Contax T?

Discussion in 'Minox' started by john_agapito, Oct 12, 2008.

  1. Hi all - first post here.

    I have a Minox 35 EL which I credit with kick-starting my photo habit after many years. Its hard to beat its
    portability and image quality under the right conditions.

    But that's the thing. It seems to struggle in low light conditions, or complex lighting situations in ways my
    Yashica GTN or Contax 139Q do not.

    So here is my dream camera - something as compact as the Minox with as good or better glass, and a more capable
    metering system for more consistent results. Is this the Contax T? Bear in mind I'm using my other cameras as a
    relative measure of image quality. I work mainly in black & white, printing my own.

    Opinions please!
  2. I found low lighting shots with the EL problematic as well and obtained better results with a later model GT-E, which was also more flexible with shutter speeds than the EL. I was able to gain some success with low light shooting with the EL by dropping the film speed dial of the camera a notch or two lower against the film ISO I was shooting. Unfortunately, my EL played out and got stuck shooting at 1/125th in every shot. I've myself dreamed of obtaining a Contax T one day and experimenting with one, but they rarely come up for auction and often sell for over $400 when they do. If that is more than you wish to pay, you might consider opting for a Minox GT-E or ML over the EL model instead. If only Minox had more reliable electronics and had implimented a rangefinder into the mini 35's, I'd be sold on them for life. I really abhor the scale focusing. I find the MINOX 35's ideal for outdoor infinity shooting of buildings and landscapes, but they are much less forgiving for portrait and weist level shots. I use a Leitz FOKOS rangefinder with my GT-E to have more acurate focus and avoid the guestimate focusing, which unfortunately greatly takes away from the MINOX simplicity.
  3. Thanks for your thoughts Charles.
    I see the GT-E has a multi-coated Minoxar.
    Is there a noticeable difference in image quality relative to the EL?
  4. Greetings John, Please pardon my slow response to your question. I wouldn't claim there to be a broad difference, but many claim it to be sharper. I can tell a bit of improvement with color saturation, but I attribute this to the factory mounted "UV" filter on the front. The EL was my first Minox, and it was quite sharp. The only issue I had was the faulty electronics. If you go to "" and either type in "Minox GT-E" or "EL" (in seperated searches) it will pull up images made with the camera and give you something to compare and judge between. If your EL is fully functional, I would keep shooting it. Just variate the film speed dial against the actual filmspeed of the film by a stop or two to get slower exposures in low light settings. If however you decide to buy another Minox 35, I would reccoment that you not spend over $100 for one unless it was one of the very latest models or a good ML. I have two GT-E (first model) which I managed to get for about $85 each. A wonderful website which can help familiarize you with the different Minox models and how they differ and perform is:
  5. The first Minox 35 I used was the 35ML. The results where stunning. I have had nothing to beat this camera at any size print I have done so far. The later models match the image quality but do not exceed it and lack that initial impact that I got from the 35ML. Goldtop, GT-S, GT-X, GT-E, GT-E II are equally as good but I prefer the ML metering. The MDC has a metal shell, 'better' lens and more reliable shutter, but these improvements where fitted to the later ML cameras.

    GT-E II cameras look worn out after the first film as the soft touch finish wears off quickly. GT-S and GT-X seem harder wearing but the GT-E is perhaps the best choice; although for the few cameras I have purchased the GT-E was the hardest to get in good working order - one was okay when I got it but corrosion burnt out the PCB and it was useless and non-repairable.

    I have yet to get a Contax T and the other cameras in the range are large thanks to the built in flash. Rollei 35 mm range are heavier cameras and although people who own both Minox and Rollei believe the Rollei lens to be slightly better also carry and use the Minox more.

    If you like wide angle then you could look at the Minolta TC-1. Still very expensive and I have issues over the 28mm lens (fish eye) as I like the results from the 38mm lens of the 35ML but it has a range finder, built in flash and will take in a group of people or a building that requires you to move further away with a Minox.
  6. Hi Gerald - interesting comments. Given the fact that the EL and ML models share the same lens, and you saw little difference between your ML and GT-E I am leaning toward holding on to my EL and trying to live within its limits. At the end of the day, it still gets me great shots that would never have been captured otherwise.

    Cheers guys.
  7. Contax T has a Sonnar 38mm/2.8 lens, it is not any faster than Minoxar/Minoctar on Minox 35.
    I have Contax T's later version, ie Contax T2 with 38mm/2.8 and Contax T3 with 35mm/2.8 lens.
    In terms of image quality, I don't see any difference between Minox ML, GT-E vs T2/T3
  8. The Minox 35ML impressed me with the results. By comparison the EL, GL and GT where disappointing. Had I not had
    the 35ML to compare I no doubt would have been happy with the results from the EL. I also prefer the LED metering
    of the ML to the needle meter of the other models.

    I do have a Contax T2, but yet to test it out along with the Rollei TE. The Contax and Rollei 35m range are
    interesting, but I do not see either range making me want to carry one in preference to the Minox 35ML. I did
    pick another Minox camera from one trip, the CD150. The results are as good as from the Minox range, not as close
    as I am interested in at 6x9" prints and that 150mm zoom is really useful, particularly as my 12 year old
    daughter does not like to carry the big SLR with its 80-300mm zoom lens.
  9. I bought a Contax T in excellent condition from KEH a little while ago. At the time I was contemplating buying an
    ML or MDC but was worried about the shutter reliability for the earlier MLs, and the later ones and MDCs seemed
    hard to come by and cost almost as much as the T. Plus which I'm not good at guessing distances so the
    rangefinder was appealing.

