View Full Version : Are the Contax G1 and G2 ...
Really rangefinders ? or just fancy point and shoot. Dont get me wrong, its an incredible package and I use to have one and am considering another. But with all the automation onboard and the auto focus, is this camera really a range finder or just one hell of a point and shoot?
Well, it certainly fits within the definition of a "direct view" camera, the viewfinder displaying the scene optically and with no ground glass. Rangefinder cameras are a sub-class of direct view cameras, I'd say, but I think we'd use the direct view term mostly for such cameras without rangefinders.
So, now I suspect we may bog down on the definition of "rangefinder". In this forum, that would seem an importand issue. Does that mean optical triangulation only, by eye? Or does it include other means of determining subject distance (infrared, ultrasound, radar?)? The Contax would be in this "other means" group.
The Contax G is certainly also a fancy point 'n shoot, as is the Fuji GA645 series. ;-)
Technically... they are, it's simply that they use an electronic rangefinder (like the AF SLR bodies of these days). It takes some getting used to it, but they are great working/traveling companions. Their major drawbacks: shutterlag and the fact that the AF sets back itself to 0 (zero) after every shoot, unless you're shooting in the continuous mode. Another "problem" is that they only use the Contax G mount, so you buy it from them or only them. However, I should add that they're customer service department is very helpful. I contacted them via e-mail to purchase manuals and they were prompt to reply, and gave me accurate information.
For some reason, even though they've been categorized as just "fancy point-and-shoots", these cameras have a certain charm and resilience that kinda grows on you. I took mine to Costa Rica, and it worked wonders... except when I wanted to do some street. Then I noticed that the whirring of the AF motor can be quite distracting. That and the shutterlag makes them inappropriate for street shots, but otherwise, they're great, economical bodies. And the loading of film is a breeze! :)
I have a G2, and used it quite successfully in shooting street scenses in Istanbul. Yes, it does make some noise while focussing, and yes, the lens is refocused to infinity after each shot, but, I did not find either of these two issues a problem while using this camera (and its great lenses) in a difficult environment.
I find the lack of a display of the focussing point(s) in the viewfinder more of an inconvenience.
I find the 45, 90 28, and 21 mm lenses to be the sharpest. I am contemplating the purchase of the 16 mm Hologon, but I feel that it may be too limited due to the need for the 4x central filter (converting the lens to a f 22).
Any thoughts?? I appreciate your comments on this post, and my earlier post regarding the Hologon.
Best wishes for the holiday season.
Boy, THIS topic can get folks emotional on USENET!
It's a rangefinder, but an electronic one, with no focus confirmation (as if there is any with the coincident finders!)
It just happens to have the best lenses on a 35mm camera that exists today, and quite possibly, has even existed, at least so far as resolution, contrast and color rendition goes. As if that means anything.
I want mine back!
Don't worry, with the dip in the market that comes every January you'll be able to get your kit. I too am looking for a 90mm lens myself.
I've given up on a G2 for a while- I got an auto-focus Mamiya 645 (which has gone back to Mamiya for adjustment) so I'll have the Autofocus I crave, nice lenses, and a decently sized negative that will make up for the slightly less sharp/contrasty (possibly) than the Contax counterparts.
I'm tagging onto an old thread here, but I'm doing so because I also have been intrigued by the question of just what a Contax G actually is.
The answer - as best I can tell - is that it is a little of both. It is a hybrid combination of the active autofocus system used by point & shoot compact cameras, employing an infrared beam, & it is a passive rangefinder, triangulating the light received by 2 separate windows. In doing the latter, its windows are set much closer together than traditional rangefinders to create a short baseline, but this passive system is enhanced in the way that a passive split image rangefinder on an SLR is.
It's too complicated for me to really grasp, so here is a reference that gives a better explanation:
Bottom line is that it does allow an option for manual focus using rangefinder principles.
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