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Am I Nuts Or What

gunteach

Well-Known Member
In this day and age of auto-focus DSLR's, adapters for all manner of lenses, mega-pixel counts and everyone and his brother seemingly going digital, I may have just done something that is quite frankly nuts.

This month I took possession of two like-new Contax film camera bodies to go with my collection of Carl Zeiss manual focus lenses. The first one is an RX with its novel "focus indicator" system, simply because I got it at an impossibly low price. It is a handful of camera and looks like lots of fun.

The second one makes the RX look tiny by comparison. It is an AX with a D-8 databack, complete with box, acccessories and manual. I think the system of moving the film plane to effect autofocus is a neat idea and cannot wait to see some pictures which I will shoot this weekend. I love the idea that I can use my existing CZ manual focus lenses and have autofocus when I want it.

Anybody want to tell me I'm crazy for buying two discontinued film cameras in the age of digital, or share their experiences and tips on either model with me?

Cheers,

Tom
 

nickser

Well-Known Member
Hi Tom,

Welcome to the nut house.

I too have the RX and AX setup. My favourite is the RX as it is compact, smooth and quiet.

The AX resides in the same bag but I find it a lot more cumbersome and even though I'm 6'2", I still find it big in my hands. Big that is, front to back. The AF is fine in daylight but sadly lacking once dusk comes, but what the heck MF is still there. I sometimes forget that it is Af and focus manually and wnder why things look fuzzy when I press the shutter as it AFs!

Have fun and great shots Mr Retro.

Paul
 

jsmisc

Well-Known Member
Hi Tom,

I don't think that's nuts at all. I think it's a very good move.
They will no doubt keep going, for as long as there is film. New films are still being introduced. They are also lovely things to own and use, especially at a good price.

I don't have an AX but I have an RX and love it. I also like the focus indicator. I believe that the RX II did not have focus confirmation due to the cost of including it.

I have not yet gone digital apart from a Casio compact but I am actively considering it- purely for the convenience. I still hope to stay with my film cameras though. To me film has an extra something and IMO gives quality that you have to pay thousands for in digital.
Cheers,
John
 

ulisse2000

Active Member
ME, me!
:)

If You will do not like the AX at first attempt, please leave it for a while, use the RX for some rolls, then came back to AX.
You will apreciate how the feeling with AX changed in positive way.
It is big, but very usable. The autofocus DO NOT compete with any modern camera, but AX is a great one anyway!

And RX?
It is simply my favourite. In my bag, it taken the place of an RTSII.

Regads,
Ugo
 

biggles3

CI-Supporter
Hi Tom,
Nuts - of course, but isn't it great to be a bit crazy and a Member of the Contax community. I too have the RX and a couple of AX's. I hated AF on principle (lazy photography) but ebay beckoned me to a cheap AX/D-8 and I fell in love with it - especially the engineering concept behind it. The reason for the 2nd body - back-up as spare parts become more scarce. I like the RX, but I generally use the RTSIII if not using the AX. Why I especially like the AX is its inherent macro capability, turning alomost every C/Y lens into a pin-sharp macro unit. The only thing to watch out for is using lenses with floating elements as slight refocussing is required.

And Ugo, if you're reading this, I'm delighted to have bought the W-3 from you - I hadn't made the connection between your ebay id and the Forum id!

By the way everyone, I have just heard that a 500 f4.5 Mirotar has 'gone missing' as a result of the recent security problems at London Heathrow airport from the baggage of a UK resident travelling to the States - it was the only item of luggage that he lost after they refused to allow it into the Cabin. What a suprise - so if anyone hears of such a lens being offered on the cheap (or on ebay if the thieves are really stupid) - let this group know!

Cheers and enjoy the RX and AX Tom,

Graham
 

ulisse2000

Active Member
<quote>
And Ugo, if you're reading this, I'm delighted to have bought the W-3 from you - I hadn't made the connection between your ebay id and the Forum id!
<unquote>

rofl.gif

Me too. This world is really too small.

I am just coming back from post office where I sent the winder.
Please let me know if anything of it is not ok for You.

Regards,
Ugo (Luposf on ebay)
 

wang

Well-Known Member
Can I join the nuts team, I have one RX, one AX, one Aria and one S2b.

For my AX, I rarely use the autofocus or in-built lens extension. Its mirror is as light as the RX, together with weight like a tank, it is an excellent equiptment for hand held photography. If you use the right film, it produces a quality of image ...

Well, most people would like me to say film and digital have different tastes, but I just feel film is so much better.

The problem will the film nowadays is that it is getting difficult to find good experienced people to make the prints properly. Last time I spent USD13 for each A3 prints and I was still disappointed. What happening in Hong Kong is that those people who are experienced in film processing and printing migrate to China. The film market in HK is shrinking so much that they have to find jobs elsewhere.

In the end, I am doing my own processing and printing with the scanner. I still manage to keep the taste of the film in digital form.
 

view_finder

New Member
Hi all,

I too agree that the AX is a bit cumbersome but I like the ingenious focusing machanism not only for its AF capability when used in combination with superb CZ manual-focus lenses but also for the added macro capability which comes in handy at times. The best feature of the AX, however, is the fact that this is the most versatile 35mm AF body by way of lens mount adapters. In addition to your CZ lenses, Leica Visoflex, Hasselblad-V, a vast ocean of M42 (and other if you can find appropriate adapters) MF lenses will auto-focus correctly and that's a super privilege we CY users can share.
 

rpnagel

Well-Known Member
Hi Tom,

I only played around with an AX in a shop with the Zeiss 4/80-200mm zoom on it and the camera was not able to focus correctly out of the shop over the street, or at least the viewfinder image had a wrong plane of focus (in case the shot would have been sharp on the film plane??).

