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Review Contax RTS III

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Guest

I would be very cautious of buying big ticket items frm Auction sites, especially if you live far from the item.

Ive been burnt many many times (ouch), buying from internet Auction Houses and the Auctions Houses provide litle or no help or insurance when the seller dosent send. Also be careful of the postal system, they also tend to treat products carelessly , and try every exuse not to pay out the insurance if any was taken out.


I tend to buy locally or from reputable dealers, I know, old and used products are sometimes thin on the ground at your local dealer.

Buyer beware.
They is only so much I can right Off on Tax
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G

Guest

I have a question concerning RTS III diopter adjustment.
It is difficult to understand whether the diopter knob is accidentally in a wrong position because the eye instinctively compensates the diopter displacement.
When I rotate the contax rts3 diopter knob, I can perceive 11 steps to the touch, but I don't know which step corresponds to each of the +1 –3 diopters declared on the manual.
Particularly, I want to know which intermediate (clockwise) step corresponds to the neutral diopter correction.
Thank you in advance.

Stefano
 
G

Guest

Regarding Diopter Adjustment.
Remove lens and point camera at a light source, raise and rotate adjuster knob back and forth till you can see the grain in the screen. push adjuster down.
This is just in case you were trying to do it with a lens on.
Phil.
 
G

Guest

Hello Stefano,

that's a question for an optician like me
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You can adjust a range of 4 diopters. So each step is approximatly 0.35 diopter. (Four divided by eleven) The blurred viewfinder image belongs to the +1 setting, the rasor-sharp one to the -3 setting.

I found two different explanations how to set the adjustable ocular:

Without a lens mounted. Adjust diopter knop from the blurred image until viewfinder controls are first time clearly sharp to see.

With a tele-lens mounted and set to infinity. The rest is the same as above.

I often misadjusted the setting on my ST when putting it in the camera bag. Now I fixed the knop with a piece of tape. As far as I know the knop on the RTSIII must be pulled out for adjustment and can't be misadjusted when pushed back.

Matthias
 

dirk

CI-Founder
FYI

I scanned the RTS III broshure and uploaded it in the Scan/Download section on this site. I hope that is helping some of you who are in a buying decision, especially now at the photokina.

Enjoy it

Dirk
 
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Guest

For reasons of weight, I'm using a 2CR5. However, 5 FPS requires 6 AA cells. Has anyone used the Energizer 1.5V lithium AA in their RTS III? This cell is far lighter than NiCd or alkaline, but I don't want the excess &s to fry the camera.
 
G

Guest

Hi, Rico,

the Energizer 1,5V lithium AA are the best power source for the RTS III, especially in winter time. According to CONTAX lab standard thus power source should be good for 150 (!) rolls of 36frame film.

Regards, Rainer
 
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Guest

Anyone aware of any compatibility problems with the RTSIII and certain MM lenses? I acquired an 18mm MM, and the camera would not display the proper aperature -- it seemed to stick on 22. My RTSIII is used (s/n 023146).

Anyone have any thoughts about this one?

Thanks,
Max Fischer
 
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Guest

Hi Max,

I have had a case where my P50/1.4 was sticking at f16, it was a problem with the lens, fixed by my camera shop, it did it with both my RTS 3 and my MT167, none of my other lenses did this. Once fixed I had no further problems. I suspect there is a problem with the lens, particularly if your RTS 3 is fine with your other lenses. The RTS 3 will work with all C/Y fit lenses this includes all MM and AE versions from Carl Zeiss, as well as a number of others from Zeiss Jena, Yashica and I believe Tamron and possibly others. My RTSIII has a SN of 28684 I purchased it new less than a month ago, this suggests yours is not particularly old. Also as the thread is RTSIII review, I must add that I find this an incredible camera, reassuringly solid and a pleasure to use, the viewfinder information is much brighter than earlier RTSIII cameras I have seen, a criticsm often leveled at the RTSIII.

Art
 
G

Guest

I, as has been noted by others, been dismayed that the information in the finder is so hard to see in bright daylight pictures when using the RTS III. Since such a large percentage of my photos as taken in daylight this was an aggravation. I am an eyeglass wearer. Because I am so near-sighted, the camera diopter adjustment is not fully adequate for my needs. I bought from B&H a -3 diopter. Now, I am more satisfied with my ability to focus the camera. I set the focus adjustment so that I can focus w/o my glasses. I have my eyeglasses attached to a cord around my neck. I now no longer have to search for them. By having my eye much closer to the finder, the data on the viewing screen becomes much more readable. If there is anyone who is looking for a manual focus camera capable of giving the best possible results, I do not hesitate to recommend this camera. I have aquired a good collection of lenses. They are: 21mm Distagon, 28mm Distagon,
28mm PC Super Angulon, 35mm 2.8 Distagon, 35mm PC Distagon, 50mm Planar, 60mm Macro Planar (1:1),
100mm Planar, 200mm Apo Sonnar Mutar II. I have not used the 28mm PC Super Angulon enough to have a valid opinion on it's quality. All of the Zeiss lenses have been very satisfactory. I have been very involved in photography for 40+ years. This is the best system to which I have been exposed.
Claire Senft
 

dirk

CI-Founder
HI Claire,

for the viewfinder brightness of the RTS III, you will find in the very first review in this thread a comment about it. I post it here for you again:

"The viewfinder of 100% (0,74 magnification) is also remarkable. It is extremely bright and very good for people who are wearing glasses. But unfortunately the extreme brightness is also at the same time a disadvantage. Viewfinder indications appear as white letters and numerals against a lighted blue background. This is great visible in normal daylight situations or at night. But if you are out on very sunny day to make some shots against bright sunlight, you can not see the viewfinder information anymore, because the becomes is becoming so bright.

