Provocative question RX or RXII or RTSIII

M

mikel

Just have a provocative type of question. Suppose you have $900. You want to buy either used RTS III or new RXII or used RX. Reliability, handling, TTL flash control, top shutter speed are all important in more or less equal proportion. I never owned RTS III and "tested" RX in store long time ago, so I wonder what are thoughts on the two cameras? RTS III has real mirror-lockup, 1/8000sec top shutter speed, 1/125sec and 1/250sec (thanks Rico) flash speed, seems to be built well (and thus will handle well), has vertical release shutter button and has a good reputation for reliability (however, from many threads in this forum it looks like practically any breakage will run into few hundred or a round thousand dollar in repair costs). Also, it's not clear to me how good is TTL flash control? (or it actually works via pre-flash TTL control only?) The flash sync shoe has two contacts, instead of 5 on Aria and RX, so I'm not sure what functionality is "lost" as compared to more modern bodies?

Additionally, from the comments of other users, it sounds like RXII is using the same shutter as Aria and it also has new metering sensor. Thus it pretty much guarantees availability of replacement parts for a long time.

Furthermore, viewfinder magnification in RX/RXII is 0.8x, while in RTS III it is 0.74 I believe. In general, I prefer higher magnification usually.

Any input will be appreciated, since I'm struggling to make up my mind (although I'm not even sure that I *have* the $900 to spend)

Mike.
 

dirk

CI-Founder
What do you want to use it for?

- What kind of shootings
- for travelling or not
- do you use flash often
- what is your existing equipment (lenses and cameras)
- Will you use it in addition to it or as a replacement
 
M

mikel

Dirk,

My primary Contax SLR at the moment is Aria. It's my go-anywhere camera and I carry it with P50 or D28 or S85, depending on the day or purpose. I take a lot of interest in street photography or "chance" photography (you just walk down the street and see something interesting - you take your camera and take a picture). P50 is more or less a permanent resident on Aria though


With these three lenses, Aria works as a very well-balanced combination. For travel it's practically perfect.

However, when it comes down to flash photography, although I do prefer to have mixed ambient light/flash in my pictures (and thus 1/125sec flash sync on Aria is great), sometimes I do have a need for higher speed. 1/200sec or 1/250sec is what's required. It happens only sometimes, but then, the whole point is - it's a difference between taking a shot the way I want it, or not.
However, considering that RTS III doesn't transmit f/stop info to flash, I understand that it means that you always have to set it on the flash manually, which isn't a good thing too.

Another issue is that with Metz 54 MZ-3 and bounce adapter mounted, Aria becomes "top-heavy" and doesn't balance too well.

I'm planning on adding three more lenses to my arsenal within next 6 months as well as Mutar - Planar 85mm f/1.4, Sonnar 135mm f/2.8 and Sonnar 180mm f/2.8. Later on, if I have money left - Distagon 21mm f/2.8. (I actually planned to get P85 now, but then some other unexpected expenses came up, so I have to postpone it). And maybe, just maybe, some time later I wil get rich enough to get one of the tele APO lenses. But I think I would have to win a lottery for that


So, with the Sonnar 180mm f/2.8 Aria would be somewhat cumbersome to use (handheld that is. On tripod there will be little difference). Bigger and heavier/sturdier body would be better.

There is another issue. Although I don't spend as much time doing landscape/architecture/nature photography as I would like, when it does happen I surely miss mirror-lockup or at least 2sec-timer with mirror-lockup. RTS III has a true mirror-lockup, while situation with RXII is unclear.

So, basically I need some "loaded" camera, that would complement my Aria in any situation where Aria won't do. On the other hand, overall weight is also of concern. After all, RTSIII with batteries weighs one pound more than RX or RXII.

And of course, the more important concern is reliability. I definitely don't have money to buy new RTS III. Which means - I will have to get used one. Considering that these cameras are pretty expensive and are relatively old, it's hard to predict how much any repair will cost and whether such repairs could be performed 5 years from now.

With RX or RXII it's easier, they're far more common than RTS III and in case with RXII they seem to be sharing some components with Aria, which would mean that repairs will be cheaper and most likely it will be possible even 10 years from now.

That's why I'm struggling to make up my mind



Mike.
 

dirk

CI-Founder
... this will be difficult. I think it all depends on the weighting you give personally to certain features and how often you will do something else than street photoghraphy:

1. RX is smaller, significant lighter and less noisy than the RTS III

2. RX II is louder than RX. I would always prefer the RX.

3. RX II has (as far as I know) no MLU via selftimer. Even if it has, it does not help you on windy days if there is just for one second no wind.

4. The heavier the lenses, the better the RTS III. Viewfinder for composing (if you have the time) is just a pleasure. The display of the RTS III is fading over the time. So you have to calculate a repair every 3-5 years for about 170-200 Euro. After that you will be able a lot better to see the shutter times etc. in the viewfinder. Although it is never as easy as on the RX, since the RTS III viewfinder is just too bright at sunny days for the colour in the display. Look at the manual/ broschure section on this site.

