CI Photocommunity

Register a free account now!

If you are registered, you get access to the members only section, can participate in the buy & sell second hand forum and last but not least you can reserve your preferred username before someone else takes it.

Is the Contax N just a big screw up



anyone seen the below?

Please, Log in or Register to view URLs content!

To me this confirms my long hold believe that the N was the biggest mistake Kyocera made. The old MM lenses apear to work well on Canon digital bodies. Why not ditch the whole N-stuff and revive the MM system. If Kyocera can't build a decent digital, they might be able to buy one.


Active Member
When I clicked on the link in the e-mail notification the link did not work.

However, when I went to the discussion and clicked on the link, it did work.

The google translation is not great. The link compares a zeiss N lens with two Canon lens. Says that Canon has better contrast and focus.

Conclusion states "No question, the Zeiss is regarding CA correction in own class. The fun is not cheap, list price around 2200 € (with B&H 1500 $), in addition the adapter of Zoerk with again 200 €. the missing AF is however undoubtedly a problem, the accurate attitude is not schweirig. In addition rest screen and only AV and/or m-mode possible."

Not sure what the author intended to say here.


sorry Mark to correct you, the articel talks about the manual Focus Distagon 21/2.8 vs. the Canon Canon 2.8/20 mm and Canon 4.0/17-40L. No N-lens is mentioned there. I would prefer to see the original text. But in this translation the Zeiss wins over the Canon lens. But this is not a surprise since the Zeiss 21 was especially designed to minimize CA. It is in its own league and not comparable with other Zeiss manual focus FFL in this regard.

But this has nothing to do with the N-system.


Active Member

No need to apologize, I appreciate the clarification. I assumed "N" lens because of the initial post by Joachim.

Just trying to figure out what his point was.


The original web page in german is:
Please, Log in or Register to view URLs content!


Well-Known Member
I would expect the Zeiss to outperform the Canons also. One is a Zoom and the other is not an L lens.


Perhaps I should have more clear. I understand one of the key reasons for Contax to abandon the Y/C MM mount and move onto the N was the then sensor technology.

Looking at these results, the Zeiss lens blows the Canon lenses to pieces (surprise surprise). I understand the results origninate from a full frame Canon DSLR.

It seems to me, the entire N story turns out to be a desaster in every respect. It p...ed their existing customer base (YCMM users) and never really got off the ground (to little, to late and to expensive). When Contax came up with the AX, I read a magazin-review with the comment, that Contax could not dare to change its lens mount. Hence the different solution in the AX. Looking what happened he was absolutely right in 1996. The N-system destroyed their existing customer base.

From the above link (in my original post) it seems to me that YCMM lenses are perfectly capable to be used with full-frame digital sensors. So from today's view it seems to me, that they should have spend their R&D money on a digital body for YCMM lenses instead of blowing it on the N-system. Even with a decent APS-C sized sensor in a body for YCMM (and not a single N body and or lens) they would be in a better position than they are now.

Judging from their success in the digital market (this includes the digicams) I doubt that Kyocera at present is even capable of building a decent digital camera. To get them out of the mess they should get Canon to build an EOS with YCMM mount. I think there is a market for a manual focus digital SLR. Not sure what to do about the N-system. If they ditch it they will annoy even more people, but at present they are annoying everyone.

In this context I find it interesting that Bob Shell (who is a diehard Zeiss fan himself) markets his own YCMM->EOS adapter.
Please, Log in or Register to view URLs content!
On a different Contax email list he wrote recently that he sold his RTSIII.

Your mileage on the topic might vary.


Well-Known Member

Here again, I repeat myself ... but need to since this thread started with misinformation and now continues with your misinformation.

I have an AX (remarkable camera), and RX, an RTS II, etc. I also have the N1 and the ND.

Kyocera (Contax) plainly continues their evolution of good cameras and lenses with the N series. The YCMM line had their place and are still very good cameras. The N-mount cameras are even better. Auto focusing ... auto bracketing (f-stop and focusing), handling, etc.

