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Contax N1?
Old 04-23-2019   #1
rbiemer
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Contax N1?

Anyone using one of these? Been thinking about a "new" SLR and want to get something different from what I've owned before.

The N1 seems to be priced reasonably, any "gotchas" to these cameras?
I have read on line that any Kyocera/Contax camera that breaks is not serviceable, any one have experience in this?

Thanks!
Rob
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Old 04-23-2019   #2
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The lenses are superb but expensive. On the other hand I think you can still convert them to EF mount.
A second hand N1 is probably less expensive than any repair job.
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Old 04-23-2019   #3
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Easy to use them on Sony with AF, the lenses are great. My favorite is the 100 Makro.

Get the N1, not the NX. If it breaks get another.
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Old 04-23-2019   #4
Oren Grad
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rbiemer View Post
I have read on line that any Kyocera/Contax camera that breaks is not serviceable, any one have experience in this?
The designated service agent in the US for Contax is now Nippon Photoclinic:

https://www.tocad.com/service-support/ (scroll down to the bottom)

https://nipponphotoclinic.com/services

Why not ask them directly?
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Old 04-23-2019   #5
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I owned an N1 for a few years. Excellent camera, but I sold it when Kyocera folded up the camera business because there aren't very many N-mount lenses available. I'd recommend a CY mount body instead. The RX is manual focus, but it does have focus confirmation.
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Old 04-23-2019   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Oren Grad View Post
The designated service agent in the US for Contax is now Nippon Photoclinic:
https://www.tocad.com/service-support/ (scroll down to the bottom)
https://nipponphotoclinic.com/services

Why not ask them directly?
Excellent suggestion and info, thank you!
I have emailed to ask about potential service for the N1 and the AX and the Aria.



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I owned an N1 for a few years. Excellent camera, but I sold it when Kyocera folded up the camera business because there aren't very many N-mount lenses available. I'd recommend a CY mount body instead. The RX is manual focus, but it does have focus confirmation.
I have also been looking at the AX and the Aria. The RX hadn't crossed my mind, but now that you mentioned it, I've looked at it and might need to add it to the short list. Thanks!

Rob
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Old 04-23-2019   #7
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The only thing I don’t like about the N1 is the size. Also no longer need autofocus when shooting film, so I sold my N1 set in the classifieds a few months ago. Still have a Contax 159 tho
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Old 04-23-2019   #8
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The RTSIII is a bargain at its the current price, if you don't mind the weight...
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Old 04-23-2019   #9
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I’ve also seriously considered the N1.

Long of the short of it is - I fell in head over heels love with the Contax G2 45mm lens. But when I shoot my toddler, there aren’t enough “keepers”... the AF just isn’t where it needs to be (or maybe I just haven’t found the right technique yet).

So I figured the N1 and 50 1.4 would do nicely and bring me that Zeiss rendering that I loved so much. Unfortunately it’s a relatively pricey combo. So I went with an absolute steal - the Nikon F100 and the 501.4D.

I’m still interested in the N1 but not until after my next bonus...


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Old 04-23-2019   #10
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F100 is indeed hard to beat. And the 50 N Planar is scarce/pricey...
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Old 04-23-2019   #11
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I am a Yashica era Contax tragic. In 135 cameras I have more than I care to admit. I doubt I ever paid more than $US100 for a camera.

The private operator Contax repairs UK does good work. The website, however, seems to have expired. It is archived here: https://web.archive.org/web/20190122...axrepairs.com/ His list of what is and is not repairable refers to complex parts needs and what he wants to work on and may not reflect what is entirely possible.

All the manual focus Yashica-Contax cameras apart from the Aria have a mirror which is glued into the housing. It will come loose, slip forward and jam the camera. It is referred to as "Contax mirror slip". The Aria and the N cameras don't do it.

The autofocus in the N cameras is slow, hunts a lot and is hardly more useful than manual focus. It won't be of much use photographing a child (I do a lot of photos of children).

All the C-Y cameras have bright, big viewfinders with focus screens that make manual focus about as easy as it gets.

The AX is amazing in a hugely overengineered way. It is too big and heavy to really be useable. It weighs about as much as two Nikon F4 cameras (I write it that way because the F4s is an F4 with the MB-21).

