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No More AriaDbs


Well-Known Member
<font face="verdana,arial,helvetica"><font color="ff0000"><font size="+1">It is with deep regret that I have been informed by Kyocera on 22/12/04 of the following departures from the Contax line up:

RX2 body
Aria/D body
T3 black
Distagon 35mm/F2.8MM
Distagon 35mm/F1.4(J)MM
Distagon 25mm/F2.8(J)MM
Makro-Planar 60mm/F2.8(C)MM
F-Distagon 16mm/F2.8AE

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More news will be posted as soon as I can get a statement.

One pair of gloomy Kyocera/Contax Kids.

Bob and Paul


Well-Known Member
Seems to me that it basically means that Kyocera axes the whole manual focus 35mm Contax line. There are no more cameras left in the line-up - RTS-III is no longer available either. Considering that they have not announced any replacements for RXII or Aria, that means that they leave all the current users basically in the cold. I imagine that repair service will become an issue in the future as well.

I think that says quite a bit about the company. I think that maybe I should consider a Leica rangefinder now...


... Kyocera and communication/ marketing. That are two different planets. Hopefully they get enlightened and push the N-System with some interesting FFL and at least one affordable fullsize DSLR.

If they only offer a ND2 and no FFL for the N-System, they will hardly sell anything outside of Japan. But I am not sure whether they understand this.

Users want to have a camera-SYSTEM, not only a body or only zooms. Look at the old Contax RTS-system broschures from the 1984 and you know what I mean...

But this happens if people are decision makers, who do not have photography as a hobby. They just do not understand what photograhers really need and what is the right way to motivate them to buy photo-equipment. Whether this is analogue or digital does not make a difference in this respect.


Hi Dirk,

Was your previous post a criticism of Kyocera - I've never heard you say anything negative before!! If we don't hear anything this year then I think we can say bye to the Contax/Kyocera tie-up.

The demise of a number of cameras over the last 18 months (eg. Contax models, Bronica medium format etc.) reminds me of the motor car and motor bike industry; a number of brands went under but were then bought by enthusiasts and revived. I still think Contax will survive - just not with Koyera!!

Cheers, Saras


Well-Known Member
> I agree with Saras and Dirk. The way Kyocera has treated Contax in the past few years does not give any credit to the brand's heritage. If, as I said in a previous post, Cosina takes over, if not the Contax brand, at least the tooling and technology in order to allow us users and enthusiasts to continue using our MF lenses into the new Zeiss/Cosina bodies. Even if the Kyocera support goes away I expect being able to continue using my lenses.




Well-Known Member
Am I right that the Yashica FX3 2000 was in fact a Cosina? This is an excellent little camera. It was non digital of course but I believe that the Epson RD1 is also based upon it so who knows? Maybe Cosina could produce a digital SLR which would take our beautiful C/Y lenses.


Well-Known Member
> Maybe the Zeiss/Cosina partnership could produce some nice things as a maechanical/Back to basics Contax S3. Take the S2 base (which has some compatible parts with the Yashica FX3) add a switchable spot/weighed metering switch and presto! guaranteed sales. Let's hope they can use the C/Y mount. Robert >


Well-Known Member
That would be lovely with a capital L. I think that we would all go for that! except for those who have invested in the N system but there must be thousands of superb C/Y lenses out there owned by people who want to be modern but do not want to give up their lenses or their investment. Mr Kobayashi has invested in retro systems before with success


Well-Known Member
The writing is on the wall people...
Kyocera is all but finished making cameras. Unfortunately, Cosina is not our saviour either. Rather, they are detracting from the only prominent sales base Contax has (and only currently produced film camera) the G series camera users. Not only that, it's a giant leap backwards technologically speaking. If I wanted to buy an MF rangefinder I wouldn't have purchased a G series camera. Even Cosina recognizes that their retro camera must progress in order to survive the digital flood and they made mention of an RF-Digital model in the not so distant future. Another factor that may point to Contax's demise is that Sony is now brandishing digital cameras not only with the Zeiss name on them, but more importantly with the T* on them. Kyocera thrived in old world technologies with new industrial techniques and methods of production. They are the foremost metalurgist and ceramic manufacturers in the world, however this cannot sustain their forray into the digital era.
Historically speaking Contax/Kyocera staved off disaster with the release of the AX when the writing was on the wall for a competetive AF sytem that would be backwards compatible, but it was too little too late. The N system is beautiful but horribly underfunded and the N digital sank the ship, so to speak. I'm surprised Contax still even exists. They simply cannot compete with Canon or Sony in the R&D department. Perhaps some company like Sony will resurrect the Contax name since they too have liscensing from Zeiss. It really is a shame. But you never know... maybe Kyocera will pull a magical bunny rabbit out of their arse like a digital G3 or even a digital RTS IV similar to the Leica R9 digital. We can only hope. God save the Contax.


