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Im about to purchase an RX with a 50 1.4 lens and was wondering about the future of the C/Y Mount bodies. The RX is discontinued and I read rumors of the RTS 3 getting the same fate. Is Contax going to abandon this mount in favor of the new N mount?
Hello Antonio, I can't predict the future however, I love the RX and am glad I purchased mine. I also see an aweful lot of C/Y mount lenses for sale on ebay, so if you are worried that you will have this big beautiful camera and not be able to get lenses for it, that may not be a problem. I am sending my RX in to Contax for service and the agent I spoke with said "If anything is found to be in need of repair the camera will be made as good as new." She didn't say anything about the camera being out of date therefore not worth a going over. Also Kyocera just released (in Europe I believe) the RXII. Recently I ran into a photographer who purchased this camera. Why would Contax release a new version of the RX (sans DFI) if they were abandoning the mount? I could be wrong but I don't think Contax is so dumb as to abandon those of us who are willing to spend big bucks for the tried and true quality of CZ manual focus lenses and the fine bodies that go with them. They may stop production on a body but I tend to think the support will be around for a while. Vincent
My 2 cents: if you can get an AX and don't mind the size (I would try it first, because it is bigger and heavier) the autofocus feature is wonderful, and more convenient than the RX's focus aid.
These days, with both cameras out of production, you can sometimes find them for a similar price (around US $500 for a refurbished model with 1 year Contax warranty). Without a price advantage, I would choose the AX. (When they were both on production, the AX was quite a bit more expensive for many years...)
I actually would like someone to take the opposite wiew...I think there was a thread 'RX vs AX" and at that point I was rooting for the RX...
You mentioned in your post on Sept. 10, 2003 that you prefer the AX over the RX....WHY??
I'm considering purchasing the RX, because of the DFI feature. I have not held a RX in my hands and not worked with this feature, but with the AX I can see some future mechanical problems. Please share your wisdom and please understand I'm not being sarcastic just curious. I did find the AX did have some focusing problems (maybe it was just the camera that I owned). Please, respond.
Posted by John P. Kohl on Thursday, September 11, 2003 - 6:58 pm:
Juan, You mentioned in your post on Sept. 10, 2003 that you prefer the AX over the RX....WHY?? I'm considering purchasing the RX, because of the DFI feature. I have not held a RX in my hands and not worked with this feature, but with the AX I can see some future mechanical problems. Please share your wisdom and please understand I'm not being sarcastic just curious. I did find the AX did have some focusing problems (maybe it was just the camera that I owned). Please, respond.
This is Don Williams and I posted a similar question a while back. Any comments on the most cost-effective replacement for my original RTS would also be appreciated by me.
I have three lenses I like so I just want to sell the RTS body (a promotional model, gold plated base) and get something newer, (that is still supported by Kyocera), for a price I can afford.
I generally can take only one camera on a trip or project and I have this fear that the RTS will die in the middle of a shoot. I did have a shutter failure 5-6 years ago and they did repair it then, but most likely wouldn't do that now.
Any thoughts about AX, RX, the 139 (or Q series, whatever they are) would be appreciated.
I do want to keep my lenses though.
By the way, I had forgotten about DFI, I'll have to review it.
I don't have any wisdom, but I can give you my opinion (opinions are cheap!) I really like the autofocus of the AX. I find it more convenient than the focus indicator and DFI in the RX. So if the reason to choose is "focus help", I'd choose the AX.
Regarding handling, the AX is significantly bulkier, and the RX "feels" more solid and higher quality (the all-metal construction, maybe?) so I think it is important to hold both and, ideally, to try both. (I am sure both are similar in quality, regardless of the "feel").
The AX is more complex, so I guess more things might go wrong. It may be more fragile, I have no way of knowing.
I have been happy with the AX autofocus, but this may be because I almost never photograph anything that is moving...If you used the AX and did not like it, that should be the end of the discussion.
Regarding replacements for the original RTS, my experience is with 167Mt, RX and AX. The 167Mt is a very good camera, but I never liked the fact some controls are buttons instead of dials. If you shoot mainly aperture priority, it is not much of an issue. The camera has everything I wanted at the time: spot metering, exposure lock and autobracketing.
The RX is very similar, with a darker viewfinder but more and better information on it (plus the focus and DFI indicators). The AX is somewhat of a monster size-wise, and the spot metering lever is on a different location than on the 167Mt and RX. The autofocus works nicely, and if you like macrophotography, it has the added bonus of the "macro capability". I have never even seen the 137, 139, ST or Aria.
