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Contax G1 Experiences?
Old 11-22-2018   #1
Kumachrome
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Contax G1 Experiences?

So, every review online talks up the G1 as being near perfect, but I think you fine folks here at the RangefinderForums are very honest, so I'd like your takes. I'm seriously thinking about getting one, as the form factor of the body, the looks and the GLASS have me lusting. I'm mainly a documentary-style, spur-of-the-moment kind of shooter.

What do you like about it? What do you dislike? Do the pros outweigh the cons in your opinion? Is focusing a hassle?

Thanks for any input!
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Old 11-22-2018   #2
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It has been quite a while since I have looked into this but comparisons of G1 and G2 specifically have been a favourite topic on some forums some time ago. This is a way of answering your questions about the G1.

eg if you run this search in Google you will find a lot of threads over at photo net.

" contax g1 and g2 site:www.photo.net "

My overall impression is that the Contax G system is still regarded extremely well and back in the day I would have gotten into it seriously had I not already been so heavily invested in Leica M gear. Though I do believe that the G1 is regarded as inferior to the G2 but I don't think it is a deal breaker.

The main factor in the G1/g2 debate seems to be that AF is better on the G2 though others will need to opine whether the G1 is really deficient in this respect.

Also some articles like here:

http://thefootographer.com/blog/2016...ts-august-2015

https://kenrockwell.com/contax/g2.htm (about the G2)

https://www.photo.net/discuss/thread...-vs-g2.498244/

All I can say is that if I were ever to get serious about using film again I think I would go for either a G1 or G2 though I cannot say which. Their lenses are to die for. I once had (but have now sold) a Contax T2 (which more recently rose to cult status and is very expensive [for now anyway]) and its Zeiss lens was also superb. It gave better results than any of my Leica glass.

PS an issue that comes up (and a reason I sold my T2) is that there is some risk that the electronics in these cameras can die after all these years. Is this a real risk ? I do not know. I did not take the chance with my T2 but now kind of regret it in hindsight.
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Old 11-23-2018   #3
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Thanks for your reply! As for the electronics issue, I figured that since G1's are quite cheap, if it died on me, I wouldn't be too hurt about it since the max I spent on the body is around 150-180. The G2, being quite expensive scares me in that respect since they're $700+ body alone not even mint condition.
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Old 11-23-2018   #4
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Fot the exact differences G1 and G2 go here (scroll little bit down)

http://sharkphoto.org/contax/index.html#contents

I would always prefer the G2, especially for the better AF and viewfinder, also the controls are imho better on the G2. Not to forget the G2 is younger if you are one of the scary people who think that all electronic products die automatically at some point (hint: they don't). Besides, according to my trusted repair man at www.tritec-service.de there's nearly nothing which can't be fixed on the electronic side. Personally I know 2 people with a G2, both work flawlessly despite heavy and often careless usage. My old T2 does (sold to a friend) as does my T3 which I have always with me (around 500 films in the last 3 years).

My advice, Just buy one (G1 or G2 depending on your financial background) and enjoy instead of running scared through the world missing opportunities. Life's to short to be afraid.

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Old 11-23-2018   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kumachrome View Post
Thanks for your reply! As for the electronics issue, I figured that since G1's are quite cheap, if it died on me, I wouldn't be too hurt about it since the max I spent on the body is around 150-180. The G2, being quite expensive scares me in that respect since they're $700+ body alone not even mint condition.
Don't forget that you can sell a 'dead' Contax G2 easily for around $300-400 depending on the issue. That's something what people usually miss in their (risk) calculation when they 'complain' about the high prices for these kind of cameras.

P.S. I better stop posting/reading in this thread as my dealer here has a complete black Contax G2 set with 28/45/90mm and flash for a decent price to sell and I'm not sure how long I can withstand his offer.

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Old 11-23-2018   #6
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I used to own a Contax G system: G1 and G2 bodies, plus 45mm and 28mm lenses. The cameras were an absolute joy to use: light but solid, beautifully made, quiet for AF cameras, full-featured, compact and very ergonomic. The lenses produced superb photos, especially on colour film.

But...

