G2 general questions

D

dork

I'm considering investing in a G2 system for a big Europe/Asia trip I plan to do next spring. I've never used a rangefinder camera and will probably rent one before buying, but got a few questions:

1) I don't understand the focusing system. Is it true that the viewfinder does not show the image in or out of focus, and you have to rely on the distance scale on the LCD readout on top of the camera? Can someone explain briefly how the hell this works? Isn't not being able to confirm focus visually a rather large disadvantage?

2) One of the limitations of the system, to me, is that the longest lens is 90mm. There is an adapter that lets you use SLR lenses. Is this a reasonable solution?

3) Read that the viewfinder is small. Small enough to be a limiter?

I'm interested in the G2 because my priorities are as follows:
1) small and light and discrete for travelling, but still xlnt overall quality
2) image quality (lenses)
3) ease of use

Thanks,
Doug
 
U

urgenta

Hi Doug

Don't be afraid. It's a question of become familiar with the system. Further, this system asks you to carfully read the manual. For that it will give you super results. After a few rolls of film you will love it. I own it since 1999 and it's my prefered system. The lenses are very fine build and of superb quality - and not as expansive as leicas.

Hans Villars, Switzerland
 

robertj

Member
HI Doug
Advantages are that a kit will not break your shoulder blades with the weight ! disadvantages are that you cannot have a 50-500 zoom. So you will have to move in or back instead of just zooming. A rangefinder is not better or worse - just different
cheers - Bob M
 
D

dork

> Thanks all for the replies. Great information. How common is it to have > focus problems on the G2 which are the result of the camera needing > calibration or adjustment, and would this be likely only after years of use? Suppose > you are travelling and the camera goes out of adjustment mid-trip and then > you proceed to shoot 30 rolls only to return home and find you have a bunch of > blurry images? Is this unfounded paranoia or a real possibility? > Also, have read about focus problems on the 90mm lens. Anyone have problems with this?

Thanks again, Doug
 
P

paul_drouillard

I must admit, it took me a while to get this G2 system to work for me, but it's fine now. Admittedly the 90mm was the most frustrating. I even wondered if I had made a big mistake in my early days with this system. That's all behind me now, in fact I'll probably order a second body this week from B&H.

If your images are out of focus, study the negs to see if you can find a pattern. Is it focus or possibly camera shake? I find the G2 to be a bit difficult to hold steady for verticals especially. If it's a focus issue, then check the "depth" of the image to see if there's a possibility that they are all focusing uniformly in front or behind your target area. If there's a similarity pattern then it could be calibration. (I had to send my T3 in for calibration because it wouldn't focus to infinity). If it's random, might it be technique? I don't know enough about the science of auto focus to attempt to trouble shoot the focusing system. I'm a pro lab guy.

About films? My belief is that it's all a matter of tastes and preferences. Personally, I agree on the Tmax 400 comment. I've never cared for the look of that film. I'm primarily an APX 25 and APX 100 shooter with Agfa, and Plus-X,Tri-X and TMX 3200 for the high speed stuff. Rodinal for slower film, D-76 for the faster stuff, though I'm tempted to try the new Tri-x in Rodinal being it's showing a finer grained personality than in the past. My real love has always been Verichrome Pan in Rodinal, only available in 120. This along with APX 25 have been sadly discontinued, but I have a rather large inventory in the freezer, with some of the APX 25 for sale if anybody is interested.

Lastly, I'm having an affair with Scala right now. That stuff can impress the pants off anybody. Looks great with filters but I've noticed a disturbing loss of speed with deep red filters so I am compensating by about 1.5 stops with deep red. I should do some tests to determine if it's a red sensitivity thing or if the meter just doesn't like red :)

Enough babbling.

Paul Drouillard (President) Skylab Professional Photofinishing Inc. 1175 Crawford Avenue Windsor, Ontario, Canada N9A 5E2 dmax1@sympatico.ca 519-256-6166
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wilsonlaidlaw

Well-Known Member
I have just got my first two rolls back from my new G2/45 and have to say that I am stunned by the crispness and quality and that's from someone who has been a Contax SLR user for 20 years and a Leica rangefinder user for 40. I now wish I had not bought digitals (Leica 4.3 and Kyocera S5) for traveling over the last four years to places like Sri Lanka etc., as it almost makes me cry to think how much better some of the photos would have been with the G2. Wilson
 

fotoman202

New Member
okay folks here is my deal (so to speak).
I am a pro shooter and have been for 20 years.
I want to go back to film for personal projects only.
What are the pro and cons to this G2 system?
What are the common complaints?
What are the common kudios?
Do they "hold up" to shooting every day?
What areas do you wish "contax" should addressed,either on the camera body or the lens or for that matter anything else within the G2 system?
Thanks for all your feedback!!!
 

