Why Contax and/or Zeiss at all?

G

Guest

hello all,

I've spoken to some people in vrious camera shops, some of whom have said that zeiss lenses appeal to a 'certain market or photographer' - on further probing, i don't really get any answer from them. from doing some research, these lenses seem to produce contrasty and sharp images, using high quality material. to explain my position, i'm seriously considering building up a new manual focus system, and one of my main considerations is a contaxt system, with an RX or Aria. Can anyone explain the type of image zeiss produces, and/or how this is different from, for ex&le, canon fd lenses, which i use now?

thanks,
Marc
 
G

Guest

A seldom considered difference between the Contax G and the Leica M system is weight.

Stated below are the weights of two comparable, ready-to-operate systems.

Contax G2, Biogon 28, Planar 45, Sonnar 90, TLA 140 = 1220 g
Leica M7, Elmarit 28, Summicron 50, Elmarit 90, without flash! = 1860 g
(all Leica lenses in black, titanium is beyond)

This, among other things, mostly lacking fill-flash capabilities, detains me from travelling to Leica.

Till
 
G

Guest

For me, the cost would be the main difference! The M7 has precise focussing, the viewfinder is bright & tracks perfectly, and the stealth shutter is handy for candid's. The G is AF and noisy. But it isn't as simple as that! I still like my G2!
William
 
G

Guest

Hi Till. For me, the cost would be the main difference! The M7 has precise focussing, the viewfinder is bright & tracks perfectly, and the stealth shutter is handy for candid's. The G is AF and noisy. But it isn't as simple as that! I still like my G2!
William
 
G

Guest

>Hi all - and consider: my AGFA-Klack of 1958 is even much more lightweight!!! Everybody has his own criteria... even depending of situation. In some situations I like heavy weight! Herbert
 
G

Guest

> Till wrote:

This among other things, mostly lacking fill-flash capabilities, detains me from travelling to Leica.

Till,

At the risk of asking a question that has been hashed over quite a bit, how do you get fill flash with the G cameras. I use a TLA 140 mounted on the camera (can you mount it off the camera?) and simply rely on the auto settings since I am unaware of flash settings that allow one to decrease flash intensity. But when I do this, the flash is often too intense.

As for fill flash on the M6, although I have an M6TTL, I do not have a flash setup, but I know there is one. Why do you say there is no fill flash cap ability? Does it also lack adjustment?

And while I quite agree that the Leica is heavier, I prefer the Leica because I like knowing that I am in focus (the two images come together and you know where you are), and I like controlling every aspect of exposure. On the G1, manual focus is cumbersome, and even when you use it, you dont actually see anything getting focused. And the metering is, frankly, a mysery to me. I don't know what the meter is measuring--I assume it is center-weighted--and occasionally I will get overexposure. I am sure this is operator error, but the point is that to me, the M6 is just easier to use because it is up front about both focusing and metering. There is something about keeping it simple-stupid as on the M6 that is appealing.

Bill Lafferty Pittsburgh
 
G

Guest

> As for fill flash on the M6, although I have an M6TTL, I do not have a > flash setup, but I know there is one. Why do you say there is no fill > flash cap ability? Does it also lack adjustment?

Any camera can use fill flash, but the Leica SF-20 does have the ability to reduce the output of the flash, and does fill flash very well.

Austin
 
G

Guest

Bill Lafferty says:

>>>I prefer the Leica because I like knowing that I am in focus (the two images come together and you know where you are)

Bill,
I have been worrying about the focus problem all the time because I am a long term SLR user and wanted to swith to RF camera. With this swith you will lose the "I am sure this is sharp because I see it is" viewfinder.
I lasted a while before I realized that the Leica M has no advantage whatsoever in this area compared to the Conatx G.
What you see in the Leica finder is exactly what you describe: two images coming together. But what you do not realise at first is that these images are steered by a complex mechanical system. If this mechanical system is not 100% well adjusted you will still see the two images coming together but the point of focus is wrong.
Add that to the well known (but almost never mentioned by Leicaphiles) fact that you have your Leica M and it's lenses adjusted every few years to be sure the focus point is allright (not to mention the shutter adjustment at the highest speed) and it is obvious that a Leica M will not give you more focus "assureness" then a Contax G.
In both cases you have to rely on the camera adjustments (whether mechanical or electronic) for good focusing and in both cases you cannot be sure the focus point is exactly right until you have seen the slides.

This was my eyeopener and I now own a G-2 with 21/28/45/90 and soon the 35 too for the price of a Leica M6 with a summicron 50 mm.

Marc-paul
 
G

Guest

I lasted a while before I realized that the Leica M has no advantage whatsoever in this area compared to the Contax G...

