Contax T3 - User Comments, Discussion

Discussion in 'Accessories' started by john_mccormack, Mar 29, 2001.

  1. An earlier discussion of the new Contax T3 on the Unmoderated Q&A board got zapped after 24 hours (about the same amount of time it took to deplete the T3 inventory at B&H), so I thought I'd try to continue it here. I'd love to hear some comments from users on their initial reactions to the camera, especially lens quality.

    <p>

    Does anyone want to start a user/mailing list group elsewhere? http://www.topica.com has a nice interface.
     
  2. I for one would like to hear as much as possible about the T3 so I
    can determine whether to accidentally back the car over our other
    compact cameras. Thanks, John.
     
  3. John,

    <p>

    Thanks for getting this thread going, I'm really looking forward to
    comments from the lucky T3 owners. I have had a T2 for 5 years, and
    will be eager to hear how the new T3 really compares. I'd prefer we
    keep this thread going for now, rather than start a mailing list (at
    least for the time being).

    <p>

    Paul
     
  4. I'll make the same grouchy comment here as I made on the unmoderated
    Q&A thread that got zapped.

    <p>

    For the price, you'd think they could afford to include a hot shoe.
     
  5. Michael, it does include contacts for attachment of a flash bracket
    for a dedicated flash. Given the small size of the T3, it probably
    will handle better with the flash attached to a bracket rather than
    to a hotshoe.
     
  6. Hoping that I'm not violating any Photo.net rules, I'm posting a copy
    of Andrew Schank's impressions of the T3 in this Forum, since the
    review will be zapped after 24 hrs. in the Non-Archived Forum.

    <p>

    Contax T3 review

    <p>

    Just got my T3 and wanted to try and clear up some questions that
    were bouncing around a thread last week. Before I start, I should
    mention I am not that familiar with previous Contax compacts, so I
    will not be able to compare this camera to them.

    <p>

    This is a very compact 35mm camera, about the size of my old Minox 35
    or an Olympus Epic. It is also fairly light, unlike the old Rollei
    35's which were about the same size but much heavier. It is smaller
    than the Yashica T4. The camera feels exceptionally well made. The
    back closes with a nice tight thud. The finder is contrasty, super
    sharp and very bright and distorion free. Compared to any other point
    and shoot I've used, it is in another league. Reminds of the finder
    on my Minolta CLE. It s a dream for me to have any shutter speed
    indication in the finder on a P&S. Although it is not a full scale
    including all of the speeds, it sure is nice to know if you are at
    1/30 sec or 1/125.

    <p>


    Another new feature for me is a distance readout on top of the
    camera, which can come in handy if your not sure it locked on the
    right subject. I love the apertures being on a dial instead of some
    up and down button. I plan to use the camera on A preffered quite a
    bit. In answer to some questions, the speeds over 1/500 are only
    available starting with apertures F8 both on program and Aperture
    preferred. This is an unfortunate limitation, as the high speed would
    be more useful at the smaller f stops. Another question was about
    battery life, and the manual says 12 rolls flash 1/2 of the time.

    <p>


    There is no way to remotely fire the shutter for tripod use. I quess
    you could use the 2 sec. self timer. The camera does have a nice
    metal tripod socket. It has some serious low light speeds that go to
    3 minutes.

    <p>


    As far as controlls go, the camera is nicely designed. I have used
    some of the Rollei P&S cameras, and this one is easier to set
    exposure compensation, a feature I use a lot. The flash settings are
    straight forward, although the flash itself is no blinding light, it
    should do OK to 10 to 15 feet with 400 speed film. They do have a rig
    for using one of the more powerful flashes from the G system, but it
    seems to me to wreck the compact design of this camera.

    <p>


    The ability to change default settings is a dream for any "advanced"
    point and shooter. I've already told the flash to not go off unless I
    tell it too! When you turn the camera off and on, it retains the
    settings you customized- a big complaint many folks have about some
    other high end P&S. You can also use filters on this camera with an
    adapter.

    <p>


    I am in the process of shooting a roll, and will be checking for
    vignetting, sharpness, AF accuracy, etc. I'll report my findings in a
    week or so. If you have any specific questions, post them here in the
    next 24 hours before this thread gets the axe, and I'll try to answer
    them.

    <p>

    -- andrew schank, March 31, 2001; 01:43 P.M. Eastern

    <p>

    Answers
    Forgot to mention 2 more things. One, this camera focuses to 12
    inches, which is very close for this type of camera. I kept moving in
    and in and kept getting a focus confirmation mark. There are clear
    marks in the finder for close ups, and the camera tells you when it
    is in "macro" mode. The other thing was about the delay time from
    when the shutter is pressed to when the image is recorded. On the
    standard setting, there is still a noticeable delay , but not as bad
    as a Yashica T4. But you can change the default setting so the camera
    will move the lens to the focus point when the shutter button is
    pressed 1/2 down. To take an image then is almost immediate. I just
    changed my default setting to this position, as it eliminates the lag
    time if you are trying to get decisive moment expression, etc.

    <p>

    -- andrew schank, March 31, 2001; 02:18 P.M. Eastern

    <p>

    ----------------------------------------------------------------------
    ----------

    <p>

    Thanks Andrew - sounds very promising so far. Can you set the ISO
    independently, or do you compensate exposure? You already mentioned
    that the camera, if switched off will retain the settings, but just
    to confirm, does it retain exposure compensation too when switched
    off? Thanks for you review - am looking forward to the rest!

    <p>

    -- Andreas Carl, March 31, 2001; 07:20 P.M. Eastern

    <p>

    ----------------------------------------------------------------------
    ----------

    <p>

    One of the custom functions (number 3)is to hold exposure
    compensation for 1 frame only, or until the camera is shut off, or
    until you reset it (independant of camera being shut on and off).

    <p>

    -- andrew schank, March 31, 2001; 07:34 P.M. Eastern

    <p>

    ----------------------------------------------------------------------
    ----------

    <p>

    looking forward to your impression of the lens

    <p>

    -- Graham O'Brien, March 31, 2001; 09:11 P.M. Eastern

    <p>

    ----------------------------------------------------------------------
    ----------

    <p>

    I have both a Yashica T4 and a Contax T2, so I am looking forward to
    the T3. The T2 provide aperture priority if you set the lens opening
    to anything but 2.8. On 2.8, it goes to auto. Has the T3 changed
    this? Both the T4 and T2 give me great 11X14 prints, and the T3 is
    supposed to be even better.

    <p>

    -- Phil Stiles, March 31, 2001; 11:10 P.M. Eastern

    <p>

    ----------------------------------------------------------------------
    ----------

    <p>

    It has a P setting for Program, or you can set it for any aperture
    you want from f2.8 to f16 and it will try to choose a shuter speed
    within its range.

    <p>

    -- andrew schank, March 31, 2001; 11:37 P.M. Eastern
     
  7. i love my t3!! in my own tests, the t3 lens bettered my leica 35mm
    summicron asph in the center at f2.8 to f4 (at 5.6 and above, the
    leica caught up; corner sharpness is better with the leica all the way
    through -- but not by much!). the mtf info on the new sonnar (looks
    more like a tessar variant in the cross section to me!!) 35mm f2.8
    available on the cosina japan website (info at initial aperture only)
    confirms higher center sharpness than any other 35mm lens currently
    available. the custom features make the camera ideal for candid
    street photography: you can easily preset focus distance AND set lens
    to extend to that distance and stay there. shutter release is then
    immediate. i have used hexar rf for about a year, and shutter release
    on t3 is MUCH quicker (the hexar rf takes way too long to "think"
    about exposure). also, the camera is very, very quiet. much more
    quiet than my m6. finally, the camera is the perfect size -- fits in
    the palm of the hand nicely (and feels very solid -- just the right
    heft). if you decide to get a t3, IMHO the following accessories are
    MANDATORY: (1) leather semi-hard case. i use the bottom half only.
    it protects the camera against shocks and perspiration from your
    sweaty hand, makes the t3 much easier and more comfortable to grip,
    camouflages the camera nicely (how long until contax gives us a
    special edition t3 in black a la the special edition g2?), and allows
    the use of a proper neck strap (the case has standard strap lugs on
    either side, the camera permits use of a handstrap or lanyard only).
    2. filter adapter/heliopan lt yellow filter in 30.5/metal contax or
    rubber heliopan shade. a camera that doesn't accept filters really
    can't be considered a serious photo tool IMHO. contax makes provision
    for filters via a bayonet type adapter. this works well. i keep a
    heliopan MC lt yellow filter mounted all the time (i shoot only t400cn
    with the camera). the screw in shade gave a nice increase in contrast
    performance, even in conditions where you wouldn't necessarily worry
    about flare. the use of a filter and shade also give the lens a
    little more protection than that afforded by the way coo, but somewhat
    flimsy "venetian blinds" built into the camera. i should add that the
    instruction manual says that simultaneous use of filter and shade will
    cause vignetting. i have shot many rolls with a filter and shade
    without any problem. as mentioned, however, i use the heiopan
    filters, not the contax brand (the contax filters do not appear to be
    MC). the latter may have a thicker mount. there are too many great
    features on this camera to mention. suffice it to say, the custom
    settings allow almost unlimited versatility. don't overlook the fact
    that the flash default settings are adjustable (this is accomplished
    separately from the custon settings). will my m6/28mm ever see action
    again. i just don't know. for now, all i carry is the t3 around
    town, and a t3/rollei or t3/bessa ii combo when i travel.
     
