Contax Aria or Contax AX

B

by_design

I'm on intense search for a new SLR. I currently own HP PhotoSmart 912 (digital camera). One of my options is Contax.

The lenses I'll buy would be 28mm f/2.8 (scenary), 50mm f/1.7 (all around), 135mm f/2.8 (portraits).

I cannot decide between Aria body or AX body. Both seems to be great bodies. The AX adds the AF ability (not a big concern for me), but it also make it possible to shoot at closer distance with the 135mm thus overcomming its main disadvantage.

My main concern is budget... Contax costs a lot more than the other brands, but I'm willing to make that sacrifise. It would take me about a year to save money for all this kit with the AX body(~1300$), while it would be much less with the Aria body (~900$).

I'm searching for a body that would last for years.


What body should I choose?
 

mkoerner

Member
All Lenses you mentioned are comparably light. Imho they would fit on an Aria much more nicely than on an AX which is quite bulky. Also the AX in the long run might be more expensive to maintain and spare parts more difficult to get (see RX vs RXII for an Idea what problems might appear).

On the other hand, the lenses mentioned would work very well with the AF of the AX (zooms and slow lenses tend to be a problem). So if you want AF it is an option.

If you want a lightweight, robust travelkit go for the Aria. If you want a solid feel in your hand (which also makes it easier to shoot longer shutter times free-hand without shake) and do occasional Macro work, go for the AX.

Mike
 

9designs

Well-Known Member
You must go and handle these cameras, especially the AX, it’s a monster !
If you want Auto focus buy a Nikon ’80 or F100, primes and zooms as per your need.
If you want the solid manual focus route then consider the RX(II) as a solid robust option, or the Aria as the lighter travel option.
Either way look at the used market, eBay, dealers, fellow Contaxinfo members, I to have acquired a 18,28 & 135 lens, much cheaper than new, all are MM lens and apart from the 28, they were all boxed, with pouch and as new.
Perhaps find a used ST,RX or RTS in mint condition ? OR one of the older bodies to get started, that way you can start using the excellent lenses and upgrade the body later.

By the way I have the RX and a Nikon F80 (N80) they both are excellent, and have their strengths and weaknesses

Regards

Steve
 

tbc

Well-Known Member
RE: Posted by By Design on Wednesday, June 11, 2003 - 1:38 am:

One of my options is Contax. Aria body or AX body. The AX adds the AF ability (not a big concern for me), but > it also make it possible to shoot at closer distance with the 135mm > thus overcomming its main disadvantage.

AX CLOSE FOCUS. You get the equivalent of a 10mm ext tube, so it's not a huge advantage. Have you used a 135mm for portraits? Some find it too long, prefering the 90-105mm range. Have you considered a close-focusing zoom? I find using a fixed focal lgt 90 or 135mm gives me the advantage of lens speed over a zoom.

ASK YOURSELF, why are you considering Contax? You would not be disappointed if your reason was the ergonomic controls, and obvious quality that is seen in the camera bodies bodies, or the Carl Zeiss lenses. That's what has made some decide for Contax. If you liked the Zeiss glass, but weren't too concerned about the body, you could use a Yashica FX-3 or other. If you liked the Contax body but didn't want to pay for Zeiss glass, or didn't see the difference, you can use Yashica or other lenses. > My main concern is budget... Contax costs a lot more than the other > brands, but I'm willing to make that sacrifise. Contax/Carl Zeiss optics are more $$$ than some other SLR systems. >

> I'm searching for a body that would last for years. Longevity depends on a number of factors. Condition, if you buy used. How you treat the camera. And, of course, the gremlins in any design may cause failure. Sometimes, the more complicated and feature laden, the more can go wrong.

You can buy a bargain priced camera that might last longer than an expensive Contax. In the '70's most SLR's were projected to have a life of 15,000 cycles. Nikon F series and Canon F-1's were advertised to go 100,000 cycles. The Leica M series have claimed 400,000 cycles+. Would you buy a camera based on projected MTBF (mean time before failure)? Would you buy a Leica M6 because it would last 30x longer than a basic SLR? No, it comes down to what you want to use and for application you are making.

I use a Contax because I find the body/finder/meter, ergonomics, features, quality very much to my liking. I use Zeiss glass because I am very satisfied with the results.

Hope this helps you to decide.
 

coyot

Well-Known Member
>While some refer to the AX as a monster ... I consider it the perfect fit. Very well made, good auto focus, and extremely durable. Really the perfect Contax solution with the MM lenses ... giving you the auto focus option. I have absolutely NO complaints regarding the AX. However; having said that, I would spend a few hundred more and purchase the N1. The direction of Contax is the N mount, and you would be buying into the future, not the past. The N1 is a very, very nice camera with alot of features and very well made.

