My final verdict on Leica M vs. Contax G

Discussion in 'Leica and Rangefinders' started by trex|1, Feb 1, 2009.

  1. I have gone back and forth between Leica M and Contax G like a fickle woman for some 11 years now. And the final
    verdict is: meterless Leica M thrashes the motordriven, autofocusing auto metering G soundly.<p>

    A Leica M3 with a hand held meter, and a Zeiss Planar can whip the G's ass. You do your incident reading, and
    boom, you have far more accurate exposure than the Contax could ever achieve, with its ttl cells.<p>

    The finder allows you to observe your subject seamlessly, instead of having to squint through the G's narrow
    finder while making sure to aim the cross hairs in the right place, all the while holding the shutter button to
    lock focus.<p>

    The Leica's silent snick is almost imperceptible to you, never mind your subject, in complete contrast the
    whizzing clicks of the AF, motor drive and shutter cocking of the G.<p>

    I never worry about batteries. The G would almost always run out when I was far from a source for its special
    little batteries.<p>

    The results are what really cinched it. Almost every shot on a roll shot through the Leica is a keeper. With the
    G, I had to throw away half to two thirds because they were out of focus or poorly exposed. Also, the subject is
    always looking at the camera with the G, as there is no way to be inconspicuous with it.<p>

    The G, like the Bessa, and the Hexar RF is a fatally flawed attempt at replacing the M. I can only assume that
    the manufacturers of these cameras are in such awe of the Leica they do not dare to mount a successful challenge,
    for fear of toppling their god. There is no doubt they could, if they so chose.<p>
  2. My first attempt at anything rangefinder-ish was a Contax G2 and that experience almost put me of rangefinders completely. There were a lot a aspects I really liked about the camera and I have taken some great photos with it - I had the 28mm, 45mm and 90mm lenses. However, for me, what eventually determined this camera's fate for me was 1) the very small pokey viewfinder, 2) no positive confirmation of "what" you had actually focused on, and 3) even in manual focus mode, there was significant delay between the lens moving into position and actually firing.

    With the move to Leica M, I've never looked back. With an M6 TTL and a takup spool modified M2, I prefer the M2 any day. It just does exactly what I tell it to do, when I tell it to do it. And actually, for the way I shoot, I find the manual focus aspect faster than using the G2. The battery-less aspects are of a far lesser concern to me as I also use a Bessa R2A, but I will concede that even that body is no Leica. I love shooting film, with no interest in digital, and for close candid documentary style work the Leica M just becomes an extension of you. YMMV
  3. Well, I am amazed! If the M thrashes the G so soundly, why did it take you 11 years to find out? This sounds to me more like a resolution of cognitive dissonance as we psychologists say. In other words the difference isn't that obvious but once you come down on one side or the other then it was obvious all along! Neither the Bessa nor the Hexar RF (a very fine camera) were attempts to replace the M. They are different. In fact a case could be made that the M7 was an attempt to replace the RF with its autoexposure setting. The RF has a noisy mechanism but is as well made as a Leica. I have an RF, a Bessa, an M6 and an M8, and I use whichever suits me on the day. I have never had a technical problem with the RF or the Bessa (unlike with the M7 I got rid of).
  4. I have Bessas and Leicas, and it's usually the Bessa that goes with me when I head out the door with a rangefinder (an R2A to be specific). The Bessa certainly isn't "fatally flawed." What religious nonsense.
  5. 'Fatally flawed'? A £100 Bessa T does the same job as an MP, it just sounds a bit louder and will probably break if you drop it. Thing is, you can buy over ten of them for the same cost, spend the rest on lenses, take more than one body for colour, black and white, all good. How can a thing that opens a hole when you click a button be 'fatally flawed' as long as it does that...?
    Oh, and the light meter indicator on the Bessa T is not, like the MP, inside the viewfinder, BUT you can see it when using the viewfinder. You can shoot from the hip with correct exposure without raising the camera to your eye. Is that a 'fatal flaw' in the MP :)
  6. If I did not know better, I would say the OP's post was obvious trolling, since it is very inflamatory, very one-eyed and contains so much clear nonsense...
  7. "I can only assume that the manufacturers of these cameras are in such awe of the Leica they do not dare to mount a successful challenge, for fear of toppling their god."
    It's more likely that other companies want to be profitable. Leica has been bleeding money for years.
  8. Funny stuff.
  9. If you look at Darius's posts over the years, his ratio of camera owned/pictures taken is probably the highest of anyone on PN. I'd take this opinion with a very large grain of salt. FWIW, I've owned both an M and the G, and my opinion is exactly the reverse. And I even take pictures with my cameras.
  10. If you know how to use a Leica M and don't know how to use a Contax G, not even how to autofocus properly (and haven't learned in 11 years), chances are that the photos taken with the Leica will be better, that's for sure.
  11. I have: Leica M2, Leica CL, Bessa R3A, Contax G1, with a lot of lenses, and everyone does a special job, you can not mixture apples and pears. Actually you can enjoy advantage of any, when you need silent shot you will take M2, when you need fast reaction and hip shot you will take CL, when you want compose and have a time to take a shot you will go for Bessa, and when you need clean, cold sharp shot, and you know that AF will not affect the qualitty you will go for Contax. I love them all at the same level. Never find any need to get a final verdict. Love them all with their weakness and strong points.
  12. I use a Bessa and have been vaguely thinking about buying a G2 for a while - I wouldn't consider either to be an "attempt at replacing the M" any more than chalk is a replacement for cheese - or vice versa.
    Steven, isn't there some sort of anti-inflamatory ointment available nowadays? ;-)
  13. The G is a fraudulent rangefinder wannabe. Expensive P&S is what it is. Small VF, no focus confirmation on exactly what you focused on, and the 90mm lens DOES hunt for focus in low light situations and make you miss shots. That's unacceptable to a serious shooter. Can't hold a candle to a Leica M for reliability. And yes, I've owned both for several years and in the end stuck with Leica. Try and have your electronic G repaired in say 3 years and let me know how you made out. Those are the cold, hard facts people.
  14. How does this photo taken with my lowly rated Minilux with the f2.4 Summarit look?
  15. It's an almost inviolate rule that people whose keen taste causes them to complain the loudest about any piece of equipment have the fewest photos to show. I wonder why that is.
  16. Maybe they don't have a scanner, or don't have one that'll do their photos justice.... Maybe they don't want to spend even more hours at a computer... Maybe they're just an analog guy in a digital world and hate sitting in front of a screen... Maybe they do enough of that at work... Maybe they don't have a need to hear praise from strangers they know nothing about? Just a few possibilities...
  17. Oh God, I have been waiting a long time to say this in a forum of folks who understand. I have been photographing for decades. I take it from shutter release to hanging the print that I sold. I have made images with many different brands from 35mm to 8x10. I learned the hard way a long time ago that Fred Picker was right when he said, "When shooting 35, take a Leica and a Nikon. That way, when one breaks down, you always have the Nikon. I got rid of my Leica stuff(both R and M) a long time ago when I took the time to accurately compare it to Nikon and Contax. They all looked fine, especially when printed up to 11x14, 12x18 full frame, or 16x20. In fact, they all looked practically the same. I now use only Nikon 35 & digital, Contax 645, and 8x10.
  18. I never heard that quote from Fred Picker. Almost fell off my chair laughing. Take THAT, you Leica snobs!
    Alas, I have not learned my lesson yet; I am still shooting both Leica and Nikon.
    Oh, and Contax G too, even though the AF inaccuracy sometimes drives me crazy.
  19. Rick, that Fred Picker quote can be found somewhere deep within one of his Zone VI Newsletter issues from the 1980's and 90's. You sound like a regular good photographer who does not belong to the Leica Hysterical Society. Enjoy your pics!
  20. Who cares how you want to label G1, your labels have nothing to with the pictures it takes. The G1 with the wonderful Contax Lenses, particularly the 35 can take fabulous photos. The auto focus seems pretty fast, but like all auto-focus can miss, just like manual focus can. If you can't get great photos with the G1, I doubt it's the camera's fault. I am just borrowing my friends, while she uses my M7. All I can say is her pictuers vouch for themselves. I'll see what I get out of it.
  21. Given this is predominantly a Leica forum, it makes sense that many would come here to glorify their Leicas while trashing another camera. Differences in operation, differences in quirks aside, the Contax G and those superb Zeiss lenses can hold their own against any Leica M. The OP's findings are his opinion only and hold no more weight than my opinion...using the G2 since '96, the Leica M6 & M7 along the way. What am I still using? The Contax. The G's metering is dead accurate, and if you ran out of batteries during a jaunt, you can blame no one but yourself. Enjoy your Leica, say what you will about the G, and life goes on, your rant forgotten. :)
  22. They're both excellent camera systems. I prefer the imaging of Leitz glass, but have some stellar shots w/ the G lenses as well. In color some might say the Contax lenses are superior. Some G cameras have trouble focusing, but I learned to sell those and buy another that would focus dependably. The meters are not that good and there's a knack to finding the metering pattern, but once you do it meters ok. Both are small and inconspicuous. I used to fret over the G's focusing noise until I handed the camera to my wife and realized that I couldn't hear it unless I was right next to the camera. The viewfinders are no contest. M wins handily. But for system compatibility nothing beats the Leica, and when it comes to the pleasure of using the camera, again it's in the Leica's favor.
  23. What an odd thread...
    I have an use Leica M, would not trade it for the world. But if someone told me I *had* to get a great image with this G2 thingy, I'm sure I could manage.
    Life's too short for this crud, either you are a photographer or you are a gear head.
  24. Almost ten years ago, I think, before I had bought my Leica M6, I walked in to look around at one of my few local camera stores that sold the good stuff. They are closed now unfortunately. They had Leica M and the new Contax G. I had never handled either one, but I picked up a Conxax G brochure that boasted of how superior it was to the M. I still have the brochure. Even at the time, without having ever handled an M, I saw that it was an absurd comparison. Perhaps my perceptions were just proof of my prior biases about equipment before I even got the Leica. Point is that Contax tried to characterize the Leica M as "old" and obsolete and outdated technology. Nice try. They tried to tout the AF on the Contax as an improvement, and I admit I was already cynical of that. I have to think that Contax's error was to try to make such a direct comparison because I imagine, not having used one, that the Contax is a fine camera in its own right. The Leica M defines its own niche, and only Zeiss has offerred a fair competitor to it in the modern age, and my impression is that the Zeiss offers admirable characteristics to tempt those on a budget, but it still isn't built like a brick house like the Leica.
  25. Hey Mark, I remember Contax's drool inducing brochures, which touted the fondlabilty of Contax. I don't mind what they were trying to do, but it was the fatal flaws in the execution of their plan that bothered me. It's frustrating to see a company with so many resources and so much money and talent and engineering prowess, drop the ball so badly.<p>