I ended up with lots of photos from the G1 with missed focus. I was quite surprised and disappointed with this because I was well aware, having read a ton of reviews, that I needed to be careful with the focus point. I found if there was any movement at all, that the camera would only hit focus less than half the time, so it was only reliable for static subjects.

Anyway, I read that the G2 was 'better'/easier to focus, so I picked one of those up in the hope that would improve things. It didn't. I had exactly the same focus issues.

Next, after only a couple of months of owning it, the G1 stopped focusing the lenses altogether. It just made a grinding noise and had to be switch on and off a few times to take a shot. After a day or two of this it wouldn't focus at all.

It went on eBay for parts.

A few days later I switched on the G2 and some of the lights inside the viewfinder didn't come up. I cycled the power switch a few times and everything was fine, but that was the last straw with the system for me. The G2 and lenses went on eBay and that was that. I spent the money on an xpan. Another electronic brick that will die one day, gives the same incredible image quality, but one which I can focus accurately every time, and offers a unique experience that no ordinary 35mm camera can match.

Maybe I just had bad luck with my Contax G? To be honest, if I was rich and had cash to waste, I'd buy another full set (G1 body, which I preferred) and take the risk. It was a cracker of a system that lives up to it's hype in terms of image quality.
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Old 11-23-2018   #7
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Very well made, very satisfactory camera to hold should you ever own one. But it has small squinty viewfinder (literally smaller than a point & shoot Contax TVS when compared side to side) and close-to-none focus confirmation. The primitive single point AF just won't focus. It's not very good at hyperfocal shooting either. It's a long out of production, extremely (and to some extent, unnecessarily) sophisticated machine so repair is a pain as well.

The lenses are exemplary, but if you're after the "moment" you'd be prioritizing on getting it than sheer optical quality. Unlike your garden or the gently smiling wife, reality doesn't wait. The G1 is like an old Italian car - very nice to fondle and enjoy, but to savor it you'll have be patient. Let it take its time in the Sunday afternoon. If it hunts then give it more. And good luck if it breaks. See that if it's your cup of tea.

The G1 used to be sold dirt cheap 2 or 3 yeras ago - in fact I've seen some for as low as 6,000 yen, bundled as lens rear caps in Japan. It's astounding since they were so expensive when new. For the current price I wouldn't bother. Something mechanical or if electronic, more basic and reliable would be much preferable.
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Old 11-23-2018   #8
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The G1 was my first non-SLR 35mm camera. I was blown away by the 45 Planar, but the camera was less than perfect for me. My main gripe was the rocus wheel, which was always getting turned without my realizing. I am not opposed to blaming user error for not noticing the indicator in the VF, yet I mis-focused a lot of film. There is also the possibility that the dial was faulty or loose on my camera, as I have not heard anyone else having such problems.

The AF is kinda slow and noisy, but the lenses are among the best available for 35mm film (the Biogon is likely the best 21 ever formulated). The G1 may be the best bargain for the image quality one will get.
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Old 11-23-2018   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sepiareverb View Post
The G1 was my first non-SLR 35mm camera. I was blown away by the 45 Planar, but the camera was less than perfect for me. My main gripe was the rocus wheel, which was always getting turned without my realizing. I am not opposed to blaming user error for not noticing the indicator in the VF, yet I mis-focused a lot of film. There is also the possibility that the dial was faulty or loose on my camera, as I have not heard anyone else having such problems.

The AF is kinda slow and noisy, but the lenses are among the best available for 35mm film (the Biogon is likely the best 21 ever formulated). The G1 may be the best bargain for the image quality one will get.
I never experienced the focus wheel getting turned by mistake. Maybe your's was a bit loose?

I checked eBay and G1 bodies are selling for about 175 in the UK (about the same cost as getting a mechanical Leica serviced). So you could just buy another body every couple of years and use those brilliant lenses for decades. That's not a bad idea as long as you can deal with the focus issue and/or take generally static subjects.

And when you can no longer buy a cheap body, the lenses can be converted to Leica M mount.

On the other hand, if you want an autofocus, auto-exposure, auto-wind camera and ultimate image quality, a Fuji GA645 massively out-performs the Contax G.
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Old 11-23-2018   #10
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The focus wheel of my G1 was loose as well, making it frustrating to zone focus, which is already more complicated than it should be since the lenses have no DOF scale (though you can print homemade stickers and apply them to the barrel).