  8. FYI - There will be a Contax Day at B&H Photo in New York city on
    Wednesday, May 9, 2001. A Contax rep. will be on hand in the store and
    I believe there will be special pricing available for Contax equipment
    for phone and email buyers as well as walk-ins. Check with B&H for
    details and times.
     
  9. Have had my T3 for only a short time. Pictures so far look good, but
    have not projected any (use slides only). I enjoy the flexibility and
    features mentioned in the preceeding notes.

    <p>

    My only negative, so far, is the bright lines (or corners) for framing
    the image. The corner in the upper right is frequently difficult to
    see and takes some searching. The bright line for closeups is often
    the first thing my eye sees also. I actually emailed Contax (sending
    it attention Blake Edwards). Another person replied, but discussed the
    lines not appearing at all and suggested sending it in.. With this in
    mind, I sent the camera to Contax. It came back very quickly, but no
    specific comment. I think nothing has changed. Does anyone else find
    the bright lines a problem?
     
  10. The framing lines have a tendancy to fade from view if I haven't centered
    my eye properly; this provides useful feedback, IMO. The lines also fade
    from view if they are superimposed over a bright object; I live with it.

    <p>

    I too have shot only slides to date. I'm curious about your exposure
    accuracy in bright outdoor light. I have had numerous overexposed
    frames, but I have yet to test it in a rigorous fashion - I might have
    overcompensated in some of these situations. I have heard from another
    user who c/o overexposure with slides in unshaded sunlight. Until I spend
    the time to experiment I shouldn't comment further.

    <p>

    Overall I am very pleased with the camera. It is soooo compact that I
    never hesitate to take it along. The lens is very capable; the classic
    Contax/Zeiss color rendetion and contrast is there, as is the sharpness
    that we all expected from the marketing hype. I just received some shots
    from the summit of St. Helens in which I see a bit of fall off (~1/3 of a
    stop or less).

    <p>

    I've considered buying the case and adapter for hood and filters but the
    slim design of the case that is included with the camera is awfully nice.
    Flare has not been a problem so far, and for me, fiddling with filter on this
    camera defeats the purpose.
     
  11. To Leonard:
    I do not own one, but saw at least 4 of them ( at B&H, J&R, Adorama )
    and all of them had the same problem with upper right corner, so I do
    not think it's a sample variation. This worries me a lot.
     
  12. as for over-exposure, i found that i was using way too much
    compensation in most situations. the meter appears to be more center
    weighted than the t2 and may other p&s cameras i have used. the
    pattern seems (through experimentation) very much like the one in my
    m6 ttl (which itself has more center weighting than the m6 "classic").
    as for the filter and shade, they don't change the profile of the
    camera much, offer good physical protection, guard against flare (you
    only see it in extreme cases; flare generally just robs apparent
    sharpness by reducing overall microcontrast -- ALWAYS USE A SHADE WITH
    ANY HIGH QUALITY LENS imho), offer nice creative potential (in the
    case of filters -- heliopan makes a full range in 30.5), and look
    SUPER COOL! finally, as for the leather semi-hard case, it is much
    better than the pouch. it has proper strap lugs for carrying the
    camera around the neck, protects it while allowing you to keep it at
    the ready (i only use the base of the case), and keeps sweat off the
    camera if you carry it in your palm for candid street shots. i love
    this little camera. my only complaint is that they don't make it in a
    28mm (or better still 24mm or 21mm) version. i also wish they had set
    it up so that when the AFL button is used (especially when the camera
    is programmed so that the AFL button sets exposure as well), you could
    pre-extend the lens without touching the button (as you can in MF
    mode). oh well, a trifling matter.
     
  13. almost forgot: what's all this jibber-jabber about the no-see-um
    bright lines????? in the first place, the bright lines are so close
    to the edge of the finder as to be well nigh irrelevant. second, the
    bright lines (as in all cameras that use them) do not actually
    delineate the edge of the actual ultimate image. they encompass
    probably 85% of the image. you should not be using them as true
    framelines for careful composition. finally, since the camera (for
    obvious reasons) only has one set of brightlines, any user will learn
    in a short time how to frame an image without resort to the bright
    lines in any event. in point of fact, the hard glass finder in the
    t3 is AMAZINGLY good considering the cost of the camera. it is VERY
    bright and distortion free. the fact that it has any bright lines at
    all is just icing on the cake considering the price of the camera.
    do you expect leica quality for one-fifth the cost of an m6 &
    summicron combo? the display in the finder also is amazingly good --
    at any price. what is all this "it worries me a lot" stuff. who
    could possibly complain about what contax has provided for a little
    more than six-hundred bucks? that's half the cost of a decent
    rangefinder lens (and no leica lens focuses to ten inches like the
    t3 "sonnar").
     
  14. Roger,

    <p>

    Thanks for your insightful comments on the T3. This thread is getting
    more informative as time and usage increase.

    <p>

    I agree with your point about the bright lines. Seems to be non-issue
    with this camera that only has a field of view of 85%.

    <p>

    I've read of one other (experienced) Contax user complaining that his
    T3 over exposed. Don't know whether he sent it in for repair or not.

    <p>

    Minor point: close focusing distance is stated to be .35m (13.8
    inches) according to
    http://www.kyocera.co.jp/news/2001/0102/0001-e.asp
    This is about the same as the GR1 close focusing and MUCH better than
    the Minilux.

    <p>

    Care to comment on the T3s optical quality compared to your Leica
    glass?
     
  15. Well, for $700( a used Nikon 8008+35/f2+50/f1.8+flash) I'd like to be
    confident that what I see is what I get. Even if the bright frame
    covers only 90% (not 85%) of the frame, that is what gets printed in
    the lab, unless you custom order full frame prints, and that's what
    seen in the frame mounted slide. For almost half of that price Ricoh
    GR1 sports electronically controlled bright frame which has three
    preset frame settings for different distances and dispays 9 shutter
    speeds in 1/2 stops. For 2/3 of the price Konica Hexar has a fully
    compensated bright line frame.

    <p>

    Are you saying that I should disregard the bright line at all and
    gestimate what I see? How do I compensate for parallax?
     
  16. i guess it all depends on how you use your t3. mine was aquired
    strictly for impromptu portraits and candid street photography. if i
    was going to spend a lot of time framing landscape/architectural
    shots, did not do my own printing (or used trannie film), or planned
    to do all my photography with the t3, i guess i would want a reliable
    set of parallax correcting brightlines. even then, however, in view
    of how close the lines are to the edge of the finder (which may be
    the basis for a more significant gripe) and the general unreliability
    of brightlines as a critical framing aid, i still don't think the
    hard to see (but certainly visible) brightlines could be a serious
    issue. the hexar was a great -- but very big -- camera.
    unfortunately, it lacks most of the nice custom functions of the t3,
    is not as well built, and without getting into a lot of detail (i'm
    sue you know the details anyway) is much more limited in terms of
    shutter speeds and apertures than the t3 (which has TRUE 2.8 widest
    aperture and a TRUE 1/500 top speed + a limited range 1/1200). the
    GR1s is also a great camera, but is not built well, has a VERY poor
    viewfinder, lacks most of the t3's custom features, and has poor
    customer support in the us. i should add that both the hexar and the
    GR are also MUCH MUCH slower to fire than the t3. i got rid of my
    hexar RF on ebay because it took too long to fire. the old hexar and
    the GR are even worse. the t3 is the first point and shoot that is
    quick enough to satisfy me. i just can't use a camera that won't
    fire the instant you hit the release. anyway, i guess the bottom
    line -- and the main point i was trying to make -- is that i don't
    think that for the purposes most people are going to deploy a t3 that
    brightline is very important. i also think that for the money, the
    camera overall is a helluva bargain. put mosy bluntly, there is no
    feature on the camera that i would delete to reaalocate resources to
    improve the brightlines. happy snappin'!
     
  17. p.s. for the love of mike, always use a shade!! you don't know what
    you're missin'.
    p.p.s. if you like the t3, you'll love the minerva pythagore ii
    wristwatch -- buy 'em both the same day, you'll be in heaven.
     
  18. Well, I mortgaged the farm and bought a T3 yesterday. I'm very
    pleased with the design; Contax did an excellent job on the custom
    functions (7 very good options); manual focusing (actually two types,
    scale focusing and AF lock with the separate AFL button); excellent
    viewfinder (the bright lines issue is a non-issue, IMO); Two self-
    timer options (2 second and 10 second delay); facility for adding an
    optional lens hood, filters (filters require an adaptor ring) and a
    dedicated flash bracket for using TLA-200 flash only.