    There are a number of flaws in the design of the G1 and the improved G2. The first was the finder from hell, the second was the lack of a useable manual focus override, and the third the dependence on hard to find batteries. The G cameras, quite simply, are not practical cameras.<p>

    Maybe, as seems to be the case from your recall of that brochure, Kyocera were just drunk on their own capability. For some strange reason, they could not look at the camera objectively and make the necessary changes. Then when Cosina came along they failed as well. <p>

    I don't know why so many people are allergic to criticizing these makers. It's all true, so why bother getting all worked up? <p>

    Wouldn't it be great if someone made a 21st century upgrade to the M? And got it right?
  26. I don't have anything to add to the comparisons or anything... but looking through the G's crappy VF made me cancel my intended purchase... didn't take 11 years. (I know the lenses are good and that you can take great photos with the G... I just didn't feel like I had to...)
  27. You can pick them up for a pittance here in Tokyo, and I often do. The lenses are sharper than a foxbat out of hell, and the titanium exoskeleton is to die for. The main reason I wrote this post though, was that I was so surprised how much better my shots were with a meterless totally manual M3, so I wanted to share.
  28. I never used a G of any kind so I won't comment on that. I'm only recently entered the Leica club with an M6 classic, but after having used manual (FE2) and automatic (F100) Nikons for quite some time, I can really appreciate the simplicity and singularity of purpose that the Leica possesses. I'll guess that that's one of the points that Darius is trying to make (vs. the Contax) and if so, it's one of the more valid ones IMHO. Getting rid of all the automation - even AP auto - and getting down to the most basic of basics is really liberating once you get the feel for it. Heck, even my M6 isn't as basic as the M3, albeit, I'm finding myself depending less and less on the little red arrows.
    That whole "extension of the eye and hand" thing really rings a bell with the Leica and I don't know of any other camera with so few features, each designed and executed so well. I'm not, nor do I intend to become a Leica evangelist - even though I'll tell anyone who asks what a great camera it is - but I will say that once I got everything that was not absolutely essential out from in front of my eyeball, I started to see the photos that I was trying to make all along. That's without even mentioning the superior optics and the host of other plus column points that come along with the moniker.
    I'm gonna jump the tracks a little here and comment on one more thing that I like about the Leica's simplicity. At it's most sophisticated, metering in a [film] Leica consists of a little white dot painted on the shutter curtain, a little CDS cell circuit and a couple of lights in the finder. That's it. I've never heard any photog with minimal experience (or brains) say that they can't manage good exposures with this elegant little device. I get such a kick out of the thought that anyone really thinks they need 492 segment, multi-color, phased array, super synchronous, master computer database scene coupled metering when one can easily, with a very little bit of practice, guess exposure in almost any situation within a stop - give or take, or at worst, should you shoot with an M2, 3, or 4, just get a little bitty handheld meter to check yourself against the back of your hand once in a while. Failing that, bracket a little, but if you think you need all that advanced technology to get your f-stop right, you're just justifying all those marketing and engineering dollars that the big guys are spending to get you to buy their latest and greatest. I'm really sorry if the above amounts to nothing more than a snobby sounding rant, but that whole metering thing in these new cameras really gets my goat! I can maybe see a high pressure White House PJ, who only gets one, split second crack at the right exposure - and I'll bet even he can guess and get it right - but anyone else? ...that's all I have to say about that... Get a Leica, dispense with all the unnessesary and counter-intuitive technology and start making real pictures.
  29. I have a contax g2 with heliar 15mm/4.5 modified by zoerk,21/28/35/45/90 zeiss lenses and a m6 titanium with 21 asph and 75 summilux.Sooner or Later I'll buy a 35 'lux asph (1800 euro used?).I have to say that the contax g2 is faster (af and AE and a really faster motor) smaller and lighter.The leica is more "classical"camera with a much better finder but slower to use and very expensive!!!For i.e. the 21mm elmarit asph (2400 euro+ very expensive lense for me) flares much more than my biogon 21mm(paid 600/700 euro new!)and the planar 45 is a great performer (paid 700 euro new with the new g2 body) maybe better than a classical summicron 50/2 I tried!just two diffent ways......
  30. While I appreciate the assessment of the Contax G series, you are off the mark when you say that Bessa is a M replacement. It's not a replacement, they are taking a position in a different part of the market....the entry level. Nikon doesn't try to get you into the "Nikon system" by selling you a D3X... they start with the D40.
    It's really what Leica should have done years ago. They kinda tried it with the CL but they should have licensed their M mount to other manufacturers.
    As for that Fred Parker quote, although it is funny, it should be reversed. I use a 45 year old M3 that's been in my family since new. It's never broken down.
  31. When the Contax G first came out I read a lot of positive reviews. So I went to a camera store to check it out for myself. I picked one up, took one look through that peep-hole viewfinder, and set it down again with the remark that it was one viewfinder short of being a worthwhile camera.
    I don't shoot film these day, but if I did, it would be with my Leica M3 and its wonderful viewfinder.
  32. Next up: 1989 Toyota Corolla vs 1989 Honda Civic - the final verdict.
  33. How does this photo taken with my lowly rated Minilux with the f2.4 Summarit look?
    Like every other 283 x 418 jpg on the Internet, only less interesting.
  34. Very weak analogy Mark. Is that really the best you can do? A better analogy would be a 1950s Mercedes SL versus a 1995 Honda NSX. But you get the prize for most informative posting.....
  35. A better analogy would be a 1950s Mercedes SL versus a 1995 Honda NSX.​
    The NSX any day of the year.
    I often carry and use a G1. Many have complained about viewfinder on the G bodies, but this really misses the point. An argument can be made that the G viewfinder is superior because the framing is about the most precise available on a RF body.
    The G1, however, is deeply flawed in that the auto focus performance is lacking. The AF can actually focus faster than I can line up a RF patch, and it has trouble focusing on the same white wall that I do. Unfortunately, this isn't good enough. The AF needed to be superhuman because this camera design philosophy relegated manual operations to second class status - the automation needed to be flawless.
    By the way, on the SL and NSX analogy, a more apt comparison is probably the Leica M to the Canon EOS-3. And yes, the EOS-3 any (well, most) days...
  36. I shot with G2 and 3 lenses for the past 11 years, too, and with M3 + Lux 50 for the past 4 years. Each camera has its advantages and disadvantages, but I still keep both and recently bought Zorki-C with Industar-22 just for fun. They are all different and give different pictures due to different lenses. The process of shooting is very different with all 3 cameras.
    Sometimes I miss the focus with G2, too, but M3 is a bit slower to use. Right, G2 is a sofisticated P&S and M3 is a precision tool but who cares as soon and with either of them one is able to get excellent results.
  37. And, Darius, it never occured to you that you just didn't know HOW to use the Contax G? Certain people just aren't meant to go with certain cameras. And it's very rarely the camera's fault. After all, this is one of the forums where you will more often read the classic «It's not the gear, it's the photographer.» I don't know, I've had a G2 for a few years, and I never had an out of focus or badly exposed photo. And I could make mediocre images with it as well as with my Leica M. No more, no less.
  38. I don't know why people call the G series "Rangefinders' It would be far more accurate to refer to "Interchangeable lens AF Compact". The Leica M series does have classic status, but the system is VASTLY overpriced for what you get. They are a satisfying camera to hold and use. But the acid test of any camera is - can it take a good photograph? Undoubtably - but only as good as the photographer pressing the shutter release!!!!! - which goes for any camera you care to mention. Bottom line, use the tool you find personally best for you and get out, take some great pictures! Oh and just to add to the controversy, if Konica had taken up the Hexar range in anger, I personally believe it would have flattened the Leica. I owned one and sold it - and I now wish I hadn't, it was undoubtably one of the best 35mm cameras I have ever owned.
  39. The G is not a rangefinder camera.
  40. I'm a Leica user for many year who took a foray into the Contax G. I shot one event where the focus was way off on almost every shot with the G. Of course, I had no way of knowing at the time until I saw the negatives. I sent it off to New Jersey, and when it came back, it worked well. But I had lost confidence in the camera. Never again would I use it in a situation where I had to get the shot. Too bad, because the lenses were superb. Now you can get the lenses modified to fit the Leica M. But most of my shooting now is with the Canon DSLR system.
  41. Darius Jedburg
    Thanks for posting your analogy. I always wondered about my G1 but was never quite sure what to make of it. It took nice photos if I did my part but that required a bit of effort from me, sloth that I am. But after reading your post I saw the light so tonight threw my G1 with 35/2 (my only G1 lens) in the trash can. Finally I am free of a camera that doesn't do anything well but capture contrasty colorful nicely saturated high resolution shots on chrome.