I've enjoyed a 139Q for 18 years, and I think is a very good camera. its shutter is metal made (I think RTS's is textile made), and mechanically never failed me. I only had problems with the film cover foam, that mutated after some years into a black sticky thing. After changing the foam, and cleaning the camera, I Hadn't any other problem.
It has only average exposure, AE or manual mode, but has ttl flash metering.
It's necessary to change the film cover foam, it dissapear after some years.
Always overexposes 1/3 EV
Perhaps the film advance lever could fail over the years
>>Any thoughts about AX, RX, the 139 (or Q series, whatever they are) would be appreciated. <<
I too have owned a 139 for many years. I purchased this "off brand" body in '86. (Anything other than Min, Nik, Can, Pen, Oly was odd at the time)
I really like my 139 and I have never had a mechanical failure of any kind - none. I just yesterday noticed the foam light seals around the back are starting to breakdown, but that will happen to any camera of this age. It's a classic 35mm Av body.
I recently purchased one of the RX "Demos" that was available through B&H in New York. This camera was absolutely like new and is now my main body.
The RX is a wonderful camera that I would recommend to anyone not needing AF. I would not, however, base a purchase decision on the DPI feature. IMHO, DPI is of marginal benefit. It's slow to react to focus changes and is unable to cope with low light. There are very limited situations where DPI is a real benefit; Possibly macro and still-life work in bright light. For general hand-held shooting, you'll rely on your eye.
Otherwise, the RX is really a well designed, well made camera with many useful features. The almost complete lack of mechanical vibration and its quiet transport make pressing the shutter release a joy. I hope to use my RX (and 139) for as long as I can buy film.
So after months of looking at the Contax Promo page as their home page, I tune into Contaxcameras.com and I am greeted with Kyocera and an entirely new look. For the most part I like it since it shows a breadth of product line...s&le images, PDF's etc. But the reality of no RX, AX etc. is striking. One day I will buy an AX...mostly for handling with large lenses, but also for more "unrehearsed" shooting. I wish Contax would really take a stab at countering the new Hasselblad H1 and Mamiya 645 AFD. It is a bit distracting to someone who wants to possibly enter wedding photography with some of the current 645 issues. The RTS III is a great camera, but I think could use a generational upgrade in order to be able to perform in the varied situations required these days. Not sure where I am going with this...but I am a bit concerned as everyone is that Kyocera has essentially abandoned a "step" model in the MM line. Not everyone wants a Canon Rebel clone in the NX, or pay the premium for the autofocused "challenged" N1. I really want to see the Contax brand have some longevity while keeping both old and new users pleased.
A challenge to say the least. Perhaps we should star a "Design" forum on behalf of Kyocera.
I do not want Contax to copy the Hasselblad Hi or the Mamiya. The Contax 645 is a great camera in its own right that just needs a few refinements. And the N1 has gotten a bad rap. It's not the fastest autofocus camera around, but it suits my needs. And the price for a used one was dowright reasonable. So do yourself a favor. Rent an N1 and give it a try. You, too, may conclude that the autofocus is preety good!
Thanks for your words of encouragement. The unfortunate reality is that in Indiana, you can't rent Contax. I suppose I could send to California or NY to rent one, but it costs an arm and a leg. I generally like the feel of the N1...but the price of entry having to buy into a new lens system is steep. Perhaps I am just complaining. Not to mention that if I really was going to shoot a wedding I would for safety sakes have redundant systems !
Speaking of complaining...Dirk, I saw that you had sent a message to the Contax "eScribe" list awhile ago...looking for support on a meeting with Kyocera execs in Japan. Any response ?
I would as I am sure everyone be curious as to the results of a face to face with the Contax Brand Managers.
If local rental isn't an option, maaybe you could rent an N1 during a vacation. Any long lost friends or relatives that you want to reconnect with (screen by availability of Contax rental sites)? And I agree, Contax gear isn't cheap. But I started by buying a very nice used N1 body for $600 and added a 24-85 gray market zoom (a great lens - by far best zoom I've ever used) for an additional $700. And I sold off my old Nikon gear to fund it.
Is it worth it? To me, yes, and I'm just a hobbiest. The N1 is wonderful to use. Everything about the camera feels right - the location of the focus toggle, the ability to seamlessly switch to manual focus, the dials, and, of course, the build quaility. Could the AF be faster? Well, sure. But I just shot a roll of my son playing soccer, and I only had a focus problem on 1 shot. But he's only 6, and maybe he'll outrun my focus by the time he reaches High School!
I was afraid that it had been discontinued. Is the RTS III "twice" as good as the RX? For me, US$2,000 is a big investment, and I'm afraid that they will discontinue it soon as well. I would hate to have invested in all of that Zeiss glass only to have, first the Yashica bodies, and now Contax MF bodies, discontinued.