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Future of the Contax N


Well-Known Member
Mike..."Know everything" ???? "His Majesty"????

I will speak to what I have experience with, and do know a little about weddings, which was related to the subject of the discussion...a thread stemming from the notion of professional needs when it comes to gear.

BTW, you brought up the limo shot as being invalid, I included it among others as just part of the conditions that pros face, and it was merely an ex&le of shooting situations, not a rule for every wedding.

"...last post to it". Hmmm, lets see if that's true.


Well-Known Member
Guys, please cool down.

As a reminder: This thread is about your opinion regarding the future of the N-System


Well-Known Member
The future of the N system is linked to 3 issues IMO.
1) Production of a digital camera that maintains image quality in the Contax/Zeiss tradition. 2) some faster, basic primes, especially a 35/1.4. 3) an improved flash system, including a better off camera cord.

If cheaper, less performance oriented products become the focus, then there is no reason to own and use Contax branded gear. Other makers like Canon have progressed to such a degree that the edge
provided by Zeiss is becoming less each year.

My N system has been religated to personal use only, and is used less and less these days. I do still like the look and feel of the gear, as well as the images it makes. But maintaining a Canon system for pro work plus some personal use...and a N an expensive luxury. I keep it in hopes that a ND2 will arrive while I am still alive. In the meantime, I use the ND, and still believe they should've just addressed some of the power and software issues. The current battery issue is still the biggest problem for me because the batteries lose power quickly even when not used. This forces me to pre-plan any time I wish to use the ND, eliminating spontanious photography. How hard could it have been to make a contained battery like Canon and Nikon provide for their DSLRs?


Active Member
Contax should add high-speed flash synchronistaion (shutter speed >1/250)feature to their flash system. This is essential for fill-in flash for outdoor portrait using fast lens at large aperture. Canon and Minolta have much better flashguns compared with the TLA-380. Even Leica R-9 has got this feature now.

Also a spot pre-flash metering like the one in RTS-III would be nice for the future N2(?).

I guess Contax will probably launch a N Mutar x1.4 for their Apo 400 f4, a few N primes like
25 f2.8, 28 f2.8, 60 f2.8 Macro, 180 f2.8 and 300 f4 with more extensive use of LD glasses and aspherical elements in the next few years. But this is pure speculation really; no one knows whats up in their sleeves.


I agree with Marc and with Sing Hon Lo about the needs of the N system.

As I said before, I think that they need to add a quality/fast 70-200 2.8 zoom for sports (I'm personally thinking of equestrian sports, but really any sports). Or if that isn't possible, a 135/2.0 would be helpful, since a possible pairing of the 85/1.4 and 135/2.0 might be workable for indoor arena sports, but the long throw of the focus ring on some of these ultra fast lenses sometimes makes them ever so slightly slower to re-focus in quick changing situations, and that depth of field might just a bit too shallow for the subjects I'm thinking of (horse and rider, or horses driving carriages etc), but that is neither here nor there for this discussion.

The tracking and focus speed of the N series bodies needs to be flawless and fast.

That 400mm lens is one I have wanted to try out since it came out - but since I don't feel the N system can fill all my requests right now, I guess I'll not get to try it.

For my needs, I couldn't care less if they come up with another digital body or not - but I know it is important to many other people here. Just my thoughts. Right now Canon produces everything I need, at prices that aren't too bad in most cases, and their L glass is nothing to laugh at. Even though I like Canon, I wish I could buy all these things from the N system instead. -Lynn L.


The slow focus speed is an issue at times, I have lost shots, but with that said,the end results are just great, thats why I am considering a Canon EOS with a couple of L lenses,,for when I need speed and use the N1 for mostly everything else.


