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Which Contax System suits best to your needs

I've been looking to pass on my G2 kit, I can't live with the viewfinder anymore and the inaccurate framing, although I'd love to keep it I can't afford two systems.

So, the Aria/RX with 18mm and 45mm


N1 with 24-85?

I've read all the posts above, but any opinions on which system to go for would help (I hope) me make up my mind.



Active Member
I have both the N1 and G2 systems. They are both great. I use my N1 for situations where I need critical framing, depth of field preview, or flash.

My G2 has been reborn as my lightweight travel and backpacking system.


Well-Known Member
I brought a Yashica FX2 from e-bay and it arrives today. I like the body. it is under USD100 including mail service to send it from Canada to Hong Kong.
The reason I like it very much is its stability against mirror vibration. It is definitely more stable than FX3, N1, Aria, S2 and ST. The secret behind is having a very light mirror flap. It is consisted of a glass mirror and a very thin metal plate,with the metal plate being thinner than the glass mirror. The feature is certainly more favourable than the newer SLR N1 and Aria.

On the other hand, FX3 is notorious in its poor performance in low speed, so is Aria. FX3 is too light. Aria has a chunky mirror flap consisted of thick plastic, so is N1.

Another important point of FX3 is that it is a mechanical, battery independant camera. I have RX, aria, AX and to me FX3 is an great body with very favourable performance to price ratio.

(Silicone rubber is applied for the d&ening of the miiror flap in order to reduce vibration even further, I have discussed this in other part of this forum)


Well-Known Member
Recently I received an email concerning the choice of systems. Basically he/she is not happy with G2 28-45-90. He/she wishes to buy ST and other lenses like 21 2.8, Planar 1.4, Macro 60 1:1, 100 f2, 135 f2.

I prefer answering e-mails here so that others could discuss about this.

If you have G2 28 45 90, the system is one of the best in the world. You should be happy with this. The only problem with this system is the poor maintainance of the services in some part of the world. I had problem with my system and I could not get it fixed in Japan by Kyocera because we had a communication problem.

G2 is the fastest focusing rangefinder. It is superior to SLRs to produce high quality images because it does not have a mirror.

G45 is superior to C-Y 50 1.4 and 1.7, Zeiss Ikon M50 2, Leica M50 2 that it produces image with the highest resolution of fine details.

G90 is very good.

If you decide to enter the C-Y system, not because you are not happy with the G system, but because C-Y system allows you to use lenses like macro and large aperture lenses. It is good to have both systems when you can make a choice which system to use for different situations. For flowers, I use my S2b and 28 2. For long distance travelling I use my M system or your G system.

Since you mentioned that you are going for the C-Y 21 2,8, I might talk about the pricing of this lens. It is the best 21 in 35 mm photography. The second hand price is too high because of large demand and non-existing production. The alternative is to buy the G21 which is very good.

In 6-12 months time, Zeiss would anounce the production of 21mm lens for Nikon F mount.


Dear WANG , you are right : is better for all of us using public e-mail .
So I thank you for the answer and I think to stay with my G2 and buy a Contax ST used ; I have found a Zeiss T* 21mm. for 1060 $ and a Planar 135 f.2 at 1000 euro .

Best Regards

Diego Salom Pedemonti


Well-Known Member
No doubt that ST is a very good body. I find S2/S2b better for you need. S2 has 2-7 seconds mirror lock mechanism. This mechanism could be important when you are operating your 135 f2. I certainly find it useful for my 200 f2.
My Contax way

