CI Photocommunity

Register a free account now!

If you are registered, you get access to the members only section, can participate in the buy & sell second hand forum and last but not least you can reserve your preferred username before someone else takes it.

A question about Contax Digital


This relates to N lenses somewhat loosely but I wasn't sure where else to post so I apologize if it seems out of place. I'm also sorry if this is old news, but I am new to this forum (and Contax) and am very confused.

I saw a string of notes that the Contax digital was discontinued. However, they have a whole press release, etc. on the Contax manufacturers website.

This is important to me because I am considering investing in a Contax lenses, but want to be able to use my lenses to move to digital as well.



The Contax web site is VERY behind so don't pay much attention to it, unfortunately. The Contax ND has been discontinued but the film N1 (and NX) are still very much alive with 9 dedicated lenses of outstanding quality.

It is my hope and strong belief that Contax will develop new digiSLRs, because they will have to. What chip they will use is anyones guess. Fortunately, film is still an excellent viable medium for years to come (e.g, see new Velvia 100) so I am a happy (fairly new) Contax shooter who had to make a similar decision like you. If you want digital right now, just buy Canon or Nikon.


Active Member
The Contax N digital has in fact been discontinued. No need to fret though. It's a simple fact of economics. The N digital platform was not competitive enough price wise despite being first on the market with a full frame CCD. Contax has no choice but to put out a new digital SLR. If we like it or not, it is the future. If Contax does not keep pace Contax will cease to exist, sad but true. Don't hold your breath but expect a new digital SLR around the first of the year. Gavin


Active Member
The Contax N digital has in fact been discontinued. No need to fret though. It's a simple fact of economics. The N digital platform was not competitive enough price wise despite being first on the market with a full frame CCD. Contax has no choice but to put out a new digital SLR. If we like it or not, it is the future. If Contax does not keep pace Contax will cease to exist, sad but true. Don't hold your breath but expect a new digital SLR around the first of the year. Gavin


Well-Known Member
now that contax has obsolete the ND, the Profit and lost for this product will be obsolete soon after the finacial year, since they have already got the technology, to develope a new NDX? will be relative fast and cheap. If I were contax, once the stock for ND became relatively low, or if there is evident that the ND stock became dead stock, will put a new product to the market with a much higher defination (10-15M) and compete with other product! and since the develope cost is relatively low, I truely believe it will be very competitive, and will be out soon! or am I too naive. Ben


Well-Known Member
The more I use the ND, the more I think that Contax is in serious need of marketing communications assistance. The expectations of the camera were set by competitors and Contax did nothing to alter consumer expectations to their way of designing the camera. While it has some serious flaws none of them need have been fatal. I hope they learned a thing or two for the next attempt.



it seems that Kyocera does not care about the Contax costumers anymore. Kyocera P&S is the only thing they are interested at the moment.

We try hard to find a way to explain them that this is not the way how to treat costumers who are paying their salary, but til now no reaction so far...


Active Member

I hope your last posting is not from inside knowledge, but based primarily on Kyocera's recent product releases. If it is latter there is still some hope that not all of Contax - Kyocera's future new camera releases will be P&S digitals but will include some higher end digitals.




there will be sooner or later always a new product - also for the Contax line.

But there is a difference how serious you try to push your products as a producer and how much respect you have for your costumers. This is easily shown in your marketing approach, in your service level, the products you offer etc. Basically in every point which the costumer can see once interested in Contax products.

Of course we know sometimes more than a normal Contax costumers. But it is obvious that not all can be published in this forum.

If you compare for ex&le Zeiss (who are designing the lenses for the Contax cameras and for other brandnames too) with Kyocera, these are 2 different planets. Zeiss is very responsive, it cares about its costumers, it tries to offer the products the costumers want to have (not what an engineer with no photo-experience thinks is good for the world).

Kyocera instead is currently sitting on an island and thinks it knows better what the costumer wants to have than the costumer itself.

After several meetings on the highest level within the last 12 months with Kyocera, this is not just a personal impression, it is clearly visible even for people outside of This is something you can not hide over the long run. So I would not call this "insider knowledge". I would call it more the sad reality.

But bear in mind that we all use Kyocera/Contax products because of the Zeiss lenses, not because of Kyocera's name.

So if there is also within the next 12 months no serious committment from Kyocera for the Contax line and its costumers, there are many different options in the future to use still Zeiss lenses, but maybe with different bodies behind it

And I do understand as "serious committment" not only the offering of one or two bodies over the next 12 months. Serious committment means for us

1) A lot more lenses (please not again a supertele which nobody can afford and/or carry)

2) Significant improvements on the service level

3) Realistic prices outside of Japan (especially UK and Europe)

4) Digital cameras which can compete with the newest versions of the competition. More in technical details & usability than in prices.