Well-Known Member
> Mike,

I did want to respond to your snip about the G2 shots versus the N1. The bulk of the photographs were taken by the N1, followed by the 645, and finally followed by the G2, and at the back of the pack was the ND. The ND took some great shots, but I had already decided to shoot the wedding in film, to make it easier for me to get prints, etc,

You also asked how many shots went into the album. 350 shots were in the album 4x6 album, with another subset of 25 hand printed enlargements (5 x 7) making it to the "Special Album".



Well-Known Member

For the "bride with the red brick wall" pictures, what lens did you used? It seens there were strong light fall off. My N24-85mm never have this problem, but my 35mm C645 lens seems to have to same issue when wide open.



Well-Known Member
I agree about the focus. I took my N1 to an airshow a couple of weeks ago. I missed several shots due to the slow autofocus, but the ones I managed to get (70-300 lens)were incredible in their sharpness. Next time I'll take the N1 and my Canon EOS.
Jeff in Texas


Active Member
Hurry up Contax! Panasonic will launch the
world's first manual focus rangefinder
5-Megapixels digital with a high quality Leica Vario-Summicron zoom. It features a classic (Leica influenced styling) body and lens. Imagine what would happen if Contax launch the first manual focous non-full frame digital for the C/Y mount! Or even better if they modify the back focus system of the AX, replacing the moving film compartment by a digital sensor and extending the extension range from 10cm to 20cm; autofocus and digital for the C/Y lens! my dreams.

PS: I came across a mint N 400/4 for sale and nearly bought it. But I changed my mind and bought a used Canon 300 f2.8 L instead, which is in the same price bracket as the N400/4. It is because the AF speed of the Canon super telephoto lenses is well proven to the best in the fields by pro sport shooters.


Well-Known Member
> Albert,

That shot was taken with the N1 , 24-85. The print looks pretty good, but all the web shots conversions are off a bit. My main problem is that I have a big note on my monitor to remind me that everthing in my workflow prints a bit lighter and flatter. I try to get my web shots "close". If I had more than 3 minutes to have shot that "red brick wall" shot I would have pulled out a flash for some fill .... but, it was a "driving down the road ... seeing the wall ... and grabbing the shot ...". I still like the image.

I had only taken one roll of film previously using the 645. I shot a test roll the week earlier to make sure the camera worked, and a good idea how the flash worked, etc.

It was lucky that I took that test roll. I discovered that my prism did not properly fire the flash! The local retailer (competitive camera in dallas) was kind enough to loan me another prism while I sent that one in for repairs.



As we all seem to have different monitors and each being calibrated by whatever means one has at their disposal, if you would be interested in a web based gamma check, there is one available at
Please, Log in or Register to view URLs content!

For the record my monitor, a samsung 955DF, is set at 2.05 give or take.
Since my prints reflect the screen image fairly well, I don't plan on recalibrating for web display, nor am I sure if I can have a single file have two different sets of characteristics, one for print and another for web. Justa bit curious as to how much our setups vary.
Thanks all,


Well-Known Member
Hi Michael,

Thanks for your response. I know what you mean, the prints from my N1 are so much better than viewing from screen. The quality of the Carl Zeiss look is hard to produce from the monitor.

Now you got me wondering, I am going to test if my prism will fire the TLA360. I always use studio strobes for my C645.



Well-Known Member
Dear Wojo.
That really is amazing. My Mitsubishi Diamond Pro 740 SB appears to have a gamma of 2.44 which I would have thought, although I don't know much about these things, was pretty high.


Well-Known Member
I started this thread back on the 10/11 and it has created some interesting responses Most of those making a living or part of their living using cameras seem to own two or more systems...also the thread has wandered a bit into lens distortion discussions and such. I still have not decided wheather to go with Canon EOS or get back into Contax MM. I have a party to cover in a couple of weeks in 35mm, not my normal gig but I'll probably end up renting again unless a deal rolls around or I have a vision. Been checking old 35mm chromes Nik/Contax can't see much of a difference but my skills have improved since then.
Thanks to all who responed and gook luck in your endeavors be they in Contax or some other system.