  42. I think that you have to respect the difference between the two cameras. For lens quality there is lille to choose but the leica has a better range of lenses. If you want to take action shots e.g. ice hockey or ski racing the G2 is the better camera (AF and a motor) but you reakly should be using an SLR for this purpose. For manual shots the Leica is the best bet (MF on a G2 is terrible and the camera is best left in aperture priority with exposure comp or AEB). There are places where the G2 beats the Leica or any SLR in my experience. If you want to take shots while rock climbing (and using one hand to belay) the G2 has it over an SLR or Leica. For candid shots when not putting the camera to the eye and attracting attention the G2 is better (but how often do you do this). Put simply the G2 is (as was stated) an expensive point and shoot. But as the owner (co-owner with my wife) of two that is great with me. The camera takes great shots - I am sure that no-one on this forum can tell the difference between a G2 shot and a Leica shot. It may not have the same purity of purpose as the Leica and rely on a lot of electronics but you have to admit it takes fine photographs. I often hear about the AF issues but I have never had an issue with the G2. So long as you give it a good edge to focus on it is rapid and in focus - but does not compare to a Canon 1 series. I think Darius misses the point with his metering comment - of course an handheld incident light meter will beat the G2 meter - so what you can use one with the G2. Indeed the G2 meter beats the M3 meter (which since it doesn't have one is sunny F16). I wonder if Darius is a competent photographer as I rarely throw away a G2 image for Af or exposure. Indeed my wife who is not a photographer gets about 90% keepers with the G2 and her main issue is the viewfinder where she does not frame well (this is one area where the Leica clearly beats the G2). All of this misses the point which is a camera is about the pictures and there is no camera that excells for all purposes - each machine is a trade off. My Fuji GX680III takes great images with an incident light meter - all of which are superior to the Leica (the lenses are of similar quality and the 6x8 image is better than a 35mm one). The Fuji also has a better viewfinder - especially with an F3.2 lens, and even has full front lens movement. The point is "SO WHAT" the Fuji weight 10lbs, needs a tripod and the mirror vibration is such that you have to lock it up before shooting. There is nothing wrong with the G2 - it is a fine camera with great lenses. You may not like the trade off's they have made and that is also fine. The point is that the G2 takes great photographs - if you cannot do so then this is no fault of the camera. We all have personal preferences and I can understand why many people prefer an M series to the G2 but this does not make the G2 a bad camera and compared to Leica it is a bargain (KEH has the 90mm F2.8 in LN- for $126, compared to between $800 and $1400 for the Leica F2.5/F2.8 alternative).
  43. Philip Roberts
    >> Oh and just to add to the controversy, if Konica had taken up the Hexar range in anger, I personally believe it would have flattened the Leica. I owned one and sold it - and I now wish I hadn't, it was undoubtably one of the best 35mm cameras I have ever owned. <<
    I cannot agree more !
    I still have mine and currently use M-Hexanon, Leica and Voigtlaänder lenses on it ! ...
    The Hexar RF had almost everything the M7 missed, and the M7 had all what the Hexar RF missed!
    A very strange situation about which a certain E Putts once gave an explanation : originallay it was envisaged by Leica and Konica to begin a joint venture to produce a new AE pro level rangefinder. The negotiation broke for an unspecified reason and eaxh would be partners developped their own product.
    But had Konica really seased the opportunity to develop their model, correcting some flawed features (like the x0.6 only finder magnification) and the inhability to wind the film and re(-arm manually and silently and have added a more modern metering system (Matrix metering in AE mode, true spotmetering in manual mode for example and TTL flash) while keeping the price of the body as affordable as it was it would have been an M7 killer.
    Times were to turn to the dominance of digital photography and no one was really in a position to produce a truly efficient DRF as the many shortcomings of the M8 unfortunately demonstrates, moreover at a reasonable price.
    So Konica abandonned the model... for more profitable domains.
    For film lovers, the Zeiss Ikon alternative seems to a far better alternative choice to a Leica M than any other candidate... I agree by the way the Contax G is nothing more than a glorified compact camera with interchangeable lens and not a true rangefinder. Even if its lenses are far above the average in terms of IQ.
    Even with a bad AF (I have no personal experience with the Contax G), I sincerly doubt taking an incident reading on a hand held meter and tranferring the indications manually on an M3 can be faster than a TTL reading, including the eventaul compensation. The metering is most probably extremely accurate (if the situation allows, which is not ever the case with incident metering) but if the subject went away before the end of the operation, who cares about a perfectly acucrate metering !
    I use hand held meter and incident reading to, but hardly when I use a small format camera... Generally this is reserved to my MF system when used on a tripod.
    Beside, unless you have an old selenium meter, you are as dependent on batteries for the hand held meter as you are for a camera with TTL metering if you want more than a "guesstimation" under the sunny 16 rule. Contax G are dependent on hard to find batteries, the Hexar RF is not (nor to my knowledge the M6 or the M7).
    Sadly, for someone active in the professional use of images, digital photography is nowadays almost a prerequisite. So this kind of comparison has become almost meaningless.
    I'm going to sell almost all my film gear (but for sentimental reason my Rolleiflex F), including the Hexar RF and all the lenses to go with it...
    I'd only whished I could have found a true digital successor for my RF lenses, built like a tank, full format and having all the present DSLR features related to the rangefinder concept for a decent price...
    But I'm going to the DSLR world and I'm afraid there will be no turning back...
    Times are changing.
  44. Hi all, many thanks to all of you for taking the time to reply to my post. I would like to reply, but my kid has definitively rendered my keyboard in-op!! So, when I get the chance, I hope to reply later.
  45. You guys are to serious.
  46. I agree by the way the Contax G is nothing more than a glorified compact camera with interchangeable lens and not a true rangefinder.​
    Would you say that a Nikon F6 is not a SLR because it has AF?
    The G is a range finder. The mechanism works on the same principles as any manually focused RF camera ever made. It just so happens that the focusing loop is closed by machine (however unfortunate not one very well implemented.)
    In any case, this is almost irrelevant. One distinguishing feature of the G is simply that it's not a SLR. The lack of a mirror box and reflex mirror subjects it to the same set of design advantages as basically any RF camera. This is what truly matters, and by significant measure accounts for the high performance of some G system optics.
    As for batteries, CR123 is hardly difficult to find. It's not AA-cheap, but how can anyone whine about this triviality on a camera as imminently fondle-able as the G?
  47. >> Would you say that a Nikon F6 is not a SLR because it has AF?
    Sorry Robert, but it is an SLR because though the AF is deemed to focus automatically there is a mirror, and a ground glass to observe the image as transmitted through the lens.
    Keep the AF, suppress the mirror and the ground glass and add an external accessory finder, and it is no more a reflex.
    Will you call it a rangefinder camera because the AF principle is a sort of rangefinder ?
    The G is a range finder. The mechanism works on the same principles as any manually focused RF camera ever made. It just so happens that the focusing loop is closed by machine (however unfortunate not one very well implemented.) <<
    In the strict acception of the term rangefinder (and not rangefinder camera) your 100% right...
    However, there is absolutely no logic in using the classic "two windows" external rangefinder system as the base of an AF camera... This is proven time and again by a lot of compacts.
    The beauty of a true rangefinder camera concept is to allow a very precise MANUAL focusing on the subject which is neither as subjective as the manual focusing on a ground glass nor to the technical limitations (and the stupidity regarding the point of the subject to be precisely focused) of an AF system, which will fail (though generally this has been considerably improved in recent years) just when its help will be of the greatest importance (low light, low contrast). Even the remarkable 51 points AF of the latest Nikon pro DSLR's (the best on the market today) is still submitted to these limitations.
    So IMHO the very concept of the G was doomed from the beginning. It has neither the mechanical simplicity of an AF compact nor the still superior precision of a manual focusing rangefinder. By the way, I sincerly doubt the multipoint AF currently in use in modern DSLR's is transferable to a rangefinder camera. So the iteration of such a camera is more than improbable.
    >> As for batteries, CR123 is hardly difficult to find. <<
    >>> The G would almost always run out when I was far from a source for its special little batteries. <<< (Darius Jedburg)
    I repeat : I'm not and was never a G owner... As far as the battery availability is concerned, I just take into account what a user said.
    I don't think they are as easy to find anywhere as AA or AAA ones... Neither my Hexar RF batteries are. But for me battery dependence is a non-issue anyway. Just keep a spare lot (or more) in the bag and nothing can really stops you.
  48. Yeah, as if the RF on any Leica never goes out of alignment and is always 100% accurate. The same goes for the cam and helicoid of Leica lenses, albeit a little less so.
    The truth is, whether it is manual RF, SLR or what-not, focusing accuracy depends on the entire focus system which consist of many parts. Some people have "back focus" problems with their Canon 5D(II) /50L/ 85L as well. Does that mean the Canon isn't an SLR and/or without proper "focus confirmation"?
    Any type of camera can mis-focus, but more often than not, the cause is user error.
    Simply put, the Contax G comes from a wrong manufacturer. That is why it is repeatedly called a P&S with a "pitiful finder" when it does not even have a Program mode, and when Barnacks have far worse finders. It's the same reason why the Leica M is also never maligned for its finder in comparison with the Zeiss Ikon.
  49. My post was mainly just me saying that through my subjective experience, the "battle of the giants," if you will, has been won, and the winner is the most basic Leica, the meterless M3 (well, it actually has the most complex RF mechanism, which is just gravy, on the cake).<p>