    <p>

    Minor quibble: The viewfinder does not display exact shutter speeds,
    only six "ranges" plus overexposure and long-time (LT).

    <p>

    ---->>>>NOTE TO T3 OWNERS: <<<<<----
    When you turn your T3 on or off, does the motor make a sort of
    stuttering/twittering sound? Mine sounds like a bird chirping. I
    didn't notice this in the two different samples I played with in
    camera stores. Maybe the ambient noise in the store masked it.

    <p>

    Will report on optical quality as soon as I get some pictures
    developed.
     
  19. John, Mine chirps - isn't it just the motor retracting the lens?

    <p>

    I consider $180 for a lens hood ($40 for the adapter, $30 for the hood, and
    $100 for the case to accommodate the hood) a bit much, especially when
    the lens DOESN'T need a hood (in part, because it's already shaded!). It
    amounts to nothing but worthless camera jewelry - kind of like spending a
    grand on a watch that doesn't have a date function. But $185 bucks for a
    protective UV filter - now there's money well spent!

    <p>

    To each his own.
     
  20. I'd also very much like to hear an unbiased assessment of the image
    quality produced by the system. I don't expect elaborate laboratory
    testing, but an honest subjective appraisal would be welcome,
    particularly if it were by comparison to well-known point and shoots,
    such as the T4, which has sort of become the standard - for value, if
    nothing else.
    The problem I've encountered is buying cameras on the basis of web
    reviews and testimonials. Sometimes, you suspect the reviewers are
    "shills" for the manufacturers, but more often, I suspect they see
    their results through the rose-colored glasses of someone who has just
    dropped hundreds of dollars on something, and needs to justify it in
    his/her own mind: an unconscious bias in other words. I'm sorely
    tempted to buy this camera, because of a Zeiss preference and because
    it would be nice to have something a little more rugged and
    sophisticated than the T4 - which is great for value and portability,
    delivering results that, though definitely a cut below my Contax SLR
    lenses, are very nice for informal, spontaneous work - but suffers
    from shutter lag, having to cycle through flash options to turn the
    flash off, etc. But I'm still looking for a fair and convincing
    appraisal of the T3, and unwilling to buy one until I've heard it.
    Also, does anybody else wish they would make more of these cameras
    with a black finish? I don't like toting a gleaming
    seven-hundred-dollar object around public, nor trying to operate
    discretely unposed shots with same.
     
  21. In particular, any feedback on shutter lag, and shutter lag with
    prefocusing/Ae lock would be useful. Also, comments on speed of use
    in actual spontaneous situations, and speed of repeat shots and
    shutter lag in follow up shots.
     
  22. Regarding shutter lag, I think the design of the T3 has coped with
    this problem better than any design I've seen on a P&S, including the
    guessomatic focusing of the Minox. Shutter lag can be dealt with in
    several ways on the T3:

    <p>

    1. Custom Function 2 lets you set the lens so that lens extension is
    performed when you press the shutter 1/2 way down. This locks focus
    and extends the lens making shutter release time almost instant. Or,
    you can set CF 2 to extend the lens when the shutter is fully pressed
    (less desirable for short shutter lag/quick releases but still
    pretty fast, in my opinion);

    <p>

    2. You can set the camera in Manual Focus mode (MF). In MF the lens
    extends, the MF setting is displayed, in meters or fraction therof,
    and the setting and the lens stays extended until you release the
    shutter. MF is retained until the user resets the mode to AF or
    Infinity or some other mode. You can also set CF 7 to hold the MF
    setting until either the camera is turned off or until the MF setting
    is reset. In the latter setting, the MF will remain set even after the
    camera is turned off;

    <p>

    3. You can quickly lock the distance (and extend the lens) with the AF
    lock button (AFL). CF 5 lets you customize whether you want focus lock
    only or focus lock and AE lock when using AFL button. CF 6 lets you
    customize whether you want AFL to lock the distance for one shot only
    or until the camera is turned off.

    <p>

    By the way, using the above combinations along with exposure
    compensation settings (+/- 2 EV in 1/3 or 1/2 increments) and
    a memorized/retained flash setting, makes the T3 pretty nimble. For
    example, you could customize the T3 to power up with default settings
    like MF at 2 meters, Flash to OFF, Exposure Compensation to +1, film
    leader out, etc. You could shoot all day with these settings if
    necessary, say while climbing or XC skiing.

    <p>

    PS. There's no mindless "Auto Power Off" on the T3, so need to worry
    about it turning itself off just when you want to take a shot.

    <p>

    PPS. I am not a Contax shill (The T3 is my first Contax camera.)
     
  23. Info very helpful, as usual, John. Thanks.
    Chas.
     
  24. Thanks John for your detailed and precise information. Looks like a
    real winner of a high end P&S camera.
     
  25. Re he shutter lag: sorry, can not agree with the view that "T3 has
    coped with this problem better than any design on a P&S". The shutter
    lag problem has been solved in many better P&S cameras years ago.
    Just one example: Canon Sure Shot Z90w (below $200) and its Real Time
    Release option of 0.02sec...

    <p>

    For me the very basic requirement for P&S camera is: grab it, press
    the shutter release, expect to hear 'click'. Only once I know that
    the camera can 'click when I press' I am showing interest in lens,
    build quality, manual overrides, etc, etc. But if I wait with my
    finger pressed for the shutter to fire, what good is superb Carl
    Zeiss lens? The end effect of using $10 disposable camera and a $700
    camera with shuter lag is too often the same: a photograph goes to
    the rubbish bin.

    <p>

    On the other hand, if single seconds do not count, if you enlarge
    your prints to poster size and expect them to be razor sharp -- why
    not get a bit larger, fully manual rangefinder or SLR and a good hand
    held spot meter? Or even mid format gear?
     
  26. In answer to Derek's somewhat rhetorical question, I would say that
    the quest for the "perfect" point and shoot is driven by one thing:
    portability. It's the idea of having a camera from which pro or near-
    pro results are possible, with you all the time. It is simply not
    practical to do this with an idustrial-strength SLR, a Hasselblad, or
    a view camera. So all these folks - myself included - are hoping for
    something along these lines without the minor annoyances that
    characterize so many of these little cameras, developed as they are
    more for the amateur market. That's why the T3 is intriguing at the
    moment. We're looking for something that has all the best
    characteristics of this type of camera, with as few drawbacks as
    possible - from the point of view of discriminating photographers,
    that is. Serious photographers really do have uses for this type of
    camera, despite its inherent limitations. Some of my nicest prints
    have been made with negatives from my Yashica T4. If you were to use
    a Hasselblad to take the same pictures under the same conditions, you
    could compare them side-by-side and judge the Hasselblad print to be
    technically superior, but it's academic: most of those pictures I
    could never have made with a Hasselblad - I grabbed them by being
    able to pull the T4 out of my pocket, point, and capture a fleeting
    situation - no lens-changing, focussing, exposure determinations,
    fitting on external flash, etc. That's why these cameras are
    desirable.
     
  27. I agree with Charles, portability is very important. So is quality.
    But so is speed of using the camera: I press, click it goes. Yes,
    selecting a P&S is always a compromise, and two out of three
    (portability, speed, quality), or even one out of three is perfectly
    acceptable in a $150 P&S.

    <p>

    However we have here a $700 equipment which is the result of many
    years of model evolution. This means that it should be judged using
    stricter criteria: how well it implements all three requirements, or
    even: has it pushed the standards a bit further?

    <p>

    So what has happened here -- the T3 designers 'forgot' about 'no
    shutter lag' option, which can be found even on some $190 P&S's? Or
    did marketting assumed that labels 'new', 'Contax' and 'Carl Zeiss'
    will sell the camera anyway, so why bother?

    <p>

    Yes, T3 is intriguing, it is very nice, very well build. And with a
    price tag, say $250 I can forgive it the shutter lag. For $700 I can
    not forgive it anything.
     
  28. How does the T3 lens compare to the Minilux lens in terms of image
    quality? Also, how is focus accuracy with the T3? Is focus lock
    easy to engage without inadvertantly triggering the shutter? How
    about fill flash - easy to use and accurate exposure-wise? Finally
    (and I know this is subjective), what do you think about the 35mm
    focal length as a general-purpose lens? Thanks, everyone.
     
  29. Re:
    "So what has happened here -- the T3 designers 'forgot' about 'no
    shutter lag' option, which can be found even on some $190 P&S's?"

    <p>

    I think you're missing the point of the shutter options on the T3
    listed in my 5/21/01 message above. Contax didn't "forget" about
    shutter lag and then say, "Oops, we better fix that." The T3 *offers*
    these options which result in minimum shutter lag at least as quick as
    the Real Time release of the Canon Sure Shots. Even in normal
    operation (lens extension after pressing shutter 1/2 way) the T3
    responds very quickly.

