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Nx + 24-85



I am new here and this is my first post. I came along as GOOGLE pointed me to some very interesting threads from here around.

I found a lot of interesting posts here on Contax cameras around here. I have been shooting (mostly film) since about 7 years mostly in 6x6 and some 4x5", and after not very successful venture into compact 35mm cameras I decided to get a 35mm slr. The main purpose should be to get some nice slides from vacations and short trips for projections and keep the 6x6 (Mamiya 6) for a more "artistic" purposes or when there is more time.

After longer search I pretty much decided to go with Contax. I was nearly decided on Aria plus some compact prime lenses (25/2.8, 35/2.8, 85/2.8 ...), I somehow realized that there are also the N cameras and lenses worth considering. While only handful of lenses were introduced I got attracted by the 24-85 zoom, is it covers 95% of what I would need and is lighter than the manual focus 28-85. For the N camera only the NX comes in question as the N1 is jut too large and heavy. The autofocus of the N series is a nice touch, but not a major point for me.

So - I would like to ask - how do users find the NX + 24-85 combination and how does it compare (apart from the obvious differences) from the Aria + compact (=slower) prime lenses? I do realize that NX is heavier than Aria, but the NX+24-85 weights around the same as Aria + 25, 35, 85. And I would not have to keep switching the lenses.

thank you in advance


Hi matus,

welcome at!

I used both, so I can help you here out. First of all, I would think about the comparison NX vs. N1 again. The 24-85 is better balanced with the N1 than with the Nx, has the better viewfinder, and is IMHO overall the better and ore comfortable body ;)

The 24-85 is a great zoom, although at the long end sligthly soft, which is good for portraits. It is a perfect match for travelling. I liked it more for this purpose than the 28-85 with manual focus.

BUT I am a big fan of the Aria with exact these small primes you mentioned. You get excellent image quality, similar to Leica M also in size, but with less weight! Bear in mind the Aria is an SLR and the leica M-System a rangefinder, this is impressive!

Disadvantage of teh Aria: If you wear glasses, you have to concentrate to compase through the viewfinder. Also the change of spot to center weighted metering is kind of stiff. But for travelling I LOVED this combo. All in a small Billingham :)

And do give you even more headaches, I would also look at some new innovations like the new Fuji X100. I just bought it. It is basically a digital P&S, which pretends to be a rangefinder with a FFL of 35/2.0. Great image quality, although not yet Zeiss level but for travelling perfect!

Feel free to ask if you have further questions...

Best wishes


Thank you for the invitation dirk. This is exactly the type of answer I hoped to find.

So - first to the N line. I have already read about the superiority of the N1 relative to NX, but the weight would be just too much. So if N system than probably the NX. Still - I am surprised to hear that N1 has a better viewfinder as at least the specifications are the same for N1 and NX.

Now - if I start to compare Aria to NX it is at the same time a "fixed focal length" versus "zoom". Indeed there are the 28-85 and 28-70, but the second is not so highly praised and the first is on the heavy side. Also - I would like to get wider than 28 - 25 or 21. I actually consider also Yashica ML 21 or 24 lenses as there are many positive reports.

So - while on one hand the NX+24-85 offers me the possibility to carry just camera with one lens (without necessity to change the lenses), Aria + couple of primes always allow to take just one lens along what, as you mentioned, is a very compact package.

I guess at the end I will go for Aria for the size and maybe eventually get the 35-75 zoom later.

Actually I have to admit that it is a long time since I have used a zoom lens - neither my Mamiya 6 nor my 4x5 setup have one :z04_5769: But the zoom would allow me to frame more precisely what would be desirable for slide projection as cropping is not an option then.

Maybe I could ask some few more A vs B questions.:

1) For the Aria and NX - how do you find the viewfinders, noise (mirror, shutter, film trasport) and light metering (reliability, comfort)?

2) N 24-85 versus the f/2.8 primes in C/Y from Zeiss (or Yashica) - what about the contrast, rendering and distortion?



I forgot to comment on the Fuji X100. Sure I am aware of it - as well of its peers (Leica X1, Ricoh GXR, m4/3, etc. ..), but I just like the way film looks - in particular projected. I have recently seen the X100 and it confirmed my impression from checking it online - it is quite large. But let me explain.

Some time ago (3-4 months) I started to look for a compact digital camera that would be compact to carry along on business trips in check-in luggage without taking to much space or weight (this is different purpose that the NX and Aria discussed above are meant for). Being digital it would allow me to share some snaps with friends and family instead of waiting for films to get developed and scanned. For film cameras my favorite was the Contax T3. For digital I would have a strong tendency to get the Leica X1 in spite of the fact that X100 is better in many respects.