The RTS series have amazing viewfinders and interesting and possibly useful features but are still very big and heavy.

The RX and ST are beautiful, incredibly featured and very nice to use. They are still large-ish and heavy cameras.

The Aria is compact, light, nimble and works extremely well without losing the amazing viewfinder.

The Zeiss lenses are a mixed bag of amazing, good and ordinary. Check that the lenses you need are available and affordable. If you need a lens longer than 135mm look elsewhere. The long APO lenses are stratospherically priced and appear for sale very rarely, and the regular long lenses are ordinary to outright poor performers. The lenses between 15 and 100mm all have much to recommend them. The 50/1.4 is legendary and is great for landscapes but wasn't optimised for close up work. The 60mm Makros (the S 1:1 is enormous, the C 1:2 is remarkably light and compact) are essentially unbeatable inside 3m but are not very good at infinity.

Marty
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Old 04-24-2019   #12
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I did get a reply to my inquiry of Nippon Photo Clinic about repairability:
Quote:
Hi,

Thank you for your email.
We do repair/service those cameras as long as we can handle it, but the parts are no longer available or, very limited availability.
When you are purchasing, please look for good working cameras, and if you need inspection for it then send/bring to us, we will let you know after examined.
Also, try to avoid water/sand/impact damaged cameras.

Thank you.


Nippon Photo Clinic Inc.
I asked about serviceability of the RX, AX, and N1 cameras so the definitive answer is "Maybe."

Going to think on this a bit more. Or, maybe, I will just look for a nice Fuji X20. And continue to use my Intrepid for film photography. I can buy a decent pile of 4x5 film for the same cost as another SLR and lens.

Rob
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Old 04-25-2019   #13
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Used RX's on eBay sell for $100 - $200. So I wouldn't service one. Just get another if the old one breaks.
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Old 04-25-2019   #14
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I really don't understand this fear of failure on these cameras. I have had the RX, AX and N1 for years, never a problem. The only drawback of the N1 is the proprietary lens mount. If you go for one of the Contaxes with C/Y mount you have a very nice selection of reasonable Zeiss glass and the even more reasonable Yashica ML series which are very close to Zeiss in quality. And as several here have pointed out, if you should experience a failure you can get a new body reasonably. My fave among these is the RX, but I have not tried the ST or the Aria yet. If you want to eliminate the risk of electronics failure, go for the S2 which has a mechanical shutter.
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Old 04-25-2019   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rbiemer View Post
I did get a reply to my inquiry of Nippon Photo Clinic about repairability:


I asked about serviceability of the RX, AX, and N1 cameras so the definitive answer is "Maybe."

Going to think on this a bit more. Or, maybe, I will just look for a nice Fuji X20. And continue to use my Intrepid for film photography. I can buy a decent pile of 4x5 film for the same cost as another SLR and lens.

Rob
Thanks for sharing their response.
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Old 04-26-2019   #16
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Kai-san,
It's not excatly "fear of failure" on my part. I have a rather large assortment of FSU rangefinder cameras and am happy to take the low piced gamble with those. And, I have spent some money on a few of them to get them well sorted.
In my case, because the gamble is more expensive, I may or may not be able to simply replace one. AND that I really do not like to throw away much "stuff" in general. I will always strongly prefer repair over replacement.
In the case of this Contax idea, I'm not really worried about electronic failures more than mechanical failures, just failure in general and so I asked here for folks' real experience instead of deciding based on random intenet "wisdom".

While searching for a camera and lens, and thinking about how I will want to use this, I decided that the limited lens choices for the N1 are ok with me.

And so, I made on offer on an N1 with the 24-85 lens from a seller in Japan with 100% positive feedback. The seller accepted my offer so, in a week or so, I should have my "new" toy.