    <p>

    I can't comment authoritatively on image quality compared to the
    Minilux; more testing needs to be done (by someone more skilled than
    I.)

    <p>

    AF is usually quick, but it's the Passive type so not as fast overall
    as the Active type on the Minilux if focusing on a blank surface.

    <p>

    Fill flash is easy to use and can be set as the default at power up.
    Flash exposures have been very good so far, except when using the
    macro mode at less than about two feet (some overexposure noted).

    <p>

    Overall metering is excellent (I wish I knew more about how the T3
    meter reads a scene.)

    <p>

    My first posted T3 image (print scan only) is at:
    http://www.photo.net/photo/236471&size=md
     
  30. Correction:
    "Even in normal operation ([NO] lens extension after pressing shutter
    1/2 way) the T3 responds very quickly."
     
  31. "Even in normal operation (lens extension after pressing shutter 1/2
    way) the T3 responds very quickly."

    <p>

    Sorry, John, it appears that I did not make myself clear. In NORMAL
    operation T3 has noticable, measurable shutter lag, and it normal
    operation T3 DOES NOT offer an option of instant shutter release.

    <p>

    I know that 'shutter lag can be dealt with in several ways on the T3'
    but my point is: for $700 this should be solved in a more elegant
    way, as $200 Z90W demonstrates.
     
  32. True instantaneousness of shutter response is a will-of-the wisp, in
    any case, since focussing is tied into the sequence with a P&S in one
    way or another. Even if you have prefocussed, you have had to take
    the time to, well, prefocus, and then of course your subject can
    move. Derek's question seems to be whether response on the T3 is fast
    enough, given a $700 outlay, and his answer seems to be no, while
    it's "yes" from John's point of view. Seems fine to agree to
    disagree there and let it go. What's fast enough for one won't be
    for another.
    I have a sure shot classic 120, which is only marginally slower in
    response, I believe, than the Z90W; in fact the basic operations of
    the camera are in most all respects very good, and fast, but the
    prints - fast response or no - can't equal my Yashica T4, not at
    8X10, anyway. What's elusive is the blend of characteristics:
    operational efficiency and versatility, good focussing and optical
    resolution, compact size. I'd scrounge up the $700, and gladly for a
    fixed focal length camera - I'd rather let my feet do the zooming if
    I gain something in image quality - if I thought some manufacturer
    had it all together. I may have to wait before they come out with
    something that will allow me to leave the big cameras home with any
    confidence.
     
  33. Anybody can comment on T3 firing sequence noise vs. the GR1 ?

    <p>

    I have the latter and eventhough the autofocus operation is
    raisonably quiet, I find the film advance to be quite annoying
    indoors in a quiet environment as it is very long (1s+ I guess).
     
  34. The camera is pretty quiet. The film wind is low-pitched. You really
    cannot hear the camera in normal street noise...
     
  35. My two cents, mostly in response to Charles's comments -- it seems to
    me that folks interested in a T3 are primarily looking for a compact
    camera that provides aperture control and an excellent lens.
    Therefore, as long as the shutter response is not unreasonably slow
    in pure point and shoot situations, I don't see where there is a
    problem. I say this because I rarely use any camera by pointing it
    at my subject and expecting the shot to be completed almost
    instantly. Instead, in the vast majority of situations, I obtain
    focus on my subject, recompose, and check the frame for clutter. If
    I am also adjusting aperture, then the process is slower still.
    Because the T3 offers both a focus lock button and the choice of
    moving the lens during half-depression of the shutter release button,
    shutter response should be nearly instantaneous after focus is
    achieved. So, to me, it seems almost irrelevant that in pure point
    and shoot situations, the shutter lag may be 1/4 to 1/2 second rather
    than something less -- too few of my photos are pure "point and
    shoot" to let that potential drawback diminish the T3's other
    features.
     
  36. Yes, Chris, I agree: people's needs are going to vary as to
    performance of individual components, such as shutter delay. I, too,
    find I focus and recompose a lot, and there it is the portablility -
    the "always having a camera with you" aspect that shines with a point
    and shoot, rather than it's strength as an action camera. I do find
    there are times when I want to capture something like dancing, where a
    given moment or instant gives the "right" image, and my T4 super won't
    oblige me in those situations, so that's why I'd like a camera with
    comparable or better image quality, and the ability to seize a key
    moment during more rapid action. All these cameras have one thing
    going for them in that respect: there is no image blackout at the
    instant of exposure, as there is with an SLR, so you do get
    confirmation in that the sound of the shutter gives a very good
    approximation of what you will have captured as you look through the
    finder. The trouble with the T4 is that the focusing, shutter click,
    and advance are difficult to separate aurally, so you don't *know*,
    the way you do with a Leica M camera, for example. But with the
    traditional rangefinder, unless you zone focus, you have the same
    focus/recompose steps to slow you down if you don't want the subject
    in dead center. There the SLR is better, as you can focus anywhere on
    the groundglass, essentially eliminating the recompose step. Does
    anybody have any experience with the eye-focus cameras - Canon, isn't
    it? - where the camera reads where your eye is looking and focusses
    there? Does it work as billed?
    I've been in photography a long time, and have learned to get at least
    some of these shots with effort and perserverance - anticipating where
    action peaks will occur and focussing there, etc. - but I'm lazy
    enough to go for any technological shortcut if I'm convinced it will
    work.
     
  37. If you bought T3 for $700, you now own a great P&S. If you are
    reading this list because you are still uncertain -- have a look at
    soon to be released Rollei Prego 30 (around $200), and ask yourself
    this question: isn't T3 terribly overpriced? Is it three and a half
    times better then Rollei?

    <p>

    http://www.photographyreview.com/tradeshow/pma_01/General/general3.sht
    ml
     
  38. I'm a new Contax T3 user, formerly a Leica Minilux user. I can
    attest that the lenses between the two are neck in neck in terms
    of sharpness. Pleasant bokeh on the T3 and corner falloff is not
    unpleasant at wide aperatures. The T3 seems a quiter overall--
    focus is definitely quieter, and advance is slightly quieter. The
    noisiest thing about the camera is turning it on-- the lens pulls
    out with a loud motor noise similar to the Minilux.

    <p>

    The T3 is a clear winner over the Minilux in terms of portability
    (it's pocketable). The ability to remember your default flash
    setting is reason alone to consider the T3 over the Minilux. The
    T3 is more unwieldy when it comes to manual focus, but for a
    point-n-shoot like this you probably won't be using MF too much.
    You can always prefocus the lens, and even lock focus for the
    duration that the camera is on, a great feature (handy for street
    photography-- ASA 400, outdoors, lock focus at 2 meters, and
    shoot away!)
     
  39. I just purchased a T3 and think its a fine camera. However,
    the camera has a major omission. AEL cannot be used
    independant of AEF unless you are in manual focus mode.
    This is a really silly configuration . You can't step up close to your
    subject lock in an exposure and then step back and recompose.
    The focus will lock at the distance you metered!
     
  40. The more I work with the camera the more I learn to appreciate the
    logic of the custom settings. For example, the T3 focus options are
    perfectly adequate for action shots or for more careful composition
    shooting when constant racking/focusing of the lense is not needed.

    <p>

    For instance, the T3 can be set to autofocus at half shutter release.
    This results in virtually no more shutter lag than would be
    experienced with any other autofocus camera when it telescopes and
    racks the lense to lock-on focus. The T3 lense focusing is very
    quick.

    <p>

    For example, if I am shooting my 2 year old son and other action
    shots I keep it at this setting and am satsfied that I am catching
    the action.

    <p>

    If I am using the camera to do more careful (non-action shot)
    compositions, I set it to default so that the lense will be
    constantly racking to focus until until after the shutter release is
    pressed completely down.

    <p>

    That way while repeatedly composing and metering a scene, the lense
    is not constantly, (and needlessly), racking to and fro on the
    subject (as would be required on a SLR to properly view the
    prospective photo). This preserves batteries and avoids extraneous
    wear and tear on the camera.

    <p>

    Another useful custom setting is the option to engage/disengage AE
    when using the separate focus lock button that is located on top of
    the camera adjacent to the shutter release button. One can select
    whether to lock both focus and AE upon depressing focus lock button
    or to lock-in only focus.

    <p>

    If only autofocus is selected then one can take focus an exposure
    setting sfrom two separate spots on the subject, i.e; Lock focus and
    then take a separate AE reading by depressing he shutter release
    halfway down.

    <p>

    This camera's functions are exceptionally versatile; particularly for
    a cameras as small as a hard pack of Marlboro cigarettes.

    <p>

    I love mine and was hearbroken when I dropped it onto some rocks
    while on vacation last week in the mountains. It still continued to
    take perfectley exposed pictures. However, since it suffured a
    serious ding to the top of the case, I sent it in for a check/repair
    to revalidate the three year warranty.

