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Help choosing Contax SLR
Old 6 Days Ago   #1
littleearth
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Help choosing Contax SLR

A Contax Planar 50mm f1.4 sort of landed in my hands recently and I need a body for it.

I've had a 139Q in the past and I've handled a few others, so I more or less know the bodies.

A friend of mine has a Contax 167MT and an RX that he is willing to sell, so those are my choices at the moment (no budget for the Aria or S2).
They are both in great condition and have a good price, but the RX does cost twice as much.

Is the RX worth it or should I save some money and go with the 167MT ?
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Old 6 Days Ago   #2
Kai-san
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I had the 167MT some years ago, it was OK enough but it felt a bit old and sluggish, mainly due to the user interface. I replaced it with an RX and what a fun camera to shoot. The user interface is just right and I love the un-coupled autofocus which is a very good help in dim light. It has also got the programmable button on the front which I use as auto exposure lock. If you can afford the RX I say go for it!
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Old 6 Days Ago   #3
Larry Cloetta
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If considering those two, I would also look at an ST, which I preferred over my RXs due to the brighter viewfinder. The "focus aid" thing on the RX, I always found to be really slow, and more of a marketing gimmick than something which made the camera more real world useful than just quickly using one of the nice screens to focus. There is a real lag to the "focus aid". It takes time to catch up to every focus adjustment you make. That being said, I was very happy with the RXs I owned until I got an ST.
Personal opinion only, not intending to tell you what to do.
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Old 6 Days Ago   #4
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I found ST and RX quite nice, but I then again I liked all Contax SLRs that I have owned.

I prefer the smaller/lighter models like the 139 and the 159, the latter has 1/4000.
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Old 6 Days Ago   #5
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I have an RTS (and the 50/1.4 Planar is sitting on it now) -- really nice camera. Well worth considering.
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Old 6 Days Ago   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by littleearth View Post
A Contax Planar 50mm f1.4 sort of landed in my hands recently and I need a body for it.

I've had a 139Q in the past and I've handled a few others, so I more or less know the bodies.

A friend of mine has a Contax 167MT and an RX that he is willing to sell, so those are my choices at the moment (no budget for the Aria or S2).
They are both in great condition and have a good price, but the RX does cost twice as much.

Is the RX worth it or should I save some money and go with the 167MT ?
The defining feature of the 167MT is the slider switch for shutter speeds rather than a dedicated dial. If you can live with that, and don't need the additional features of the RX, go with the cheaper one.

Both are using the same glass and metering system, so the results are going to be identical.
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Old 6 Days Ago   #7
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Out of the two I‘d choose the 167MT. Smaller, normal batteries and imo better build quality. But changing shutter speeds is quirky so its best to shoot in AV mode. For the rest I‘d get an RTS as perfect back up body.
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Old 6 Days Ago   #8
littleearth
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Larry Cloetta View Post
If considering those two, I would also look at an ST, which I preferred over my RXs due to the brighter viewfinder. The "focus aid" thing on the RX, I always found to be really slow, and more of a marketing gimmick than something which made the camera more real world useful than just quickly using one of the nice screens to focus. There is a real lag to the "focus aid". It takes time to catch up to every focus adjustment you make. That being said, I was very happy with the RXs I owned until I got an ST.
Personal opinion only, not intending to tell you what to do.
A friend of mine has the ST, indeed a fine camera with faster shutter speeds and 1/200 flash sync, but unfortunately no multiple exposure setting or MLU. Also AEL only works with spot metering unlike the RX, so overall the newer RX sounds like a better deal.