    Like I said, I gave the G system many chances, I have owned a number of G1s and G2s, precisely because they are such beguiling cameras. For what I paid for my M3, and the 50mm Planar lens, I could buy a G2, a 45, 28, 35, 90 and 21mm lens and accessory finder, so there must be something really good about the M3 to make me keep it, and turn down the option of a huge very complete G system, instead.<p>

    Those factors are, silence, very clear VF which disappears when I am shooting, sure and fail-safe manual focus, freedom from battery dependence. The fact that a 50 year old design is in terms of usability light years ahead of the latest technological wizardry of the Contax says a lot to me. <p>

    It says that the modern camera manufacturers are still missing something. Maybe a design philosophy that really works. Maybe they don't realise how overdependent they are on technology.<p>

    In any trade, one works as an apprentice to a master craftsman, one learns from the master and tries to improve on the master. I would think that as the acknowledged master of rangefinder cameras, the Leica M would be the one to beat. So, why is it that when these companies take on Leica, and try and make a modern version they sometimes miss part of the picture, or almost all of it?<p>

    Where the Leica was silent, the Contax, relying on gears and motors is noisy. While focusing with the Leica is a simple matter of quickly turning the lens and matching up two images (like fire and forget), leaving one free to focus on composition, the Contax forces one to target something, hoping it has enough contrast to lock the camera's AF, then hold a button, while the lens is extended, try and recompose, go through all this malarky, which will all be lost if you let your finger be released from the button, and then in the process be so distracted by the contortions necessary to just focus, that one is focused on operating the camera and not on the subject or composition.<p>

    Where the Leica essentially disappears between the photographer and her subject, the Contax makes its presence impossible to ignore, and insists you devote yourself to controlling it. To me the user interface is not that different to an infra red remote control. You point it at something and press a button. The thing that is so frustrating is that it is a non SLR, so it is compact, has incredible lenses, and is beautifully built. It is probably tougher than a Leica. But it failed in execution.<p>

