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Was the Contax RTS III the most advanced Contax film camera?
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 12, 2017 2:08 am    Post subject: Was the Contax RTS III the most advanced Contax film camera? Reply with quote

I know there are some that are fully mechanical models that I might try my hand at later on. But cameras like the RX, AX, Aria, 139 Quartz etc. aren't nearly as feature rich as the RTS III and wouldn't offer anything that the RTS III has, correct? So realistically, if I just wanted to own one main Contax camera body to use on a daily basis, the RTS III would cover all my bases?

Thanks!


PostPosted: Sat Aug 12, 2017 4:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm curious, bigbuddha, how long have you been into photography? I mean no disrespect, but I ask because of this: by the time I'd been into photography seriously by about a year and a half, I had grown tired of all the automation because it was hiding the process of photography from me, which is what I wanted to learn, so I set my high-tech cameras on the shelf and reverted back to 1970s era manual mechanical cameras, so I could learn photography. And learn I did. These days, it is rare when I pick up a high-tech 35mm camera.

So, when you're asking about which of the Contaxes contains the most automation, I can't help but think you're asking questions that you might not need to.

But to answer your questions, no, I can't think offhand of a Contax that is more high-tech than the RTS III. But the RX and AX will give it a good run for the money. I can recall specifically when the AX was released. I read a review about it in one of the trades and I was stunned at the engineering eloquence, the sheer breathtaking amount of R&D that had to go into the product -- much of which would not have been possible if it weren't for the Kyocera parent company's input, I'm sure. The rods, for example, that the focal plane travel in and out on are ceramic, the system for which is operating with vanishingly tiny tolerances. The entire camera was a work of art, I felt, at the time of its introduction. And all that work just because Zeiss refused to develop AF lenses. Cool

But this being the manual focus forum and all, I guess I should "ignore" the feats the Contax engineers went to just to get MF Zeiss lenses to AF.


PostPosted: Sat Aug 12, 2017 5:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

cooltouch wrote:
I'm curious, bigbuddha, how long have you been into photography? I mean no disrespect, but I ask because of this: by the time I'd been into photography seriously by about a year and a half, I had grown tired of all the automation because it was hiding the process of photography from me, which is what I wanted to learn, so I set my high-tech cameras on the shelf and reverted back to 1970s era manual mechanical cameras, so I could learn photography. And learn I did. These days, it is rare when I pick up a high-tech 35mm camera.

So, when you're asking about which of the Contaxes contains the most automation, I can't help but think you're asking questions that you might not need to.

But to answer your questions, no, I can't think offhand of a Contax that is more high-tech than the RTS III. But the RX and AX will give it a good run for the money. I can recall specifically when the AX was released. I read a review about it in one of the trades and I was stunned at the engineering eloquence, the sheer breathtaking amount of R&D that had to go into the product -- much of which would not have been possible if it weren't for the Kyocera parent company's input, I'm sure. The rods, for example, that the focal plane travel in and out on are ceramic, the system for which is operating with vanishingly tiny tolerances. The entire camera was a work of art, I felt, at the time of its introduction. And all that work just because Zeiss refused to develop AF lenses. Cool

But this being the manual focus forum and all, I guess I should "ignore" the feats the Contax engineers went to just to get MF Zeiss lenses to AF.


Hey cooltouch, thanks for the response!

I'm primarily a videographer/fiction filmmaker so while I'm well-versed in the digital world and all of the relevant photography principles that cross over with video, I'm still very new to 35mm film analog photography.

I've always wanted to get into film photography since it seems fun. I have a pretty extensive set of Contax Zeiss lenses that I use for filmmaking, so getting a Contax camera made the most sense.

I figured starting out with a more automated film camera like the RTS III would be easier for me to learn when starting out and then I would get a fully mechanical camera further down the line. Although, your suggestion makes total sense to maybe start off with a fully mechanical camera. In which case, do you think I should get something like the Contax S2 instead of the RTS III?


PostPosted: Sat Aug 12, 2017 6:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

What i have learned over the years, owning many, many camera bodies and lenses from various makers:

once you get that high-end full-spec camera in your hands you will just use it as a simple (in my case) aperture priority body......

The only advantage i see in a high-end body is the (often) faster shutterspeed. Most cameras go to 1/1000 and the more expensive models do 1/2000, some even faster, i have film bodies that can do 1/8000 sec. Which is nice if you like to open up your aperture more even when you're shooting in sunlight!
But in reality i use that so little that most of the times a simple aperture priority body will do!

Cheers, René!


PostPosted: Sat Aug 12, 2017 10:26 am    Post subject: Re: Was the Contax RTS III the most advanced Contax film cam Reply with quote

bigbuddha319 wrote:
I know there are some that are fully mechanical models that I might try my hand at later on. But cameras like the RX, AX, Aria, 139 Quartz etc. aren't nearly as feature rich as the RTS III and wouldn't offer anything that the RTS III has, correct? So realistically, if I just wanted to own one main Contax camera body to use on a daily basis, the RTS III would cover all my bases?