As a youngster I dreamed of Contax Rf, my grandmother had one IIa and later a IIIa too. I got a 120 plastic boxcamera with a F 1:8 as biggest opning. In that time I started the darkroom habit.
When I started earning own money I did get a Kiev Rf with some Jupiter lenses 35, 50 and 85. Ofcourse I did get a CZ Sonnar 1:1,5 to it.
As I got more intrested in the macro world I started with a Practica SLR and some CZ lenses. (Here the Practica was 1/3 of the Contax SLR.)
As time went on I got a 139Q and some CZ lenses for it.
I then inhered my grandmothers IIa, IIIa and the base lenses between 21 and 135.
I did get a panflex housing and some Conta repro outfit. When I was in selling one of my Kievs a friend informed me of a G1 outfit with 28, 45 and 90.
Presently I'm using the G set for Slides and my II&IIIa for B&W. I have become a film and slide scanner to be able to manipulate in my apple.
I have just bought a G2 and uses my G1 mostly in manuel mode. I'm looking for a late 16 mm lens for them. The first of them are said not to hold in Artic winter weather, and up in the north we have some of it.
I also uses my old Ikoflex a lot.
Tessars, mounted backways, are terrific macro lenses.
I for some 18 years had a Gotemburg Camera a 500c and an SWC with a full set beween 38 and 250, but due to weight and a good offer I sold it. Deliverd very good slides and negatives. Can still miss my SWC somedays.
Maybe we meet out in the light?

jeremy north

New Member
I use the 645 & G2 systems mostly. The G2 is great for portability, so I use it more than the 645. I also use the RX & RTSIII which are great for the 50 & 85 f1.4 lenses.


Not sure if this is the right place and apologies if I've got it wrong but;

I'm still using Contax film cameras and lenses, but need to rationalise my collection. I have N system and C/Y system as well as some Contax P&S cameras.

At some point no doubt I will have to go fully digital, but I still love to use Contax cameras and Zeiss lenses. (The only digital I have is a Sony DSC N-1, which is several years old).

In a moment I will list what I have in each system and my question will be which would you keep N, C/Y or both? I will be having at least one eye on my possible move to digital in the future.

I see three possible future digital options:-

1. Keep N system and in future get Bo Ming at Conurus to convert all of my N lenses. This would most likely result in me moving to Canon 5D MkII and retains full autofocus and open aperture operation etc.

2. Keep my C/Y system and buy adaptors to allow C/Y lenses to be used again most likely on Canon 5D MkII, but with only stop down metering and manual focus.

3. Choose an alternative system, sell all of my Contax/Zeiss gear and buy modern new Zeiss lenses designed to work with various current digital slrs, with the belief that autofocus is not available, but at least open aperture metering still works. (A sub option is to go Sony and have Zeiss lenses with autofocus).

What do I currently have:-

N System 2 x Contax N-1, Zeiss 17-35mm f2.8, 2 x Zeiss 24-85mm f3.5/4.5, Zeiss 50mm f1.4 and very likely soon to get Zeiss 70-200mm f3.5/4.5. One of my N-1s has D-10 databack which I find really useful and the P-9 battery/vertical grip.

C/Y System Contax AX, Contax RX, Contax Aria, Contax 159mm, Contax RTS I, Contax 139Q, Yashica 24mm f2.8 ML, Zeiss 28mm f2.8 MM, Zeiss 28mm f2.8 AE, Zeiss 35-70mm f3.4 MM, Zeiss 50mm f1.4 MM, Zeiss 50mm f1.4 AE, Zeiss 50mm f1.7 AE, Zeiss 85mm f1.4 MM, Zeiss 85mm f1.4 AE (West German if that matters), Zeiss 100mm f3.5 MM, Tamron SP 300mm f2.8 model 60B c/w 1.4 and 2x Tamron convertors. I also have a mint but broken AX which I'm not sure would be worth repairing.

Suitable for both systems I have 2 x TLA 360 and 2 x TLA 30.

To suppliment these and especially when I don't want to carry a lot of gear, I have Contax T3 c/w SA-2 and TLA 200, Contax TVS (original) and a Contax T (original).

I love the handling and features of the N system, but find focusing, particularly the 17-35mm and 24-85mm at the wide end in poor light difficult. By difficult, I mean that the standard focusing screen is not clear enough for me to see if the camera has got it right. With the AX and it's split screen, OK you only get one focus point, but you know straight away if the camera has got the focus right.

For some reason I find myself more drawn to AX than N-1.

As far as lenses are concerned, I like fast primes, but N system zooms are very convenient in reducing number of lenses to carry.

I like to be inconspicuous sometimes (LOL with that pile of gear) so find the older Contax T nice to use as the shutter is almost silent and no autofocus or wind on motors either.

