I currently use Nikon F6 and D40 with 17-35 AFS, 70-200VR AFS, 55mm AIS for studio work with Hensel Integra Pro, which mostly includes portraiture, modeling and still life.
I never used medium format. Will I benefit if I add Contax 645 with three lenses Planar T* 80mm F2.0, Distagon 2.8/45 and Sonar 2.8/140 ?
Will Nikon D3 be a better buy ?
You will be blown away by the sharpness and tonality attainable with medium format in general, and with the Contax 645 system in particular.
As far as the D3 is concerned...well, you're asking the wrong question on the wrong forum! :) [Better whisper it to me or else you'll get smacked.]
In the Contax system, I'd go for the 140 first as it's a superb portrait lens, one of the best. It stays on my contax 90% of the time. After that I'd look at the 80 or the 55, depending on what you usually shoot. The 55 is very hard to find. If you need more background isolation the 210 is available and is under-rated, in my view.
If you need wider than this, I'd skip the 45 and go for the 35. It's one of the best very-wides around.
So the short answer is, without a doubt, yes, YES, YESSS! you will benefit by adding the contax system, or any medium format system.
Never used the Contax but I've heard so many people rave about them. And the results I've seen from them were truly amazing. I have to use a D200 quite regularly for some of my commercial clients, but I'm pretty sure that the Contax will still out-quality the D15 when it comes out!!
How is the metering system in the Contax? I've been thinking about adding the camera to my collection as well.
The metering is great. You get center weighted or spot (I can't remember if spot is with the AE finder or just with the waist level finder). That Waist Level Finder goes for crazy prices on eBay (over $600). From time to time I want to sell my Contax/140/80/35 set up but then I just think how wonderful the images are when I do take them.
If someone wants to make a reasonable offer on the entire kit including the camera battery grip, AE finder, Waist Level Finder, 80mm, 35mm and 140mm hoods, 2 backs (one with vacuum), Polaroid Back, lens bags, tripod plate and a Contax camera bag, Private Mail me on APUG. All is in like new condition. You can't see a scratch anywhere (the carbonite-plastic does leave some light marks but if you lick you finger and rub it over, they go a way for a while. Its a very interesting material). That said, there are no scratches or gashes on any of the equipment.
I live outside NYC if you want to see the equipment. I do think its time to thin out the heard. I have bought too many systems. What can I say, I love to buy and use film cameras.
Thanks all for replies.
Commercial photographers warned me to stay away from Contax as this is a dead line. They told to buy RZ II if I really want try a medium format.
But they recommended Nikon D3 for commercial work.
Nothing at all wrong with the Contax. It could be a concern if you were going to shoot commercially and put tens of thousands of frames a year through it, but if you're not, get the system and enjoy it.
I have used the Contax 645 many times. Its the IMHO its the best MF camera ever made.
Everything was razor sharp and the built in meter was also accurate.
If i had the money i would ditch my Mamiya 645 Pro and get a Contax.
The only drawback of the system is the price of the lenses. Even used they are high.
Buy a D3 or contax 645? Neither! Buy a Mamiya 645 AFD and shoot film with it until you feel like you need the ZD back. That way you can support a great company that still makes modular film cameras with wonderful lenses.... plus keep your digital options open. The contax body is amazing but the prices of the lenses and the overall range of available lenses and accessories are not so impressive. Bear in mind there are a lot of different Mamiya lenses. Personally, I'd rather have a brand new system with a full warranty and modular upgradability, even if it is somewhat more plasticky to the touch.
As for the Mamiya lenses, well...
I don't like Mamiya 645AF. It's like a big Canon. Lenses don't compare to Zeiss.