    <p>

    BTW I also have a Minilux Zoom for my wife who is not proficient in
    making cameras exposure settings. I believe the photos from my T3 are
    ever so slightly sharper than her Minilux zoom.

    <p>

    However, since I do not know the settings, (aperture, speed) made by
    each camera when making the shots of the same subject, I could be
    mistaken. Also we use different films in each camera and, if I must
    say so myself, I am a far better picture taker.

    <p>

    Suffice to say, both cameras consistently deliver beautiful,
    stunning, crisp photos and we are immensely pleased. The Leica with
    CF flash seems to produce a slight, lovely luminescent to perfectly
    colored flesh tones using Fuji NPS 160.

    <p>

    The T3 produces eye popping, vividly clear outdoor/sunlit shots with
    Reala and NPH 400. John McComack's T3 sample photo using NPC is
    likewise vividly stunning. I've got to try some of that stuff (NPC).

    <p>

    Untill my disaster dropping the T3 I was happily experimenting with
    both cameras. Both have their own unique, great solid feel.

    <p>

    I'll file a follow-up report on the T3 repair and Contax customer
    support. I can't wait to get my gem of a camera back in-hand.

    <p>

    After seeing my T3 bounce off some rocks, I've been getting in the
    habit of slipping the wrist strap over my hand whenever I remove my P
    & S cameras from their cases.
     
  41. Corrrectin to my Posting, directy above:

    <p>

    The incorrect sentence, "I set it to default so that the lense will
    be constantly racking to focus until until after the shutter release
    is pressed completely down."

    <p>

    Should read: I set it to default so that the lense will NOT be
    constantly racking to focus until until after the shutter release is
    pressed completely down.
     
  42. I have added a few more T3 images shot with Fuji NPC 160. Click here for the folder. I don't have a great scanner or scanning skills yet; the scans doesn't do justice to the prints.
    I'm now shooting a faster film (NHG II 800) in the T3 and will try to test the lens for light fall off at large apertures. I didn't detect any light fall off with the lens stopped down.
     
  43. Re: "AEL cannot be used independant of AEF unless you are in manual
    focus mode. This is a really silly configuration . You can't step up
    close to your subject lock in an exposure and then step back and
    recompose."

    <p>

    Not completely true. You can lock AF independent of AEL with the
    AFL button and custom function five set to 'A' (focus lock only with
    AFL button).
     
  44. Has anyone seen (and better yet tried) the accessory flash and
    bracket? I'm curious about their size and weight, and the quality of
    light provided. Also, re the filters: can anyone comment on how
    useful a polarizing filter is with a non-SLR camera? I wonder how
    successfully you will be able to predict the effect of a polarizing
    filter with the T3. Thanks, everyone.
     
  45. what's all this about shutter lag??? as i said in my prior posts,
    this is the fastest auto camera i have ever used in AF mode. AND the
    release is instantaneous when you prefocus using af lock OR preset
    focus in MF mode (as i do for candid street photography). just use
    custom setting for pre-extension in any event. shutter lag is JUST
    NOT AN ISSUE with this camera. p.s. i'm glad we stopped talking
    about the brightlines!! buy this camera -- you will never regret
    it. p.p.s. use the shade -- i know it's too expensive, but you will
    not believe the improvment in most outdoor settings. you can also
    use the FULL RANGE of helipan 30.5 filters once you buy the adapter.
    they make everything in this size!! a great benefit.
     
  46. Is one required to make manual adjustments to exposure to account for
    filters? (I'm ignorantly assuming that metering is done through some
    other port besides the taking lens as in other P&S's)
     
  47. Regarding the earlier thread regarding AEL (auto-exposure lock)
    vs. AFL (auto-focus): you cannot operate AEL independently of
    focusing. That is, you cannot step up close to your backlit subject
    to lock exposure without also being forced to also focus at a
    close distance. Someone please correct my if I'm mistaken.
     
  48. I don't own a T3 (yet,) but with my T2 it is possible to focus
    manually and then set exposure independently with the shutter
    release button. Perhaps this would work with the T3 as well.
     
  49. Re: Metering and filter factors on the T3

    <p>

    Yes, metering is done through a separate port, so you must compensate
    for the filter, esp. if using slide film. The T3 allows you to set
    compensation factors in 1/3 or 1/2 EV steps.
     
  50. Re: "...you cannot step up close to your backlit subject to lock
    exposure without also being forced to also focus at a close distance."

    <p>

    Yes, you can. You can set focus and exposure independently in a
    couple of ways:

    <p>

    1. Lock focus with the AFL button and then walk up to the subject and
    set exposure. Return to original postion and shoot. CF 5 lets you set
    the T3 so that focus but *not* exposure is locked when using the AFL
    button.

    <p>

    2. Lock focus with the MF button. Repeat as in 1. above.

    <p>

    3. Using standard AF lock exposure on a mid gray subject (grass,
    pavement) at the *same* distance as the subject by pressing shutter
    button 1/2 way, recompose and release shutter. Any P&S can be used in
    this way to fool the meter.

    <p>

    Or, just set exposure compensation for backlit scenes. +1.5 - +2
    should be fine.
     
  51. Here's an example of using the T3 AFL button using f/2.8 in aperture
    priority and shooting through a chain link fence in harsh midday
    lighting. The workers on this site were not comfortable with having
    their picture taken - maybe they thought I was an inspector or
    something, so I waited until they lost interest in me before shooting
    this grab shot. Image is only about 1/6 of the full frame. See:

    <p>

    http://www.photo.net/photo/253096

    <p>

    A couple of sky shots showing minimal (no?) light fall off from the
    T3 are also in this gallery:

    <p>

    http://www.photo.net/photodb/folder.tcl?folder_id=122840
     
  52. John, about your construction workers shot -- you list the aperture
    as f2.8 and shutter speed as 1/1200 (?). I guess I'm still confused
    about what shutter speeds are available with the T3, as I thought
    1/500 was the maximum shutter speed with larger apertures when using
    aperture-priority exposure. Are the full range of shutter speeds
    available at all apertures, or is there some limitation? Thanks.
     
  53. Chris,

    <p>

    You are correct. 1/1200 shutter speed is only available in P mode, not
    aperture priority. In aperture priority, the fastest shutter speed is
    1/500.

    <p>

    I put the "?" mark in the image caption because I thought at the time
    the shutter speed readout was blinking when I grabbed that shot.
    I *thought* that indicated 1/1200. If it was blinking it was
    indicating overexposure, but I can't really remember. The fact that
    the T3 only indicates a *range* of shutter speeds in the viewfinder
    can be frustrating at times.
     
  54. John,

    <p>

    I thought that the 1200 speed was available at f 8 and smaller
    apertures in aperture priority mode.

    <p>

    I figured the shutter could operate faster when the lens was closed
    down and demanding less travel.

    <p>

    I did not realize that 500+ speeds were not available in aperture
    priority mode/only available in program mode.

    <p>

    That full face photo is great. I am going to have to try some of
    those rather then stepping back for standard head and shoulder
    portraits. That is, when my T3 comes back from repair.
     
  55. Re: "I thought that the 1200 speed was available at f 8 and smaller
    apertures in aperture priority mode. "

    <p>

    Hmmm, I think you're right about the f/8 and 1/1200. I went back and
    looked at the manual - again. The confusion on my part was in relying
    on the brief note about P mode on the specification's page (page 62)
    without examining the exposure control table for the aperture priority
    mode (diagram on page 37).

    <p>

    If we look at the exposure control table on page 37, it's clear that
    in Aperture Priority mode the shutter speed will increase above 1/500
    to a maximum of 1/1200 when f/8 is selected AND the light value is at
    EV 16 or above.

    <p>

    What I don't quite understand is the asterisked footnote on p. 37 that
    states: "* If the available light on the subject is too bright for the
    pre-programmed automatic-linkage range, the program will automatically
    shift to get a correct exposure." There is no asterisk anywhere else
    on the page, but I think they're restating the obvious - that the
    shutter speed will increase with increases in the EV level. Maybe I'm
    missing something. Anyone care to comment?
     
  56. John, that footnote sounds mostly like gibberish to me, but here's my
    guess anyway: if the camera can't select a fast enough shutter speed
    given the available light and the aperture you've selected, then the
    camera will override your aperture selection and close down the
    aperture to achieve correct exposure. If my theory is correct, then
    you can't overexpose a shot except by using exposure compensation.
     
  57. That sounds right, Chris, and fits with the complaint you sometimes
    read about this camera - that you can't select a wide aperture for
    selective focus and get the corresponding high shutter speed if that
    speed is above 1/500. I believe you are interpreting the footnote
    right, although I suppose we'd have to ask a Canon tech. person: if
    you have ev 16 with ASA 100, for example, and choose f4, it would
    have to change your aperture to f8 or smaller, since f4 @ 1/500 would
    be overexposure, and it won't use the higher range unless you're at 8
    or more. (Whew.) The resultant exposure would be "correct", but
    would spoil the selective focus effect you planned for by choosing f
    4. Exposure comp. would probably be the easiest way to overexpose
    intentionally, but I guess you could also meter lock on a darker area
    of the scene to force the higher exposure.
     
