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Contax S2b

G

Guest

Bought a mint- S2B today. I am very excited about it and hope it fill the niche I purchased it for- a very well built, fully manual slr with great lenses for ocassional shooting. I decided against a Leica 6.2 which is unreliable despite how many Selgado goes through on his photo treks. Leica shamelessy touts this lemon as the Zeus of cameras. I also believe Zeiss glass to be comparable to Leica's Slr lenses. That being said. I own two M-6's that do 90% of work and I plan to be using them longer after the M7 and the G2 obselete. The S2B (FOR ME) seems to be a great compliment to my M system. The Aria was tempting. Plastic back was a huge turn out. Great finder though. I will post as I work with this camera. My Only gripe is that like all manual slrs camera it is not quiet like its d&ened/electronic siblings. Which is another advantage of the Aria.
And film advance. I am almost talking myself into a return/exchange. Well, two quite different and great small bodies in my view.
 
G

Guest

I played with the camera alot in one day and learned some. I love everything about the body,S2B, except the tuning fork noise it makes after you fire it.

A friend of mine describes it as the 'guilotine' noise. And honestly I can't disagree with him. I wish I could!! When there is no 'white noise' to kill this metallic noise (apart from the usual mechanical slap, and shutter, aperture noise) it is pretty annoying and noticable.

So if you are in a camera shop looking the S2 over do it in a near silent enviroment not in a central air/white noise enviroment. You won't notice it then. That way you can decide for yourself.

I will decide to either live wth this noise and what seems to be a great body otherwise or return it.

I wanted to make others aware of this potential problem. You may or may not take issue with it. Also it is only an issue if you demand an as quiet as possible manual slr. Fully manual cameras are louder by design.

Keep in mind I shoot with Leica M6s as my main system so I am very sensitive to strange noise and noise in general. FYI I have also used Canon 1Vs (an apple to an orange really when comparing to S2B).

peter
 
G

Guest

I decided to return it. It's overall noise is average if not slightly lower than a Nikon or Leica R (fully manual only for a fair comparison).

BUT. The 'tuning fork' high pitched noise is noticable/distracting and calls more attetion due to its unusal nature.

A shame. I really loved:

1)the finder (good even with my glasses),

2)the high sync speed 1/250 and 1/4000 top speed

My M6s aren't useful there but then again the shutter noise is SO much lower. I love them for this. I find the M7's high speed sync feature (not higher SYNC SPEED the M7 is the same-1/50) useless. IMHO the blinking finder Mess-M7 is just that.

I was hoping to fill this need with the S2. Slrs do somethings rfs don't and vice versa.

3) Great build quality.

The most solid slr I have held.

The best I've found in build quality. I looked at Nikons, Olympus + Leica R. In my mind it goes:

Nikon comes in second to Contax in this respect with Leica R third and Olympus fourth. Lenses go Contax+Leica R tie, Nikon a fairly close, depending on focal lengths, 3rd and Olympus 4th (but some of those lenses are outstanding too). All four are great.

After all some of the greatest photographers in the history of the medium worked with lenses that most would thumb their noses at.

Frank, Winogrand, Lange, (insert your favorites photographers here).

My thing is which one holds up. I can't throw them away like some pros do. That is why I value so highly the build of S2 or the M6s I use and love and trust.

Oh well. I will find the right small, robust, fully manual slr in time. I almost did.

It is not urgent for me as the M6s cover almost all my work. Time to do what matters go walk around with my cameras. Bye now.

-peter
 
G

Guest

Peter,

Have you tried any other bodies? Maybe there is something funny with the one you had. I have an S2, and it doesn't sound like what you describe. The mirror makes a kind of clank rather than a slap, but it doesn't sound strange or wrong to me - is this what you hear? I think it's a great camera, and a simple and straightforward alternative to the RTS III, the body I use most often. I think it handles really well. I picked the S2 over the S2b because of the spot meter.

I also use a couple of Leica rangefinders, so it sounds like our tastes are similar.

- Paul
 
G

Guest

Paul,

Perhaps you are right or have the lucky one camera. If so wanna sell it:).

But I heard this in another body I looked at that was a s2. And saw a couple reviewers on another site talk about the same strange high pitch metallic vibration and their frustration with it. It should be apparent when you don't have the a/c on or other white nosie to kill this weird noise.

I love the camera. I am still considering buying it back from the store I returned it to or seeking a S2. Like you I'd find the spot meter more useful.

That noise is pretty bad for me. Like a beautful and good woman who smokes is how I feel about it right now. It is such a great camera otherwise. No need to rehash the specs and abilities of this otherwise wonderful compact tough slr. The FM3A lacks the build quality and easy to see finder (I wear glasses) + ZEISS Glass (more importanly great build quality on the lenses). I must say the s2 is superior in my IMO to all manual slrs except for this problem.

