excellent results. I like the Contax because it is a fast handling and responsive unit. It's been my favorite 35mm SLR for those reasons.

  10. #20

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    Can not imagine buying a Contax body and not using the Zeiss glass. I'd rather buy a Yashica and have the Zeiss glass as after all, the glass is what is most important provided the film plane of the camera is flat.

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