Rob

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kai-san View Post
I really don't understand this fear of failure on these cameras. I have had the RX, AX and N1 for years, never a problem. The only drawback of the N1 is the proprietary lens mount. If you go for one of the Contaxes with C/Y mount you have a very nice selection of reasonable Zeiss glass and the even more reasonable Yashica ML series which are very close to Zeiss in quality. And as several here have pointed out, if you should experience a failure you can get a new body reasonably. My fave among these is the RX, but I have not tried the ST or the Aria yet. If you want to eliminate the risk of electronics failure, go for the S2 which has a mechanical shutter.
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Old 04-26-2019   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rbiemer View Post
Kai-san,
It's not excatly "fear of failure" on my part. I have a rather large assortment of FSU rangefinder cameras and am happy to take the low piced gamble with those. And, I have spent some money on a few of them to get them well sorted.
In my case, because the gamble is more expensive, I may or may not be able to simply replace one. AND that I really do not like to throw away much "stuff" in general. I will always strongly prefer repair over replacement.
In the case of this Contax idea, I'm not really worried about electronic failures more than mechanical failures, just failure in general and so I asked here for folks' real experience instead of deciding based on random intenet "wisdom".

While searching for a camera and lens, and thinking about how I will want to use this, I decided that the limited lens choices for the N1 are ok with me.

And so, I made on offer on an N1 with the 24-85 lens from a seller in Japan with 100% positive feedback. The seller accepted my offer so, in a week or so, I should have my "new" toy.



Rob
The N1 is an excellent camera. Enjoy!
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Old 04-26-2019   #18
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Hey Rob, congrats on your N1! I hope you will not be disappointed, its a wonderful camera to shoot. I'm using the Contax 645 lenses on mine via a Contax NAM-1 adapter. A little tip; you can program the exposure check button on the front to act as the auto exposure lock, that is very convenient in stead of using the main switch.
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Old 04-26-2019   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rbiemer View Post
And so, I made on offer on an N1 with the 24-85 lens from a seller in Japan with 100% positive feedback. The seller accepted my offer so, in a week or so, I should have my "new" toy.
Enjoy! Let us know what you think.

Marty
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Old 05-01-2019   #20
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Camera arrived safely yesterday. I am very happy so far!
I did have one concern prior to delivery: I wasn't sure if there would be a battery in the camera or not, it wasn't mentioned one way or the other in the listing. But, I thought, no problem I'll just go get one. Not in my small town anymore.
Radio Shack is long gone but, last time I needed the 2cr5 type battery that this uses, several of our drugstores had them. CVS, Rite Aid, and Walgreen's. On Monday when I was looking, none of them did.
Added to that was the generally "excellent" response I got on the phone of "did you check on line?" Silly me, I figured that if I called the store some one there would know what they had on the shelves...

But, the camera came with a battery installed and it seems to be new. So, that's good. I've ordered a couple from Amazon.

The camera is really nice and the vf is probably the best SLR vf I've ever used.

So, I loaded a roll of Fuji 400, reset the custom functions to default (except the beep on focus, I turned that one off) for now and am learning the camera with the help of the manual I downloaed from Mr. Butkus' site.

The 24-85 lens is, as expected, big and heavy but seems a good match to the camera. Definitely better balanced than the Nikon 24-120 and 8008s I had for a while. And MUCH lighter than my Arax 60...

It came with rear lens cap, front lens cap, a GB-81 lens hood, and an 82mm Contax P-filter. That size is potentially expensive but there's really only two I consider "needed"--a polarizer and a yellow/green for BW film.

I'll post a photo of my new toy in the show off your slr thread in a bit.

Rob
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Old 05-01-2019   #21
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Congrats!

The 24-85 is quite good, if large, and it focuses fast.

I also had the 50, the 28-80, the 70-200, and the 100 Makro Sonnar. The 28-80 focused slower than the 24-85 but was much smaller. The tele zoom was quite good and reasonably sized. The Makro is big and heavy but superb. The 50 focused fast and needs no further description...
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Old 05-04-2019   #22
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Great! Show us some photos when you have them.

Quote:
Originally Posted by splitimageview View Post
The 50 focused fast and needs no further description...
Zeiss tweaked the design and the N 50/1.4 is substantially better than the regular C-Y 50/1.4 Planar. I really loved it, but sold all my N gear during the period when Canon users were paying big dollars for them to convert them to EOS mount.

The

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Old 05-09-2019   #23
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I'm done with Contax bodies (I had too many die with electronics issues, I'm sticking with a Yashica FX3/Contax S2) - the N 50 and N85 are legendary, though
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