erichard44

Active Member
> The G2 system, so far as I can tell, is excellent, reliable, and sophisticated, and at the same time quirky and surprising. It is an autofocus system, and manual focus is difficult at best, generally a waste of time. It will fire off four frames per second, or about two per second, but it is not an action or sports camera. The exposure system is excellent. The focusing is primative, in my view, but it is accurate. Whatever is in the little box in the center will be in focus. Be sure that's what you want in focus if you just put it up to your eye and shoot. With just a little planning you can focus and then move off that target.

The best parts of the system are the small and jewel like lenses, and the solid and beautiful body. It makes for a compact system. The pictures are stunning, just the best you can get from a 35mm system. If the argument is whether Leica is better than these lenses, and the Leica types start get excited, then you know these lenses are very, very good, regardless of which ones are better. And better in this case starts getting very subjective very quickly.

I've had no problems with mine. The only complaint I have heard about reliability is that they don't do well in salty and sandy environments. Surprise!

In terms of complaints the biggest issue is that the lenses get no longer than 90mm, and there is no way to do the things that are so easy with an slr, like macro and telephoto. Also the auto focus needs distinct lines to look at,or it just fails to focus and the camera won't fire. Very irritating, but the alternative is an out of focus picture, so what are you missing anyway?

Finally, in terms of complaints, it is not a point and shoot, and flash work with it is difficult, to say the least, and made more difficult by the limitations of the flash outfits designed to go with the camera. If they wanted to improve something, that wouyld be a good start. Using alternative Contax flash systems seems to solve the problem. The camera also seems loud when the lens focuses, but that is more alarming to the photographer, apparently, than to anyone else.

And the lenses are changeable, it is true, but it is not like you can just with one motion pull one off and stick another one on. It takes more planning and concentration, to the point where you really tend to just leave the lens there, and not mess with it.

As I see it, this is not meant to be a pro system, except in terms of results. It is an advanced amateur system, built for people who are willing to deal with its limitations. Still, I think it is sturdy enough.

I wish that it were possible to do manual focus, so that it could be used like a Leica when that was what was desired. I wish it had a digital back, even if that would mean that it could only use the lenses 35mm and beyond.

Some people complain because the lenses lack a depth of field indication, but that has never troubled me. Those little marks are just someone else's calculations anyway, and often they are wrong (ie Mamiya). There are sites on the web where the tables are available. Another complaint is that the viewfinder shows the picture area, and not framelines, like Leica, as if the Leica way were the only way. On the other hand, this opens up the interesting option of the zoom lemns on a rangefinder.

As you can tell, I like mine.

Richard Stone

>
 
T

tvdweert

>Craig-

Welcome back from the dark side (digital).

To answer you Q's succinctly:

The G2 is rock solid. Ive dropped it more than once, denting lens hoods etc, and no problems. Its a great camera for quick, street photography. The optics are unsurpassed. The viwfinder in w/a is alittle small, but it zooms, so when you shot w/ the 90 or the 35-70 zoom at increased focal lengths its actually much nicer than that dinky frame I get in my Leica M. The AF is not perfect but perfectly acceptable once you know how to use it. The camera is small and compact and fits in most coat/cargo pant pockets. Did I mention that the optics are super? The 35-70 zoom is worth the price of admission itself. Just dont buy one of those butt-ugly gun metal grey versions; you gotta buy a black one.

Cheers, Tim v
 

tomasjpn

Well-Known Member
Craig,

I would have to concur with Tim and Richard. The G2 is a wonderful, albeit sometimes quirky, camera. Travelling with it, it is the perfect camera - fits neatly in your palm (I have a heavy-duty wrist strap on mine), so it is unobtrusive, unlike an SLR that screams loudly to all within eye-shot 'camera! tourist! come and get me!' The focusing system does take some practice, but after you are used to it, you will only rarely have a shot with unacceptable focus. This in itself is not unusual for any camera, whether autofocus or manual. However, if you really do like to occasionally do your own focusing, I would suggest the G2 is not the camera for you. The only time I use it on manual focus is when focusing to infinity.

If you have unusually alarmingly sweaty hands, or like to shoot knee-deep in salt-water, or like to carry it around unbagged in sandstorms, then (like one frequent poster on this board who we all know too well) you could have some difficulties. But if you treat it normally and are somewhat mindful that it is fully electronic when in a dusty place, you will be rewarded with fantastic shots.