The Leica M6 (and M2, M3, M4, M5) and MP series cameras DO have several advantage of the G series (of which I own a G1 body and 3 lenses).

1)More lenses 2)Faster lenses 3)Ability to fire the shutter without batteries (I have learned to carry several spare batteries because the G just up and dies at inconvenient moments without warning) 4)Much brighter finder 5)DOF markings on lenses 6)Plain old hand-made kewlness 7)Very quiet operation 8)Computer chips aren't thinking for you

The M7 of course has the same finder and lenses but you give up the ability to fire the shutter AT ALL SPEEDS when the batteries die, and the shutter speed can be set automatically by computer (like the G series).

The G1 and G2 are great cameras, take pictures at least as good as the Leica M series because the lenses are terrific, and you get faster shutter speeds and the ability to catch more shots on shorter notice. Focus can be a problem because you aren't always sure you are getting the focus point where you want it, and you need to memorize DOF for the lenses or keep a card with DOF around.

The argument about the RF on the Leica getting out of alignment is kind of silly. If you should be so unlucky to drop the camera, take a roll with it and see if the focus is where it should be. The RF alignment isn't just going to suddenly go away, the mechanisms for the M rangefinders have been refined over the last sixty years or so and they work well. I SERIOUSLY doubt you will find a G2 in operating condition in 40 years, but check out Ebay. You can still find great condition manual Leica M bodies of all stripes, as well as the earlier Leica type III bodies (etc).

Dana Curtis Kincaid
 
G

Guest

As a very long time Leica user I have owned models 111a, 111b,M3,M4,CL and currently M6, I can honestly say I have never had any problem with r/f alignment. Neither am I aware that there are "recorded" problems in this area.
Colin Elliott
 
G

Guest

I personally owned some old III bodies and their rangefinders were perfectly on and have had no adjustment. However, at the camera store I worked at, we had an M6 TTL which did have a rf problem. So, if nothing else, here is at least one documented case. I am also aware of users who have sent M3's back for the purpose of checking the rf because of focus problems. (never heard the final results of Leica's analysis.) But, after using many Leica rf's, old and new, and Leica SLR's, I am using the G system only, all the Leica stuff is gone. So, which is better? Obviously for me it is the G, but everyone is a different photographer and has a different basis for their opinion. I would not buy any more Leica equipment, the G proves to have too much of an advantage to justify the cost of purchasing Leica equipment.
 
G

Guest

When I wrote my comments on the focussing issue regarding comparison between Leica M and Contax G I knew that I should get comments. Well here is then my reply:

In my comments I discussed that it is not true that you can see in the Leica finder that your focus is allright by seeing the two images coincidence. This is ONLY true with a well adjusted (aligned) r/f mechanism. If this r/f mechanism is not well adjusted you THINK you focused right but you actually are NOT.

So the bottom line is that you can only see that the focus is right in a SLR. With a RF camera you ALWAYS have to rely on the r/f mechanism whether this is mechanical (Leica M) or electronic (Contax G).

I am aware that the Leica M system has other advantages (as Dana describes) but that was not my point nor am I disqualifying the Leica M in any way!

The statement about the r/f alignment I made (that the r/f mechanism and shutter speed have to be adjusted on a regular basis) might not be know by the respondents to my comments but they are in fact well known. Please take a look on the very well documented Leica website by Ervin Puts (
Please, Log in or Register to view URLs content!
).

Marc-paul
 
W

witwald

> So the bottom line is that you can only see that the focus is right in > a SLR. With a RF camera you ALWAYS have to rely on the r/f mechanism > whether this is mechanical (Leica M) or electronic (Contax G).

Hello Marc-paul,

With reference to the first sentence above, is it really true that you can only see that the focus is right in an SLR. What if the SLR's focusing screen was misaligned? Wouldn't this cause a focusing error at the film plane when the reflex mirror flips up out of the way?

Witold.
 

sclamb

Well-Known Member
Absolutely correct Witold. Just look at all the people who put an FX-1 split image screen in their N1 only to find that the AF was not focussing accurately as the split image did not coincide. AF is as unreliable as any other method of focussing, and nowhere near as accurate in terms of selecting an absolute focus spot as manual focussing.

Simon
 

rico

Well-Known Member
Quite correct, Witold. Marc-paul and Colin Elliott should become aware that a mechanical device with alignment requirements can go out of alignment -- this is the physical world, after all. Colin Elliott can do a Google search for "leica rangefinder alignment" and get 700 hits, including this one from the ever-helpful Leica FAQ:

Please, Log in or Register to view URLs content!