The N cameras can also use the 645 lenses via the N-mount.

The N camera line includes the ND which is a very good, and very solid digital camera solution. First full frame CCCD. Great tones. Great camera.

Could their entire N-line be better? Sure. And I look forward to new releases. Just like when I had the RTS, I looked for an RTS II, knowing it would be better. The greatest enemy that Kycoera has are folks like you who continue to spread mis-information on their product line.




The greatest enemy that Kycoera has are folks like you who continue to spread mis-information on their product line.



Well-Known Member

I notice that you own a G2. So do I ... and I think that it is a fine camera. You also shoot some digital w/ a Nikon 5700. What is your opinion of it? And have you ever shot any rolls through a 645, or an N1 (or NX?). And what about the ND? Have you used it or seen any output from the camera?




Well-Known Member
Hi Joachin

As an avid CY AE MM (??) user, I can say that the N series does not P*** me off at all!

I have great faith in Zeiss that they will/have produced the best they can under commercial and market circumstances!

Was I forced to throw away all my gear when the N system appeared ..... come to that ...... all those Contaflex/Contarex fans ...... did thay build a camera mountain outside the gates of Jena in 1974 and set fire to their gear?

I happen to like the Contax CY bodies .... I happen to like the CY AE/MM lenses.

I understand that people like the older Contarex/Contaflex body/lens system; I do not think them strange because of this!

I even understand the appeal of the original RF system!

I do not think N1, NX or ND users are any stranger than I, because they have become fans of either the N series bodies or the N series lenses or ............ at the other end of the spectrum (!), were fans of the Pre-Yashica era systems!

I hope people do not think I am strange because I like a great lump of a camera body that makes my CY, AE, MM, Tamron, and Sigma etc, lenses behave like autofocus lenses. I like my AX!

I do not even disagree with those strange people who like Canon or Nikon!

If they produce great shots ....... doesn't even have to be technically perfect, they are welcome in my house!

Cheers, Kyocera Kid

p.s. The most burning question for me at the moment is WHEN DOES DIRK SLEEP? If I need to sneak a sarcastic/humourous comment in ..... when is the best time?


Well-Known Member
Joachim .... Michael ..... great passion!

Mis-information? Let's be more specific and prepare to debate!

Cheers, Kyocera Kid.


I don't know..I would like to see some actual data to decide how much of a "failure" the N system has been/is. Are the N1 and NX selling poorly?

What is the point of belittling the N system? They are very good cameras, and excellent lenses. And the lenses are reasonably priced, quite similar (or cheaper) than the MM (except the 50mm and 85mm, who knows why).

As others who have spent money on the N cameras, I hope they will come up with a digital answer. I am an amateur, I don't need digital now, I plan to keep using slide film for a long, long time and, as long as they come up with something, I don't mind waiting.

(And, if they don't come up with anything, I will still enjoy the NX and its lenses)

Kyocera has produced very remarkable cameras, quite up to the Zeiss lenses. Let's hope they continue their tradition.

Bob, I think Dirk has some kind of detector-- when someone unfairly criticizes Contax or Zeiss, he comes back from wherever he is to straighten things out...Shhouldn't you be in bed?




Well-Known Member
Why would Canon build a camera for one of it's competitors?

It would be more likely that Kodak would do something with a Contax CY or N mount than Canon. However, the lack of potential volume would probably preclude Kodak from doing so.
Maybe the sensor could be designed by Kodak, but not the whole camera (unless they upgraded and re-fitted the current ND).

In other words, Contax must do as Leica is doing. Assemble experts to make components and make the cameras themselves. The fact is the ND was (and is) a damned fine camera, it just wasn't tweaked to its potential, and it was a text book marketing fiasco.

Since it's introduction and subsequent demise, the ND power issue has been resolved, the RAW developer problem is (or will be shortly) resolved.

So the only major flaws, in terms of digital capture, remain no RAW review on the LCD and an inadequate buffer. The buffer issue could have been resolved (if the camera was still being sold) with an upgrade like that offered by Nikon on the 1Dx last year. Maybe even the RAW review could've been fixed with new firmware or a factory upgrade.

