FRDRX ... have you torn down your S2, clinically, I mean, as a technician?
If so, I would imagine you found brass gears where the FX-3 has plastic, and bearings where the FX-3 has bushings. These are "vastly superior" traits, I agree. The S2 also has the titanium body with a brushed finish and no covering to wear out. I won't deny that it's a wonderful camera to own. But the FX-3 is just as enjoyable to use. It uses the same configurations and control placement, a very similar shutter release button. In fact, I would not be surprised if the shutter release button was interchangeable between the FX-3 and S2.
All this that I'm saying, of course, I would not have believed if someone had said it to me when I was learning on my S2. In fact, I was pretty highbrow about my camera and may well have scoffed. I'm a bit more weathered and mature now (although, as my girlfriend frequently suggests, not by much).
The FX-3 has a snappy, very accurate shutter that responds and even sounds like the shutter on the S2. I doubt, however, that the FX-3 uses the S2's titanium shutter curtain.
I guess my point is that, from a casual user's perspective, the FX-3 is almost an equal of the S2. If you plan to use one camera for the rest of your life, the S2 is undoubtedly a better choice. It's made from better material using better engineering. But the build quality itself is not necessarily any better than the FX-3.
I started with the S2 and it's the camera that opened my eyes to the pleasure of Contax precision, and the Distagon 28 2.8 and Tessar 45 that I attached to the S2 learned me on the merits of Zeiss glass.
I came to the RTS and RTS II, and the Yashica bodies, much later. All of that being said, the FX-3 is a fine camera body that has a reputation for functional dependability, for a reason. It's also available to the common shooter at non-collector prices.
One very noteworthy difference between the S2 and the FX-3, is the shutter advance. The S2 has one of the finest shutter advances I've ever used. It feels very much like my RTS (although slightly different from my RTS II, believe it or not). The FX-3 shutter advance feels a bit chintzy by comparison.
And now that I'm onto shutter advances ... does anyone else have a favorite? The RTS / S2 would have to be my favorite. Smooth and assuring. Just the right amount of resistance. If you know what I'm saying then you're a camera geek, too! Yes! Yay for analog geeks in a digital world!
Besides the faster shutter on the RTS, what else makes it different (or better) than the Yashica FR II? Just curious if it is worthwhile to upgrade. I had a 137MD that I was very fond of, that has been my only Contax body so far.
The RTS had mirror lock up and different ergonomics. Both the RTS and FR series were eccellent cameras. The FR1 being the closest in features. Different strokes for different folks. Choose the one you like.
Originally Posted by elcabezagrande
I wonder if you could replace the plastic gears and bushings with the brass gears and bearings from the S2. If so, sounds like a killer long term body as it is so reliablee to begin with.
One of my bodies is a hangup when advancing the film. It starts to advance and then freezes. I release the advance lever and then push the advance lever with some pressure and it will advance and the framing on the film is pretty consistent. If bodies were not so inexpensive I'd probably have it looked at but, I simply use it for the backup on my other FX-3.
No, pstake, I haven't taken apart the S2 beyond removing the base plate, so I cannot comment on any possible differences regarding bushings and gears. I have, however, looked thoroughly at the innards of my Yashica, and, in my opinion, its construction is very good. Under the base plate, the S2 is very similar to the FX3 (including the plastic gears of the self-timer mech), indicating that, indeed, these cameras have a lot in common (which is a good thing because the FX-3 is a simple and proven design). My comment about the superiority of the S2 concerned the user experience.
Besides the faster shutter, titanium finish and metal external parts, the Contax has a vastly viewfinder (with a pentaprism instead of a pentamirror) with a very nice shutter speed readout as opposed to the lousy + o - LEDs on the Yashica. The Contax also has depth-of-field preview, which is very important for me. The difference is very similar to the difference between the Contax 139Q and the Yashica FX-D. Not that I don't enjoy using my Yashicas, I just like Contax bodies a lot better (in line with the intention of the manufacturer), though I fully agree with your praise for the FX-3. I'm also very fond of Yashica lenses, although I don't own any at the moment -- something I have to correct.
I guess I can say that the FX-3 is great and similar to the S2, but the S2 is still a vast improvement (mainly thanks to the viewfinder and metal exterior).
You're of course right that the S2 does not have titanium shutter blades. Who uttered this nonsense? It has aluminium alloy blades similar or identical to those used in the Nikon FM2n and also similar to those used in the Yashica FX-3 (and many other cameras).
As for the feeling and sound of the winding mechanism, my all-time favourite is the RTS II (especially one that is lubricated well). Each time I cock its shutter, it feels like a very special moment.
Last edited by frdrx; 03-03-2012 at 05:28 PM. Click to view previous post history.
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I forgot to mention that the self timer can be cancelled on the S2 but not on the FX-3 and that the S2 has a multi-exposure lever. Also, the shutter button can be locked on the Contax. It frustrates me that the Yashica sometimes fires in my bag or when the batteries are drained if the trigger gets depressed. Having to think about this is a real pain.
Contax RTS are excellent cameras, but if they break; good luck
" A loving and caring heart is the beginning of all knowledge " ~ Thomas Carlyle ~
That's definitely true, as with most other cameras.
I have a Yashica FRI that I have been using off and on for twenty years. It is pretty hammered. Never failed me once. I only mention it since I have heard that it shares a lot of parts with the RTS. Personally I think the FRI is one of the nicest manual cameras ever made from a usability standpoint. I have a Contax ST now so the FRI is semi retired. I only mention all of this because they can be had cheap...
Originally Posted by frdrx
Yes, the RTS II is such a nice camera.