It is always the same. You get what you asked for. If Kyocera is not changing fast its attitude, they can not complain that loyal Contax users of the past turn to other alternatives with Zeiss lenses on it.

Contax sales numbers are around 60% in Japan. Only 40% for the rest of the world. All decisions are made in Japan. And all marketing efforts/product developments are for the Japanese costumers, not for the different needs of different countries.

These decisions are made by people who are not hobbyphotographers, which means they have no clou what the costumer wants to have.

I do not have the exact numbers here, but Japan has around 120 million people, Europe around 240, US around 240. That means Kyocera is not paying attention to almost 3/4 of the worldwide market.

To say it in nice words: This is "unique" in the camera industry - and we are talking with all major manufacturers a lot

As everybody knows, we have been big fans of Contax and Zeiss in the past. But at the end of the day I am a fan of Zeiss lenses, no matter which body is behind it. That is the reason I bought years ago my first Contax. So if I get better possibilities with Zeiss lenses and another body behind it and Kyocera is still not moving towards its costumers, I will not hesitate to follow Zeiss to better cooperation partners.

Just my 2 cents


Well-Known Member
Dirk, Howard, all we can do is hope. Contax may be focused on P&S gear right now to recover profits lost on the ND.

Dirk, while I love photography and am an avid shooter, my real experience base is in advertising and marketing communications. As an Executive Creative Director I've led creative teams in many successful major ad c&aigns. I launched Unysis back in the 80s; also helped Ford Motor Company do a turn around in that decade; ran all of the Lincoln-Mercury advertising into the 90's and now do major national advertising for Unilever/Best Foods.

I would now like to help the Contax brand using that experience. Do you know someone I can contact in the USA to begin a dialog with? I'm sure the account would be small in terms of billings, but I like this brand and helping them would be a labor of love.

BTW, I've posted some new ND work in the Contax Gallery. It's mostly vacation type shots, but it shows my faith in the Contax product to deliver excellent results. I could have taken my Canon 10D or 1Ds and excellent L lenses, but chose the ND and Zeiss N glass instead. Using is proof of preference and loyality.


Well-Known Member

I found your last message fascinating and informative...let's have some more!!

One curious thing, even though I agree with you that it seems like .... "Kyocera P&S is the only thing they are interested at the moment.".......I find it odd that I can not remember the last time I saw any significant advertising of a new Kyocera camera product in the UK! Is Japan HQ asking the Euro countries to swim with their hands tied behind their backs in the race?

Even Contax launches seem low-key in the UK, what is it like in the rest of Europe?

Cheers, Bob.



there are no Contax marketing efforts at all in Europe. To be honest, there is even not a person in marketing Europe dedicated for the Contax products - only for Kyocera P&S.

For the US I do not know, but I imagine that this is the same. And the people in Japan seem not to plan to adapt anything for the non-Japan market for Contax. You get very nice Contax marketing materiel in Japan by the way and the prices are between 30-50% less than in Europe.

The marketing I have seen so far for Kyocera P&S in Europe is a certain marketing which (in my personal view) just costs a lot of money, but results not in sales or brandname recognition.

They did finance i.e. sandsculptures in Berlin This was a 5 day event, totally unrecognized by hobbyphotographers because it has nothing to to with photography.

I am not sure whether the marketing people there actually know what they are doing or what would increase brand recognition and sales. Since we have a lot of experience by profession with marketing and because of all of our photo-sites we know what we are talking about.

The fact that they want to push into the mass-digital-market of P&S (as everybody else does it at the moment), does not mean that they really know how to do it.

This might be the major reason why you have not seen anything/ payed attention to it yet
Certainly in the photographic press, there have been many instances of full page adverts for Contax products, and Kyocera cameras such as the Finecam. There have also been quite a few tests by the magazines of (recent) Kyocera products, and they have just announced a new version of the Finecam (the S5R). To say there has been no advertising or promotion of Kyocera and Contax products is simply not the case.
All this interest in the compact market must I would think, have a knock on effect to what they do in the SLR market, but in terms of technology, it is moving at such a pace, that it must be difficult to keep up for any manufacturer.
It's interesting that the new Nikon SLR uses a 4 meg chip, and is aimed squarely at the press market. Contax is aimed much more at the "quality" market, in terms of both results and pricing. What a lot of commentators, magazines and the like do is try to compare apples and oranges - the N Digital is not aimed at the same market as the other SLR cameras in my view - and that perhaps is where the problems of promotion, advertising and so on have started .