In any case, I took the camera to a local camera repair shop -definitely not a place specializing in Contax- and the tech fixed the wheel with a simple shim that increases friction. A simple repair job that continues to be effective years later.

To the OP- go for it. Small overall investment (the lenses will retain value and can also be adapted to M mount) and the light-weight G1 makes a fantastic travel/vacation photo companion.

The camera is certainly designed around automation: you can focus manually, but the system pushes you toward AF ; you can expose manually, but the exposure readout is crude compared to a Bessa RM or Zeiss Ikon. If you can live with that, it's great. For me it's a great second system, but I prefer meterless Ms. The lenses are all that they are cracked up to be.
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Old 11-23-2018   #11
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Well, if the OP came here intending to gather diametrically opposed statements of “fact” he wasn’t disappointed.
So, now that it has been determined that nothing here will tell him with any surety what he needs to know, since our our very help contradicts itself, he needs to just buy one and decide for himself.
I own three G1s and two G2s and here is my opinion for what it’s worth: If you read and follow to the letter the instructions regarding focusing in the manual, you will have zero problems with the AF, or missed shots. None, zero, nada. If you just pick it up and start pressing buttons it will be hit or miss. I have no problems at all with missing focus with either the G1 or the G2. The G1 is slower than the G2 and both of them are slower than a Nikon D850, but both are as fast as an M3 if not faster. Speed and accuracy are two separate things. They are not lightning fast, but they are fast enough to get whatever shot you need short of burst modes. People complain all over the web about the AF, but I don’t think it’s the camera which is the problem.
It’s actually the manual focus functionality on these bodies I find problematic and unsatisfying, and tend to ignore it.
The lenses, even the “worst” one like the 35mm are as good if not better than any lens Leica ever made up the the time point these bodies were made. Mostly better, like the 21, 45, and 28.
The viewfinder is not “squinty”. See an eye doctor. Learn how to hold the camera up to your face. Something. Criminy.
Worried about “electronics”? I have never had a moment’s problem, in the years I have owned any of these, but, yes, I am as paranoid as the next guy. It’s why I own five of them. Belt and suspenders, problem solved. You can buy four G1s for the cost of a user M3.
They are not as nice as fondling objects as either barnacks or M bodies, but they are not bad, really solid. But for taking photos and getting many more keepers out of every single roll, they will eat Ms and HCB for lunch. Every single day. AF and AE might not be “pure”, but they get results.
I’ve just consigned myself to the fifth circle of Hell for all eternity, but there it is.

To the OP, just buy a G1 with the 45, a green label if you eventually intend on using the full complement of available lenses, and RTFM. See how you get on with it yourself. Internet advice is just spread too far all over the map to be able to know what to do based on what others say, because others say all manner of things.
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Old 11-23-2018   #12
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I have a G1 and a black G2 with 28,45 and 90 lenses.
I also own a T3 and some Leica.

I really like the three Contax cameras.
The lenses are gorgeous and I would not hesitate buying a G1 just for the 45mm.

I had a problem with the electronic of the T3 and it was easily fixed by a technician in Germany (have to look for his name).

If you buy a G1 which is so cheap, you take almost no risk.
The G2 is maybe a better camera but I am note sure I prefer it to the G1 which is smaller and has adequate AF.

I recently went on holiday with the G1, 28, 45 and 90 and the T3 as backup and pocket camera. The Leica stayed at home (and I am a Leica fan).
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Old 11-23-2018   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Larry Cloetta View Post
If you read and follow to the letter the instructions regarding focusing in the manual, you will have zero problems with the AF, or missed shots. None, zero, nada.
+1

BTW, Carolyn Drake shot her wonderful book 'Two Rivers' with 2 G2's

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Old 11-23-2018   #14
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+1 on What Larry Cloetta said. I have G1 & G2, 28, 35, 45 & 90. Regardless of the negative comments on the 35 Planar, I think it is a fine lens. The 28 & 45 may be "finer .
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Old 11-23-2018   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Larry Cloetta View Post
If you read and follow to the letter the instructions regarding focusing in the manual, you will have zero problems with the AF, or missed shots. None, zero, nada.