  58. I've never heard the complaint before that the camera comandeers the
    user-selected aperture setting when the metered EV is too bright.

    <p>

    I could be splitting hairs but the wording of the annotation on p. 37
    stating, "too bright for PRE-PROGRAMMED automatic linkage," leads me
    to believe they could still be referring to the Program mode (and not
    aperture priority mode), operation of the camera.

    <p>

    Why offer the feature of a user selectable aperture priority mode if
    the camera over-rides it and reverts back to Program mode?

    <p>

    Yet, by virtue of the fact that this annotation is found in the
    manual in the aperture priority mode instructions section, it appears
    to apply to aperture priority mode operation of the camera.

    <p>

    I'll see if I can email an inquiry to Contax for clarification.

    <p>

    I finally received my SA-2 flash bracket ($149) which has a shoe for
    attaching the TLA 200 flash.

    <p>

    I learned today that the repair estimate for my T3 is $300 smackers.
     
  59. Re: "I could be splitting hairs but the wording of the annotation on
    p. 37 stating, "too bright for PRE-PROGRAMMED automatic linkage,"
    leads me to believe they could still be referring to the Program mode
    (and not aperture priority mode), operation of the camera."

    <p>

    It wouldn't be the first time that a camera manual had misplaced
    references. There was a recent rant on the ContaxG list about
    misplaced references about using fill flash on the G cameras. Whole
    sections were misplaced, leaving users totally confused, not to say
    misinformed.

    <p>

    Anyway, my T3 continues to perform admirably. I just shot a roll
    of Kodak T400CN B&W and the results were excellent (printed on Kodak
    B&W paper by a good processor.) I'll post some scans in a few days.

    <p>

    For a test I tried holding a 58mm polarizer in front of the
    lens but my technique was flawed; finger tips and filter ring are
    visible on the prints. :( Guess I'll invest in a filter adaptor.

    <p>

    Phil, let us know how the flash bracket works and if you hear anything
    from Contax on the "too bright for PRE-PROGRAMMED automatic linkage"
    question.
     
  60. Phil:
    I've been scouring the web for reviews of the camera, and can't cite
    exactly where I read it, but one or two reviewers said something like:
    "weaknesses: have to use smaller apertures for the faster shutter
    speeds; too bad, since fast speeds are appropriate for wide
    apertures..." I was speculating on the meaning of the footnote in
    the light of that. A fairly minor flaw, in any case, when you
    compare the camera with the competition and consider its intended
    use, which is not primarily slow and deliberate work for carefully
    controlled results, like a view camera.
     
  61. I just came back to this thread after several months, and its great
    to see so much interest in the T3. I find I take mine with me more
    often than any other camera I've owned, and am still totally blown
    away by the image quality. To clarify a few things I saw above, the
    high speeds are only available at f8.0 and smaller. What is very
    special about this camera that no one has mentioned, is that the twin
    shutter eliminates the dreadful corner fall off at high speeds/small
    apertures. I took some shots at the beach with a Rollei Prego and
    Yashica T4, and it looked like I used a matte box the corner fall off
    was so bad. The Contax tech rep told me they also had the same
    problem with the T2, and that is why they changed the shutter design
    on the T3. Shoot away in bright sun if you need to, even with 400 or
    800 speed film. I set my default for focusing the lens as soon as you
    press 1/2 way on the shutter, and the response when fully pressing
    the button is nearly instant. The camera is so quiet, when shooting
    outdoors I am not sure it actually went off sometimes. I have
    checked out the G flash set up, and it is kind of funny looking and
    too expensive/bulky for my uses. The built in flash is more powerful
    than it looks, and covers the 35mm lens very well. I use mine without
    flash whenever possible, and love the "Leica like" natural light
    shots it is capable of. I can see the bright lines in my camera with
    no problem-I am not sure what people were referring to. As far as AF
    lock and AE lock at the same time, this is not a problem either. If
    you hold the button down to step one, it locks focus and exposure.
    So if you need to focus lock with exposure, do it that way instead of
    with the AF lock button. I have shot right into the sun with no
    noticeable flare, so a hood will not be on my want list. I like the
    small case it came with,(I wear it on my belt) and enjoy not having a
    camera hanging on my neck looking like a tourist. Best 699.00 I've
    spent on a 35mm camera or lens.
     
  62. Someone mentioned above "I did not realize that 500+ speeds were not
    available in aperture priority mode/only available in program mode"
    They are in fact available in aperture priority mode, but ONLY at f8,
    F11, or f16.
     
  63. Charles: I speculate that the higher speeds are available only with
    8,11,16 apertures because the shutter leaves have to travel only
    about half the distance that they would need to travel at aperture
    2.8; the shorter the travel/the faster the available shutter speed.
    The graphs in the manual show that the 1200 is achieved at 16
    aperture and about 1000 speed at an 11 aperture opening.

    <p>

    I also saw this speculation in a consumer review (not
    photographyreview.com) with a editor's annotation confirming it's
    accuracy.

    <p>

    I'll see if I can find the review again and post it in it's entirety.
     
  64. Andrew: My wife has the Leica Minilux zoom which also delivers
    beautiful pictures; particularly people shots. The zoom makes it easy
    and neat work to frame individuals and small groups at a gathering or
    in a roomfull of people. I could be mistaken but the Leica lens seems
    to lend a cetain luminescence to flesh tones.

    <p>

    On the other hand the T3 is faster to deploy and to shoot; especially
    with the lens focusing set to activate at half shutter release.
    Although I like the Leica's bigger heft and fit/feel in my hands, I
    prefer the T3 for it's truly pocket-size compactness, speed (ease of
    use) and wide flexability.

    <p>

    The crisp sharpness of the T3's images is simply terrific to behold
    and iut's images compare favorably to any images that I have taken
    including the Leica and any SLR prime lenses I have ever used.

    <p>

    John described comparing Lieca Minilux and T3 images as being like
    comparing two kinds of gourmet ice cream. Both are equally pleasing
    and have their own subtle unique quality.

    <p>

    Given the choice I reach for the T3 more often due to it's larger,
    brighter and more comfortable viewfinder, plus, speed and ease of
    deployment and shooting. I can get from Point "A," camera in the
    pouch, to point "B," image captured, twice as fast with the T3 as
    with the Leica Minilux zoom.

    <p>

    In fact since it's compactness facilitates always carrying it with
    me, it had quickly became second nature to reach for the T3 on my
    belt, capture the image and stow it in nearly one seamless motion.

    <p>

    In sum, by becoming second nature to carry and to use, and by
    delivering 1st class images, IMHO the T3 most successfully fulfills
    the role of a point and shoot camera.

    <p>

    The flash bracket is suprisingly small. My intention is to have it
    for use in photo sessions where I'll be taking multiple shots - like
    of my 2 year old scooting around or at gatherings where I need more
    range and better fill. We'll see how it delivers versus the Leica
    with it's separate flash which does nicely.

    <p>

    (Actually I may have subconsciously gotten the separate T3 flash and
    bracket to just to see how it would measure up against the Leica
    Minilux with separate flash).
     
  65. John McCormack, thanks for posting those example pictures at
    your site. I think I know what's going on with the sky shot. Was
    the sun on your left? If the sky is lighter on the left side of the
    picture and darker on the right side, it has the effect of
    minimizing the apparent light falloff on the left but exaggerating it
    on the right. This can make it look like there's "more" light falloff
    on the right side when actually the camera's falloff is
    symmetrical.

    <p>

    The higher shutter speeds only at smaller apertures are typical
    of small leaf shutters. I don't know if the T3's is a two-blade
    shutter, but I believe the Konica Hexar's is, and that's what keeps
    the Hexar's maximum shutter speed at 1/250th. You can actually
    chart the opening time, the fully open time, and the closing them
    when testing a leaf shutter. Obviously, the wider it has to open,
    the greater a percentage of the final exposure is taken up with
    opening and closing; it can greatly exacerbate mechanical (as
    opposed to optical) falloff. On the Contax T2, they cleverly "hid"
    the problem by limiting the high (1/500th) shutter speed to
    program mode--in aperture-priority it was limited to 1/125th. The
    miniature leaf shutter on the T3 must be very good indeed, to
    offer 1/500th speeds on f/2.8 and higher speeds at f/8 and
    smaller. It's an impressive spec.

    <p>

    I can't wait to try this camera, I've heard so many good things
    about it.
     