As for SLR (mis)alignment, I have a back-focus problem with an RTSIII and D21. Like cameras of their ilk, Leica M and Contax C/Y have two optical paths: one that strikes the film plane, and one that reaches the viewfinder. For both to fall simultaneously into focus requires alignment, the correct positioning of optical elements like lenses, mirrors, prisms and ground glass.

Mechanical alignment is also required between the optical system and the distance markings on the lens. For us scale-focus fans, this is not a superfluous matter.

In addition, an AF SLR has another optical path that reaches the focus sensor. Mechanical misalignment will cause back-focus problems. Much gnashing of teeth is evident on DPReview's Canon SLR forum concerning the EOS 10D.
 
O

ou1954

Posted by Simon Lamb on Thursday, April 24, 2003 - 1:13 pm:

Absolutely correct Witold. Just look at all the people who put an FX-1 split image screen in their N1 only to find that the AF was not focusing accurately as the split image did not coincide. AF is as unreliable as any other method of focusing, and nowhere near as accurate in terms of selecting an absolute focus spot as manual focusing.

Simon

Interesting thoughts about auto-focus. I went (one time) to a local camera club meeting. The members ranged from elderly (not as old as me) amateurs to a guy who produces underwater movies, to a guy who teaches photography.

The folks using auto-focus Nikons (the rage here at the time) didn't have one good sharp slide to show.

Regarding split image on a SLR, it seems to me that they are optimal on just one focal length lens and don't work well with other focal length lenses.

Regarding range finders, I have had instances in which the "horizontal" alignment was fine for focusing, but the two images were offset "vertically". There is an adjustment for that but it is a bothersome thing to have to deal with. (Horizontal and Vertical refer to the camera held in the normal position).

DAW
 

mpve

Member
About SLR focusing screen alignment:

Most SLR's have a factory fixed focusing screen. It is off course true that if this is misaligned the focus will not be the smae on the focusing screen and the film. BUT: there is huge difference between a factory fixed focusing screen that is not moving in any way (and therefore not very prone to later misalignment) and a mechanical rangefinder mechanism. The latter is a moving mechanism with several to-be-adjusted parts that can go off its optimal alignment.

Marc-paul
 

tbc

Well-Known Member
The rangefinder focus is definitely a yes/no decision, thus more accurate in this way. If you slowly move the focus ring on an SLR, you'll have a larger tolerance for an "in focus" setting. That's why many move the focus ring quicker so it snaps in and out. When I was in my teens and 20's, my vision was good enough where I thought almost all SLR's focused easily. Now I notice the ease in using a RFDR and if I don't need long (or even short lenses that I use with the SLR) and am not doing closeups, I will use the RFDR. Both SLR and RFDR and prone to error, the SLR mirror alignment, screen alignment, lens itself and body mount alignment all are factors. But Leica admits (or boasts) that their RFDR is more expensive and complicated than SLR viewing systems. Popular Photography had many articles on MF being more accurate than AF (depends on your eyes, of course), and the differences in MF and AF indications. It is nice that Leica is candid enough to admit the limitations of the accuracy of certain lens/body combinations (Leica CL, I think). Also that they claim the M RFDR (properly adjusted, of course) is capable of accurate focus with the 50 f/1 Noctilux, with it's very small DOF.
 

rico

Well-Known Member
Marc-paul,

All current Contax SLRs except the NX have user-changeable screens, and all have a large moving part in the optical path (the mirror). You want to paint the RF focus mechanism as horrible and the SLR as perfect, but you exaggerate. SLRs can, and do, get out of alignment: I have one.
 
L

larrydeb

> [Has any G1 owner had this happen?

I was at the Huka Falls in Taupo New Zealand last Saturday. Took two shots using G1 plus 35/2. Fine. Tried to take a third and nothing happened. No viewfinder display, no shutter release. Nothing. Still had readout as to "Single Shot", "DX code" etc but no other function. Oh, the battery icon was flashing, so I thought--batteries dead. Removed them and warmed them in my pocket (it's autumn here in new Zealand). That got everything happening and I shot off two more shots. Then nothing again. Same as before. Readout info but no battery icon happening and no viewfinder info or shutter release.

Curse myself for leaving my spare batteries at home. Fast forward to buying new replacement batteries in town--the lovely village of Taupo. These batteries didn't work. Was it the batteries or something more serious, I thought. Can a new set of batteries with a UBD of 2012 both be dead???

Thinking I'll have to return the G1 to Contax I midwind the film and take it out. Try the camera just one more time for luck and lo and behold full functionality is back again.

What happened. Why did this not occur straight after replacing the new batteries while the film was still in the camera? Does opening the back make the computer default to "go" once more or what?

Has anyone had this happen? Does anyone have an explanation?

Thank you in advance,

Barry O'Connor New Zealand ]
 
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