5. If you do not want to replace the Aria, it comes down to the criteria for which situation you would grab something else than the Aria and how often this will happen.

I do not think that you can beat the Aria for street photography and travelling. The shutter of the RX is less noisy, but the camera is more obvious and attracts more attention to you. You do not want to use big and heavy lenses anyway in this situation. Same counts for the RTS III. Flash usage attracts also too much attention in that circumstances.

So you would most probably use a "non-Aria" camera for all other stuff (landcsape, studio, special purposes). The question is how often do you do this? In 20% of your photo-time or more?

A true MLU is perfect for landscape. A large (100%) viewfinder also. So the RTS III would be my favourite one. If you do need higher flash speed than 125, the RTS III is your choice. As an addition to the Aria, the RTS III is also more different than the RX, which is what you should look for. Otherwise it will stay in the closet and you will only use the Aria.

If you would like to replace the Aria, I would recommend the RX, since it is more the mixture between the RTS III and the Aria.

But make sure that you take all cameras in your hands for 10 minutes and play with them before you buy, The stomach feelings always overrule the logic
So if you do not feel right with the RTS III, do not buy it.

Read all the treads about the RTS III in this forum. This wil give you tremendous information in between the lines for your decision.

Just my 2 cents
 

rico

Well-Known Member
Mike,

From brief handling, the RX strikes me as a fine camera: most quiet RTS shutter, metal build, intermediate weight, etc. As you're aware, however, the RTS III has more capability across the board.

The Aria goes nose-heavy with the P100, let alone the S180 or the zooms. The RTS III is comfortable with heavy lenses and big flash gear up top.

Like you, I also like mixed lighting. Getting the balance between ambient and flash is aided by the spot flashmeter of the RTS III. If you use TTL flash, no need to set film speed and lens aperture on the flash head: merely ensure adequate flash coverage for your lens.

Being a current product, parts for RTS III repair will be available for the next decade (laws dictate). Besides the fading VF problem, the camera gets a good grade for reliability. $1000 will get you a body of grade Excellent from KEH, along with return privilege and a short warranty. Even with due diligence, Ebay is a crap shoot for buyers.
 

gor

New Member
How about a second hand Contax ST? It is a little smaller than RX but at = least just as rugged. Shortest shutter speed is 1/6000 sec, flash sync = at 1/200 sec. I think the ST is one of the best cameras Contax ever = produced, and it is - at least concerning ist looks - very similar to = the Aria. Best regards Georg
 

afranklin

Well-Known Member
Hi Dirk,

> If you do need higher flash > speed than 125, the RTS III is your choice.

I thought the RTS-III could sync at 250? I have one, but I never used a flash with it...

Regards,

Austin
 

dirk

CI-Founder
... I do not undertand the question exactly because I think we are saying the same. I did not use flash with my RTS III neither. But you have definitely the option of flash sync of 1/250 or slower via direct hotshoe and according to the specs also 1/125 and 1/250 in manual mode.

Or was it a typo and you meant the RX II ?
 

afranklin

Well-Known Member
Hi Dirk,

> .. I do not undertand the question exactly because I think we are > saying the same.

Sorry, I read it wrong. You said "If you DO need higher flash speed than 125, the RTS III is your choice.", and I read that as "don't".

Regards,

Austin
 
M

mikel

Dirk,

You say RX II is louder than RX. You mean as "loud" as Aria? Because if so, I'm totally okay with that.

Also, you mentioned that RTS III display is fading over time. I'm confused about something. If it's a known problem, why Kyocera never came up with a slightly revised display that would last longer? Also, what contributes to the fading? Is it going to fade even if I just put it on the shelf and let it sit there for 3 years? Or it's related to sunlight?

And I think that I use Aria 70% of the time. Which means that I will need that other body (whatever it will be) for the remaining 30% of situations.

And there is no way I'm going to replace Aria.


Rico,

So you also mention this VF display fading problem. I guess I need to go through some older threads to find more info about it.

Georg,

Actually, I have never even seen ST, that's why it would be a difficult choice. I will have to buy it first and "test drive" only later. Hardly a good idea. Also, since it's small, I'm afraid it also won't cut it with heavier lens and heavy flash on top.



Mike.
 

afranklin

Well-Known Member
> So you also mention this VF display fading problem. I guess I need to > go through some older threads to find more info about it.

I have had an RTS-III for a number of years, and use it reasonably frequently...I have not have a viewfinder fading problem.

Regards,

Austin
 
M

mikel

Austin,

Cool. What year of manufacture is yours? (or serial number).

