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Zeiss Contax Forum for the classic Zeiss Contax I, II, III, IIa, IIIa , G series, and if you want to push it, the nice Contax point and shoots. Some spill over from the Kievs, the Soviet copy of the Contax II/III can also be expected. Plus the ONLY production camera ever made in classic Zeiss Contax Rangefinder mount WITH TTL metering ... the Voigtlander Bessa R2C.

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Which Contax G body?
Old 12-03-2003   #1
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Which Contax G body?

A good friend of mine is interested in buying a Contax body, and recently he asked me about the G2. I only have the G1 (and do not think about parting with it... yet), so I gave him what I know about the little gizmo. However, his question got me thinking... What body would you choose if both were available to you?

BTW, prices in used Contax glass are kinda plummeting. Any idea? Are there rumors of a G3 somewhere, sometime?

Sorry, let's stick to the topic. I don't think I'd bother with the G2. The G1 suits me well. How about you?
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Old 12-03-2003   #2
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I'm attracted by the smaller size and price of the G1, but also by the operational improvements of the G2. Tough decision!

I'm also curious whether I'd like the motor & AF, in addition to AE. Too automated? Too little manual control possible? I might have quashed active interest in the Contax through acquiring a Fuji GA645Wi, though of course it doesn't offer interchangeable lenses. I'll find out if I can stand the automation, however!
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Old 12-04-2003   #3
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I've owned the G2 and suffer from Seller's Remorse about getting rid of it.

Get the G2- the nicest bit is that it'll simply have all the options at your disposal if you ever need 'em. There'll never be any doubt that you got all that the system can give.

Also, the baseline on the rangefinder is larger- making the 90mm more accurate wide open.
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Old 12-04-2003   #4
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One thing, jdos: what's in the G2 that you may miss in the G1? Other than second-curtain flash, 1/4000 as the highest shutterspeed, and (probably) a faster ftp speed? Sure, a larger baseline (concept I still haven't grasped) and size, but otherwise, it's the same titanium body with really easy film load, a bit of an annoying shutterlag and TTL flash metering.

Am I missing something? Please, advice. Thanks!!
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Old 12-04-2003   #5
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The G2's longer baseline allows it to focus the 90mm a bit more accurately.

It focuses faster.

The G2 also has an active rangefinding system for use in darker environments.

It has a higher shutter speed.

It has a faster (4fps) recycle speed.

I believe that there is too another pre-focus mode on it that's not available on the G1.

Otherwise, they are identical.

Oh! The G-2 can use immediately the Zoom lens, it's microcode is burned for it (and the 35mm and 21mm?)
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RF triangulation
Old 12-04-2003   #6
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RF triangulation

Quote:
Originally posted by SolaresLarrave
...Sure, a larger baseline (concept I still haven't grasped)...
Francisco, it comes from how a rangefinder basically works... But if you already know all this please forgive the following!

Envision a right triangle, one with its 90 degree right angle at the lower left. We'll call this the Origin point. There's a horizontal line running off to the right from the Origin that we'll call the Baseline. There's a vertical line running straight up from the Origin, this represents Distance from the Baseline. These lines are two sides of the triangle, with the third side diagonally connecting their ends. Visualize the Distance side of the triangle as longer than the Baseline side. Because of that, the angle at the right end of the Baseline is greater than 45 degrees.

Let's say we double the Distance side of the triangle and leave the Baseline alone. Now the angle at the right end of the Baseline changes, becomes less acute, a larger angle. For instance, it might have changed from 75 deg to 78 degrees. If we had instead shortened the Distance side of the triangle, that angle might have changed from 75 to 72 degrees.

Let's imagine we're looking down at the top of an RF camera. The Baseline fits between the centers of the viewfinder window and the smaller rangefinder spot window, but back within the body of the camera. The viewfinder eyepiece looks through the Origin and out along the Distance side of our imaginary triangle.

At the Origin point within the viewfinder is a half-silvered mirror or prism that splits our view so that a spot in the center looks partly, ghostly, to the right along the Baseline. At the right end of the Baseline is a small mirror that can pivot, changing the angle at that corner of the triangle. As it pivots, it "looks" at different points along the Distance side of the triangle.

So in the viewfinder we see a doubled image in the center spot; two images of the same object at that one distance from the Origin. We pivot the little mirror on the right until the two overlapping images coincide. Bingo! We know the distance through a method called "triangulation"!

As you may appreciate, as the Distance side of the triangle gets very large in comparison to the Baseline length, the angle at the right corner doesn't change much for a given Distance change. It's just in the nature of trigonometry that this is so. Therefore, with such smaller angular changes, our measurement accuracy drops off as Distance increases.

We can even invent a mechanism to connect the focusing of the lens to the pivoting of the mirror and calibrate it so the lens is in focus at the triangulated distance.