I called Contax 2 days ago. No reply. I will see if they can d&en it. I suspect it is a design problem. I wish it was not. I'll try them again today.
 
G

Guest

Chuck, the Contax Tech Guy in New Jersey, called back and was extremely helpful and nice.

He talked to the Repair Dept. for me. We learned that the mirror box could be modified (for about $150) to kill the tuning fork effect on the S2.

This renders it a perfect pint-sized slr. In my quest to find an alternative to the S2 I revisited the Nikon FM3A. Not as soild a body build but the finder is almost as good which surprised me. It is quieter in with the mechanical shutter mode too (for fair comparison).

I view a body as a box for lenses. I like very solid and reliable bodies though! Zeiss usually edges out Nikon in a lense showdown.

That being said the photographer counts more than the equipmnet by a long shot.

So now I have two choices and in my mind I can't go wrong either way. I must say my money is on Nikon to be the last company to stop making manual slrs and lenses for them. Contax is phasing out their lenses right now.

A huge shame!! The way of profit: auto and digital everything. Sell to the masses and neglect those who demand something different. Good buisness practice and bad news for those who enjoy the real craft of it. Olympus, Canon already and soon Contax.

The S2 is so tempting I may say so what and buy it then have it modified.

Long live manual slrs! :).
 
G

Guest

Eitan,

I want to make sure we are clear that I mean the c/y not N mount lenses and FULLY manual slrs not electronic manual focus slrs.

The 25 is discontinued here in the states.

Remaining stock and used is all there is.

Also several stores have told me that sadly Contax is going to focus on the N and N1 larger autofocus mounts because the manual market is not as profitable. Also I have been told in many cases with certain manual slr products are not profitable at all.

They are buisnessmen first.

It will be a gradual process but it has begun. I even believe it will spread to the electronic MF slrs sooner than we'd think.

This disappoints me and but it makes 'stock holders' happy. I understand they need to pay their kids tuition too.

Look at how Leica phased out the R-6.2. I was told it was because the mold to make the body was worn out. And the Leica rep told me it was not profitable enough consider replacing. He added the camera is very expensive to manufacture especially the shutter and it's adjustments. It takes all that labor and skill required to make it like a fully manual m-6, s-2, om-3ti. All those springs, gears etc. need to be assembled with precision and adjusted to work on their own WITHOUT the aid of electronic control. Which is the reason for a CLA every once in a while. A manual camera needs a bit more attention but will last longer.

Planned obsolescence is more profitable too. Manaul tanks, properly cared for, will outlast their electronic counterparts much more often than not.

I WON'T GO FURTHER WILL THIS X-FILE LIKE DIGRESSION.

Many of these companies are forgeting their roots for the promise of cash in electonic, auto focus and digital cameras. For ex&le the M-7. I hate this constanting blinking(if you deviate from the DX setting), dead battery and you are stuck with two shutter speeds camera. It is sacarelgious to me as an M user. But most of world loves this camera. Which is a great ex&le of what is happening in the industry. Make camera for the common denominator. I.E. The dentist who loves point in shoots and finds the manual setting of exposure (an skill and thinking it requires) on the M6 a pain.

I don't have a letter from the president of Contax or other 'smoking gun' proof. I have seen what Contax is doing and what the trends of their peers have been.

Of course Nikon bucks this trend with the FM3A with an intelligent compromise an Aperture Priority mode with a shutter than can also be fired battery free in manual.
 
G

Guest

Eitan,

I want to make sure we are clear that I mean the c/y not N mount lenses and FULLY manual slrs not electronic manual focus slrs.

The 25 is discontinued here in the states.

Remaining stock and used is all there is.

Also several stores have told me that sadly Contax is going to focus on the N and N1 larger autofocus mounts because the manual market is not as profitable. Also I have been told in many cases with certain manual slr products are not profitable at all.

They are buisnessmen first.

It will be a gradual process but it has begun. I even believe it will spread to the electronic MF slrs sooner than we'd think.

This disappoints me but it makes 'stock holders' happy. I understand they need to pay their kids tuition too.

Look at how Leica phased out the R-6.2. I was told it was because the mold to make the body was worn out. And the Leica rep told me it was not profitable enough consider replacing. He added the camera is very expensive to manufacture especially the shutter and it's adjustments. It takes all that labor and skill required to make it like a fully manual m-6, s-2, om-3ti. All those springs, gears etc. need to be assembled with precision and adjusted to work on their own WITHOUT the aid of electronic control. Which is the reason for a CLA every once in a while. A manual camera needs a bit more attention but will last longer.

Planned obsolescence is more profitable too. Manaul tanks, properly cared for, will outlast their electronic counterparts much more often than not.