However as the time passed I some got to realize that to sped 1000 or more Euro on a camera for "snaps" may not be really the best way to go. Right now I consider Ricoh GRDIII or some compact digital zoom camera. I still did not decide and as I expect new generation come to the market this year I do not hurry. But it is a lot of temptation indeed. Maybe X200 or X2 or if Ricoh will produce more APS-C modules (21, 35, 80-100) as that would be my preferred system (the body is great and the A12 modules too) I will bite.


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Hi Matus,

regarding the compact cameras, I will ot answer here in detail. This should be made ina separate therad within the compact camera section. But for a quick comment: The Fuji x100 blows the T3 away (and I loved my T3). Both are not really "snapshot cameras". They are both for serious photography like a Leica M6 with 35/2.0 (i used that one too). You zoom with your feet. a camera always with you - even only with one FFL - is better than no camera with you at all ;)

The 35-70/3.4 is an excellent zoom with excellent image quality - also with macro modus. But the zoom range is limited obviously. I am more the FFL maniac. Not that I would see really always difference. It is just a fun decision. I have more fun with FFL. And I put more effort in photography if I use FFL. Results are better from the content.

I was never a pixel-peeper. So I can not say anything scientific about differences in contrast etc. JUst personal impressions in real life shootings of an amateur, not a professional.

The N-System was designed for digital photography. The know- how of the Zeiss ZM-lenses comes from the N-System. At that time the best you could get on the market. Nowadays, the differences to the competions are not that big anymore, but still visible.

So the N24-85 is better in contrast, flare control and some other aspects then the zooms of the C/Y system. Forget the 28-70, This is not the same level as the 28-85 or N24-85.

But the others are primes. Normally proimes are always bette than zooms. The 85/2.8 is the weakest of all 3. But because of this very good for portraits. Kind of simsilar to the long end of the N24-85. BUt I never did side by side comparison. Too many "littel" things have a big effect.

I.e. if you use a Contax RTS III with on eof the primes and a Fuji Velvia or Provia. it will surely blow away the N1 with the N24-85 because of film flatness with the vacuum system of the RTS III. With an RX, it is a different story. As you can see, the more you dig into it, the more questions arrive.

I can tell you for sure that until now, there is no real successor on the market for the Contax system ideas. Although Sony made some good approaches, since they do not cooperate the right ways with Zeiss, the are still not in the league of Contax.

A really sad story, if you need to go digital....

Back to your question. Try first to evaluate, with what will you have most likely fun to use? If you never used zooms before and never missed it, it is unklikely that this will change.

Best wishes


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I never did a side by side compariosn. Both have a vers specific noise you have to get used too. As far as I remember, teh NX had a better viewfinder for me, but not by much. But I liked the handling of the Aria more. I wrote a detailed review about the NX and Aria here in the forum, but I do not find it at the moment. Since we converted to antother forum software, some ellters did not convert properly which affects the search function.

LIght metering is deffernt. Both in Matrix as in center weighted. But this is normal. Every camera is different. You have to get familiar with it, then it is no problem. It needs time to get used to a camera.

There are tons of stuff to read here about the 2.

Best wishes


Hi Matus!
I have an NX, N1 and Aria (as well as G2, RX and T3, and TVSIII - I like Contax) and the lovely 24-85N. The combination I use the most is the N1 and 24-85. I have had the NX since it came out and find it works really well with the 24-85 and 70-200, some of my best travel pictures have been taken with this combo.
I did not get the N1 at the time because of the price difference, but finally bought one last year. It is not too heavy for me, heavy is my rucksack full of Hassy stuff!

You have an excellent setup, the results still blow me away every time I get prints done.

George S.

N vs. Aria

Everyone has different needs and tastes, but if I may chime in with my feelings... I see you mention the Aria's lightness several times. Lightness seems important to you. I tried the N system a couple of years back, and since my prior experiences in the film and digital arenas has been with Olympus gear, which has always been known for small size and light weight but still kind of feature-packed, I wanted to try new technology since the Oly OM system is frozen in time in the 1980s. BUT- the size and weight of the N system was a big turn-off for me. Yes, the final results were very good, but I didn't like the weight of the kit bag and sold everything.The best camera for me is the one I'll want to take along with me most of the time.

I have stayed with Olympus through the years, and recently picked up an Aria and 3 lenses and am now very happy with my Contax gear and still get great results in a lightweight kit. To me, and others too, the general lightness and ergonomics of the Aria almost seems like a natural evolvement of the Olympus OM system.

Good luck in your choices,