    Sometimes designers get things right. The Apple computer, or the Mazda Miata, or Google. And sometimes things just spin completely out of control. Sure, I am a critic, but shouldn't we all be? <p>

    It drives me nuts to see my country pouring trillions of dollars down the drain every year on expensive weapons systems which are of no use to anyone. This is something that is clear as day, if you stop and take a look. Those trillions could have been used to build schools, or infrastructure, but were instead stolen, and the people sold a bill of goods they and their grandchildren will be paying for years. I am not trying to get a political argument going here, but I think it is worth having a critical eye. Of course this is not absolutely the case with the Contax. It is a great little camera, and if you like it, use it all the time and get great photos, well, more power to you. I am not trying to take away your joy.<p>

    I was merely making a subjective observation. I think my critique is legitimate, but it does not invalidate the Contax. I am only frustrated that such obvious changes, or implementations of features were not made. It's frustrating to see people with a lot of resources at their disposal, dropping the ball. But then, I do not know what I would do, if I suddenly had all kinds of resources and could launch such a project myself. Maybe it is like writer's block.<p>

    I think, though, that we need to protect Leica and its heritage. Leica is a precious treasure in the world of photography. The big Japanese companies are aggressive and continually bring out new technological wonders, but really among the cameras produced by Japan, since the 1950s can you find one that really stands out? I can't.<p>

    I think the real issue, for people like me, that tend to get caught up in this kind of debate, is that there is a fear that the "craft" side of making cameras could be lost. That's the bottom line. The Japanese strengths, which are what killed the German industry, and what made Japan such a winner, are incredible teamwork, and fanatical attention to detail. This enables the Japanese to churn out endless new models of cars, cameras, you name it, that are all made to incredible tolerance, and feature incredibly complex engineering, brought to market very quickly. But, like so much, here in Japan, something is "lost in translation." They copy the Leica, but something is missing. It is like someone has made an incredible facsimile of the original, but forgotten or lost some underlying principle.<p>

    The very fact that I am raking a Japanese company, that has done so many incredible things over the coals, is itself very Japanese. This nitpicking on some small mistake. Of course we should acknowledge Contax for singlehandedly starting the rangefinder rennaisance, and say, what a great job. But don't you think it woudl be even better like this?

    More later.
  50. I worked at a photo lab that did dip and dunk processing back in the day (1998-2001). And we compared the M6 vs. the G2 and found that the image quality was the same. In some cases the G2 was more saturated in color. But they were just as sharp.
    I still use my G2 at weddings all the time. Once you have mastered (gotten used to) the autofocus I think its faster to use then my Nikon F100 or Cannon Eos 1n. Or a D300 for that matter. The autofocus on the G2 is amazing. The viewfinder does suck though...
    I've found that using a M6 can be a major burden while shooting weddings. Getting that roll of film in there can be a pain. I probably got more out of focus shots, and its not "quick" like the G2. The G2 is a rocket, and a very unique camera, there will probably never be another like it. I always have it on my side with the cool little TTL flash, 35 f/2, and a roll of 400 b+w while I'm shooting whatever monster Nikon I'm using at a wedding. The images out of the G2 look incredible.
    And I rarely run out of battery power. It seems to go forever on those little CR-2's.
    I dissagree with the poser on this issue. The image quality and the speed of those little cameras are too excellent to be slammed.
  51. Hey Matt,

    Great to hear that you got it working for you. Maybe I will pick another G2 up at some point...

    Oh, and who are you calling a "poser!!!?" ; )
  52. >>>the "battle of the giants," if you will, has been won<<<
    Darius, this battle really never took place. Only in your imagination. :)
  53. Valery, you too exist only in my imagination, along with the entirety of space time, OJ Simpson, George Bush, the Pacific Ocean, and Kool-Aid. Can't be helped.
  54. Darius, could you please post one picture? Just one that that illustrates your point?
  55. Personally I have always gotten fantastic results with the G2. I bought the G1 when it first came out, and found the AF wanting, but I gave the G2 a try and to me it's incredible.
  56. I have been using an M3 for 15 years, and I have just ordered a used G1 with three lenses. I am interested in the lenses and not in the camera. I am not deciding between which camera (Mr vs. G1) to use. Both cameras will be used, as they have different lenses. I only own vintage lenses for the M3, whereas the G1 has more modern Zeiss lenses. This was the only reason why I considered the G1. I am not worried about its AF quirks. There are some useful threads on how to focus correctly. It would have been easier for me if there had been an easy to use and accurate AF system and/or easy to use manual focusing possible.
    It is interesting that such a trashing of the G1/G2 system caused so many responses here. I would not worry about such threads and continue to use what you have liked to use so far.
  57. Any thread that starts with My Final Verdict on... just makes me chuckle
  58. Sp, I think it would be more useful if he posted a scan of a contact sheet made with the G body, you know, the one where 36 out-of-focus people are looking at him because of the noise his camera made.
  59. Or, if he prefers Andy, the contact sheet from his Leica with "almost every shot on a roll shot...a keeper".
  60. "but really among the cameras produced by Japan, since the 1950s can you find one that really stands out?"
    Nikon F series, Canon F1, Canon EOS 1, Olympus OM-4, Olympus Pen F, Minolta XD-11, Pentax Spotmatic.
    Each of these cameras showed distinctive and innovative design.
  61. "It drives me nuts to see my country pouring trillions of dollars down the drain every year on expensive weapons systems which are of no use to anyone." Darius, will you still be saying that when Iran's rockets are falling on western Europe, Israel, and the U.S.?