  66. Double-Between-Lens-Shutter: How It Works

    <p>

    Thanks to Bob Shell of _Shutterbug_ magazine for providing an
    explanation of the T3's double-between-lens shutter. Bob says it
    really isn't two shutters in the sense that mental image might be.
    It's really more like one shutter with two sets of blades. What makes
    achieving really fast speeds with a leaf shutter difficult is that the
    mechanism must open the blades all the way, bring them to a stop, and
    then reverse direction to close them.

    <p>

    The double-between-lens-shutter has one set of blades which are
    closed between photos and one set which remain open. When you take a
    picture the first set opens and stays open, and the second set
    closes. So neither set has to change directions during the exposure.
    When the camera advances the film the two sets of blades are returned
    to their original positions for the next photo. Bob said this is
    possibly not a 100% accurate description, but is how he understands
    it to work.

    <p>

    Hope this helps.
     
  67. Please help me understand why my T2 has such wicked light
    fall-off when used in aperture priority mode with a small
    aperture. In that mode the aperture is determined by the blades
    of the lens diaphragm, but the leaf shutter still has to go through
    its full range to open and close. Does this results in relatively
    more light falling on the center of the film frame?

    <p>

    Through experience, I have learned to avoid aperture priority with
    the T2. In Program mode, there is less light fall-off. The lens
    itself is extraordinarily good, and if it weren't for this issue, I
    would feel no desire to move up to the T3.
     
  68. I have not been able to find the T3 review that I had mentioned in my
    last post. In it the reviewer also stated that the light fall off
    problem of the T2 was corrected in the T3 by the new type of shutter
    described, above, by John McCormack.

    <p>

    Miss my T3 badly. Can't wait to get it back.
     
  69. A favorite shot from the T3.

    <p>

    http://www.photo.net/photo/259510

    <p>

    My 1st upload. I reformated a 20MB tiff image to 200KB JPG. I noticed
    that it appears to have lost it's stunning "Contax" snap and clarity.

    <p>

    Would appreciate any suggestions on resizing images for upload so
    they keep their clarity.
     
  70. Has everybody seen the black one? I don't think they're here in
    the U.S. yet.

    <p>

    http://www.kyocera.co.jp/news/2001/0104/0402-e.asp
     
  71. Looks nice in black, looks nice in silver. I wonder if the black
    finish is as tough against abrasion as the silver.
     
  72. An exposure/EV chart may answer some of the questions regarding
    speeds available in aperture priority (see section 5):

    <p>

    http://contax.kyocera.co.jp/product/T3/t301.htm

    <p>

    or

    <p>

    altavista tries to make a translation from Japanese...
     
  73. I posted a favorite shot from ther T3 next to a favorite shot from my
    Minilux zoom at;

    <p>

    http://www.photo.net/photodb/folder.tcl?folder_id=128499

    <p>

    At these resolutions I do not know if they will be any help.
     
  74. I've been shooting T400CN B&W in the the T3. A few images are posted in my T3 folder. Click here. Again the scan don't do justice to the prints, which are some of thesharpest I've ever gotten from T400.
     
  75. FYI, Popular Photography has reviewed the T3. They rated the
    lens "outstanding" and concluded that it was the finest P&S lens they
    had tested. (The article mentions that the T3 lens is substantially
    better than the "other two" posh P&S cameras tested as part of
    a "shootout" in 1994. I think those "other two" cameras were the
    Minolta TC-1, the Leica Minilux, or the Nikon 35ti.) Also, they
    seemed impressed with the speed and accuracy of the autofocus system,
    and with the accuracy of the exposure meter.
     
  76. The Popular Photography article (July Issue) gave an overall
    outstanding rating to the lens, no flare, no distortion and
    outstanding rsoution and contrast. The reviewer concluded that, by a
    comfortable margin, the T3 has the sharpest lens of any point and
    focus that they have ever tested and that the T3 is the best point
    and focus camera available.

    <p>

    Now if I can just get mine back from the shop...

    <p>

    I must say that I am also highly impressed with the crisp, sharp
    results that my Yashica T-5 is providing while filling-in for the T-3.
     
  77. I"m not surprised the lens tested out so well as its the sharpest
    35mm lens I've ever shot with-it must be approaching the theoretical
    limits for that focal length and is probably out-resoving most of the
    film emulsions. Makes the 35 f2.8 I had on a Minox 35 look soft by
    comparison. If I could by the same exact lens with a Leica mount for
    the cost of the T3 camera, I'd order one today.
     
  78. I found a few more T3 photos online at:

    <p>

    http://www.fogel.net/t3/

    <p>

    Of course it's really tough for me to tell anything about a lens
    from photographs online.

    <p>

    --Mike
     
  79. Also, there's a better diagram of the lens assembly here:

    <p>

    http://www.mamut.com/homepages/Norway/1/9/meridianfoto2/n
    ewsdet226.htm

    <p>

    Also a shutter speed chart for the aperture-preferred mode. The
    chart does show that if there's too much light in aperture-priority
    mode, the camera lens will close itself down.
     
  80. I've uploaded higher resolution versions of my favorite shots from
    the T3 and the Minilux Zoom. Note the fine detail of the wood grain
    in the tree on the T3 shot and the texture detail of the terry cloth
    on the Mililux shot. Seen on a print both have very sharp, rich
    detail. I always thought that the T3 has a slight edge on
    overall "snap" while the Minilux imparts a subltle luminesecence or
    warmth to skin tones.

    <p>

    If my house was on fire and I could only save one P&S, either the T3
    or the Minilux Zoom, it would be the T3. However, I would grieve the
    loss of the Minilux - the zoom and optics makes it a great people
    framer/shooter. Great for framing individuals or small groups at
    parties. It has a great feel about it.

    <p>

    Phil
     
  81. Can someone say kind of AF system the T3 uses? The passive AF in the
    GR1 is one of my GR1 peeves. It's accurate but it's fiddly in low
    contrast situations. I'd prefer that they used an IR system like
    cheap cameras do. Sure, they may have trouble shooting through glass
    and stuff like that, but in normal situations they're fast and
    positive. Also, is it multi-zone by default? Can you set it to be
    single zone? Thanks.
     
  82. It's passive AF with near Infra-red beam assist. Popular Photography
    rated the AF as "fast, fast, fast" and stated that the IR assist
    range was over 15 feet and worked in complete darkness.
     
  83. I found Phil's comparison scans really interesting, and John's contax
    scans, as well. The boy with the towel has a magical look to it on
    my screen.
    What would really be cool is if somebody felt like doing a more
    controlled comparison - nothing fancy, just take the T3, maybe a
    T4super, and a Minilux non-zoom would be best; compare apples to
    apples, that is -, then use the same camera position (tripod
    preferable but not absolutely necessary if careful. Maybe step back
    a tad with the minilux to get the same magnification. Same emulsion,
    same lab on the same day. Scan the same, maybe sharpen slightly, the
    same amount for all. If a human subject, have 'em hold their head up
    to the same angle to the light, etc. To answer the obvious question
    as to why the hell don't I do it myself, my excuse is that I only
    have the Yashica. Just a thought.
    Chas.
     
  84. The difference between the lenses of the Minilux's and the T3 is
    negligible for most P&S purposes. Even the Minilux zoom lens which in
    theory should be the worst performer of them all, produces beautiful
    and immensely pleasing, results. Wiht the exception of the T4, they
    appear to be built to last a few lifetimes.

    <p>

    I recommend you handle them and get the heft of them to see which
    fits/feels best and then decide which feature set would best fulfill
    the demands of your shooting.

    <p>

    I wonder if Leica feels sufficiently challenged by the T3 to consider
    upgrading the Minilux?
     
  85. Yes, it would be nice if they'd incorporate some of those T3 features
    in the leica, but the Wetzlar folk may be too conservative or smug for
    that. We'll see. Thanks for the advice.
    Chas.
     
  86. After discovering this thread yesterday, I read through it with
    considerable interest. Based largely on Greenspun's recommendations
    and the testamonials on photo.net, I purchased a Yashica T4 Super (T-
    5) a couple of years ago. My impression of that camera
    after moderate use is mixed.

    <p>

    In bright daylight, I've gotten some very pleasing crisply-focused,
    nicely color-balanced 5x7 prints. No doubt, a stopped-down aperture
    has been helpful in this regard. But not always. At times, the AF has
    not captured the subject at the center of the image and there was
    insufficient DOF for subject focus. Maybe it's a user problem,
    but I've come to believe that the T4's AF is not entirely
    predictable. Indoor exposures with flash are often a bit washed out
    (ISO 400) and fuzzy.

    <p>

    Not long ago, I came across the Contax T3 in a camera shop and was
    intrigued with its features. Viewfinder shutterspeed info is nice.
    (However, had Contax included the focus distance *in the viewfinder*,
    that would have been much nicer.) Having aperture control
    is very attractive. But now, upon learning that the maximum
    shutterspeed is limited below F8 apertures, some shine comes off that
    feature. When the aperture is set lower than F8 and the available
    light calls for a shutterspeed faster than 1/500, one ends up
    with overexposed images.