I think that covers the pedantic preliminaries... Now to the Baseline length. I don't know about you, but throughout this I've been imagining a longish camera RF Baseline such as in a pre-war Contax II. Naval gunnery rangefinders have much longer Baselines measured in yards, while you'll have noticed that some small RF cameras have their RF spot window only an inch or so from the viewfinder window.

Having a long Baseline effectively scales up the whole triangle, extending a given level of measurement accuracy out to a longer Distance line. Artillery ballistic computers need range measurements accurate out to several miles. Or you can consider that at the shorter distances, the long-baseline RF's mirror angle changes more for a given distance change, providing more accurate measurement.

What has puzzled me is why camera makers seem so stingy with RF baseline length. A longer baseline doesn't inherently cost more, though of course the designers need to arrange other parts so there's a clear optical path along the baseline. Heck, they could even use a fiber optic bundle to snake around other components... Why couldn't the Bronica have another precious inch of baseline? But then we'd have to learn to keep our dratted fingers away from the RF spot window, like Kiev/Contax users!
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Old 12-04-2003   #7
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Doug... if I understood correctly, the baseline extension will explain why the VF in all Leicas and most RF cameras is all the way to the left (if you're the camera user): to make the baseline a bit longer... Did I grasp it more or less correctly?

Thanks a lot for your patient explanation! I did have a bit of a problem following it, because it caught me by surprise and it's almost bedtime, but if I had read this early in the morning it would have been as clear as you intended it to be. And it is clear! Thanks a big lot!!! Suddenly I can understand some things about camera sizes! Thanks again, Doug!
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Old 12-04-2003   #8
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The old Kiev/Contax had a funkier rangefinder yet- solid glass, except where glued in to a gold plated mirror- the images were made to coincide with a lens that swung across the front of the RF prism window... I like that arrangements. Of all the broken/problem Kievs I have, NONE have rangefinder issues.

The Old Contax II/Kiev series also are known for having a full 90mm baseline, making them the most potentially accurate of all the old Rangefinders. It's obvious when focusing, there's a difference between something 100 feet and 200 feet away, not easily seen in my Konica, but obvious in the Kiev and visible in the (1x finder) Nikon.

Last edited by jdos2 : 12-05-2003 at 06:06.
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Old 12-05-2003   #9
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Zeiss seemed to like that rotating prism RF design... seems to me it's essentially the same as on the old Ikontas too, isn't it?
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Old 12-06-2003   #10
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Different system. The Kiev/Contax II was really (is, in my cameras, that is) a solid chunk of glass, almost the width of the camera.

My Ikonta had a mirror (on a stalk that if you bumped the camera, would bend requiring readjustment!) with a lens *after* the first prism.

The Lens (and it is a concave lens) that does the rangefinder adjustment is on the end of a piece of metal that moves back and forth- very sensitive to set up, but not subject to knocks, at least not as sensitive as my Leica (was!) or Mamiya 7 (to be fair- it only went out of adjustment ONCE, and I could easily fix it, whereas the Kiev would be a while digging into the camera)

It's possible Zeiss used the rotating prism, but I've not ever personally seen it.

(EDIT)
Apologies. I must have forgotten my medication that day. Of course the Ikontas (and Moskvas, for that matter) have counter-rotating prisms. Just used it this morning. Apologies.

Sometimes, I just open my mouth to change feet.

Last edited by jdos2 : 06-06-2004 at 17:28.
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Old 06-05-2004   #11
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Doug's explanation of a rangefinder above is really superb (as long as you keep a pencil & paper handy LOL). Somehow this should be extracted & archived. Very valuable information for new rangefinder users who visit this site.

I'll just note one additional piece of information as to why all manufacturers don't make long baselines. A longer baseline means a longer turn of the focus ring to snap into focus. Many people liked the ease with which they could focus their old fixed focal length rangefinders - like my old Canonet. They were known for having a short throw. They didn't need a long baseline because their lenses were typically 35 - 40 mm. In an interview published on Cameraquest, Mr. Kobayashi of Cosina indicated that the Voigtlander Bessa series was created primarily as a vehicle for wide angle lenses because this is where rangefinder cameras excel. (Originally their longest lens was 75mm) For this reason, Cosina never concerned itself with developing a long baseline.
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Old 06-05-2004   #12
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good idea huck, i've attached a 'sticky' to this post.

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Old 06-29-2004   #13
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Bact to the primary question... I prefer the G1 to the G2. The smaller size, with an upgrade (which comes free with a lens) you can use everything but the zoom. I do not plan on getting the zoom.

The camera focuses perfect, it is easy to cary, and never lets me down.
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Old 01-17-2005   #14
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Is the focus assist light on the G2 infra-red, or visible? If "non visible" another reason to prefer the G2 versus the G1 (the bright assist light on the G1 can be obtrusive)
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Old 01-17-2005   #15
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Quote:
Originally posted by Issy
Is the focus assist light on the G2 infra-red, or visible? If "non visible" another reason to prefer the G2 versus the G1 (the bright assist light on the G1 can be obtrusive)
It is IR and more than that :-)

It is a second focusing system which is turned on if it's to dark for the normal RF mechanism. It is capable of measuring the distance to a black wall in a totaly dark room.
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Old 01-18-2005   #16
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Before buying I had a chance to handle both the G1 and G2. I chose the G1 (now gone, I'm afraid) and never wanted for the G2 afterwards. In the 4 years I used it I had only one picture out of focus and that was my fault. I used it in the low light of a club along with the TLA200 flash and the pix were excellent. I also never had any problems with the 90mm lens.