Bearing all of the above in mind and the fact that it is hard to justify keeping it all, if you were me, what would you keep and what would you sell?

Regards, Piginho


Well-Known Member
C/Y on EOS 5D

I wouldn't recommend using C/Y lenses on a 5D, they can crash into the mirror. I suspect that an EOS 1DS would be a better bet.



Thanks, that was a quick response. Also a brief answer to a long question (no bad thing). I use a Minolta 5400 scanner and this gives me the equivalent of a 39 MegaPixel image from 35mm slides and negs.

I use Contax and Zeiss because I don't want my equipment to be the reason I take poor pictures. Don't know too much about Canon except my perception is a bit plasticky (maybe true or not) and heavily reliant on button pushing (which I hate), nevertheless Canon have good reputation when it comes to performance and can take my Zeiss lenses.

I would be looking for full frame DSLR, I'm more interested in wide than tele and wouldn't want to lose angle of view of my wide lenses. Also looking for high MegaPixel count as I'm used to same from Minolta scanner (yes I accept there are losses from capture on film, through processing and then scanning, but 20 MegaPixels is about as low as I would go).

As you can see, I've spent too much already and would probably use the sale of either C/Y or N system to pay for DSLR. But this means that I don't have unlimited resources, so I'm looking at 20 MegaPixel minimum, full frame and hopefully, comfortably under £2,000. (Don't mind secondhand at all, most of my gear was purchased secondhand).

Will have to look into mirror issue on 5D MkII as I know this raised certain issues with Bo Ming's N mount Conurus conversions. I understand however, that these were all resolved.

As far as C/Y mount on 5D MkII, is this an issue dependant on which lens you use, or is the type of adapter an issue?

The main question is, bearing in mind what I might like to do in the future, which of the above kit would you keep if you were me?

Regards, Piginho


Well-Known Member
I have no experience with the N system, I have a 5d Mk1, and have been very unimpressed with the adapters I have tried, the technology just seems a bit bodged. I couldn't get AV mode to work, they support only a limited range of apetures, and I have found the lack of a manual focus screen to be a problem. I gather that the 1ds has a working option for AV mode. I don't think the 5d models are a goer myself, but that is just from my experience. My understanding is that the choice of adapter, lens and indeed version of the lens can all affect the mirror problem. I would want reliable information that it was going to work on a 5dmk2 myself.



Again thanks for the reply. I get the feeling that there are, or were many different manufacturers of C/Y to Canon adaptors and that quality was variable, to say the least. Add to this the loss of open aperture metering and no split screen focusing aid and I agree that using 5D MkI or MkII, with C/Y lenses doesn't sound too appealing.

With regard to N mount to Canon, there is only one supplier (Conurus) and they do not offer an adaptor, but a complete change of lens mount, removing the N mount and replacing with Canon. Due to some very clever reverse engineering they have managed to make N mount lenses operate as native Canon, c/w autofocus and open aperture metering and mostly accurate exif information. They have also got around mirror problems with the Canon 5D.

With your kind input therefore, I am rapidly moving away from using C/Y lenses in future with Canon, but may still consider getting my N mounts adapted.

I saw your gallery this time as I logged on and noticed that you used Contax 645 for some of your images. I particularly liked the bridge by the canal. I don't know whether you still have and use your 645, but am very interested to know whether, after using such a fine piece of kit, that you are now entirely satisfied with what digital can give you?

Also, looking at your steam engine images, I wonder if I'm trying to live in the past by continuing to use film?

Regards, Piginho


Well-Known Member
I am still mainly using film. Yes I do still use the 645, and a great toy it is too. All of my stuff on this site was taken using film on Contax kit. I gave up on the EOS 5d with the contax lenses and carried on using the contax bodies.


Active Member
I'm using both the 50mm F1.4 and the 85mm F1.4 lenses on my EOS 5D MK11 via the EMF adapter and have no problems with the mirror. These lenses are in reality my primes for my ST and are "amusement value" only on the 5D. But they do look good!