By the way, B&H has refurbished condition "8" RTS III available with 1 year warranty from Kyocera. Since it's hard to know what this "condition 8" means, I asked them and their response was "it shows wear and marks, but it's fully functional. It simply has scratches, dents on the body and it was a "demo" unit before that." They also offer 14-day return policy on it. Price is good. So, I wonder, should I try to get it? If I won't like it I will still have 14 days to return it, so I'm losing only on shipping cost. What do you guys think?


Thanks,
Mike.
 
M

mikel

Forgot to say. DeltaInternational can import RXII for $901 (according to their website). Which brings it to the same price-class as used RTSIII.

(However, I bet that if going via Delta, it will be non-returnable item).

I'd like to find out for sure whether that new 2sec timer on RXII has mirror "pre-fire" (i.e. mirror lifts up right after you press shutter release button, while curtains open up two seconds later. Just like it is on N1). Does anyone from the list own RXII? I just want to hear first-hand info about it, since there seems to be some confusion and I didn't find much concrete info in RXII review section on this site.


Mike.
 
W

writing4me

Mike, If there is no way at all to see and handle the camera, then it sounds like your best bet is to try it out by purchase through B&H with the condition that you can return it in 14-days if it is unsuitable. I don't know where you're located, but if you can spare the time to drive to a dealer instead, you'd save the two way shipping fees, plus the hassle of packing it all up, insuring it etc. Two way postage and insurance fees would buy a lot of film. But, you also have to think about how valuable your time is and figure out if it is best spent chasing after a camera that could be delivered to your doorstep. Lot of considerations depending on your situation. Just my opinion. -Lynn
 
D

dfm

Mike: You should email Delta regarding the RXII price...if I remember correctly they quoted me $790 a few months ago.

Re: an "8" RTS III from B&H: having ordered a 9+ RTS III from them in the past, I would expect an 8 to be a total wreck. They took mine back but it cost me about $75 US in shipping and I don't know how much in telephone charges (their 1-800 was constantly busy) for the priviledge of going through the total hassle of it all.

David
 
M

mikel

Lynn,

Yepp, I thought about shipping costs as well. I'm thousands of miles away from B&H, so I can't personally inspect it. I think I'll try to find if there is any local dealer in my area that might have any RTSIII to basically come and test it. That's probably the easiest way.

David,

Yeah, I read about your ordeal, however, it's always a gamble - it's almost impossible to know how "condition 8" or "condition 9" will come out. Do you remember serial number of yours by any chance? Just in case I get "your" camera when I order from B&H.

RXII price on Delta is current I believe. Price difference could be due to cheaper US Dollar. Did you end up buying RXII or RTSIII?

Mike.
 
D

dfm

Mike: yes, despite the "ordeal" I am still a confirmed used equipment buyer...but take all measures you can to determine what's going to show up in your mailbox. And be ready for disappointments and hassles. I did not buy the RXII from Delta but as far as the price goes it was listed much higher on the site when I enquired as well. Go ahead and email them as I expect they will quote you the lower price. I have a T2, 159 and RTSII and will probably go for an AX at some point in the near future. I got the RTSII in near-new condition for a great price and that's what stopped me from going for the RX II or looking for another RTS III. For what it's worth I have never held a camera quite as awe inspiring as the RTS III ! - but it's huge, heavy, intimidating and expensive and does not offer me any specific,usable advantage for my style of photography over the RTS II. The AX of course offers auto focus.

David
 

afranklin

Well-Known Member
> Posted by Mike L (Mikel) on Thursday, November 06, 2003 - 4:42 am: > > Austin, > > Cool. What year of manufacture is yours? (or serial number).

Hi Mike,

My serial number for my RTS-III is 6182. I have no idea where it falls in the scheme of RTS-III serial numbers...if someone has any more info, I'd appreciate hearing about it.

Regards,

Austin
 

adlerw

Member
Regarding serial numbers on RTS3's:
I think it was Mr. Schwedhelm of Kyocera Germany who told me once that there is no clear relationship between the serial no. and the manufacturing date of any RTS3. BUT you can find out the age of your camera via the number/letter combination printed inside the film chamber (black on black, not really easy to read). I e-mailed this number to Kyocera Germany and they told my that my RTS3 (serial no. 11xxx) has been built in 1991.
You might give it a try.
Regards, Walther
 
D

dja

...Regarding serial numbers on RTS3's:
I think it was Mr. Schwedhelm of Kyocera Germany who told me once that there is no clear relationship between the serial no. and the manufacturing date of any RTS3. BUT you can find out the age of your camera via the number/letter combination printed inside the film chamber (black on black, not really easy to read). I e-mailed this number to Kyocera Germany and they told my that my RTS3 (serial no. 11xxx) has been built in 1991.
You might give it a try.
Regards, Walther...
------------------------------------------------

Can I ask what code was printed to indicate 1991?

Thanks,
David
 
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