Contax Aria

Discussion in 'Classic Manual Cameras' started by domenicopescosolido, Sep 11, 2008.

  1. Hi,

    I'm looking for a Contax SRL in order to use manual focus Contax lenses. I see that an interesting Contax could be the Aria, Anyone could
    tell me more about this camera? Or eventually let me know something about an other Contax camera that I could use with same lenses.

    Unfortunatly I didn't found on the web the real impression of use about contax cameras and lens: maybe because there isn't digital srl
    contax cameras on the market now.

  2. Hi Domenico,

    I've used the Contax Aria and I think it is a great film camera. It's small & lightweight, has a great meter, and takes the awesome Carl Zeiss lenses. It is however a dead system. First, Contax pretty much abandoned their manual focus lens line when switching to autofocus products several years ago. A few years after that they got out of the camera business entirely. I think they made one 6MP digital SLR that got mediocre reviews, and that used the new autofocus lenses, not the manual focus ones. You mention digital so I assume you may be interested in using CZ lenses on a modern digital SLR. If you already have Contax manual focus lenses in C/Y mount, you could get a mount adapter for Canon EOS cameras--although you won't get autofocus and will have to use stopped-down metering. If you don't already have Contax lenses and are thinking of getting Contax lenses to use with Contax film bodies, and/or digital SLRs, I'm not sure it is worth it compared to the excellent quality new lenses available from camera manufacturers that are still in business today. Used contax lenses are not cheap, and repairs/maintenance are likely to be difficult to do. A quick search of "contax lens" or "contax eos" should produce enough links to keep you busy for a while. Good Luck!
  3. vdp


    I've used the Contax Aria for years and I'm happy to say that it is one of the best cameras ever made. It is light
    weight and responds very well to any situation. It doesn't balance so well with larger lenses such as the CZ 35 to
    135 vario sonar zoom, but with the 50 1.7 or 45 tessar or the 85 2,8 it is fine, As JYabrow stated it is a dead
    system and as the years go by it will be harder to find parts to fix it if needed. If it is a film camera that you want I
    would still go for the Aria, that's how good I think it is.
  4. Contax is my system but I don't have an Aria, through I crave one.

    What I do have, the 167MT and the 159MM, are also very excellent cameras. Not so light as the Aria but wonderful handling and solidly built. The 167MT has all the advanced amateur bells and whistles, pretty intuitive, and feels great. The 159MM has only manual film transport (though there is an accessory winder) and the viewfinder LEDs can be hard to read but is a nice compact machine.

    Anything numbered below the 159 will not work in program mode with the later multi-mode Zeiss lenses. If you can settle for aperture priority auto, this may not be a problem for you. I have a 137MA and although not as refined as the later models, it too is solid and a great shooter.

    You should also be aware that Yashica SLR cameras of the same vintage are fully compatible with the Zeiss lenses, if all you want is some kind of black box to put behind them. They're available a lot cheaper and some of them have about the same features, but quality is nowhere near as good as the Contaxes. All-manual models like the FX-3/FX-7 sell for pocket change, are perfectly serviceable, and most Contax users keep one as a backup in case of battery loss.
  5. 139Q also an excellent camera. Kind of first generation auto-exposure. Outstanding ergonomics. I would see
    what KEH or Cameta have listed. Both give 6 months used warranty.
  6. Hi,

    The Aria is a very fine camera, an excellent choice with which you can't go wrong. Yes, it's a dead system as noted here, but so are many other 'systems'. Hey, a Contax is a classic, and they don't make 'em like that any more...! Anyways, the build quality is such that you're likely to have decades of worry-free use ahead of you. Your manual CZ lensens will fit any manual Contax (including the autofocus AX) SLR or manual Yashica SLR from 75 until 2005 (when Kyocera suspended building Contax bodies, and eBay became our friend :-/). Just google around for contax aria and you should have ample raves to read about it.

    Personally I own two Contax RX and a slew of CZ lenses and they would have to pry it from my cold, dead hands before I part with them as the saying goes. The Contax is, to my & other's taste, up to par with the Leica bunch. And yes, we Contaxians greet each other when meeting in the wild :)

    Good luck,
  7. David F. Stein , wrote:
    I would see what KEH or Cameta have listed. Both give 6 months used warranty​
    I agree that both are generally reliable sources for used gear. However KEH includes a 60 day warranty, not six months. Cameta's is six months.
    I've had occasion to use Cameta's warranty and they really stood behind what they sold me. Kudos to them for that.
  8. Update to my response above; KEH now offers a six month warranty as well.

Share This Page