Before I bought into the G system I must have read just about every review and comment about them online. I also read the manual several times. Despite that, both my Contax G cameras missed focus many times in the handful of months I owned them. I hoped the dedicated focus button on the back of the G2 would remedy that, but it made no difference.

I currently own several autofocus Minolta SLRs, a Minolta XD7, an xpan, a Fed 4, Rolleicord, Mamiya 6, Olympus XA3, Hasselblad CX, Pentax 67, and there's several Holgas and crazy lomo cameras tucked away somewhere. In the past I've owned Rolleiflexes, a Mamiya 7ii, several DSLRs, film Leicas, and too many autofocus compacts to name. Some of them I only used after studying the manual for hours. Some of them I took straight out and just snapped away like crazy. None of them ever produced out of focus shots unless I made a massive user-error such as forgetting my XA3 is a scale focus, not auto-focus camera!

Maybe both my G bodies were already broken when I bought them. Maybe Contax G cameras require special skills to operate. Maybe I'm a dimwit who can't operate a camera or read a manual. Or maybe the autofocus system on the G is primitive and easily confused.

Whatever the truth, I have a whole bunch of negatives which tell me, that in my hands, Contax G cameras are best suited to static subjects.
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Old 11-23-2018   #16
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I’ve never been disappointed with my G1/45–which I bought from Kevin (Kknox) here—nor with the 28 or 90. I did experience occasional silly difficulty getting the VF up to my eyes for this or that candid shot, and so missed focus, but that’s user error. (I think Larry’s testimony above is the most reliable and authoritative.)

I experienced the ordinary G2 lust, and got a G2 body a few years ago for a good price, but it bonked on the first roll and I had to return it. The G1 soldiers along still.

The lenses are great, also, on digital bodies; adapters have grown better since I first used the lenses on M43, then Fuji X, then Sony A7.
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Old 11-23-2018   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Larry Cloetta View Post
To the OP, just buy a G1 with the 45, a green label if you eventually intend on using the full complement of available lenses, and RTFM. See how you get on with it yourself. Internet advice is just spread too far all over the map to be able to know what to do based on what others say, because others say all manner of things.
I agree that the OP should just buy the camera and see what they think. Definitely the best advice, no matter what camera you're thinking of buying...unless it's a new and expensive digital camera.

Regarding the comments about these cameras being all over the map: I think that's probably because the Contax G is tricky to use, it's electronics are starting to decay and as a whole, they're therefore becoming less than reliable. Those two facts will make some people love them, some people hate them, some people able to take reliable photos and others left with loads of duds.

It's better to be aware of those facts before, rather than after buying.
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Old 11-23-2018   #18
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I took my first trip to europe and brought 2 g1's, 1 for color and 1 for B&W, the 21, 28, and 45 lenses along with my mamiya 6. I have always been a nikon 35mm shooter, but decided to go with the G1's for some reason.

I have never missed a focus with the system that has been the fault of the camera. so take that for what its worth.

the main gripes I have with the body is:
1) the viewfinder is small. you will get used to it the more you use it.
2) the exposure comp switch gets moved off the 0 setting a little to much for me. I usually keep them in my cargo shorts or cargo pants pockets, so putting them in and taking them out clearly moves the switch. This is not a fault of the camera, just something you need to watch for when shooting a lot quickly.

those are small things to worry about when you look at the results. the lenses are better than any 35mm lenses I own, except for maybe 1 or 2 nikon AI lenses. the results speak for themselves, especially PROJECTED velvia. just magical!

the cost is worth the effort to find a system. if it's not for you then you will not likely suffer a large, if any, loss when selling. so a great rental price

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Old 11-23-2018   #19
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I used two G1 bodies with 28-45-90 lenses, and I had no negative experiences with my G1 cameras.
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Old 11-24-2018   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mod2001 View Post
+1

BTW, Carolyn Drake shot her wonderful book 'Two Rivers' with 2 G2's

Juergen
What was your favorite gear to use during your "Two Rivers" photo shoots?

Most of the work was shot with a Canon digital camera with small, fixed lenses. Near the end, I also used a 4x5 field camera and a Mamiya RZ.



Weird, which version should I follow?