    The greed of individuals are more shameful then the weapons we build.
  62. Darius, below please find a piece you may find useful for your focussing needs, I saved it on my computer 5 years ago (I deleted 1st part of e-mail address of the author to save her from spam):
    Meryl Arbing (
    Заголовок:Re: Feeling uneasy about Contax G
    Группы новостей
    I am not sure which G2 you were using but on mine I manually focus all the
    time. When I set the camera to manual focus, a focus scale appears in the
    viewfinder which tells me exactly whether I am in focus; focusing behind the
    subject or in front of the subject. I know exactly which direction to turn
    the focus wheel and when I have locked on. I don't worry about it. It is the
    same system as I have on my Contax RX SLR which is a manual ONLY focus
    Including the old co-incident manual focusing would interfere with the
    motors moving the lenses since those manual focus setups actually move the
    lens as they are focusing. This would be quite a complex camera. On the
    other hand, it is no longer an option for a photographer not to understand
    how to use an AF system. Sure thaere are some people who resist technical
    advances. My grandmother would never think of getting into an airplane...she
    would take the train. There are those who don't use a computer, they stick
    with their typewriter. You have to know how to use both Auto and Manual
    Not only can I manually focus with the G2 but I frequently set the lens to
    its hyperfocal distance when I am out shooting on the street. I see hands
    waving frantically to remind me that the G lenses don't have DOF marks on
    them to set hyperfocal distance. This is true but it also is irrelevant. For
    example, if I mount my 28/f2.8 lens, all I have to remember is f8 and 5m...I
    set the manual focus to 5 metres and the aperture to f8 and everything from
    1.9m to inf is in focus. For the 45/f2 it is f8 and 10m. Not so hard to
    The G2 has a 4fps motor drive which is quite an advantage over manual film
    advance cameras. Also the G2's aperture priority mode must have something
    going for it or it would not have made its appearance on the new Leica M7.
    In the end, there is no need to be uneasy about the G2. There isn't anything
    that you can't do with this camera and...most important... the pictures you
    get are exceptional.
  63. hey all you contax ninnies, all a-twitter about your silly little camera, Leica rules the roost!
  64. I would post the shots but they are all pretty intimate, and I am not a big fan of spilling family images all across the internet. Having said that, I shot a friends concert recently, in incredibly difficult conditions for a non metered camera, and when I get the results I will scan some and post them. I remember doing a similar shot with the G1 or G2 and it was really hard to get any decent shots.
  65. opps! poser and poster are too close, i should review my postings carefully! sorry dude!
    another thing i dig about the g2 is the focus lock button on the back of the camera. i was at a wedding this summer that was outside, and it was so dark out i couldn't see the subjects through the viewfinder. this was a problem even with my f-100 which has a huge viewfinder. i had to use the red beam on the flash to get a focus with the nikon, and this is annoying. but with the g2 it doesn't shoot out beam of light, the active autofocus is dead on and all the images were in focus. i eventually just ended up using this and shooting much of the reception in b+w and the results were gorgeous.
    when i'm shooting and i ditch the nikon monster with the huge flash and battery booster and massive 24-70 2.8 and just carry the g2 i feel so free. i can get those photojournalist shots easier without an intimidating camera.i wish there was a way to use the 28 or 22 with a flash but you need the viewfinder in the hot shoe. the 35 f/2 is so perfect though. distortion free, razor sharp, and with a tiny little flash that's surprisingly powerfull. i wish there was a way to boost the flash though for speed.
    i don't think i could get those quick shots with a flash and critcal focus in the dark with an M6.
    one more thing. both camera's break if dropped! my friend has a m6 that he dropped while it was in the camera bag. (one of those tiny tamrac bags) and the winder broke. my assistant dropped my g2 and the 90mm needs to be fixed. it works most of the time but it will freeze at will for no reason. so i don't use it anymore.
  66. Darius,
    I wrote this short article on transitioning from M to G, about 9 years ago:
    Not long after, I sold my G2 and stuck with Leica M... Personal preference is all it is.
  67. Darius,I'm sorry, I get it now. Those subjects you can't focus on and who are startled by your loud G2 camera are your family.
    Which raises a troubling new question:are you a squirrel?
  68. I'm just glad to hear that this pressing issue has been settled once & for all.
    Personally, I prefer to use manual focus RFs like the Leica M series, including some that make the M3 appear high tech, but have never had a problem using the G2.
  69. Several years ago I got up at 4am with my R8 in Anaheim, CA, drove for 2 hours through traffic to Mulholland Drive to photograph the Angel above the "City of Angels" at sunrise. I setup the tripod and camera with a 180 apo and shutter release cable. Framed it all up. Hit the shutter release at just the right time and...................ker junk! It jammed! While I stomped around yelling obsenities, my friend Sam snapped away with his trusty Canon. Later, he sent me the pics to tease me. I sent Leica USA the camera with lens that would not come off because of the jam along with a not so nice note. They sent it back fixed(?) with no reply, sympathy card, or kiss on the cheek. Within a year of that jam up I had sold all my Leicas.
  70. An interesting debate but the real problem is that we are argueing the merits of cameras that either are not made or may not continue to be made. Between April and september 2008 Leica camera had photographic sales of 30M Euros and a loss of 13.7M this compares to sales a year earlier of 63M euros and net income of 6.5M. At this rate they may not be making the M series for much longer. The real issue is that Contax, Zeiss et al have essentially gone and only Leica and Cosina (who make the Voigtlanders and Zeiss Ikon) are left. Like it or hate it the Contax G was a brave attempt to update the rangefinder design and make it relevant to more people. We can debate the automation of the Contax over the Leica (this is really a personal choice) but the fact is that they are both very high quality devices constructed to a very high level and having some of the best lenses made. You can debate if the Contax is a true rangefinder but the fact that there is no mirror allows it to use the (superior) lens designs of a rangefinder. I suspect that there is no one on thsi forum who can tell from two unmarked images which was made by a Leica and which by a Contax. The Contax G1 has a number of problems - notably the AF but the G2 had fixed most of these. Even the G2 suffers from some issue - a very poor manual focus and small viewfinder being the main ones (I also find that the wheel that controls film speeds can also rotate causing the camera not to fire). the real tradgedy is that the Contax was not developed - a G3 or a G4 might have achieved the best of both worlds - we will never know. Contax and Rollei at least pushed Leica to develop the M (the added TTL and aperture priority). Now I am sure purists will decry TTL but the fact is that you get better flash results with TTL in 95% of situations - especially for fill in flash (with flash I always use my EOS bodies or T90 over the older F1s). Unfortunately this breed of high quality, compact camera is dying - the mobile phone, point and shoot digital and bridge camera with EVFs are killing it. The M8 was a brave attempt to update the rangefinder but appears to lack commercial success. So rather than criticize the G2 accept it for what it is - an attempt to make the rangefinder relevant to a larger group of people that with more development could have become a classic. if you prefer M3 fine - but this does not mean the G2 is junk. It is a fine camera and lens system with some handling issues and flawed manual operation. Lets hope the rangefinder stays in production. If you think Leica is still a top quality vendor read this
  71. However, there is absolutely no logic in using the classic "two windows" external rangefinder system as the base of an AF camera...​
    Of course there is, and again it's common to all RF cameras. First is the potential for better than SLR focusing accuracy on wide angle lenses. Second, because there is no reflex mirror to clear, wide angle can be of a generally simpler symmetrical design (and hence potentially sharper, contrastier, etc.)
    In reality the above is all academic anyways. The Contax G is a dead system and the Leica is so boutique that it might as well be. And at least be honest to ourselves - the 135 film format was always an image quality compromise.
    Both systems are interesting, however, because the level of craftsmanship and material is so high that they rightfully become objects of lust in of itself. So, why does a buying into a Contax G system make sense today (for someone ridden with equipment lust?) Check the prices on the Leica equivalent of the Zeiss 21mm Biogon or 45mm Planar.
    Of course, one can look always at the flip side and just spend. Lust requires no justification.
  72. I was always hoping for that digital Contax G......
  73. Well I am surprised at some of the opinions! Currently owning and using Contax G2, Bessa R3a, Leica MP among others, my G2 consistently produces sharp, near perfect exposures every time. The MP & Bessa do the same but the G2 does it faster. All 3 have their compromises and quirks. Noise? Minox 35 ML/GTE is stealthier but has a fixed lens. The R3a has a bigger, brighter finder than either Leica or Contax G etc. The Zeiss vs Leica vs CV Bessa lens arguments rage on. . . the brands have their stars and compromises. Most of the time, I am the single biggest limitation when attempting a visual masterpiece! :)
  74. Andy, that's hilarious. Really Darius, the G1 is a great camera..this whole thread is really a tempest in a teapot. For anyone who really cares..a's not really the camera. I've walked around with a D200, took this shot standing right over the guy's head...mirror slap etc. louder than a G1 ..guy never looked up. Point is, this "argument' about noise is absurd.
  75. My friend Henry swears by them.

    This is what he had to say: "I have never abandoned the Leica, anything different that I have tried has always brought me back to it. I am not saying this is the case for others. But as far as I am concerned it is the camera. It literally constitutes the optical extension of my eye."
  76. "My friend Henry swears by them."
    Well there you go, hard to argue that point*.

