View Full Version : Newbie seeking advice
I am a current user of an EOS 30 with 28-300mm lens and an EOS 300 with 20-80mm and 70-300mm lenses. I love these cameras very much, especially the EOS 30, but despite that affection sometimes carrying around the camera, especially on my many travels across Europe, is a chore and I have to decide each day whether to take it out or not.
For many months I have been leaning towards a Rangefinder to enjoy and learn.
I have been doing some research online but find very few compartitive reviews on the various rangefinders available.
Now I have to say upfront, that a Leica is simply out of my budget. Too much for a newbie. The Voigtlander Bessa R2 is very nice, however the almost certainty of a R3 soon is driving me crazy to know more about it.
The Contax G2 looks fantastic. The build quality and looks certainly attract me to it and is my prefered choice at present, but I am wrong to look at it?
Now I will probably upset some people here, so apologies up front, but from what I can tell, the G2 looks to me like a point and shoot camera with removable lenses. Am I being a luditte here? Can the G2 be a real rangefinder wiith manual focus easilly like the Bessa R2?
Would an R2 be a better choice than a G2 for the type of travel photography I like to take?
I am very confused. I know so little about rangefinders and yet should like to learn.
Any help appreciated. Does anyone have both a G2 and R2 and can tell me how the two differ?
Hi Marky -- You might also look at this thread, as it's somewhat relevant to your questions too:
"...from what I can tell, the G2 looks to me like a point and shoot camera with removable lenses. Am I being a luditte here?"
Well, I think you're right that the G2 has a lot of P&S features, but it takes them to a very high level of quality! Exquisitely high, I'd say, though I don't have one. My Fuji GA645Wi is also a glorified point'n'shoot, even to having a fixed lens, but it's a lovely camera just the same that can make some glorious pictures. Even some admitted P&S cameras like the Olympus XA and its successors can aquit themselves with honor; see our member Gene's cityscapes. So don't be too down on 'em!
"Can the G2 be a real rangefinder wiith manual focus easilly like the Bessa R2?"
In a word, no. The issue of G2 manual focus came up in discussion recently, and I gather it's just not very practical. The camera is meant for auto-focus, and that's how it works best.
The Contax G2 and Voigtlander Bessa-R2 are considerably different cameras, and the choice pretty well boils down to motors and automation. G2 has 'em, and R2 doesn't. G2 has a few fantastic lenses, but R2 supports a huge variety including most of Leica's. Which you choose is a matter of how you want to work and what lenses you want to do it with.
Either could be a wonderful choice for trekking across Europe, but if you end up disliking the camera in mid-trek, that could be unfortunate. Could you visit a dealer that carries both, and handle them? Maybe buy a couple rolls of film and shoot one in each camera right there in the store, and have them do the processing. As long as there's a little money involved for the store, they might well go for that! :-)
SirAlien, try the following website:
Click on equipment. Tnen click on Rangefinder Cameras under Camera Features Overviews.
While the Contax G2 does allow you to focus manually, it does not have the easy rangefinder focusing in the way that a traditional rangefinder like the R2 does where you focus by turning a collar on the lens. The G2 focuses by turning a wheel on the camera body, which then communicates electronically with the lens. some have reported the autofocus as a little slow, so try it out in the store to see if it's to your liking. since you've been using EOS cameras, you'll have a point of comparison.
Both offer a compact, light-weight package which would do well for travel. Contax has fantastic Zeiss lenses, which are regarded as top of the line, as good as any lenses made today - especially for color film.
I agree with Doug. It really comes down to whether you want a mechanical camera with manual focus or an electronic camera with auto-focus. Both offer the advantages in lens construction that are inherent to rangefinder design. If you like the Contax G2, go for it. You won't go wrong on image quality.
SirAlien, here's another site that could be helpful to you:
Click on equipment. Then click on 35 mm cameras under Equipment Reviews. You will find a review of the G2 under the Contax section. The interesting thing about this review is that he does make comparisons with Leica in the review. Just about everything he says about the comparison with Leica will be true for a comparison between the G2 & the R2. There are also extensive reader reactions to his review, from which you can gain additional insights. Again, good luck.
I guess there's worse than to be contrasted with a Leica...
Thanks for the advice guys.
Short of something special diverting me in the next few days, I hope to get myself a G2 and 45mm lens before taking a weekend trip to Warsaw to try it out.
Fingers crossed I can find one I can afford ;-)
Well, the pennies were handed over and a a few blemishes aside, I now have a second hand Contax G2 with 45mm lens and flash unit.
Time to start learning. A weekend trip to Warsaw I think to take advantge of the bank holiday here in England and try out my new toy!
Congratulations on your toy! I own one (a G1) myself, and the Contax quality comes through every time!
Now, if your flash unit is a TLA 2000... beware of photographing people. It's too low to avoid or prevent red-eye shots. The TLA 140 is smaller, cheaper and taller.
Have fun, Marky, and let us see the pics after you get back!
The flash is a TLA200. I'll bear your comments in mind.
I'll run a few rolls of black and white through it over the next couple of days to see how it works with and without flash. :-)
Well, back from my little weekend trip to Poland with my new toy. Interesting camera.
My first impressions is that it is heavy. Perhaps heavier than my EOS 30 with Sigma 28-300mm lens but it seems so. Not easy to carry in the hand all day.
Second, is that the lack of apeture information in the view finder is sometimes awkward. More than once I have realised that the pictures I took a walk ago were on the wrong setting. I guess it just takes getting used to but it would have been nice. Guess I've just been spoilt with the EOS.
Lens is sharp, but perhaps I am a little cynical here. Why do they cost so much new? The quality on the photos doesn't seem that different to my Sigma and Canon lenses. Perhaps I am missing the point somewhere. Wish this thing came with a zoom lens as standard though. (I can here the vultures swooping on that comment already).
Autofocus is sharp and fast. I like this. Had a few bad pictures, but overall not bad. I read a few threads from people who say that they have had only bad experience with the auto-focus but as a newbie to the camera I found it a doddle to use. Nice.
Viewfinder is small and dark and the adjustment for my eyes doesn't seem to help in some situations. I don't like closing one eye to focus, instead finding it easier to simply concentrate on the image from one only but this camera doesn't make that very easy. Again, early days and I'm sure I'll get used to it.
Finally, I do have some scanned images and happy to upload them to the site, but can someone tell me how? I can't find the magic buttons to do so.
you'll have to register in the gallery section, then there is a waiting period, a couple hours or so, then hit upload your pics.
By the way, look at charlesfoto's pics, he uses a G2 and it seems to be adequate (thats an understatement :) ).
Since I encouraged you to show us pictures, I'll not let you twist in the wind trying to figure it for yourself. You'd have come up with it in fiddling with various buttons anyway, as I think most of us have done... :-)
You can attach a photo to a thread response by replying using either the "quote" or "Post Reply" buttons at the lower right in the thread window.
In the Gallery, you'll need to log in, using the same user name and password as for this discussion area. Then hit the Upload Photos button at the upper right. Logging in is also necessary to comment on posted photos.
Sir Alien ... I'm glad you weren't totally discouraged on your first outing with the G2. There is definitely a learning curve with the focus, but with practice, the # out of focus images will be miniscule. The weight...I'd like to think it as solid rather than heavy, but after using an F5 with 80-200/2.8 attached, the G2 is a featherweight. Viewfinder takes some getting used to compared to an SLR, but after using the G2 since its inception, the viewfinder is a non-issue with me. I can only urge you to keep working with this camera, let the superb lenses show you just how much better they are than the Sigma and Canon lenses, and enjoy the quirks and abilities of this great little camera.
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