The equally excellent Next Door, along with the majority of her oeuvre, was definitely shot on digital.
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Old 11-24-2018   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Archlich View Post
What was your favorite gear to use during your "Two Rivers" photo shoots?

Most of the work was shot with a Canon digital camera with small, fixed lenses. Near the end, I also used a 4x5 field camera and a Mamiya RZ.



Weird, which version should I follow?

The equally excellent Next Door was definitely shot on digital with flash.
Ups, then misinterpretation on my side, sorry. Saw a photo of here with 2 G2's around her neck in combination with an article about Two Rivers.

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Old 11-24-2018   #22
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I have used the Contax G1 and the Leica M6. Love them both. They work well together or separately.

The Leica M6 is better for manual focus and the Contax G1 is better for auto focus.

Since I have never used the G2, I cannot comment on it.


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Old 11-24-2018   #23
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Great cameras, with relatively poor viewfinder relief (i.e., a very narrow exit pupil) make sure your eye is *exactly* in the center of the viewfinder, not off-center to the slightest degree.

Learn what the cameras want and you'll not have focus problems.

I prefer the G1 as it's smaller/lighter.

For G2 users, try this:

http://www.botzilla.com/gearhead/200...-the-West.html

Fantastic lenses!
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Old 11-25-2018   #24
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My G1s (I own four) are the best rangefinder cameras I've owned, and I've had Leicas (M2, M3,iiif and iiig) . Superb beasts, the Gs, but quirky...

Others have summed up the comments I intended to write, in other threads, and better than I could have.

I bought into the G1 in the late '90s, and over the years I've added four others (I had five, but a family member begged and begged me to part with one and I did, in 2005 - she still uses it, so I'm relieved to say it was a good one!) with the lenses 21-90.

The G system has few accessories, so while the prices for those truy beaut lenses may seem high, one sort of makes it up by not spending on other fiddly bits. Lens hoods, UVs - that's about it. Apparently Contax made a few filters for B&W, but I've never found one for sale - a friend in Melbourne had one, a K2 yellow with all the distinctive Contax markings, so I know they exist.

I agree that the Gs perform best with 'static' situations, but with a bit of practice and careful reading of the manual one can easily learn to capture action scenes as well.

In this digieverything age I no longer use film as much as I did, but I take heart in a poster's comment that good-quality adaptors are now available to use the G lenses on a limited range of digitals.

My eyesight is now fading with age, and I find rangefinders are easier to view and focus with than SLRs. This may be another plus.

Yes, buy a G1 (go for a green label model which will let you use a greater range of lenses, the 21 and 35) and give it a good workout before deciding if you want to go on shooting with it or not. This is what I did, and my once-beloved Nikkormats soon became my 'second' lot of cameras.

If the G1 isn't for you, Ebay will find you a very fast sale.
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Old 01-21-2019   #25
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I feel I should write a follow-up/apologetic comment to the ones below posted in November...

A few days after writing the comments below I dug out my G1 and G2 negatives and realised what great cameras they were (or more accurately, what great lenses). A week or two after that a nice G1 and 45mm came along for a price I couldn't turn down.

I took the G1 to Marrakech a few weeks ago and absolutely loved using it. I was very ill with the flu for most of the trip and it was a relief to have such an easy to use system with me. It allowed me to concentrate on the compositions without worrying about exposure, focus or even winding on. I've just finished processing the negatives and every single frame is in focus. Static subjects, moving subjects, crazy guys driving mopeds at break-neck speed through the Medina...all in focus.

So it looks like the bodies I had before (and/or the lenses?) were not working properly. Apologies for bad-mouthing the little Contax



Quote:
Originally Posted by FujiLove View Post
I used to own a Contax G system: G1 and G2 bodies, plus 45mm and 28mm lenses. The cameras were an absolute joy to use: light but solid, beautifully made, quiet for AF cameras, full-featured, compact and very ergonomic. The lenses produced superb photos, especially on colour film.

But...

I ended up with lots of photos from the G1 with missed focus. I was quite surprised and disappointed with this because I was well aware, having read a ton of reviews, that I needed to be careful with the focus point. I found if there was any movement at all, that the camera would only hit focus less than half the time, so it was only reliable for static subjects.

Anyway, I read that the G2 was 'better'/easier to focus, so I picked one of those up in the hope that would improve things. It didn't. I had exactly the same focus issues.