"with weight like a tank", I decided to be an adult and go with the larger film format (6x6) for the same weight...

Last but not least, there is no Mirror Lockup MLU on all these bodies (apart from RTS, RTS II, RTS III), really a shame on Kyocera.
These three points are just my personal opinion. --rainer
 

gunteach

Well-Known Member
Well guys,

I went to take pictures at a local botanical garden with the newly acquired AX and RX. I took along my CZ 28-85 on the AX, and my also newly acquired CZ 35-70 for testing purposes.

It was a good news/bad news proposition. The RX was a joy to shoot with, and the results from the 35-70 were stunning. Unfortunately, the AX did not get quite all the way through a roll of film before the viewfinder and focusing screen image became mobile in the eyepiece. Something was amiss that I could not remedy. I was able to rewind the film, and then the camera stopped working altogether. This was disappointing because the few shots I did get with the AX and 28-85 combo were eye-popping in color and sharpness, which is probably more a testament to the CZ 28-85. Yes, it is a big and bulky lens, but I have never regretted buying it for a moment. The 35-70 makes a nice "little brother" to this lens, for times when I want something smaller. I think it has found a home on the RX.

Fortunately, the AX was insured and the e-bay seller is being responsible and promises a refund on return. I'm not sure whether I will replace the AX body or not. It was awfully big, but I did like the autofocus, even though the focus assist on the RX was just as easy to use.

However, for the cost of another AX I could buy an autofocus DSLR for about the same money and adapt my CZ lenses to it. What are the opinions of the group?

Sadly mourning the premature demise of my AX,

Tom
 

wang

Well-Known Member
AX does have very specialized features not matched by any other systems and cameras.

For ex&le, Contax do have extension rings with the shortest being 7.5mm and 13mm. What happens if you need only 2 mm ?

I understand that lens extension is not an ideal way of getting close focusing, but sometimes you do have situations that you only need small increments of extensions. The greatest merit of owning the C-Y system is the great choices of excellent quality wide angle lenses not found in any other 35mm systems. The wide angles of other system are no match to C-Y. C-Y wide angles have close focusing capabilities and excellent image quality is preserved even at close focusing. This close focusing ability can only be augmented by AX.

The other system with excellent close focusing is Hasselblad. 2.8/50 FE is able to do 0.2m. Being 6X6 or 645, this system is less versatile compared to 24X36.
 

jdm

Member
Tom,
Your AX can be repaired by sending to ToCAD America. They will charge you $224 and send it back to Japan. Mine took 1 month round trip, and now, works like new.
 

jsmisc

Well-Known Member
Hi Tom,

Big shame about the AX.

The trouble with adapting your CZ lenses to say a Canon DSLR is that unless you get the full frame 5D or the even more expensive ones, you will suffer from the dreaded crop factor.

I think that if I was going digital and not buying full frame, I would feel that I had to fork out for the special lenses designed to fit the sensor size.

The new 400D looks interesting but Photokina is just around the corner and who knows what that will bring
happy.gif
.

Cheers,

John
 

wang

Well-Known Member
There is a big drop in the prices of the DSLR with crop factor due to intense competition from different companies.

The same will happen to the full frame SLRs. Canon is monopolizing the play, but we expect the full frame Sony and Nikon will be coming soon. The same degree of price drop will be seen for the full frame cameras.

It is great for us as consumers, bad for Canon.
 

jsmisc

Well-Known Member
It will be great if full frame prices come down. I hope you are right and Nikon and Sony bring them out soon. That would really "level the playing field".

It is interesting that Canon have now brought out anti dust measures. Dust problems was one of the things putting me off digital. I expect they will apply it to all future models. Now Nikon has to introduce that too.
 

biggles3

CI-Supporter
Hi John,

You're right about full frame prices - they will come down as demand increases no doubt. And you're right about the dust problem - once again Olympus had blazed the trail - like it did with the OM that led to the Contax 139 - and Canon and the others are following. Here's hoping that Photokina brings some welcome news on the E-1 replacement.

And Ugo, thanks for the W-3 - it's perfect and working on a Contax RTS Fundus + bellows + 60 2.8 as I write this!

Does anyone here know if the Sigma MF APO 500 f4.5 was any good as I have spotted one for sale with a C/Y mount?

Cheers all.
Graham
 

coyot

Well-Known Member
Tom,

Of all the cameras that I have from Contax (RX,ND,N1,RTS II,G2 and the AX)the AX is/was absolutely my favorite. I love the weight, feel and the auto focus. The camera is built like a tank and never has failed me. Unfortunately, I rarely use the Contax equipment now that I have a Nikon system, including the D200. But ... my fondest memories of all the Contax equipement is of the AX.

Good shooting.

Michael.
 

dirk

CI-Founder
I have always a Yashica FX3 Super 2000 and this will never be sold. It is the poor man's Contax S2 :)

All mechanical like the S2. Not as well build and not as beautiful as the S2, but still very very robust and a joy to use with a Contax/Zeiss 50/1.4 :)

Best wishes
 
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