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Contax Aria vs. Contax ST

I going to change my 139Q. But I've got a problem do decide between Aria and ST. I'm very interested in your opinion about theese two bodys (I' posted this same message in RXII topics, but I think that this place is more suitable)



i worked with an aria last year
i had the opportunity to change for a new ST

it's a real camera...the aria is too plastic

you will not be disappointed


New Member
i'm in the same boat as corbin. i'm new to photography and contax. i am using an old, well preserved 137 ma with a growing collection of nice zeiss lenses. it's time to move up. the aria seems like a good choice...most of my shots are woods/landscapes/outside. the main complaint seems to be the weight, the feel. what i would like to know is if i purchase an aria now, will i want to move up again, possibly to a st, rx or even a rts3? how does the overall quality of the photos match up? the price is a factor. the listings on keh make the aria about $300 less than the rx or st and $600 less than the rts3.
i know you get what you pay for...that's why i thought i'd check in with y'all. thanks ahead for the info.


I have an Aria and an RX, and, I couldn't help myself, I bought a used, kinda beat-up ST with the batteryholder/vertical shutter release. I like and use them all (but don't need them all). For me the ST fits my relatively small hands best, and I like the vertical release. Contax didnt make a vertical release for the RX or Aria. I don't like the lighted shutter speed indicator numerals in the viewfinder of the ST as well as the LED readout in the other newer cameras. The RX and ST both seem to have really quiet shutters/mirrors. The RX was supposedly designed specifically for low vibration, but the ST also seems to be low vibration, although the film advance whines more than the RX. The ST and RX each have some features the other dosen't have such as: ST - higher shutter speed, RX - double exposure and digital focus indicator. Contax put an "autofocus" system in the RX, but you manually focus the lens and read a graphical focus and depth of field indicator in the viewfinder (which you can turn off if you dont like/need). The ST and Aria have brighter viewfinders than the RX (but its more than adequate). The newer RX and Aria have the 5 contacts on the flash shoe for improved communication with the flash. The Aria is a newer model with matrix metering as well as spot and averaging. You can put a true data back on the Aria, but not on the RX (not sure on the ST). The Aria is the smallest, lightest 35 mm SLR body in the Contax line. Paired with light lenses, the Aria is so light, you never feel like leaving it at home. (Almost?) Light enough for speed hiking or trail running. The RX and ST are heavy metal bodies with the "solid" feel while the Aria is a plastic over a metal frame (but dosen't look cheap). There is certainly much more to this discussion in this forum, and you might also go to
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for a comparison of the ST and RX. My conclusion was that all these are better cameras than I am a photographer.


Well-Known Member
Hello Paul,
You would not be disappointed with an Aria which in Contax terms is a modern camera and reasonably priced. My only complaint with it is the rather stiff on off switch- although this does prevent it from switching on accidentally. It is a light weight and useable camera with spot and "matrix" metering in addition to centre weighted. The pictures you take with it will be fine and you will notice no difference in pictures taken with it or any of the other Contax or indeed Yashica cameras if you keep using your Zeiss lenses.
I would say that the Aria would be a natural progression from your 137 MA with the added advantage that with the Aria you would be able to benefit from the MM range of lenses.


Hi Paul, I own the RX and the Aria and can say that I love both these superb cameras. The Aria is smaller & lighter than the RX, but in my opinion is packed full of options and is sturdy enough. If you are using Zeiss lenses you won't have to worry about which body takes better pictures. I didn't think that I would ever need another camera once I got the RX since it is such a great camera and fit perfectly in my hands but when the weather gets unbearably warm or as I get older and less willing to carry around heavy gear the Aria is perfect. I use both cameras as much as I can. Good luck to you.
Hi Paul. I own RTS3 and ST, and did own a RX. I sold the RX, because of the lack of a vertical shutterrelease button. The RTS3 has one and the ST has one on its batterygrip

Good luck