    Optically the Contax T lens is superb. It's on par with the lens in my Rollei 35S and indeed with any other lens
    I've used. It's also a beautifully made camera, and much lighter and more pocketable than the Rollei, though
    quite a bit heavier than the Minox's. The metering seems very accurate, and the coupled range finder is better
    than the one on the Olympus XA, though still suffers from a short base compared to "grown up" range-finder cameras.

    It does have some failings though. From my perspective the disadvantages compared to the Minox are:

    - No exposure lock or manual mode (this is the biggest to me)

    - No cable release socket

    - Limited indication of shutter speeds (just three LEDs and marks for 1/500, 1/125, 1/30)

    - No standard flash hot shoe (not a big deal to me since I don't tend to use flash)

    - Copy-cat design (this doesn't bother me, but I know it does for some)

    Advantages include:

    - Coupled range-finder (to me this is essential if I want to take advantage of the f2.8 stop at closer distances)

    - Build quality

    Overall, in spite of the disadvantages, I think this is my favorite pocketable 35mm camera.

  10. I've seen pictures from the Contax T, and I don't see any superiority over those from my Minox ML. The ML has great features in addition to the lens; and I don't find the scale-focusing a problem except in low light. You can hit the exact focus in low light, but only part of the time. In those conditions, you need a separate rangefindeer and even then there's guesswork.
    But, ah, when it works. Here's 1/8 of a frame enlarged. One shot, low light, guessed focus from four feet away. Happy ending.
  11. It is hard to find a Minox 35 style leather case for Contax T, there is a wrist trap half case, not convenient. The dimension of Contax T is 98 x 66.5 x 32.5mm, the dimension of Minox 35 is
    100 x 61x 31mm. Contax T cannot fit into a Minox 35mm case
  13. Contax T is an example of functionally sacrificed for appearance. Compares with Minox GT-E, Minox shutter release does not look as modern as Contax T, which has a shutter release on the same plane as the camera top, hence lack of tactle feel, when press down the shutter release, you are not sure whether is shutter release being pressed or not.
    Secondly, the Contax is over interlocked, You cannot take of the camera back and check the shutter against window light, when remove the camera back the shutter simple will not operate
    The front cover of Minox 35 has a possitive tactile feel, when you open the front cover, there is a click
    the cover is locked, when the Contax T, some times you don't know whether the front cover is really open activates the circuit, you need to look at the film counter window to check.
    Minox GTE, Minox 35ML is a superrior design than Contax T
  14. Minox 35ML is also easier to open by pushing a button on top

    To open Contax T, I must use finger nail.

    Minox 35ML is more user friendly
  15. I have several 35mm Minox cameras of various models and they were great when they worked. Very comfortable to wear around neck in case. But too unreliable, terrible electronics...always fail at the wrong time. Bought a Contax T3 when new, along with ever ready case and filter adapter for 39mm filters. Have never regretted purchase. Never use the built-in flash. Not yet mentioned in this thread, but not much larger and a great pocket camera is the Olympus XA. However, all of these cameras are battery dependent. Rollei 35 is easy to hold because weight helps with steadiness, but at the same time hard on pockets.
    However, a Minox 8-11 is always in my pocket!
  16. For better exposure especially in low light then you should try to get a camera with full manual controls.
  17. P&S camera prices are a bit nutty. You could buy either a compact Japanese rangefinder, such as the Yashica Electro CC, for far less money that has a faster lens. Or get something a bit larger with interchangeable lenses and use a handheld meter.

    orsetto likes this.
  18. How to set film speed on Contax T

    Locate the ASA window on Contax T (it is on the left hand side of the camera)
    Press down the little button at the right side of ASA window
    Then turn the ASA setting dial on top of the ASA window, until
    the correct ASA number shows up in the ASA window
  19. Biggest feedback I get from my customers is the GT and ML work great with the right battery and when serviced after a long retirement. Customers prefer the size and weight. Contax T's are great whilst they work: once they go wrong, like the XA, there are no parts available.
  20. I'll admit to start with that I have never used either camera. I did buy a Minox 35 GT on -Ebay that was advertised as perfect and fully functional. When it arrived it was fully non-functional and completely dead. Communicating with the seller we determined that it was probably shaken up in the shipping probably dislodging the shutter solenoid magnets. I returned it and got a full refund. Then after reviewing the various Minox Forums I found that this is a problem with the Minox 35 sometimes correctable by the owner that wishes to disassemble in order to expose the electronic. Sometimes a careful use of an air bulb to dislodge dust cures the problems. I'll Admit that it is a very attractive camera, given it's size and performance to slip in a pocket and carry about. But after surfing the various forums, I'll probably shop for the Contax T, pay a little more and get a more rugged camera, should the desire for a pocketable camera arise again not withstanding the part availability issue.

    But as a recent purchaser of a Zeiss Ikon Contessa in E+ condition, parts are not a worry for me. There are enough rough looking functional cameras at bargain prices on eBay, so that, if used as a spare parts bin, it may not be a problem. There are some really ugly but functional Contax T's on Ebay.
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2020

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