Conversely, my CONUS modified N24-85mm with autofocus ability is a dream combination on my 5D MK11 and vastly superior in sharpness, color and contrast to the Canon 24-70 L which has now been sold!

Processing RAW images from this lens via Capture One Pro is so simple requiring minimal adjustment.

Hope this helps


New Member

Contax SLR and G are my systems which I use. Which one is better? Well, this depends on what I want to do. For travelling, I use my G, when I want to work with ultra wide angel lenses or with filters (Cokin), I'm using the SLR.
As I said, it depends... None is better or worse ...

Cheers, Alexander


New Member
Compact camera with contax lens simple Portrait


I am planning a portrait-series on a person, which I would like to find the right system for. Starting with the camera on the way to the picture-aesthetic I am looking for: Clear, soft colours. On a tight budget I though about compact DSLR combined with a contax/Zeiss lens. I am fond of how Wolfgang Tilmans does the Pictures, he uses Contax T3 occasionaly. You might know him or want to have look on it. The lighting comes additionaly. Maybe you know something about it and want to include this into an answer. Will be happy to keep you up to date and hear from you for now.

Sincerely, Philip B.


New Member
which equipment to choose? switch from contax t2 to digital

it came to several interesting themes during the several last threads. Still I am in search for the right equipment.
my standard ist has been contax t2. i will need to switch to a camera which comes very close to the technical aspects of this camera and the lens but which is digital. please enter this thread if you can relate to the optical workings of the Contax T2. Please no general and only quite serious answers. I am doing research on a most perfectly euivalent to this camera since quite a while and am very sincere about it. Still, I am a beginner and haven't yet found the right solution.
please also have a look at new pictures as for example these three by the photographer Wolfgang Tillmans who has switched from analogue Contax to a Digital Camera in his new series :


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I know this is an old topic but it still enjoys relevance to any Contax user. Although I still use all my old 35mm gear acquired since the mid-1970s, the one which suits most of my needs is the Contax 645. This has become even more useful to me since discovery of the Zork Adapter which permits Mamiya 645 (the old manual focus system) lenses to be used on the C645. More importantly for me as a BIG macro addict, I can use the Mamiya Auto Bellows N with a 55mm Sekor lens to give me tilt/shift and swing movements for perspective correction at a fraction of the cost the Contax 645 Auto Bellows (if you can even find one). Also, for portraiture, I love the Sekor C 145mm f4 Soft Focus lens.
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My typical lens selection for landscape work is the 35mm, 45-90mm (on camera) and the 210mm. I rarely use the 350mm as it's too heavy to cart around along with a sturdy tripod though on the odd occasion I need a really long lens with soft bokeh, I will use it with the 1.4x Mutar which gives me a 490mm lens. However, my preference is to use the uber-rare Hartblei 500mm f5.6 with a C645 Adapted mount as it's less cumbersome although you have to live with risks of a mirror lens' bokeh.

Although I still use film a lot I do enjoy using the 645 with both an old Phase One H10 for tethered work indoors and more usefully, a Hasselblad Ixpress digital back, for both studio and outdoor work though the file sizes of the 2 Ixpress backs can be massive - up to 384Mb per image using the smaller 16Mp back in 16 shot mode. The only drawback is that the digital backs limit your fastest shutter speed to 1:1000s which is a pity on a MF camera that can shoot 1:4000s; that said, I can't recall the last time I used the C645 needing a faster shutter speed than 1:1000s!

I recognise that the C645 is a risky investment as spares are no longer available and so you need to buy a few bodies to play safe but the Zeiss glass, superb shutter and ergonomics, plus the ability to use additional non-Zeiss glass to plus the gaps in the system makes it a fun system to use.


New Member
I m crazy about Contax. I have most of their rangefinders from Contax I to Contax IIIa. As Reflex Contax AX - 2- Contax RX a special coloured one from Japan and the big one with the pressure plate - heavy but - 2, Contax S2 anniversary. Contax G2. A beautiful Kiev II.I had some ikoflex but sold them and kept 6 Rolleiflex. I could ad the Contarex. The Contax N1. The N digital but dead captor ... sniffff. Crazy.