Contax G1 w/ 45mm f2 Planar. A Modern Classic indeed it is!

Discussion in 'Modern Film Cameras' started by maiku, Mar 7, 2011.

  1. This is my first post in the new forum Modern Classic Cameras. First there will be no camera porn. I have so little time to take photos these days with my one-year old hanging on my arm all the time. Over the week-end I finally got to use my latest acquisition a Contax G1 with Planar 45mm f2. I have hankered for one for a while, but the Kyocera made Carl Zeiss lenses are usually beyond my financial reach, but I got very lucky and snagged a 45mm f2 Planar for quite a bit less than normally advertised. The Carl Zeiss lenses have found a new lease on lift with the advent of adapters for the 4/3rds systems and as a result are darn expensive. The G1 bodies on the other hand are quite cheap to purchase. I had my reservations about buying the Contax G1 because of it small viewfinder. You would think the engineers would have thought having a large and bright viewfinder might be an important design point, but I guess not. It takes a fair amount of effort to get over the less than perfect design flaw. I also wish the engineers/designers would have added some sort of auto-focus confirmation. I am not very confident about what the camera has focused on. I am always checking the distance scale in the viewfinder to see what distance the is set. It detracts from composing and I have had some missed focused photos as a result. About the lens. I simply cannot say enough. It is a mighty impressive lens for sharpness, contrast and tonal range. I even like the bokeh. It seems some reviewers are less impressed by the bokeh, but I am not. The lens creates nice foreground background separation.
    Anyway, I gotta put my daughter to bed. All photos were on Fuji Acros 100. The film was developed in Microfine at 26 C for 6 minutes.
    Mike
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  2. Photo 2
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  3. Photo 3
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  5. photo 5
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  7. Last one!
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  8. Nice shots, Mike! Glad to see you snagged one at a good price. I'll help you out with a shot of the camera.
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  9. The camera has a few quirks but the lenses...oh my! It's one of my favorite film cameras. I have the Carl Zeiss 90mm Sonnar and 28mm Biogon as well. The 45mm Planar is just fabulous. One of the best lenses I've ever used.
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  10. You didn't need photos of the camera; just saying "Contax G1" makes it camera porn already.
    Did you notice in "I got caught" the visual echo of the guy looking at you in with the guy pictured in the advertising poster just to his right? That happy accident results in a really good photo, almost with a Cartier-Bresson quality.
     
  11. Beautifully designed camera, Michael, and your usual fine photography. Just love "I can do it.."! Thanks for a great post.
     
  12. Louis, thanks for posting really nice photos of the G1 and Planar. I do not have the 28mm and 90mm, but desperately want them.
    August, yes the juxtaposition between the teenager and the advertisement was a lucky coincidence. My hope had been to catch the teenager preening his hair, but he caught me before I could get the photo I really wanted.
    Rick, thanks for the compliment about `I can do it!` My daughter is becoming more and more independent every day. That is not the best thing in Japan as the culture here teaches sameness and selflessness.
    Mike
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  13. Nice thread! I have wanted a G1 for years.
    I have to say that when it was released I was 'against' it, as if it were making pretensions of displacing or challenging the Leica M. I guess I should have realized that they are not competing cameras. In any case, a good camera is a good camera. I was young and too ideological.
    The G2 has better AF but is way too big. The G1 also looks better and is a nice looking camera in its own right. The only things that I can complain about are the 'Drive' and 'ISO' buttons. It's as if the designer gave up!
    That is not the best thing in Japan as the culture here teaches sameness and selflessness.​
    Interesting. I am all for selflessness. But individuality and selflessness are not mutually exclusive. Perhaps this is why Apple is the new Sony - and will be for a long time. In fact Apple does a better job at being Sony than Sony does. Steve Jobs always held up that company as an exemplar. Now he has leapfrogged it.
     
  14. Karim.
    Thanks for the nice comments about the photos.
    I agree that being selfless is important because many hands make light work, but being so selfless as to subvert your own personal identity to a group or institution is wrong. Try to explore why Sony has lost its way. Where is originality gone? It is probably bogged down in internal meetings trying to find harmony rather than pushing the boundaries. Japanese cultural has taken over the corporate board room. I could go on and on. I recommend reading Shutting out the Sun or The Wa of Baseball or books by Alan Booth, Pico Iyer, Alan Kerr. These books have the negatives, but the in the undercurrent there is a lot of truth.
    Mike
     
  15. Awesome lenses; flawed AF execution (on many levels.)
    With a bit of practice, however, I've found that it's possible to focus the G1 by feel fairly accurately. The idea is to estimate distance by eye, then rotate the focus knob the right amount by muscle memory.
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  16. Beautiful shots Michael and thanks for posting. I've wanted one of these for a while, but I'm going to have to wait since I recently bough a Hexar instead. "I Got Caught" is outstanding.
    Interesting you enjoy Pico Iyer - he's a distant relative. I've never met him but I've heard his name mentioned reverentially around the dining table at home a few times.
     
  17. I've read about all the focus issues with the G1. I almost didn't get one because of it. I have not experienced them with mine, however. It is not the advanced focus technology of an EOS, to be sure, and with a short baseline, very close focus need some compensation, but for general shooting the focus on mine has been good. Yes, the viewfinder could be bigger but even with glasses I have no problem with it. Yes, it's bit noisy during focus. But, that titanium clad body feels perfect in my hands and looks great. I can focus and expose manually or auto. To get the image quality of the Zeiss 45mm G Planar, and the other great CZ lenses, I'll put up with a few quirks. YMMV
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  18. Wow, what an impressive result from that lens and from Louis' lens as well. The Contax and CZ path is a path I dare not tread if I want to keep any semblance of financial sanity...oh, and a place to continue to call home. Great post Michael, and as always your pictures are very nicely done and most interesting.
     

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