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Old 01-18-2005   #17
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Issy, are you considering a purchase of a G2? I know where one can be had cheap with 3 lens kit & flash in the Hartford area. Contact me at [email protected] or post here.
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Old 01-18-2005   #18
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I think the G2 is non-visible, I know the G1 emits little red flash in the dark (almost got caught attempting to take images in the Alamo, but that's for another thread). If the G2's is invisible that can definantly be an advantage. As far as actual focusing differences, I've heard pretty mixed results- some say G2 better, some say G1 better, all in all I think they are both good. Maybe the G2 locks a little quicker but I don't have a G2 so I can't test it.
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Old 01-18-2005   #19
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The G1's focus aid light is tightly focused but visible (and very bright if you're looking right at it.) The G2 uses non-visible IR.

I'd recommend the G2 to anyone if the price difference isn't an issue. Its AF system is more convenient to control thanks to the focus button on the back; this gives you more flexibility in controlling the AF.
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Old 02-15-2005   #20
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I have had both a G-1 and a G-2 for several years. I can find little real practical difference between them other than the G-2's higher shutter speed.

I find I will pick up whichever camera has the lens I want to use already mounted. Only exception is if I'm shooting in bright sun with Neopan 400. Only then will I chose the G-2.

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G1 or G2?
Old 02-01-2006   #21
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Talking G1 or G2?

I have had a G1 for ages, recently got a G2, and while I don't like the form factor as well, everything else is better. The focus is faster, it is quieter, I thrust it more...

If they could have stuffed the works of the G2 into the G1 body style... Ah well.
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sync
Old 08-05-2006   #22
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sync

I have only skim read this thread but I did not see mention of sync speed, 100th on G1 , 200th on G2. I have never tried a G1 but it can't be bad, love my G2's.
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Old 08-06-2006   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Adam Muir
I have only skim read this thread but I did not see mention of sync speed, 100th on G1 , 200th on G2. I have never tried a G1 but it can't be bad, love my G2's.
I've had a G1, still have two G2. The G1 is smaller but the G2 does have some technical advantages, though for me the synch speed is irrelevant. The Leica has only 1/50th and for the big Pentax it's 1/30th... for some this is important.
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To G1 or to G2, that is the question
Old 02-18-2005   #24
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To G1 or to G2, that is the question

HI,

either body is great. I had a G-1, now have a G2.

G1 Advantages: Infrared focus beam in low light, lightweight, accepts almost all G lenses.
G1 disadvantages: Not many, unless you are a speedy shooter. Focusing can be erratic sometimes, but not often in good light. Or bad light. Noisy rewind.

G2 Advantages: Fast shutter speeds, center-weighted metering. Accurate metering. Black model looks cool. Multiple shooting modes.
G2 Disadvantages: One out of every ten seem to have freeze-up problems. Don't know why, but it happened to a buddy of mine. Costly to repair. Erratic focusing in low light. Manual focus wheel useless.

If your buddy is a conservative shooter, and wants a good camera with Zeiss lenses for a good price, then I'd recommend the G1. If he likes to shoot fast, and wants a groovy black camera, then go for the G2.

Cheers,

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Old 02-18-2005   #25
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Sorry, but that's not totaly correct!

The G2 has infrared focus for low to no light, the G1 has a red focus assist lamp.

The focusing wheel is a personal thing, I prefer the G2 focusing wheel over the G1 as it's easyer for me to change shutter speeds with my thumb.

Right thumb for shutterspeed and AF Lock, indexfinger on the shutterrelease and middlefinger on the focus wheel. Left Thumb and indexfinger on the aperturering, I realy like that :-)

Quote:
Originally Posted by canonetc
HI,

either body is great. I had a G-1, now have a G2.

G1 Advantages: Infrared focus beam in low light, lightweight, accepts almost all G lenses.
G1 disadvantages: Not many, unless you are a speedy shooter. Focusing can be erratic sometimes, but not often in good light. Or bad light. Noisy rewind.

G2 Advantages: Fast shutter speeds, center-weighted metering. Accurate metering. Black model looks cool. Multiple shooting modes.
G2 Disadvantages: One out of every ten seem to have freeze-up problems. Don't know why, but it happened to a buddy of mine. Costly to repair. Erratic focusing in low light. Manual focus wheel useless.

If your buddy is a conservative shooter, and wants a good camera with Zeiss lenses for a good price, then I'd recommend the G1. If he likes to shoot fast, and wants a groovy black camera, then go for the G2.

Cheers,

Chris
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