If Contax simply upgraded the ND with a better battery solution like Nikon and Canon use; increased the buffer to at least 512 megs; upgraded the sensor to a 8-10 meg full frame CCD, included the RAW LCD review; and provided a Phase One or other top notch RAW developer (or make arraignments with Adobe to include it in theirs)... and finally, MARKET IT CORRECTLY!... they'd have a WINNER.

They didn't have to start over. Just fix this one!!!!! it's a less daunting task.


Well-Known Member
The Mouse Police never sleeps .... the Mouse Police never sleeps ..... sounds of flutes and rock music!! Hey! ..... Jethro Tull invented something .... didn't he? Sleep is for wimps .... KK thrives on DATA! Dirk drinks more caffeine than me!

OH! OH! Data! JGB has got me excited now .... he mentioned ...... Data! ....... opinion is fine and interesting, but Data rules OK.

Step back and ..... chill ......... let's assume(?) N series was a commercial gooseberry (who says so?) .........well, so what? .... did Kyocera design it that way? Did they design it and say ...... HEY! GUYS! It might fail, Lets not even bother to introduce it to our faithful C/Y fans?

Or .... did they just design what they thought was a technical improvement on AE/MM, and let loose to see what happened?

My God! Betamax should have wiped the floor with VHS ...... it didn't! Did it stop people using it effectively because it sold less than VHS? Or…. vice-versa, did VHS hold back creativity because it was technically inferior?

I am not saying that N series is the Betamax to AE/MM's VHS ..... just that things don't always seem to go the logical way!

JGB says “what is the point of belittling…..†etc. I would say ….. insert your own ending to this! I agree with him ….. and

Could Kyocera have done it better? ...... Apollo could have been done better with hindsight! , Tony Blair, could he have done better with hindsight! Mr President, could have ….OK let’s not go there

Even my hero .. Sir Isaac Newton …. could have done better with hindsight …. And, I do not belittle the gravity of this matter!

MY BOTTOM line is does any of this stop anyone producing first class images whether N is popular/commercially successful or not?

Cheers, Kyocera Kid.


Well-Known Member

It is getting late, Dirk is asleep, and you brought up betamax to my dismay. Yes, I have one and wish I could buy tape inexpensively. I also like my old Zeiss Ikon's as well and my G2. As before I have recommended keeping Zeiss equipment instead of selling it and getting something else. If I had an N camera I would keep it and use it.

Good Evening:



I guess the N system's fault is that it came out way too late... When Contax finally delivered a 35mm AF camera, the world started craving for digital and that's where the money is and, unfortunately and unlike Leica's policy, Kyocera looks set to include marketing/saleability in their most recent models design.
What I mean is that Leica has profited from it's association with Panasonic to keep some of their customers happy but still follows their original goal of designing the best tools money can buy.
The N systems, on the other hand, shows signs of giving in to market pressures (even if the prices don't show this!!!).
An ex&le of this is the "wide focal lenght range story", which is to be bland pathetic (they assume that because it's a trend to use zooms, photographers will be happy with just 5/6 slow, heavy zoom lenses). If Olympus with their the 4/3 system has made the same reading, at least they're building up on their system every year with 4 or 5 new lenses...
I think that they'll have a though time maintaining their tiny share of the market unless they build up their N lens range...
The way things are now, and as soons as film doesn't do the thing for me, it looks like I'll have to go somewhere else... And that's very sad indeed.


P.S.: Ah, and though I haven't used either of the 3 cameras or lenses, I'm sure that they're better than their C/Y equivalents... My RX could sure do with a more silent film advance and a comand dial, and both AF and Evaluative Metering would have been usefull in more than one occasion.


Active Member
Would you folks please stop the "why is Contax/Yashica not doing what we (marketing-) geniusses are discussing"-debate? It's going over and over and over. Nothing new, really! I'm tired of reading this again and again.