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Contax AX
Old 03-13-2010   #1
jmooney
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Contax AX

Didn't want to hijack the Contax motor bodies thread but I saw the AX mentioned several times. I remember when they came out but have never ran across anyone who owned one. Any owners out there? Can you share your experiences with the camera? Obviously I'm very interested in how the AF works but overall impressions too.

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Old 03-13-2010   #2
f16sunshine
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The AF worked well but was not fast by today's standards. Floating element lenses were out as far as AF went. one of the coolest things about the body was the Macro mode. The af mechanism moved the film plane rather than lens. As a result you had what could be used as an 10mm extension tube. Could be handy for close focus detail work. The body was too thick for my liking and I passed it on quickly and kept going with a pair of Contax RX's. Top quality build in the AX that is certain. Just sort of bulky.
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Old 03-14-2010   #3
nickdando
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I like my AX. I also have a 137MD and a RTS II.

I don't mind the size of the AX as it's very similar to the DLSRs. For a motor-driven camera, it's quiet. The best thing, for me is that the autofocus is fairly quiet and allows the easy use of polariser filters on lenses that used to have front elements that rotated as they were focused, such as the Vario-Sonnar 35-70mm. If you take the lens off the infinity setting for closer focusing, then you will have that extra 10mm extension to work with. Rough focus the lens, such as the VS 35-70 in macro mode, or a Macro-Planar, and then the autofocus does the rest for you.
I must admit when using the camera on a tripod, I keep forgetting to use the viewfinder blind to keep stray light out, but that's a minor thing.
I also like the fact that I can plug in an external battery pack when the weather is cold. I've been using the 2CR5 Lithium batteries, but have purchased a charger and a rechargeable R2CR5, but have yet to have used it as I'm working through my supply of non-rechargeables.
The other minor quibble, was that the battery packed up, and even though I had one with me, I couldn't open the battery cover as I had a Kirk tripod-plate bolted to the bottom of the camera and I didn't have an allen key with me. I've now added that to my gadget bag.

Nick
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Old 03-14-2010   #4
fuwen
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I briefly owned the AX.

Auto focus speed is slow even by standard of those days, but usable.

As mentioned, technically speaking lenses with floating element design have to be focus manually on AX otherwise close range quality will be compromised, although I have not used AX enough to tell the amount of compromise.

View finder is a bit darker due to the design.

Lens slower than f5.6 may not work well with the AF.

However, this is a fun body to use with M42 lenses and have AF at the same time.
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