    * F@CT!
  77. Sp, I think it would be more useful if he posted a scan of a contact sheet made with the G body, you know, the one where 36 out-of-focus people are looking at him because of the noise his camera made.​
    here you go:
    that's true, these photographs are not in focus.
  78. but this one (in the end of this thread):
    is focussed in the center of the shot! probably, it was M3.
  79. Valery, those shots of mine you posted were taken with a Sony R1, another camera that snatched mediocrity from the jaws of greatness, and which coincidentally sports an amazing Zeiss lens. It also comes with an amazing unusable AF system. To shoot in the dark with an R1 is a real challenge.
    As for the Leica shot in the last post, that is an amazing shot, and kind of proves my point. ; )
  80. As for the Leica shot in the last post, that is an amazing shot, and kind of proves my point. ; )​
    Yes, I overlooked that it was written 'Leica MP' in bold letters above the photo...
  81. "...and kind of proves my point."
    I could have taken that shot with a Holga.
  82. Just bought six CR-2 batteries, before echange rate will make them cost 50% more due to the current and further Ruble collapse, should buy 4-6 more soon to keep my G2 going for the next 3-4 years.
    I experienced fast batteries exhaustion when I started to use G2 in 1998, when I had no experience to shoot with the camera -- I half-pressed shutter to focus, then depressed it back, and did it many times for every single shot, it gave lots of work for lenses mechanism, in particular when I shot with 90mm, and batteries were dead quickly.
    Later on, I learned how to shoot correctly, and now the batteries last for very long time.
  83. This issue is moot because The Master has compared them so now we all know The Verdict. Get with the program.
  84. The G1 is not comfortable to hold. The grip leaves something to be desired. I have medium sized mitts and I could imagine how someone with larger hands could handle the camera comfortably.
  85. This whole thing is still going on? wow. Well, having owned and used both systems for many years I do have some views to add. But let me start with something told me by a NY Times photographer when he saw an M6 aound me neck in '07: "Boy, fine machine...too bad it will be a very expensive paper weight in the near future". While we argue which is the "Best" rangefinder, more and more pros are going digital. Journalists, feature photogs, documentary, etc. Most Magnum photogs have switched. Even Alex Webb, who used an M6, then a G2, is now into digital. Rather than repeat most of what has been said, I defer to Ken Rockwell's excellent on-line articles on the Leica vs. Contax wars. I had an M6, a G1 and G2 outfit but had to sell it when I lost my job. I still kept my Leitz CL and a Minolta CLE. I love the CL and that is how I first got into the crazy world of Leica. I went to the Leica Gallery often, bought many Laica books and used my CL/M6 more than my SLRs. I was convinced that Leica WAS God of all cameradom. But, in time I preferred my CL/CLE over the M6 as it was smaller and easier to use than the M6. I once was in Vermont, loaded some Velvia in my M6. Spent part of the day taking some great photos with a 21, 35, 90 and 135...only to find I kept shooting past 36! Yes, the film never caught due to the funky loading system on the M6. I had a friend who, while shooting a bike race, got bumped while changing film, dropped the bottom plate in a sewer and cursed leitz for such an crazy design. He gave up on it and never looked back. AND for those who feel the FV is better on a M, the reality is it is only brighter. The frames are an approximation of the view seen by the lens while the dim G finder is more accurate and does not flare like an M finder.
    The point is while there is a manufacturing level that is amazing on the Leica, it is not a perfect design and people then justify their very expensive investment and accept design flaws as little idiosycracies that are easily overlooked. Lens quality? I agree with Ken Rockwell; optically both the Leitz and Zeiss optics are the same, but give a slightly different hue in color. Better than SLRs? I think so, but you will never convince a die hard Nikon or Canon owner of that (BTW, they think we RF users a strange lot, quaint in our passion for obsolete systems). Keep in mind that the CL, many Leicaflex's and almost all Leica R zoom lenses were in fact made by Minolta. So, back to this thread. Is a G1/G2 a rangefinder? yes, just as any autofocus SLR is still an SLR. Is the Contax comparible to the holy M series? I think so, as it is a truly modern and automated interpretation. Optical results is the bottom line outcome of any system and Contax can go toe-to-toe with Leitz. Is one the best RF? Well, that is a matter of what you want in a RF design and I would be damned if it can be proven my (previous) $8,000 M system is not the best. There are a lot of doctors and lawyers taking family shots with their M6, M7 or M8s and making prints at Wal-Mart who feel the same way. But is it the best? I don't know.
    Now that I am working again, I continue to use my CL/CLE with 5 lenses for travel and street shooting, a Maxxum 9000 outfit for sport and other stuff. I now scan my film. What will I replace? Belive it or not, I am getting a G2 and 4 lenses as it fits what I want in a RF and will put away my CL/CLE. After all, if they are all to become expensive paperweights one day, I don't want to them to be too expensve.
  86. "Keep in mind that ... many Leicaflex's and almost all Leica R zoom lenses were in fact [sic] made by Minolta. "
    No Leicaflexes were made by Minolta. The Leica R3 was made by Leitz in Germany and Portugal based on the Minolta XE-7, the R4 was co-developed by Leitz and Minolta and was made by Leitz Portugal using in part components also used in the Minolta XD-11, and the R5 through R7 were developed by Leica from the R4 and made by Leica (probably using some Minolta components).
    The zoom lenses made partly or entirely by Minolta were the 35-70mm f/3.5, 80-200mm f/4.5, 75-200mm f/4.5 and 70-210mm f/4. Minolta had nothing to do with the 21-35mm, 28-70mm, 28-90mm, 35-70mm f/4, 45-90mm f/2.8, 70-180mm f/2.8 APO, 80-200mm f/4 or 105-280mm f/4.2
  87. Douglas:
    I did say many...most may be a bit of a streach but I did not say all. From site on Minolta's lens history: "Leica, for whom Minolta made lenses, elements, prisms and focusing screens....;" and this might look familiar on another blog: What actually happened is, several Minolta Lenses from the MD-Rokkor generation were taken as-is, given Leica R-mounts, and put through the Leica QA process, and branded Leica. I am certain that these lenses included a 70-200mm f4 zoom, the superb 24mm f2.8, and the 16mm f2.8 fisheye. I also believe that there was a 28-70mm zoom as well. From my recollection, the Leicaphiles never were too happy about the quality of the zooms, but the 24mm definitely passed muster with the red-dot heads. " Also "The 75-200/4,5 is an older Minolta design, which had also been rebranded as Leica..."
    On the camera's shared platforms, this from the site: "The camera (XD-11) was developed by Minolta in conjunction with Leica, and the body became the basis for the Leica R4, and later, as the chassis for the the Leica R5, R6 and R7. Leica introduced a more advanced metering system into the body (including spot metering), but most of the other features of the camera are evident in both bodies."
    So, based on this, I am not too far off in saying Minota was the basis for, in large part, the R4 as well as the chassis for R5-R7. I stand corrected in my inaccurate use of the term "Made by..." Perhaps made with would have been more accurate.
  88. Ray Nieves wrote: "I did say many...most may be a bit of a stretch but I did not say all. "
    There's a distinction between Leicaflexes and Leica-R. Minolta's influence on Leica reflex cameras began with the Leicaflex SL2 (mirror box clearance specs) but the use of Minolta components and designs began with the Leica R3. So, "many" applies to Leica R bodies but not to Leicaflexes.
  89. Douglas,
    Are not all Leica SLR cameras Leicaflex's? Distiguished from the frist by numerical sequence R-2, R-4, R-4 etc?
    You say tomato, and I say tomMAHto... Look, I do not wish to split hairs with you, the point I was making was that Minolta did make the Leica CL and had a heavy hand in the making, in part or in almost whole, of many Leica R cameras and many (but not all) lenses, and this is verifiable. I hope we can agree on that much.
    Moving on as this is a M6 vs G2 forum.....I provide for you fine readers yet anoher perspective on the M experience:
  90. Ray Nieves wrote: "Are not all Leica SLR cameras Leicaflex's?"
    Nope. The Leicaflex, Leicaflex SL, and Leicaflex SL2 are very different in design, concept and construction from the R bodies, the only similarity is the company that sold them and (partly) the lens mount. The R3 through R9 are not Leicaflexes, they're Leica R.
    "the point I was making was that Minolta did make the Leica CL and had a heavy hand in the making, in part or in almost whole, of many Leica R cameras and many (but not all) lenses, and this is verifiable. I hope we can agree on that much."
    Certainly! All I'm trying to do is explain the historical record as I understand it. No value judgements implied one way or another about Minolta or the various joint-production products.