    <p>

    I'm very much of the mind of Charles Stewart in his first message of
    May 20. An honest (though subjective) appraisal of the Contax T3 vs.
    Yashica T4 would be very much appreciated by, I'm sure, many people.
    That means, loading both cameras with the same type film and shooting
    the same images under the same conditions with each. Less shutterlag,
    programmable options, (limited) aperture control, etc. are nice, but
    to my mind can't justify the price difference between the two
    cameras.

    <p>

    What would be useful to know is whether the T3's AF is distinctly
    more robust. Is the flash superior? Can one generally distinguish one
    camera over the other based on image quality from similar exposure
    conditions? (See Charles Stewart above, June 25)

    <p>

    Phil Bonner writes that he's "highly impressed with the crisp, sharp
    results that my Yashica T-5 is providing while filling in for the
    T3." (It should be noted that the repair cost alone of his T3 could
    buy two new Yashica's.) Phil, in what ways were the images (not
    features) from your T3 more pleasing than from your T-5?

    <p>

    All constructive comments appreciated.
     
  87. It's obvious that the T3 has many features the t5 lacks, including
    some that correct the several annoyances and slownesses inherent in
    the t5 design. Not to speak of the vastly superior materials for
    construction. (my T5's have been durable, though *providing they're
    kept in a soft pouch and not just thrown in the purse/pocket, where
    the plastic windows get terribly messed up)*
    The only thing I can contribute to this question is that the T5,
    especially at close range, gives me some remarkable enlargements. I
    simply don't find it as convenient to use as a P&S ought to be,
    because of the shutter slowness, maddeningly uncertain focus-position
    detente in the release, etc.
    Beyond that, I can only add the general observation, noted over many
    years, that in photo equipment, the real "premium" items do not give
    results differences corresponding to the price differences. But if
    you're a quality freak (I confess to it), that *little bit* of extra
    quality can be worth a lot to you. The manufacturers know that about
    us, and charge "what the market will bear". That's my theory
    anyway. The reason I'm pumping all the T3 owners for info is that I
    have a closet-full of misc. photo junk that I've essentially had to
    buy in order to test (and reject), and my budget won't stand it any
    more.
    Chas.
     
  88. I own both, having picked up a T4 nearly 6 years ago and shot over
    100 rolls of film with it. Even after 5 rolls of film with the T3, I
    can safely make the following comparisons:

    <p>

    The lens is better in all ways on the T3. Its noticeably better at
    the widest aperture,which is very important on a P&S. Virtually all
    flash shots are taken at maximum aperture on P&S cameras, so any
    flash shots with the Yashica are at f3.5-its worst performing
    aperture. There is less distortion on the T3, and there is no corner
    light fall off which can be intense on the Yashica in brightly lit
    shots with a lot of sky in them.

    <p>

    The focus is much more refined and very accurate on the T3. The
    response is very fast-I've never used an AF P&S that is faster. On
    the Yashica, I got many good in focus shots and some randomly out of
    focus for no known reason to me. The T3 has nailed the focus on
    nearly every shot I have taken with it so far. Gives me a confidence
    in using the camera for special shots. The ability to check where it
    has focused on the top plate even adds more to the certainty that the
    image will be in focus.

    <p>

    The flash is more powerful than I thought it would be, and handels
    most indoor stuff when needed just fine. Watch out for the red eye,
    however. Fill flash outside has worked well also.

    <p>

    Feature wise, there is no comparison to the Yashica and T3. To be
    able to choose the aperture and easily set exposure compensation are
    the two biggest selling points to this camera besides the impecable
    optics. The T4 just drove me nuts in any kind of backlit situation--
    you might as well not even take the photo because it will turn out
    underexposed. I use the shutter info in the finder all the time. It
    may not be an exact speed, but it sure is nice to know if you are
    near 1/30 or 1/250, which on most P&S cameras like th Yashica you
    have no idea what it is picking.

    <p>

    I'm glad I bought the T4 and have many treasured images I took with
    it. If the T4 had exposure compensation and a bit faster response
    time, I'd have probably skipped the T3 and have $700 more in my
    checking account. I'll probably give the T4 to my son in a few years
    when he's old enough to start taking photos with something besides a
    disposable.
     
  89. Good information. Thanks. You're absolutely right: the t4 does
    vignette, and everything I've read indicates that the t3's new sonnar
    largely eliminates the problem.
    Also correct is that the t4 does not shine in backlight situations
    where you can't eliminate the bright background with the
    centerweighted metering. The way out is to go with "flash on" and use
    the little flash for fill, and there is probably also a way of getting
    neutral density over the meter sensor, but those are clumsy or
    unpredictable methods. Much better to be able to meter separately on
    a substitute area, or spot-meter the area of prime interest, as you
    can with the T3. I've never had the problem of the t4 misfocussing,
    though. I treat the 3-point AF as single-point, avoiding any
    ambiguity that would allow the camera to "make a decision" for me.
    What is true is that you sometimes get coarse focus rather than fine,
    since the camera has to choose one of its "zones", or stopping-places
    (there are 160, I'm told), and sometimes you are luckier than others
    with fineness of focus: I don't get out-of-focus shots, per se, but
    some are more impressionistic, where others are tack-sharp. Another
    problem is that the T4 IR autofocus seems to crap out in the middle
    distances. Either it's that the zones are fewer out there, or that
    the IR just doesn't reach there - I don't entirely understand how
    the IR AF works. You're OK at infinity with the infinity setting,
    I've found. My way of working with the T4 is to confine myself to
    what it does best - well-illuminated subjects somewhat close in - and
    the results can be stunning, but it's obvious that the T3 eliminates
    many of those limitations and gives you a machine with greater
    versatility and fewer limitations.
    Chas.
     
  90. I just had a message from Heike Maier of Zeiss in Germany
    informing me that the 35/2.8 Sonnar lens for the Contax T3 will
    be profiled in Zeiss's _Camera Lens News_ #15 (next issue).
     
  91. Popular Photography July 2001 issue has a full test report on the new
    Contax T3, with lens resolution figures, at f5.6 and f11, outstanding
    86 lpmm, negligible pincushin distortion, no flare or ghost at any
    apeture. Conclusion: sharpest compact camera POP every tested (
    Pop tested Contax T2, Nikon 35Ti, Minilux ).
    <p> I own and use Contax T2 for nearly ten years. Great camera.
    <p> I like the styling of T2 better than T3. T2 has a classic elegant
    look, very neat, no holes here and there. T3 looks like another
    Canon Elph. I am going to keep my T2.
     
  92. I have a question about the flash synch speed of the T3. Does anyone
    know what it is? I would also like to see some pictures of the flash
    bracket and external flash mounted on the T3 so I can see what I would
    be getting into before laying out that kind of money.
    I haven't recieved my T3 yet but I must admit I am pretty excited to
    be able to back up my M6 with such a nice little P&S.
     
  93. I think the T3 flash sync up to 1/500 sec, as T2
    <p>
     
  94. I have a question concerning the flash too.
    Do the flash goes to slow sync mode when used in aperture priority as
    the GR1 do it? I found the flash settings of my GR1 to be ideal and i
    am wondering if the T3 is as logical/simple on this point. Any
    comment form a former GR1 owner would be great!
     
  95. I would be interested in using the T3 in indoor available light
    situations, often with black and white film. The problem with point
    and shoots (including the posh ones) has been the wide angle ofhe
    meters. The GR1 allowinws some selectiviity. What experience have
    people had with the T3? I'm talking about people photography not the
    insides of big buildings.
     
  96. The POP Photo review ofthe T3 says that in low light it sends out
    a NEAR infared focus assist beam. Is this noticeable? does one see a
    red beam?
     
  97. Rollei Prego 30 note: I purchased a Rollei Prego 30 based on the
    excellent results and sharpness of the slides shot with the Rollei
    Prego 90. The P-30 was smaller, with a fixed fast lens and I hoped
    to have the quality of the P-90. Got results back. Disappointed in
    that the exposures were off (underexposed), and the close focus
    indicator didn't seem to function well. But, the pictures that came
    out were sharp. So I thought it might be worth pursuing. I called
    Rollei and spoke to a tech. He said send the camera in for
    adjustment. Well, I got a call from Carmen, who runs Rollei USA. He
    said, and I quote, the Rollei Prego 30 CANNOT handle the constrained
    latitudes of slide film - it was primarily designed to be used with
    the looser latitude of negative film. There is no way to compensate.
    He offered me a QZ35W at the same cost as B & H, and really wanted to
    make me a happy Rollei customer, but in the end, I have a Prego 30
    past the 14 day return policy for B & H and hoping to make a deal with
    B & H to buy the T3 if they will take the P-30 back. I was very
    curious on anyone's comments on the T3 versus the Ricoh GR-1s
    particularly anyone who has both and can compare. Accuracy of
    metering, close focus, viewfinder. T3 viewfinder is astonishing for
    such a sma
     

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