I WON'T GO FURTHER WILL THIS X-FILE LIKE DIGRESSION.

Many of these companies are forgeting their roots for the promise of cash in electonic, auto focus and digital cameras. For ex&le the M-7. I hate this constanting blinking(if you deviate from the DX setting), dead battery and you are stuck with two shutter speeds camera. It looks like a sell-out to me as an M user. But most of world loves this camera. Which is a great ex&le of what is happening in the industry. Make cameras for the common denominator. I.E. The dentist who loves point in shoots and finds the manual setting of exposure (i.e. skill and thinking it requires) on the M6 a pain.

I don't have a letter from the president of Contax or other hard proof. I have seen what Contax is doing and what the trends of their peers have been.

Of course Nikon bucks this trend with the FM3A with an intelligent compromise: an Aperture Priority mode with an electronically controled shutter that can also be fired battery free in manual.

Interesting camera to say the least.
 
G

Guest

Peter Wrote: "The 25 is discontinued here in the states."

This may indeed be one sign of manual-focus lenses being gradually phased out - as you mention. And as it has already been discussed in other forums, quite a lot of factors in technology, industry and market seem to somewhat point in that direction over the next number of years.

But ... the sad goodbye to one of my personal all-time favourite lenses - the 25/2.8 - will not in itself justify your general conclusion.

For a number of years there were three popular Zeiss wide angles in the C/Y lens range: 18/4.0, 25/2.8 and 28/2.8.

Then a few years ago a new high quality wide angle lens was introduced: 21/2.8. This lens has gained a tremendous reputation as probably the best SLR wide angle in the market. It is profiting from a whole range of new technologies that were not available, when the 18/4.0 and the 25/2.8 was originally designed and put into production back in 1968.

I would be able to perfectly understand if a rising number of Contax users today would chose the 21/2.8 in favour of its two closest rivals in the lens range when building up their Contax gear.

Combine this with three new Zeiss zooms reaching very close to the 25/2.8 perspective (which is actually 27 mm - very, very close also to the 28/2.8).

It might be a matter more of development and letting the best lens win than any managementwise or financial conspiracy.

The Consumers voted. The 25/2.8 lost the race - here are the winners:

21/2.8 - 28/2.8 - 28-70/3.4 - 28-85/3.3 - 35-135/3.3

And please note: Four out of these five lenses have been introduced - excuse me for saying: phased in - in recent years.

Kind regards,

Jakob
 
G

Guest

(can't I write a S2b review as another thread?
It's pity, that people who come to see review
only read the one that complains the noise...)

I love my Contax S2b, including its shutter sound.
I don't know if the sound I hear and Peter hears
as "Guillotin noise" are the same or not.
At least mine, though it was "shock" for ther first
time to hear all mechanical shutter sound of S2b,
it doesn't take so much attention while I'm taking
photo with it in real life.

BTW, I think Kyocera didn't discontinued Distagon
25mm yet. Maybe some (or all?) shops in US may not
have any stock of it, as far as I know,
Kyocera Japan didn't announce it was discontinued.

and I love this Distagon 25mm, too.

muchan
 
G

Guest

Denial is the first stage. Eventually acceptance.

Muchan I like Contax gear too but the numbers don't add up.

Money talks and I know us loyal users do too but no one will listen when the final decisions are made.

Like I said I see it as no accident that Contax is following the trends of it's competition.

A major mistake in the long run!!!

How popular would Contax be if they became, in the near future, the sole maker of a fully manual slr of S2 caliber?

The only supplier of a great camera. Instead of the maker of same type of camera i.e. the N1 which either Nikon or Canon's autofocus runs circles around. They can't beat Canon's lenses or Nikon's AFS AF speed and they tie on the optical quality with Canon's L lenses.

The MF SLR route sounds very profitable to me.

But wall street tunnel vision shirts don't look ahead. Stockholders scream profits NOW!

Muchan if the noise is not offensive to you, great.

It is to me. Yet, the merits of camera forced me to see if I could correct what I 'personally' don't like about it. I can via Contax's Repeair Dept.

Like I said I hope the dealers I spoke with are misinformed but the 25 is vanishing and so are available bodies at BH. Look at BH's website and see for yourself. It is as good a store as any to get a gauge on what is happening overall.

Prove me wrong. I'd like you too:)! I like these gems too.

Take care.
 
G

Guest

Wat are you talking, Peter?

Simply, this page is a "review of S2/S2b", nothing
with the Contax strategy or AF or these thing,
and as one of S2/S2b users who love this camera,
I just say _it's_a_pity_ that your comment, that
you personally didn't like the sound, is at the
first and dominant in the page, for future readers
who would love S2/S2b as we S2 gangs do.

muchan
 
G

Guest

Very solidly built titanium body, relatively heavy than it looks, almost unbreakable and nicknamed as "hockey pack" by some owners, Contax S2/S2b is one of the ultimate SLR camera ever designed.