I have read somewhere that the later production of the Y3 S2000 were manufactured in a plant run by Cosina. These are not as sturdy as the earlier ones produced by Yashica. It would be nice if there was a means of getting a new body for our great lenses, but I still would prefer continued production on the RX and Aria and the S2.


Well-Known Member
I think I read that the FX series were always produced and indeed designed by Cosina. I understand that it is a basic and staple Cosina design which has been used by various non Yashica brands e.g. a Braun model which I saw in Teneriffe. I agree that the earlier models felt more substantial and were more metal than the more recent ones which feel much more plasticky.
Here, here to "God save the Contax" as we know it but I would not be averse to a Cosina digital FX3 taking C/Y lenses and I would not mind what brand name was given to it - Epson maybe? Think of the kudos from the use of CZ lenses. Many of us like a mixture of old and new hence the success of "retro" designs in all sorts of products from radios to cars and minimalism has much to commend it.


Well-Known Member
Dirk: FFL? What do you mean?

Also, what were you trying to say when you said "Kyocera and communication/ marketing". Are you trying to say that there is a chance for a new manual-focus C/Y mount body or what? Technically, since Zeiss owns the Contax trademark, I find it very odd that there was no announcement from Zeiss about discontinuation of this entire line. Don't you think it's just weird? I for one don't like that. I have been loyal to Zeiss products for quite a while and this hush-hush stuff certainly makes me feel uneasy about the company.


Well-Known Member
Whether Kyocera knows what they are doing, or are acting out of ignorance, is irrelevant now. Contax, under their management, is all but a dead brand.

They have lasted this long ONLY because of Zeiss lenses. But even then, not enough NEW buyers are willing to invest in a dead-end system at new retail prices ... especially with so many decent used ex&les on e-bay, etc.

The N cameras are also a tough sell new because of availability used. Fundamentally, they were ill positioned in the marketplace right out of the gate, and the lack of lens development plus the late launch of the ND basically told the world that the N was also a dead-end system. The N lenses cannot be adapted for use on other cameras because the aperture controls are electronic, so there's no way to stop them down even if you could adapt them.

Also, they have done nothing to the Contax 645 since it's introduction. If they had only upgraded the 645 AF to the level of the H1, dealt with the power issue, and slightly streamlined the body, who would buy the H1 for more money and be stuck with Fuji AF lenses? It's criminal neglect IMHO.

I think there will be interest in some Contax manual glass for a while because it CAN be adapted for use on the Canon EOS series cameras ... especially the pro 1D series where the difference can easily be seen.

Oh well, I plan on keeping most of it because it's value is in using it not selling it.


Well-Known Member
I agree on the point that Contax lasted this long only because of Zeiss lenses. However, at the prices that Kyocera was charging for the bodies ($2000 for RTS-III) I kept wondering why Zeiss wouldn't make it themselves. N1 was definitely a dud. 645 seems to be a fairly good machine, but with Kyocera shadow behind it I imagine that a lot of people were concerned about venturing that way. Unlike Hasselblad, their reputation was not good.

As far as Hasselblad H1 goes - did you see the price? I don't know how many people would really want it. It would be very curious to know how many of them are being sold NEW.


Active Member
I don't agree that the N1 is a dud! While Kyocera has done terrible job of marketing, the equipment itself is well made and I really like the existing N line of lenes.

I have been using Contax since 1974 and am saddened over the down turn in the market and Kyocera unwillingness to pursue a pro DSLR. After all the research and developement needed to start the N line, incorporate a full size sensor, redevelope the lens, it seems rather stupid to drop the line as they are.

I sure hope something is going on that we don't know about...possibly a more agressive company looking to carry an exceptional line with a proven history.

