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Looking for some advice on Contax AX


New Member
I currently have a 167mt and have an opportunity to buy a used AX. If anyone had both, is it an upgrade that is worth the price?

Is the AF good enough to make the move?

Is it relyable? What would be the part that would risk the most to be broken?

Would you recommend buying a used AX?


Well-Known Member
Yes! Yes! Yes! Your heart, if you ever had to part with the AX after using it! And finally Yes, if from a good dealer!

Cheers, Kyocera Kid.

p.s. I'm sure I won't be the only one to be so positive about the AX ..... but ask some specific questions if you wish, I'm sure there will be a few enthusiastic AX and Ex-167MT users willing to expand!


Mine has not broken yet, so I cannot tell. "Standard repair" is said to be $200 (Kyocera website).
Yes, if you have have some sort of warranty or return privilege.



New Member
Hello Patrick (and others, of course)

I have an AX for the past two years (in addition to a RTS II and an old 137). It took me a little while to find out the various modes of autofocus, but it works fine. If you shoot in low light situations, you may have a little problem, because suddenly the autofocus 'cannot make up its mind'.

The continously variable 10 mm extension ring (my understanding of the macro setting) works extremely well and I have been able to produce some nice close up shots.

Reliability? I would say my camera has been reliable. Some talk of problems and in the same sentence talk of a dropped camera. Well, this camera is most likely more delicate than others because of its internal focus mechanism - but you get so much more fun out of this versatile tool than many others.

Kind regards
Lars Lund


i have a 167 wwhich i now use as a 2nd body having
replaced it as my primary camera with the ax because i needed an af (due to catarcts)
the major problem with the ax for me (arthritic shoulders) was
that it was bulky and heavy but it handled and felt
ok. the af works well after getting used to how to
use it. other nice features are continuos focus,
2 second self-timer, macro etc and best of all you can use all those great cz lenses.i really like this camera.

try it and enjoy. henry

btw bob, some time ago i had power failure after a repair due to my dropping camera with vs 28-85 on board. kyocera, new jersy repaired it under the
repair warranty and no problem since.


Well-Known Member
Nice to hear of a happy ending Henry.

Am I right in thinking that I have heard more compliments about New Jersey than complaints? I hope so!

Cheers, Bob.


Well-Known Member
Henry, Does the 2 sec self timer also lock up the mirror and stop down the lens?


hi colin,
you asked :-

<Does the 2 sec self timer also lock up the mirror and stop down the lens?>

unfortuneatly no mirror lock-up.


The AX is a great camera, if you don't plan to use the autofocus for sports and other activities that require fast accurate continuous focusing. You need Nikon or Canon for that.

On the up side I found it to be quieter than my RX, and the 10mm extension is terrific especially with the 135. The autofocus works in conjunction with the lens focusing ring. So you can either use the AF initially and touch-up accuracy with the lens, or vice versa. The AF system will focus to the point set on the lens barrel. So if it is set to 10 feet, it will only AF to 10 feet. Set it to infinity and it will focus from minimum lens focus to infinity.

I purchased the AX new and needed to get it repaired twice because it wouldn't focus any lens to infinity.

Good-luck in the decision making process!


Active Member
you wrote : unfortuneatly no mirror lock-up. Unfortunatelly? Maybe the function is not reqiured, more pro- models ( I believe AX is a pro)go so softly and decently, it is just not necessary. I would like to hear how quiet is AXs shutter (especially rx or rts3 vs. ax!), perphaps Bob could help, he has opportunity to compare with other models...
I am little worrying about mechanical durability and long life dependability of the camera(if it is worth to buy second-hand..?,... in fact, if AX was discontinued, you have no other choice..)
regards Pavel


Well-Known Member

No worries about reliability or durability ... I've never had a problem and never regretted buying an AX. I've owned all normal models of Contaxes since the RTS with the exception of the S2b and the Aria (have played with an Aria). I have kept the AX and 137MA (my other half's choice) and have a RTS II waiting in the wings for when I get it repaired. All the others got sold/exchanged!

You are in luck, only today was I comparing the noise of the RX with my AX. I had a visit from another contaxinfonian who brought his RX with him. I have to admit that the RX is one heck of a quiet camera! My AX is a little louder and has a sort of (now don't laugh!) "echo-ey" sound to it, by comparison
. From memory of my ST and RTS III's sounds, I'd say the AX was similar in volume.

I can say that I have never suspected any problems with mirror clatter, even though I have put some daft combinations of lenses on the AX, e.g. 300/2.8 Tamron + 2x macroconverter and shot at silly shutter speeds with only a monopod!

I'd buy another (second-hand) from any reputable dealer, if I needed a second one - no hesitation.

Cheers, Kyocera Kid.
p.s loved the 28/f2 that Nickser brought round too!


Well-Known Member
Hi Pavel,

Bob is off line at the moment due to an ISP problem. I have just come back from having a good chat with him. We did in fact compare his AX against my RX for the shutter/mirror/motor noise and we agreed that the RX is quieter. This may be due to the fact that the AX is a 'camera within a camera' so there is a chamber for the noise to reverberate within.
On another note I was wondering how fast and accurate the AF was. I can tell you that it is a lot faster than manual focussing. Even indoors in his living room with average lighting, it locked on. I will have to save up now and get one!! The only reliablilty problem Bob said that he had was he thought the metering was slightly out. He returned it to Contax and had it sorted out in no time at all.



Well-Known Member
Didn't count adjusting the meter as a problem, as I asked for the meter to be brought in line (1/3rd to 1/2 stop) with the older models I owned at the time, for the sake of consistency. Which they did promptly FOC even though they thought I was daft to ask!

Paul was quite impressed with the autofocus of the AX .... as you can see!

Cheers Kyocera Kid

p.s. Paul ... the "ISP" problem was me partially knocking the USB lead out from the modem


Well-Known Member
The AX is a truly awesome camera. The only downside I have with it is the "bulk" isn't that hard to get used to...but it does take a bit of adjusting. It isn't heavier than the RTS-III, so it's just a matter of pure bulk.

It is a full featured camera, with an available datA back (meaning not just datE), plus the metering is superb, as is the viewfinder. The autofocus works very well, it's just not as fast as something like a Canon EOS is. The 10mm built-in extension is (if you use it) really a great feature.

I can't say enough good things about the AX. I have not had any reliability or any problems for that matter with mine. I just don't use it as much, as I find the bulk hinders my ability to tend to my kids while with them. I find the Aria/G cameras much easier to use when I have the kids with me.




Well-Known Member
Hello Dear Friends,

What is wrong with my AX? When I use it AE mode, it does not read aperture in right way.
When I install 4 at the lens, viewfinder shows 5.6. Everytime one stop more, than I install at the lens...

Thank you for your reply.


Does it do this with every lens? If it does, the problem is probably with the camera. If it occurs with just one lens, but not others, the problem may be with the lens.


Well-Known Member
Out of interest .... I take it you have the exposure mode set to AV? And that you are not on AE Lock
(of course not!)

What are the Exposure Compensation and Auto Bracketing dials reading?

And finally, what is the aperture reading in the viewfinder when no lens is mounted?

Cheers, Kyocera Kid.


Well-Known Member

The body shows incorrect aperture with all lenses.
When lens is not mounted - aperture reading in viewfinder is 2.4 or 2.0 (not stable).

I'm in AV mode - I'm not in AE and do not switch any Compensation mode...