On a slightly different subject, Dirk, I want to upload some N Digital pictures to the gallery, but you say not to use Photoshop 7. Surely a Jpeg is a Jpeg - can you explain what the problem is, and if there is a workround - I only have P'shop 7.

Regards to all,



Well-Known Member
Hi Andy...long time, no hear!

I agree that there have been some full-page Contax adverts and the occasional Kyocera advert ... but it still seems low-key compared to the competitors! I suppose it boils down to what an individual regards as “significant advertising“. Adverts appear for short periods and then ages until the next one. By comparison, the competitors seem to keep a near constant presence in the press, or so it appears to me!

Even in the PC mags, I notice that mentions of the Finecams are few and far between.

I’m not knocking our UK team ... it must depend on what they are allowed to spend on advertising. If the budget for Europe is dictated by Japan, then I fear that Kyocera might be shooting themselves in the foot. It would appear from Dirk’s messages that he would agree with me, and I with him.

Cheers, Bob.


Well-Known Member
I seem to be a lone voice but I have had nothing but good experience in my infrequent dealings with Kyocera UK.
On a different and maybe off-topic tack, the new Pentax DSLR looks as though it will be interesting.


Well-Known Member
Not at all, John.

You are not a lone voice. With my frequent dealings with Kyocera (Yashica) UK, I too have had nothing but good experiences. So have many of the members in the Contax Postal Club (UK)... so, they have at least 55+ supporters, I included (oo...56+, forgot Andy)!

You will note that I said in my last message that I am NOT knocking KYUK. I’ll leave it to you to figure out who I am “knocking”.

I have had nothing but great dealings in the past with KYUK, and fully support them, as they have supported the Contax Postal Club, and my efforts on behalf of the Club, and myself personally!

I have spoken to and corresponded with many, many UK Contax and Yashica users over the years, and I find very few unhappy ones. Sure, they grumble here and there, but all love their cameras and lenses and are happy with KYUK’s service. Note that many of the members own other makes as well as C/Y, and discussing their respective merits with them, reinforces the benefits of the C/Y cameras and the UK Company.

I would not spend such a good deal of my spare time on Contax and Yashica and running the Contax Postal Club if I did not believe in the products and the UK Company.

This support does not contradict the statements or questions both Dirk and I have made.

Cheers, Bob.


I agree with Bob. I was not referring to Kyocera UK. Decisions are made in Japan, neither in Europe nor the US.

The name Contax is owned by Zeiss, not by Kyocera. Kyocera is only producing the bodies. The marketing and service for Contax products however is the responsibility of Kyocera, not of Zeiss.

If the decision of Kyocera Japan for Contax products is not to care about anything outside of Japan (no marketing, no new products, no services), the results are decreasing sales numbers. UK can only act within the borders and budgets Kyocera Japan is allowing them.

If Zeiss would not put so much effort in supporting its lens costumers with their own efforts, there would be no Contax future at all.
But Kyocera is not willing to understand this. I am impressed about this ability to ignore common sense, facts and reality.


I believe that before Kyocera/Contax can focus on a marketing plan, they need to develop a solid BUSINESS plan. If they have one, or had one, I think it must be buried under a 6-inches of dust and no one has paid any attention to it. A company can't get this far off track if they have a good working business plan that they keep monitoring and updating as events change. That's true for all business. Then, when they have that, the marketing strategy just flows from it. Not the other way around. You can't market products if the products either are not there, or are not desired by the market. My complaint about Kyocera Contax started a few years ago when they alienated themselves from the larger dealers in my area. There are no Contax dealers in my area - and I am talking about the greater Milwaukee area. You have to drive to Chicago to find one and that's 1.5 to 2 hours away. How many casual photographers travel that distance to buy a camera that they haven't seen used or promoted in some fashion? Anyway - they need help from the ground up - not just in marketing. If Zeiss were to come out and build bodies on their own again without Kyocera I would jump for joy. Zeiss deserves loyalty and respect. Zeiss is very responsive to questions and inquiries and seem to really care about answering even insignificant questions from users like me via email.



Well-Known Member

Perhaps, with the current employment problems in Germany, it would be possible the return the production to Germany. I have believed for sometime that Kyocera has been riding the Zeiss name and not putting forth and effort to market the products as Lynn mentioned. If Zeiss began producing cameras again like they use to (as Leica is today) I believe that would set the camera world on fire. I know that I would be a very happy about it.