Anyway, I will keep and enjoy my N1's and the lenses that I have until they fall apart on me. Quality is quality no matter how screwed up a marketing plan is.




Well-Known Member
The N1 is a great camera in its class. The N645 is the best medium format camera I ever have. I love all the AF Zeiss lenses I own. They totally blown the competition away in term of image quality. I still have great joy using my ND and to me, the N lenses are so much better than Canon (although I am switching to Canon dSLRs for practical reason.)

Today, I shot a house pic (with my ND) for my cowork who is selling her house. I up the contrast a bit to make it pop for the ad.


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Warren and Albert, I don't think anyone is disputing the excellence of the Zeiss lenses. I'd guess that we're all here because of that excellence.

I've already shown in tests, that the Zeiss N wides are superior to the Canon L counterparts. But in some cases the Canon glass is as good or better. While the Canon 50/1.4 is not built as nicely as the Contax N 50/1.4, the Canon is just as sharp and has much nicer Bokeh. The Canon 35/1.4L is pretty close to the Contax 35/1.4 I once owned which still isn't even available in the N series. The Canon 85/1.2L is a monster, but it is unequalled in performance to anything available today. The Canon 100/2.8 Macro should have been an L lens with the level of performance it delivers. And nothing Zeiss has equals the Canon long lenses. The 70-200/2.8L IS is stunning, while the 200/1.8 is acknowledged industry wide as the best 200mm ever produced by anyone. Then above 200mm is strictly Canon territory all the way.

The ND is still an okay camera ( I have two ; -), and the N-1 is also just fine. But as a professional, I can hang my reputation on a camera that may or may not work, that may or may not focus fast enough, that may or may not suddenly die due to battery issues/power consumption. When shooting for pleasure I like to use the Contax gear, but it is all so big compared to say my Leica M stuff which I have no doubt performs from 21mm through 90mm without distortion or any other issue.

The Contax 645 IS A GREAT CAMERA, and I still use it. But IF Hasselblad had used Zeiss glass with the H1, Contax 645s would be history. The H1 focuses faster than a N-1 and does it in lower light. I don't know how their new sales are, but half of the professionals I know paid the price, and have switched over to the H1 ... especially for digital capture. I would have too IF the glass would've been Zeiss. Hasselblad has finally come out with the adapter to use the Zeiss glass, so that's looking better these days.


Well-Known Member
Marc, well said. The Canon 35mm/1.4 sells like hot cake. Everywhere is back order, and tons of people want to get it.

The ND drove me nut on event shootings. I learn to work with the slow AF, but the power issue.. don't get me started. I am planning to use it again as a 2nd body for wedding for outdoor portrait. Am I crazy or what. :)

It is good to know if the H1 can use the C645 lenses. Assuming the AF capability is gone, I rather stick with Contax and hope for the price of 22meg digital back will come down.

Marc, thanks for the comments on the Canon 35L, 50 and 85L. I am thinking to get the 70-200IS. What is your opinion on the 24-70L or 16-35L?


Well-Known Member

you said " Hasselblad has finally come out with the adapter to use the Zeiss glass, so that's looking better these days.". I wonder which lenses exactly? From Contax platform or their 200 or 500 series?


Well-Known Member
Mike, the adapter allows use of lenses from Hasselblad's own CF series. This is important news because many photographers (like me) already have a fortune in Hassey glass.

Here's the info from the Hasselblad USA site:

"The CF adapter allows all lenses from the V-system to be used on H-system camera bodies. This automatically expands the potential lens range for H cameras by more than a dozen different focal lengths.

The automatic focusing system in the H camera can be used as a guide for manual focus setting. Light is measured at full aperture with all lenses which produces aperture and shutter speed information display in the camera for manual setting. With CFE lenses, however, a preset aperture is automatically transferred to the camera. Shutter cocking is manual with all lenses and is swiftly carried out by an easily accessible lever."

I currently use some Hasselblad C and F series lenses on both my Contax 645 and N cameras, including the 30mm fish eye, 50/4 CFe, 110/2F and 180/4CFe. They are spectacular.

Unfortunately, the F series won't work on the H1 because that is a leaf shutter lens camera. They all work on a Contax 645 because it is a focal plane shutter camera. Like the H1, you can use the focus confirmation as a guide, but unlike the H1, you have to stop down meter with the Contax 645.