Sometimes this is even worse, once the camera is 5 years old or older. Then you will have these problems also with normal daylight shootings. The display is basically fading out after a couple of years. But then you should send it for a viewfinder display exchange. After that it is a lot better again. This costs you around 190 Euro In Germany incl. a total check of the camera, but it is definitely worth it. "

Dirk
 
G

Guest

Viewfinder indications appear as white letters and > numerals against a lighted blue background. This is great visible in> normal daylight situations or at night. But if you are out on very> sunny day to make some shots against bright sunlight, you can not see> the viewfinder information anymore, because the becomes is becoming so> bright.

I know their are others who also disagree with this , but it doesnt get much brighter than where I live , and I've never noticed a problem with being unable to discern the VF display. I cant help but wonder if this isnt more a problem of someones sight than anything else....? Steve
 
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Guest

Stephen:

I consider the RTS III VF an outright mistake, not a justified trade-off (like body weight).

The Canon D30 has green text on a dark green field, while the RTS III has a white-on-blue scheme: both designs lack maximum contrast. However, the D30 can boost the VF illumination substantially, providing perfect readability in bright conditions.

That complaint aside, I bought my factory-refurb a month ago, and just love it. I will purchase a brand new III in the near future.

Remember, if the camera has no faults, Contax won't bring out the RTS IV!
 
G

Guest

how about my dream, an rts IV/ax with film andvance and return- mechanism(announced before rtsIII came out but left away. for 100% exact doubleexposures on any shot of the film. only a few people need this? we all need a professional mechanical or electronic shutter with mechanical exposure times.
 
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Guest

> I consider the RTS III VF an outright mistake, not a justified> trade-off (like body weight). > The Canon D30 has green text on a dark green field, while the RTS III> has a white-on-blue scheme: both designs lack maximum contrast.

I wouldnt go that far - for sure they could have used better contrasting colours etc , but I have never found this a problem in my own usage . I live in Africa at nearly 6000 ft and it gets damn BRIGHT here!!! Roll on the RTS4 either way....... Steve
 
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Guest

BATTERY USAGE FOR LONG EXPOSURE:

I have measured electrical usage by the RTS III. Camera will operate between 9 and 6V. Somewhere between 6 and 5.4V, it shuts down. Regardless of voltage, the display consumes a constant .45-.47W in lower light.

Using a 2CR5 battery (primary lithium), the display draws .078A. With the shutter open, current is lower at .069A. The battery has 1500mAh capacity, so shutter can be opened for 21 hours.

Using six alkaline AA cells, the display draws .050A and the shutter .056A. Total charge is 16200mAh (6x2700), allowing the shutter to be opened for 12 days!

With power switch OFF, leakage current is 25µA, but even lower at 19µA in the power-saving mode. Both are insignificant.

All measurements were taken at 26°C.

Based on these results, I feel a mechanical release for time-exposures is optional. The other big power hog is film transport, but I need test equipment beyond my DMM.
 
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Guest

Rico,

Sorry to disappoint you, but the capacity of 6 2700mA 1.5V cells in = series is 2700mA giving this capacity at 9V. 16,200 mA of capacity is = available only if these cells were in parallel thus giving this capacity at 1.5V. = In the RTSIII it's 9V @ 2700mA, bearing in mind the drastic drop in = performance at very low temperatures, an important consideration for = astrophotography, the mechanical release therefore serves a purpose. Art

"Using six alkaline AA cells, the display draws .050A and the shutter 056A. Total charge is 16200mAh (6x2700), allowing the shutter to be opened for 12 days! "
 
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Guest

Arthur, thanks for this correction. That makes the 6xAA alkaline configuration a more modest 48 hours @ 26°C. For cold weather, the 1.5V lithium AA should be helpful.

My night-photography is limited to warmer conditions, with exposures under an hour.
 
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Guest

As many others have noted, the RTS III viewfinder can be very hard to read in outdoor conditions. I recently sent mine in to Contax USA asking them to replace the display. I was willing to pay for it since it was out of warranty. I was told by several people there, including Nick, who is or was responsible for professional services, that contrary to rumors circulated on the internet, Contax never did revise the display. He told me he looked into this extensively and spoke with Contax both in Japan and Germany. He said that some of the very early displays from an early vendor may fade somewhat with time but that there was no way they could tell which display was in a particular camera (you would have thought they could have soem means of tracking that down by serial number). Furthermore, they have no way of know if the replacement displays they have in stock are the older or newer ones! He thought mine was within normal limits. Basically he advised me that it wasn't worth paying the money to replace the display since there is absolutely no assurance it would be improved afterwards. He did say that the display problem is mostly due the extraneous light entering the viewfinder and that by keeping your eye up close and reducing the extraneous light should improve the situation. Unfortunately I wear glasses which makes the problem particularly severe. I know I could get accessory diopter lenses but I don't like having to take off my glasses to take a picture. It's a shame because otherwise I love the camera.

Jason
 
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Guest

Jason

I have a new RTSIII and there is a huge improvement in the display brightness in comparison to the older ones. I originaly bought a used RTSIII from a dealer which appeared in very good condition, it was however an early one with a serial number around 4000. I had a few problems with it and returned it for a refund. I then bought a new one, and was surprised just how much better the viewfinder display brightness was. I have found it easy to read in all but the most extreme cases. I have read (either here or on the contaxslr list) that some users have had them replaced with big improvements, but also that brightness does gradually fade with age. My perception is that you would benefit from repacing the viewfinder display.

All the best,

Art
 
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