S2 is "silver" color titanium body with built in TTL spot meter, and S2b is black finished titanium body with built in TTL center-weighted meter, and that is the only difference of the two models.

Electronics is used only to support the built-in meter, it has fully mechanical shutter (1 sec to 1/4000 sec, or B) that operates without electric supply. For that reason, most of owners get this model as the solid back-up camera of Contax system. But there are also people (called "S2 gangs") who consider it as the main SLR camera for their photography.

With modern cameras, there are many many ways of metering and setting the exposure, but ultimately, everything about exposure can be reduced to "choosing the right aperture and right shutter speed". S2/S2b is for that kind of "reductionists".

For the Manual mode shooter, S2/S2b is the most user-friendly SLR from contax
since at the most convenient place to operate with right hand fingers, unlike rest of "electric shutter" SLRs with exposure compensation dial to set the "relative exposure" to the meter's suggestion, S2/S2b has the shutter speed dial, that sets the "absolute exposure" to shoot.

Inside the viewfinder, beside the image on the finder screen, you see nothing else but a LED to show the shutter speeds that built-in light meter suggests. You don't see even the aperture setting, but shooting with S2/S2b. With S2/S2b the aperture the lens is currently set, should be obvious in the photographer's mind.

I personally prefer using it even without batteries, that only thing I see there, is the "image" to be taken on the film.

The most of work while taking photo with S2/S2b is done by photographer's eye. In my case, finding the scene to take shot, meter the light with handheld meter, choosing the lens, setting the aperture and shutter speed ("Manual mode" is the only choice with S2/S2b) only then I put the viewfinder to my eye, thinking now only about the right framing and focusing, nothing but the image to be taken, at the peak of my concentration I hear the dry sound of the mechanical shutter.

I love my Contax S2b, and I am a proud member of S2 gangs.



muchan
 
G

Guest

Just bought myself an S2 today.

I was after a solid, reliable, manual camera that I could take mountain walking and I had opted for a Rollei 35S due to it's Ziess lens and compact size. Bought one, received it, wasn't impressed with the condition (especially for the money I paid) so I sent it back.

I then decided that the S2 wasn't that much bigger or heavier than the Rollei, and I really did want an SLR, not a compact, so I'd buy an S2.

Had a hunt around, found 5 or 6 for sale from £425 to £600. The one at £600 at a Zeiss specialist was listed as mint, but I found out that he'd had it for 12 months and couldn't shift it. I told him that it was too expensive, and talked him down to £400, including a 12 month warranty.

It arrived this morning in the original box. The camera is mint except for a tiny bit of leather on the rear 'film flap' which has bubbled at the edge slightly (I was told about that before buying).

I'm extreemly impressed by the build quality, it is superb. It's not a heavy camera, but it feels so solid, like you could use it as a small lump hammer (don't worry, I won't!!).

My shutter makes the 'guilotine' noise, but I like it, it sounds like it should make that noise. It doesn't sound dissimilar to my dads Contax, Yashica and Zenith SLR's, so I don't have a problem with it. Maybe it'll startle a grizzly bear one day and I'll get eaten, but at least the camera is tough enough to survive


I got the box, but alas, no manual... not that one is needed, the camera is pretty simple to use, although the original manual would be nice to 'complete the set'. I've downloaded the pdf one off this site (thanks) to be going on with.

All I'm missing now is a lens... The first lens for me has to be the 50mm f1.4 Planar MM, there seem to be a few mint ones around for £180.

The second lens will be a little more tricky to choose, 21mm/f2.8, 25mm/f2.8 or 28mm/f2.8, decisions decisions.....

It's a shame some of these lenses cost as much as a small car!!

Best Regards,
Jon
 
G

Guest

If you don't need the faster lenses, I would also consider the Tessar 45mm 2.8. Very compact and I think by most accounts a wonderful lens. I would be interested in what others think of this lens.
 
G

Guest

What about mirror-vibration with S2/S2B-is it a Problem ????

I currently own Yashica FX-3 2000 Super which has unacceptable mirror shake ruining many pics shot handheld even at 1/125 sec.

Is S2 better in this cas ????

Reinhard
 
G

Guest

S2 needs 2 pieces 1,5V LR 44 or 2 pieces 1,55V SR 44 . Do not mix both types. Vini
 
G

Guest

Seems like I remember, some years back, when the Canon AE-1 shutter made a squeeking noise, and many of them did develop this noise, that there was problem with it. Are these shutters manufactured by Seiko or other shutter specific manufacturers?
 
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