Next, after only a couple of months of owning it, the G1 stopped focusing the lenses altogether. It just made a grinding noise and had to be switch on and off a few times to take a shot. After a day or two of this it wouldn't focus at all.

It went on eBay for parts.

A few days later I switched on the G2 and some of the lights inside the viewfinder didn't come up. I cycled the power switch a few times and everything was fine, but that was the last straw with the system for me. The G2 and lenses went on eBay and that was that. I spent the money on an xpan. Another electronic brick that will die one day, gives the same incredible image quality, but one which I can focus accurately every time, and offers a unique experience that no ordinary 35mm camera can match.

Maybe I just had bad luck with my Contax G? To be honest, if I was rich and had cash to waste, I'd buy another full set (G1 body, which I preferred) and take the risk. It was a cracker of a system that lives up to it's hype in terms of image quality.
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Originally Posted by FujiLove View Post
Before I bought into the G system I must have read just about every review and comment about them online. I also read the manual several times. Despite that, both my Contax G cameras missed focus many times in the handful of months I owned them. I hoped the dedicated focus button on the back of the G2 would remedy that, but it made no difference.

I currently own several autofocus Minolta SLRs, a Minolta XD7, an xpan, a Fed 4, Rolleicord, Mamiya 6, Olympus XA3, Hasselblad CX, Pentax 67, and there's several Holgas and crazy lomo cameras tucked away somewhere. In the past I've owned Rolleiflexes, a Mamiya 7ii, several DSLRs, film Leicas, and too many autofocus compacts to name. Some of them I only used after studying the manual for hours. Some of them I took straight out and just snapped away like crazy. None of them ever produced out of focus shots unless I made a massive user-error such as forgetting my XA3 is a scale focus, not auto-focus camera!

Maybe both my G bodies were already broken when I bought them. Maybe Contax G cameras require special skills to operate. Maybe I'm a dimwit who can't operate a camera or read a manual. Or maybe the autofocus system on the G is primitive and easily confused.

Whatever the truth, I have a whole bunch of negatives which tell me, that in my hands, Contax G cameras are best suited to static subjects.
Quote:
Originally Posted by FujiLove View Post
I agree that the OP should just buy the camera and see what they think. Definitely the best advice, no matter what camera you're thinking of buying...unless it's a new and expensive digital camera.

Regarding the comments about these cameras being all over the map: I think that's probably because the Contax G is tricky to use, it's electronics are starting to decay and as a whole, they're therefore becoming less than reliable. Those two facts will make some people love them, some people hate them, some people able to take reliable photos and others left with loads of duds.

It's better to be aware of those facts before, rather than after buying.
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Old 01-21-2019   #26
Darthfeeble
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I've had both, though I had more experience with the G2 I liked the 'feel' of the G1 better. They are a little quirky, I didn't have either of them long enough to master them. The only thing I could consider "inferior" about the G1 would be the case of the white label version's inability to go the super wides. The green label G1 would be my preference if I were to get one today.
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Old 01-21-2019   #27
ThreeToedSlothLuke
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Many years ago I was looking for a new camera. One dealer tried to have me buy a G1 but, alas, it was way out of my price range. I ended by buying a Nikon 8008s with 70-210 AF zoom, the better to take photos at dog shows. And when some of those dogs move around the ring they move pretty fast!

All in all, the 8008s acquitted itself admirably. It would sometimes 'miss' but the manual did say it needed some contrast to accurately focus.
The camera is still working but nonetheless I bought a used F100 two or three years ago. Its AF is faster, seems quieter and less prone to missing. But it does from time to time. Again, I think it's more me than the camera's AF system.

I still think about getting a G1+45mm. I feel the G2 is still rather pricey but the form factor and Zeiss glass of these cameras is first rate (in my opinion).

If I were in the OPs shoes I'd just go for it. Figure out how the camera likes to work with AF and have a blast.
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Old 01-21-2019   #28
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I've had several of the green label in the past, now I have a silver and just the 45. I got the body for free, so wasn't going to quibble about silver label. I don't anticipate getting the 21 or 35 anyway; at most, maybe pick up the 28.