I have not tried the zoom but by all accounts it sounds like a killer lens. Well, it's worth having just for the primes. Happy choosing.

Mark Edwards
 
I hsd the same reaction as Wilson when last week I got back the first roll of prints taken with my new my G2/45. I was stunned by the quality of the images. I keep looking at the photos, the sharpness and punch are so amazing.

Although my first roll turned out well, I'm still paranoid about the focusing issue. Do you think the G2 would pose focusing problems at the Grand Canyon? I used my N24-85 lens there, and would like to use the G45, too.

Also, I was so concerned about depth of field, that I shot mostly at f11 and f16. The photos taken at f8 are more impressive. Do I need to have the dof chart imprinted in my mind with every shot and, if not, do I always have to shoot scenics at f11 or 16? Sorry about these basic questions.

Thanks for any help offered.
 

coodeville

Well-Known Member
DOF is a hassle with this camera. It's been generally agreed about at this forum. I myself have only been able to memorize the hyperfocal distances for F/16 and f/8 on the 45mm lens.
 

wilsonlaidlaw

Well-Known Member
Diane, I'm halfway through my third roll and already I am just beginning to get the hang of the autofocus. I now look for vertical lines (or horizontal when taking in portrait) and then re-centre with the button halfway down. I avoid trying to focus on things with low contrast or repetitive patterns (leaves. brick walls etc.) If I am going to be taking things all at infinity I use manual focus or CF setting which seems to work better. I had checked my battery voltages and thought that 2.83/4v. each battery was OK but a new set definitely improved the autofocus. Hope this helps. Wilson
 

robgo2

Active Member
"I'm still paranoid about the focusing issue. Do you think the G2 would pose focusing problems at the Grand Canyon? I used my N24-85 lens there, and would like to use the G45, too."

I live in New Mexico and have travelled extensively throughout the Southwest. The G2 is my constant companion and has never failed to capture the finest images that I am capable of creating. For grand landscapes, I often set the manual focus at infinity, the aperture at f8 or fll and fire away. Using Fuji Reala, the results are quite amazing, or so my friends tell me.

The much discussed focusing difficulties with the G2 are a non-issue once you have mastered the technique. The most common mistake made by beginners is not realizing that the lens returns to infinity position whenever the focus-lock is released, making re-focusing necessary. Although this may seem annoying at first, it quickly becomes second nature and automatic. With time, one gains complete confidence in the focusing system, assuming that the rangefinder is properly calibrated and linked to the lenses.
 
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picturetaker

assuming that the rangefinder is properly calibrated and linked to the lenses. What does that mean !?
Are there Contax G2 wich dont work proper!?

Or ist it true, the out of focus picture is not a bug, its a future and the G user gets someting with spezial focus efects!?

I really want to know what it could be when you get pictures out of focus when you focus on the object, but you here always, you have to use the G2 on the right way and you will bee happy with your fotofraph.
 
D

dork

> Posted by Robert Goldstein (Robgo2) on Thursday, November 06, 2003 - 12:45 am: > "The much discussed focusing difficulties with the G2 are a non-issue > once you have mastered the technique. The most common mistake made by > beginners is not realizing that the lens returns to infinity position > whenever the focus-lock is realeased, making re-focusing necessary. > Although this may seem annoying at first, it quickly becomes second > nature and automatic. With time, one gains complete confidence in the > focusing system, assuming that the rangefinder is properly calibrated > and linked to the lenses." > So how do you know if the camera is properly calibrated, other than ending up with out of focus images after the fact?

Thanks, Doug
 

fotoman202

New Member
Thanks for all your insights folks.....
Still on the fence with this system however the new rebate program make it a seemingly "good buy"
Again thanks!!!
 
To: Mark (Tomasjpn)
Re: ...it is the perfect camera - fits neatly in your palm (I have a heavy-duty wrist strap on mine),

What brand/model of wrist strap do you use? Thanks.
 

robgo2

Active Member
"So how do you know if the camera is properly calibrated, other than ending up with out of focus images after the fact?"

Well, out of focus images are certainly a clue that something is awry. One can also perform rangefinder tests by comparing the actual distance to a focusing target with the measured distance in the window on the top of the camera. Finally, Contax service can check out the focusing accuracy with any or all of your lenses. Understand that these considerations pertain to all rangefinder cameras, including those which focus by superimposition of images, e.g. Leica.

FWIW, my G2 is currently being serviced by Contax for focusing problems that developed after I dropped the camera from a height of five feet (ouch). This is the second time that I have required such service in the past 3 years.

Rob
 
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