Thanks!


You've pretty much worked it through yourself bigbuddha. In terms of electronics in that bunch, the RTS III, although more complex, is at least the most recent iteration. And if you find it unsuitable as a daily, say in terms of reliability, there's the more mechanical S2/S2b.

But you do put one constraint on your decision making - "if I just wanted to own one main Contax camera body to use on a daily basis". And with that in mind, I'd personally go for the S2/S2b.


PostPosted: Sat Aug 12, 2017 12:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

....or as he has a set of contax lenses and just want's to play with a film camera he could use a cheap Yashica camera.


PostPosted: Sat Aug 12, 2017 2:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Excalibur wrote:
....or as he has a set of contax lenses and just want's to play with a film camera he could use a cheap Yashica camera.


If there are cheap Yashica cameras that have a similar build quality in comparison to the Contax cameras, I would love some suggestions!

I've just always been of the mindset to not go cheap when possible and just buy the piece of equipment that feels the most durable/is the most reliable and will last me the longest.


PostPosted: Sat Aug 12, 2017 5:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

bigbuddha319 wrote:
Excalibur wrote:
....or as he has a set of contax lenses and just want's to play with a film camera he could use a cheap Yashica camera.


If there are cheap Yashica cameras that have a similar build quality in comparison to the Contax cameras, I would love some suggestions!

I've just always been of the mindset to not go cheap when possible and just buy the piece of equipment that feels the most durable/is the most reliable and will last me the longest.


AFAIK Yashica built the later Contax cameras.....my Yashica FR1 had the common fault of the counter not working and my Contax 139 looks like this:- http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/CONTAX-139-QUARTZ-CAMERA-BODY-/222606429391?hash=item33d4608ccf:g:HnIAAOSwqklZiX~b
Anyway it was an idea to go cheap just to try a film camera, but not worried about money go for the Contax RTS III or similar....although using the same lens your pictures wont look any different comparing with a camera for 5. Smile


PostPosted: Sat Aug 12, 2017 5:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Excalibur wrote:
....or as he has a set of contax lenses and just want's to play with a film camera he could use a cheap Yashica camera.


Yeah, the Yashica crossed my mind while I was posting.


PostPosted: Sat Aug 12, 2017 11:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If you have manual focus lenses, then the Yashica XF-D Quartz is a great, and simple camera. Usually found very cheap because the leatherette covering degrades and looks awful, but the camera is a good reliable one.

However.....my favorite for CY mount manual lenses is the Contax RX -- A full range of exposure modes driven by centre-weighted or spot metering modes. The RX features focusing assistance that shows you when there is a difference between what you have set the focus to and what the camera thinks it should be. Usefully, there is built-in adjustment of the eyepiece to help spectacle wearers.
1/4000 sec - 32 sec, TTL program flash, aperture-priority, automatic, bulb, manual, shutter-priority, Continuous shooting 3fps,

The focus assist is basically a precursor to auto focus, the display in the viewfinder indicates maximum sharpness, and it is very accurate - and actually very useful. I've got auto focus DSLR and SLR and rarely use them, I took my Pentax K10 out the other day with a superb AF lens on it and didn't enjoy it one bit, I just prefer the option of choosing exactly where I want the point of focus to be, and the RX lets you do that, it helps you do that. And it's a superb camera.


PostPosted: Sat Aug 12, 2017 11:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

bigbuddha319 wrote:
cooltouch wrote:
I'm curious, bigbuddha, how long have you been into photography? I mean no disrespect, but I ask because of this: by the time I'd been into photography seriously by about a year and a half, I had grown tired of all the automation because it was hiding the process of photography from me, which is what I wanted to learn, so I set my high-tech cameras on the shelf and reverted back to 1970s era manual mechanical cameras, so I could learn photography. And learn I did. These days, it is rare when I pick up a high-tech 35mm camera.

So, when you're asking about which of the Contaxes contains the most automation, I can't help but think you're asking questions that you might not need to.

But to answer your questions, no, I can't think offhand of a Contax that is more high-tech than the RTS III. But the RX and AX will give it a good run for the money. I can recall specifically when the AX was released. I read a review about it in one of the trades and I was stunned at the engineering eloquence, the sheer breathtaking amount of R&D that had to go into the product -- much of which would not have been possible if it weren't for the Kyocera parent company's input, I'm sure. The rods, for example, that the focal plane travel in and out on are ceramic, the system for which is operating with vanishingly tiny tolerances. The entire camera was a work of art, I felt, at the time of its introduction. And all that work just because Zeiss refused to develop AF lenses. Cool

But this being the manual focus forum and all, I guess I should "ignore" the feats the Contax engineers went to just to get MF Zeiss lenses to AF.