Michael.
 

9designs

Well-Known Member
I meant nothing derogatory to the AX, it’s very impressive, anyone who has been looking at consumer Nikons and Canons etc could be in for a bit of a shock !

The N system….ahhh if only…… how about a N system with both a digital and a film body…. Perfection !

How fast and responsive is the AX compared to say a current Nikon etc. To my mind AF is only useful when it’s quicker than the user and keeps up with moving objects, cars, planes and animals in my case. It’s only in the last couple of years that’s started to happen.

There is an AX on uk eBay at present and know ones bidding, start price £250. I was tempted but can’t justify it or have the need.
 

coyot

Well-Known Member
> Sorry, can't really say how fast the AX mechanically ... only in real world use. The auto focus is very good. Not the best. But for most shots very good and of course you can always change the focus manually just by turning the lens barrell.

The N system ... there is a digital body for the N system. The ND. I have this camera and it works very, very well.

Michael.
 
K

kdl6769

Get the Aria unless you like very heavy camera bodies.

Light weight. More sophisticated metering. Price. Feels great in the hands. Ability to pair it with 45mm pancake lens, turning it into a near-pocketable camera.

Re your lens choices -- those are all good ones, but I'd strongly consider getting the 85mm f/2.8 rather than the 135. Price is comparable, but 85 is more compact, image quality is superior, focal length is more versatile. It's a great lens. Another great lens that you can find cheap is the 35mm f/2.8.
 
W

writing4me

> If you're suggesting to look at the N series, don't forget the NX, which is about half the price of the N, is it not? (And of course the ND has been discontinued, as discussed in another thread, not 100% confirmed though) -Lynn L
 

singlo

Active Member
Hi,
I own both the Aria and AX. Both cameras are
outstanding. If you just start out using your
three chosen lenses, I would suggest the lighter Aria and use the money saved buy another lens. Also you need to consider the type of photography you are interested in. The AF in AX is very good for short focal length prime lenses, but it becomes problematic for zoom, long telephoto or lenses with floating elements. Having said that, the AX handling is good with heavy or long telephoto lens. Its titanium clay body is a piece of art (my personal opinion!).
 

europanorama

Well-Known Member
The AF in AX is very good for short focal length prime lenses, but it becomes problematic for zoom, long telephoto or lenses with floating elements. - could you specify this problem?
 

afranklin

Well-Known Member
> The AF in AX is very good for short focal length prime lenses, but it > becomes problematic for zoom, long telephoto or lenses with floating > elements. - could you specify this problem?

It is not really a problem with floating element lenses. It is merely something you have to be conscious of, and get your focus somewhat close manually, and then autofocus.

Austin
 

europanorama

Well-Known Member
>It is not really a problem with floating element lenses. It is merely >something you have to be conscious of, and get your focus somewhat >close manually, and then autofocus. > >Austin does it take longer to be in focus if in AF-position under certain circumstances?
 

afranklin

Well-Known Member
>Austin does it take longer to > be in focus if in AF-position under certain circumstances?

Michael,

I'm not clear what you are asking, would you please re-state that?

Austin
 
C

craignorris

I found that you have to set the lens to infinity focus distance before the AX will autofocus reliably. If you set the lens to a closer than infinity distance, the AX sometimes can't autofocus at all. If the lens is set to infinity, my AX will reliably focus with all my lenses, including 80-200 f4 and 35-70 f3.4

Regards,

Craig
 

singlo

Active Member
For lenses with flosting elements for close focusing (e.g. 180mm f2.8, 18mm f4), you need to stop down the aperture to avoid the loss of image sharpness at the edges if you use AF mode.
The back focusing sytem of the AX can only travel up to 10mm, for long telephoto primes or zooms, you need to "rough focus" the lens manually before you activiate the AF button. Also the AF sensor does not work wery well with lenses having maximum aperture equal or less than F5.6. I found that the AF mode of AX does not work with my 300 f4 and 100-300 f4-f5.6. Nevertherless I still think the AX is a great camera and a joy to use.
 

afranklin

Well-Known Member
> For lenses with flosting elements for close focusing (e.g. 180mm f2.8, > 18mm f4), you need to stop down the aperture to avoid the loss of > image sharpness at the edges if you use AF mode.

A more practical solution in my book is simply manually focus to an approximate focus "zone", and then let autofocus work. Personally, I haven't noticed any sharpness issues with the floating element lenses even if left on infinity...but I'm not doing critical work, or checking 13x19 prints with a loupe...but if that is a concern, doing as I suggest will avoid any concern.

Austin
 
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