  91. Douglas,
    I know little of Leica SLRs. I did some research and you are correct: The first Leicaflex SLs were all mechanical and later, when Minolita got involved, the designation changed to just Leica R. While built on similar designs, all R bodies were made in Germany while prisms, shutters, circut boards etc. were provided, in variying degrees, by Minolta for those models. I have read in some places that the differences between some R and XD models is only cosemetic, hence my original statement.
    Thanks for the clarification. Now that we have cleared that up, do you prefer the early Leicaflexs or the later electronic R models?
  92. Ray Nieves wrote: " do you prefer the early Leicaflexs or the later electronic R models?"
    Perhaps it's because I'm a mechanical engineer, perhaps because my first Leica was the SL, I prefer the Leicaflexes, especially the SL:
    I've used most Leica reflex bodies, dissected and repaired a few, and right now the one I use most is the R8 but only because it has the DMR digital back on it. The SL is my favorite SLR camera.
  93. Back to this thread: Darius, while you are most certaily entitiled to your opinion, I am curious; what level of photo experteese do you have such that you can make such absolute and derisive comments? I hope this does not seem like an attack, I just don't understand your 'Final verdict". There are pros who love the M system, while others tried it and almosted hated it. An M3 whip ass? Parhaps for you, in my book a Minolta CLE whips an M3 ass; it is smaller and faster with easy loading and a good automatic system with access to 90% of the same lenses. To each his own. "With the G, I had to throw away half to two thirds because they were out of focus or poorly exposed." I read your post a few times and what I really get is that you do not know how to use an autofocus system. "The results are what really cinched it" This is perhaps the most subjective statment that bothers me. I invite you to look at photos taken by the G on Photo-sig and the Contax G pages: every bit as sharp and clear (if not better) as photos taken with the M system. I will agree batteries are an issue, but you plan for that and unless are in the deep back-woods of an underdeveloped country, ususally one can find CR-2s. For every positive you note on an M3, I and many others could find a negative. Again, it is OK to like one camera over an other as the world would be a sad place of only one kind were made, it is another thing to condem a camera you never really learned how to use properly. If one day all rangefinder cameras would cease production, what would you do, given your discomfort with auto-everything cameras?
  94. It seems to me that that's endless chat to nothing. I've been using Leicas since 1973, Nikons since 1974 and Contax G's since 1996. They are all fine. So is digital and I have been very happy with Olympus's miniscule SLRs, Nikon's D700 and Leica's M8 and M9. I have nothing to complain about Voigtlander's fine lenses, or Leica's, or Nikon's or Contax's. They are all tools to take pictures with. Fit the tool to the job and the job will be done. Use pliers to hammer nails and be thankful for sore fingers. It all comes down to practical considerations and.....pleasure. That's the basic factor we usually overlook. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. In my younger days back in 70's and 80's travelling meant a couple of F2's a score of lenses, an M3 more lenses and a Sekonic studio deluxe. Now it means a a Contax G2 with 28, 45 and 90 and a Bessa L with the 15 and, guess what..., the same old Sekonic. Alternatively an M6, CV25 (brilliant), 35, 50, 75 and the indispensable L with the 15 ............and the Sekonic. Sorry guys, but I can't readily tell what camera and lens was used to shoot what, unless I well remember what I was carrying on that specific day. Keepers? The ratio is the same it seems to me, no matter what I use. If I work hard and pay attention to what I am doing, then it all turns out fine. If not I get crap. Digital? Superb....but I still use film but for no other reson than that I am used to it and the fact that not having something to go back to (the negative) makes me uneasy. But still, my computer has replaced my Omega B22 and Kodak Carousel which still stand firm and ready but purely for sentimental reasons. To cut a long story short, use what you like and let those fine companies compete to give us what they will deem best. But what really makes the difference is our eye and our brains, so let's go out and shoot pictures, each with the camera and lens that best suits his preferences. I consider myself first and foremost a photographer. The fact that I am also a Leica collector has nothing to do with photography, it has to do with my love for the fine craftsmanship embodied in these cameras (but by no means in Leicas only...)
  95. Wow, I just picked up in this forum, and after reading all of what everyone has to say about the two camera's in question. It seems like both the Contax and the Leica have done their jobs in taking great pictures, and stirring emotions. I don't have a Leica. I own the Contax G2. I've used it for 11 years and it still works, and works wonderfully. Using the autofocus reticle is an acquired taste, but it works. If you consider hyperfocal distance, use the focus lock. The exposure meter is great but you need to underexpose by, 1/3 stop. Thats the starting point for exposure. I enjoy the rangefinder for its speed, stealth, lightness. The ergonomics on the G2 are, and should be legendary for the well thought out way the dials and buttons are easily accessible. There are times in Photography when we need to command attention with equipment, and times when we need to be invisible. I tell you, I can be invisible with the G2, I've done it, Its pretty cool. The imaging results from both the M-Leica, and the G2, from what I've seen in comparison look the same. I understand the methods of manipulating the differences between the two machines, and its just a different way thats all. I guess understanding this reality is difficult and frustrating to some enough to cause arguments. Lets face it, some of the comments of these two camera's have been a little off the wall. Lets keep it simple and go out and take pictures.
    In a street environment, or a Wedding. Between the two camera's. What one would you think present you with more usable on target images? There's a clear answer for me. The G2 has autowind, autofocus, autoload, Auto-aperture priority, and it all happens without attracting attention to yourself. Organize, prioritize. The 3 lenses, 28mm, 45, and 90, are enough to get it done. I guess I'm not the one to judge. I don't have a Leica. The M7 seems to be the likely candidate to go side by side with the G2. In a shoot when things start to happen quick; Subject position, quick distance variances. If the Leica provides more speed in reacting to situations, then someone please correct me on this and explain how. The G2 is fast. I've heard all the whining about how the autofocus doesn't work. It works for me! Framing? The viewfinder in the G2 is accurate. The frames are defined. Parallax correction is spot on too.
    If your reading this and your wondering what all the fuss is about. Take a roll of Fuji slide film, or two and run it through a G2, and do it right. Then look at them on a light table. Case closed.
  96. Whew lots of verdicts here , lots of experience and lots of comparisons , i too have been shooting film as of lately and own several cameras to shoot and have comparisons but i don't do this , shoot to compare ,i own the m3 and the m6 the f6 and the f2s the f1 and the a-1 the little penn ft and the rolle twin 2.8 the maymia 7, the 4x5 and 8x10 as well as the digital the 800 the 610 and the 7d and mk3 and a a7r Sony along with lens that have adapters for the sony and cannons , the point is i am not comparing them to each other ,i am learning what they do and how well they work and capture images, this includes there lens and the results no fair on a verdict of which rf you feel is best, with out a added question of "best for what " Is the 8x10 deardorf better than the m6??? for what ?But to let any one get a good idea of the contax camera g1 and g2 ,i want to add the best i found a g1 for is using the 28mm on it ..there done, you will not find any problems with focus,28s have a good depth of field, the camera view finder will adjust to this perspective for you ,try that on the m6 , the 35 45 and especially the 90 will NOT focus as fast but what the g1 and 28 give you is a fast street shooter and if you want a sharp landscape, stop it down and you will be happy with 100 percent sharp images , the g2 is far better with the 90mm , your portraits and work in a ilford film, B&W will be as good as the m6 , the 35 mm lens is best left on the m6 were that lens and camera just shine as well as the 50 summicron, the 45mm works so well on a sony a7 , hard to believe some one tossed their g in the trash can awww not often do you hear that about the m3 or m6 , " i got a g2 and tossed the Ms in the trash, whats this car comparison? electric tooth brush vs the old handjobber , or... a sx70 vs a 100 land-camera non sense the g2 is a capable camera...just like all the others i mentioned .

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