Contax TVSII performance

leong

Active Member
Can someone who owns or have owned the TVSII share with us what you think about this camera? I am very interested to know about the features that you liked or hated most about this camera. But in particular, I like to know what you thought about the performance of the lens against another camera or lens, so as to let us have an idea of what can be expected from it. I am about to splurge on a PnS with a zoom, and this camera is currently on the top of my shopping list.
 

mattj

Active Member
Ok I owned all TVS cameras thru the years. I plainly hated the last one (III) but it didn't break on me so I will say it was an excellent piece of equipment quality wise (not functionality wise). I broke two original TVS cameras. On first one motor died on me and second was still working but LCDs went blank. I bought TVS II for the reason that it had a build in lens cap and nicer zoom handling and nicer viewfinder. I used it for a year before parting with it. It produced good results, had no problems with it and took good quality photos. With low grain film I did some excellent field work with it. Meter is little funky at the begining but one gets used to it. I had used the TVS II with the flash bracket and tla200 flash from my G cameras and shot few weddings with it. I sold it on EBay this summer and... about three months later buyer conntacted me that shutter failed and camera needs $300 repair. Maybe I'm rough on my cameras, after all I climb, kayak and hike with them but so far all the other equipment is holding up pretty well. If you need specs breakdown you can get it here from my website:

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Still it's a good camera that provides solid results if it doesn't break on you. I worked behind camera counter for few years and never saw Contax TVS comming back for repair. Like I said maybe it's me abusing my cameras too much. For the same reason I sold my G series. And now mostly shoot Leica and Hasselblad Xpan. But I still have my T3 and GR21. Hope that helps.

Matt
http:\brunerdog.tripod.com
 

leong

Active Member
Many thanks for the reply Matt. If it is okay, can you share your opinions about the sharpness of the TVSII lens as compared to the T3, GR21 and the G series? I owned a GR21 and G2 a short while back, and I don't think that I will ever let go of my T3, so I guess I can relate to the comparision very easily.
 

afranklin

Well-Known Member
> Many thanks for the reply Matt. If it is okay, can you share your > opinions about the sharpness of the TVSII lens as compared to the T3, > GR21 and the G series? I owned a GR21 and G2 a short while back, and I > don't think that I will ever let go of my T3, so I guess I can relate > to the comparision very easily.

I have both a TVS I and a G2/G1. I find the pictures from the G series noticeably superior to the TVS. The TVS pictures were OK, nothing to write home to Mom about...it's a fine little camera, but the optics are simply no where near as good as the G, or any other interchangeable lense Contax/Leica system I've used.

Regards,

Austin
 

mattj

Active Member
I'm with Austin on that. T3 is sharp but not as good as for ex&le g2 with 45mmm on it. TVS has a zoom lens and there is a bit of sharpness lost. Can you (I) tell the difference? Yes you can. Portrait work I've done with G and T3 were so much better than anything TVSII produced but TVSII is so convinient in size and functionality. I was trying to substitute multiple camera carry with TVSII but realized that I should stick to carrying T3, GR21 and Xpan with 45 and 90mm (for travel etc). The zoom is both strong and weak point of TVSII. It helps you frame better but it causes you to loose light and sharpness. Still it is a great little pocket camera.

Matt
 

niki

Member
Matt summed it up pretty well there (below). It's a trade-off and the user must decide which is more important to him/her - sharpness and vividness of a fixed/prime lens or the convenience of a zoom lens. The T3 Sonnar is possibly the best lens out there for a PnS camera. Actually, some T3 users have even complained that it's too sharp for close-up portrait shots. When comparing against the G lenses, it's closer to the G35 and a step below the G45. But if your main printing is done on 4x6 and/or 5x7 formats, it would be hard to distinguish which photos came from which lens.

Niki

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - Matt wrote:

I'm with Austin on that. T3 is sharp but not as good as for ex&le g2 with 45mmm on it. TVS has a zoom lens and there is a bit of sharpness lost. Can you (I) tell the difference? Yes you can. Portrait work I've done with G and T3 were so much better than anything TVSII produced but TVSII is so convinient in size and functionality. I was trying to substitute multiple camera carry with TVSII but realized that I should stick to carrying T3, GR21 and Xpan with 45 and 90mm (for travel etc). The zoom is both strong and weak point of TVSII. It helps you frame better but it causes you to loose light and sharpness. Still it is a great little pocket camera. Matt
 

leong

Active Member
The sharpness issue is new information to me. Is the sharpness (or lack of it) with the TVSII lens obvious on a 4x6 or 5x7 print? I love the photos that I got with my G2 and currently my T3, and I thought that it would be nice if I can get something close with the TVSII. But if the lens performance of the TVSII is miles away from the T3, and much closer to the Yashica T Zoom, I don't think that I will consider buying the TVSII any further.
 

afranklin

Well-Known Member
Hi Gary,

> The sharpness issue is new information to me. Is the sharpness (or > lack of it) with the TVSII lens obvious on a 4x6 or 5x7 print?

Yes.

> I love > the photos that I got with my G2 and currently my T3, and I thought > that it would be nice if I can get something close with the TVSII. But > if the lens performance of the TVSII is miles away from even the T3 > but much closer to the Yashica T Zoom, I don't think that I will > consider it at all.

Your G2 has far better optics...far better. I can't comment on the T3. But...all that said, the TVS is still a really cool camera, but honestly, I pretty much use it zoomed all the way to 50, but I guess if I was to use it for traveling, I'd use the wider angle settings...but now with my G cameras/lenses, I really won't get much use out of my TVS.

Regards,

Austin
 

leong

Active Member
Hello Matt, last question, honest. I saw that you have/had G series 35-70mm zoom. Do you think that the TVSII and the G series 35-70mm zoom are similar in terms of sharpness? Which do you think is better? Used to own this lens when I had my G2, and I did not think that the lens was sharp at all. In fact, I found the 35-70mm f3.5 C/Y mount lens to be a much better performer.
 

mattj

Active Member
I found the lens little bit better than TVS glass but I was maybe objective since I liked the zoom range better. Sharpness wise they were very close to each other. My problem was that I usually used 400 speed film in the TVS and 100 speed film in my G2 so any comparison of sharpnes was thrown off by the grain. But pound for pound they are very similar.

Matt
 

leong

Active Member
Thank you Matt. Thank you Austin. Thank you Niki. I have now a very good idea of what to expect of the TVSII.
 
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