I've had the 35 in the past, it's very underrated.
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Old 01-21-2019   #29
Steve M.
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They are marvels of engineering and design, but quirky to use, and I never held onto my G systems very long. The lenses are tack sharp, but I prefer the way Nikon, Canon and Leica lenses draw. Seems I almost never printed my G pics.

The viewfinders are small, squinty and dark too. I can't find the VF coverage info anywhere, but do remember that a few times there were surprises at the edges of the film. The 90 Sonnar is great for portraits, but again, I preferred a 90 Elmarit or Summicron for that.

Keep in mind that these cameras are in a sense disposable. I had one w/ shutter problems, and it was a lot cheaper to sell it as a parts camera and buy a replacement than it was to get the shutter repaired/replaced. That was probably 15 years ago, and I'm not sure anyone services them anymore.

Like ThreeToedSlothLuke, I'm a fan of the Nikon n8008s cameras too. The metering is fantastic, especially the spot. Viewfinder is as bright and big as any camera I've ever seen. Mine is always used w/ manual focus lenses. In the past it was Leica R lenses w/ an inexpensive adapter, and now I have a Makinon 135 2.8 that takes great portraits. Think I paid $25 for the camera.
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Old 01-21-2019   #30
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http://nipponphotoclinic.com services them, but they are cheap enough, just buy an extra G1 body or two. The lenses really don't fail unless they are abused.

Those of us that are Zeiss fans will love the rendering, of course. I can live with the viewfinder given all the other positives, they have parallax correction and focus much closer than any other rangefinder.
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Old 01-21-2019   #31
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve M. View Post
The viewfinders are small, squinty and dark too. I can't find the VF coverage info anywhere, but do remember that more than a few times I had surprises at the edges of the film. The 90 Sonnar is great for portraits, but again, I preferred a 90 Elmarit or Summicron for that.

Keep in mind that these cameras are in a sense disposable. I had one w/ shutter problems, and it was a lot cheaper to sell it as a parts camera and buy a replacement than it was to get the shutter repaired/replaced. That was probably 15 years ago, and I'm not sure anyone services them anymore.

Nippon Photo Clinic still services them--I sent my G2 in last summer and they fixed a weird shutter problem and gave it a full once-over, repairing all parts that needed it for about $400. Some might find that too expensive, but knowing that my camera is going to keep working for a while longer means its feels reasonable to me.


And FWIW, depending on what kind of viewfinders you're used to, the VF might not bother you at all. I switched from a Minolta CLE to a G2, which many would consider a downgrade, but it made literally no difference to me in my day-to-day shooting. The composition is easy enough (as long as you're not thinking about the viewfinder instead of the shot), and the magnification hasn't made it difficult at all to get the facial expressions I want.


I know it's not easy to try these things out, and I desperately wished I had had a friend with one for me to try before I took the plunge, but I don't regret the purchase one bit.
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Old 01-21-2019   #32
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Originally Posted by Kumachrome View Post
So, every review online talks up the G1 as being near perfect, but I think you fine folks here at the RangefinderForums are very honest, so I'd like your takes. I'm seriously thinking about getting one, as the form factor of the body, the looks and the GLASS have me lusting. I'm mainly a documentary-style, spur-of-the-moment kind of shooter.

What do you like about it? What do you dislike? Do the pros outweigh the cons in your opinion? Is focusing a hassle?

Thanks for any input!
What did you decide to do? Lots of typing here suggests you should get a G1 and a lens and just see if it's for you, and I agree. I used a G2 and G1 for ten years and they're both splendid cameras. Good luck!
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Old 01-21-2019   #33
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I hesitate to say this as I might be flamed but as long as you can see where you want to focus, (i.e., the focus brackets) and can see the LCD readout in the VF to confirm the distance, and can frame, the viewfinder is usable.

Sure, it could be brighter and have a wider exit pupil, no doubt.

But unlike a manual focus RF camera where critical focus requires a contrasty RF patch and subject detail, these cameras can nail focus quite well, just pay attention to the readout and practice quickly centering your eye within the exit pupil when you bring the camera up to your eye. I find them to be far more accurate with focus than I can ever do manually.

Even the G1 can focus accurately practically in the dark, the G2 can do this even better. No way I can do this with any other manual focus RF.
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