I did notice that most of these cameras went up in price, except for the 167MT which is more common, since it had a long run and has the less appealing 80's interface.
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Old 6 Days Ago   #9
Larry Cloetta
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Quote:
Originally Posted by littleearth View Post
A friend of mine has the ST, indeed a fine camera with faster shutter speeds and 1/200 flash sync, but unfortunately no multiple exposure setting or MLU. Also AEL only works with spot metering unlike the RX, so overall the newer RX sounds like a better deal.
I understand that, all depends on what you value the most.
The brighter viewfinder and easier focusing was more important to me, because it effects every single frame you shoot. I grew up scarred by accidental multiple exposures on Brownies ruining my day, and not really drawn to doing them on purpose, and the MLU is nice to have, though rarely for me, and not worth losing the brighter viewfinder. To me.
For someone else, those things might be worth more than the focusing ease and precision. It's not that the RX finder is dim, it isn't, I just found it easier and faster to focus the ST.
But, the AEL, MLU, and multiple exposure of the RX are all good points and worth noting.
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Old 6 Days Ago   #10
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There's always the Yashica FR1 which is pretty much an RTS with different branding.

Both are very nice cameras. And, inexpensive way to use your new lens.
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Old 6 Days Ago   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Larry Cloetta View Post
I understand that, all depends on what you value the most.
The brighter viewfinder and easier focusing was more important to me, because it effects every single frame you shoot. I grew up scarred by accidental multiple exposures on Brownies ruining my day, and not really drawn to doing them on purpose, and the MLU is nice to have, though rarely for me, and not worth losing the brighter viewfinder. To me.
For someone else, those things might be worth more than the focusing ease and precision. It's not that the RX finder is dim, it isn't, I just found it easier and faster to focus the ST.
But, the AEL, MLU, and multiple exposure of the RX are all good points and worth noting.
They are all a pleasure to use and worth buying !
I do like to shoot landscapes, so MLU and having a center-mounted tripod socket are welcome features.
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Old 6 Days Ago   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Larry Cloetta View Post
I understand that, all depends on what you value the most.
The brighter viewfinder and easier focusing was more important to me, because it effects every single frame you shoot. I grew up scarred by accidental multiple exposures on Brownies ruining my day, and not really drawn to doing them on purpose, and the MLU is nice to have, though rarely for me, and not worth losing the brighter viewfinder. To me.
For someone else, those things might be worth more than the focusing ease and precision. It's not that the RX finder is dim, it isn't, I just found it easier and faster to focus the ST.
But, the AEL, MLU, and multiple exposure of the RX are all good points and worth noting.
The RX II has everything the RX had apart from focus confirmation. Losing the focus confirmation made the viewfinder brighter, like the ST. But the ST has illuminated controls, ceramic backing plate and a quieter motor. They both handle really well.

I think any Contax SLR apart from the S2 is an awesome buy, with the caveat that if they break they might be unfixable. There is an ST on eBay now from Japan in decent condition for $US109.60. That’s an amazing deal, and the ST balances really well with the 50/1.4.

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Old 6 Days Ago   #13
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I had a 139Q with the 50mm f/1.4. I really loved it. I got a motor wind for it and hated it. The first few times I felt kind of important. After that, the added weight and noise made me take it off. So, move on the the chance to get a 167mt and I jumped for it. I was OK with everything but the motor wind. But I got used to it.

I normally shoot it in AP mode so the objections about changing shutter speeds didn't bother me. The 4000 always impressed me, just like it did on the Fujica ST 801 which I used to want (and finally got). But honestly, I have never had a reason to use those speeds on either camera.

FWIW, I got a Yashica FX3 as a backup for the 139Q. I've never had to use it except when the 139Q conked out after a house fire. The latter Yashica's used the C/Y mount.

I would just suggest you look at how and what you like to photograph, and what you like your current cameras to do. Get a replacement that does all that, not what you think you might like, unless you are certain you will need it.

There was another thread recently on Contax cameras to acquire. A forum search may show others.
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Old 6 Days Ago   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by littleearth View Post
A Contax Planar 50mm f1.4 sort of landed in my hands recently and I need a body for it.

I've had a 139Q in the past and I've handled a few others, so I more or less know the bodies.

A friend of mine has a Contax 167MT and an RX that he is willing to sell, so those are my choices at the moment (no budget for the Aria or S2).
They are both in great condition and have a good price, but the RX does cost twice as much.

Is the RX worth it or should I save some money and go with the 167MT ?
Will your friend let you run a roll of film through both before you decide?

If so, do that and then you'll likely have your answer.

Rob
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