Hey cooltouch, thanks for the response!

I'm primarily a videographer/fiction filmmaker so while I'm well-versed in the digital world and all of the relevant photography principles that cross over with video, I'm still very new to 35mm film analog photography.

I've always wanted to get into film photography since it seems fun. I have a pretty extensive set of Contax Zeiss lenses that I use for filmmaking, so getting a Contax camera made the most sense.

I figured starting out with a more automated film camera like the RTS III would be easier for me to learn when starting out and then I would get a fully mechanical camera further down the line. Although, your suggestion makes total sense to maybe start off with a fully mechanical camera. In which case, do you think I should get something like the Contax S2 instead of the RTS III?


The S2/S2b are beautiful cameras, and I don't think you can go wrong with them, to be sure. But Lloydy does mention one nice thing about the RX that slipped my mind (which isn't unique to it, but which is something worth considering and may be a reason for getting one of the high tech models), and that is TTL flash exposure. TTL flash is a very handy capability and one not usually found on manual mechanical cameras. I dunno offhand if the S2/S2b offers this, but I kinda doubt it. Also, the spot metering function found in the more high tech models is another feature that is worth consideration, as is their built-in motor drives (the AX's does 5 fps, dunno about the others). So there are reasons besides just exposure modes to consider one of the more high tech models.

I bought my first Contax just a few weeks ago -- a 139 Quartz. It's quite simple by comparison to Contax's latest technowonders. Early 80s tech with Aperture Priority as its sole auto exposure mode. But I like it mostly because it has a nice manual exposure mode. I may use the AP mode some, but mostly I'll be using it in manual, which is where I'm happiest.

I've been wanting to get a Contax for a while and just never was willing to spend the bux for an RTS-whatever. Besides, I knew a guy back in the 80s who had a 139 Quartz (and who was quite proud of it, as I recall). He let me play around with it some and the one thing I remembered about it down through the years was that its film wind was the smoothest I'd ever experienced. I was a Canon guy and none of my Canons had a particularly smooth film winding action. So, here it is, all these years later, and I've wound up with a camera whose film wind I was such an admirer of (although I wasn't after the camera specifically when I bought it -- I was after the lens that was attached to it!). But its film wind is indeed as smooth as I remember. So there's that, at least. And now my quest for T* lenses begins.


PostPosted: Sun Aug 13, 2017 2:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

cooltouch wrote:


The S2/S2b are beautiful cameras, and I don't think you can go wrong with them, to be sure. But Lloydy does mention one nice thing about the RX that slipped my mind (which isn't unique to it, but which is something worth considering and may be a reason for getting one of the high tech models), and that is TTL flash exposure. TTL flash is a very handy capability and one not usually found on manual mechanical cameras. I dunno offhand if the S2/S2b offers this, but I kinda doubt it. Also, the spot metering function found in the more high tech models is another feature that is worth consideration, as is their built-in motor drives (the AX's does 5 fps, dunno about the others). So there are reasons besides just exposure modes to consider one of the more high tech models.

I bought my first Contax just a few weeks ago -- a 139 Quartz. It's quite simple by comparison to Contax's latest technowonders. Early 80s tech with Aperture Priority as its sole auto exposure mode. But I like it mostly because it has a nice manual exposure mode. I may use the AP mode some, but mostly I'll be using it in manual, which is where I'm happiest.

I've been wanting to get a Contax for a while and just never was willing to spend the bux for an RTS-whatever. Besides, I knew a guy back in the 80s who had a 139 Quartz (and who was quite proud of it, as I recall). He let me play around with it some and the one thing I remembered about it down through the years was that its film wind was the smoothest I'd ever experienced. I was a Canon guy and none of my Canons had a particularly smooth film winding action. So, here it is, all these years later, and I've wound up with a camera whose film wind I was such an admirer of (although I wasn't after the camera specifically when I bought it -- I was after the lens that was attached to it!). But its film wind is indeed as smooth as I remember. So there's that, at least. And now my quest for T* lenses begins.


I highly recommend getting the Contax 35-70mm f/3.4 as your first T* lens. I use it constantly and it is one of the favorite zooms. It's cheap and it'll give you a great idea of the quality of images you can expect from the Contax Zeiss line.


PostPosted: Sun Aug 13, 2017 10:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I suggest a Contax RTS 2, best of both worlds...


PostPosted: Sun Aug 13, 2017 7:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

trev wrote:
I suggest a Contax RTS 2, best of both worlds...


I'm curious now. Which two worlds? Auto and Manual exposure? If so, I want one. And as a follow-up, is the RTS II "better" (for lack of a "better" term) than the III in this regard?