Contax are the name that is always thrown around when it comes to talking about high-end 35mm film cameras. Their best known camera is probably the Contax T2, however their range of cameras extends beyond what people traditionally call point and shoots. One camera that has impressed us is the Contax G1.
What is the Contax G1?
The Contax G1 was the first camera in the Contax G range of cameras and was created in 1994. It was released to compete with other high-end cameras on the market, such as the Leica M7.
When the camera was released in 1995, it cost 2210$ USD when sold with the 45mm lens. In today's currency, that would equate to approximately £3680.
What features does the Contax G1 have?
The Contax G1 is rich with all the features you would expect from a modern DSLR camera.
The main features of the Contax G1 include:
- Shutter speeds from 16 - 1/2000 sec
- Built-in light meter with fantastic capabilities
- Autofocus controlled by the camera
- Manual focus controlled on the camera
- Aperture priority mode
- Fully manual mode
- TTL flash and manual flash settings
- Easy to read viewfinder display
- Automatic and manual ISO settings
- Exposure compensation modes
- Interchangeable lenses
Which lenses are compatible with the Contax G1?
The originally released Contax G1 works with the four main Contax G lenses: the 28mm f/2,8 Biogon, 45mm f/2 Planar, 90mm f/2.8 Sonnar, and 16mm f/8 Hologon.
Modified Contax G1 cameras, known as “green label”, were able to work with the lesser known 21mm and 35mm lenses. It is not essential to purchase a “green label” Contax G1 as the other lenses are not available very often, and most photographers find that the 28mm, 45mm and 90mm lenses cover the range of focal lengths they prefer.
Is the Contax G1 easy to use?
The Contax G1 is full of details, from exposure compensation dials to manual focus dials, however this does not mean you need to master every setting all at once.
In its simplest form, the Contax G1 can be used on the aperture priority mode, in which you select the aperture on the lens, and the camera will select the shutter speed required.
Therefore, you can start with the camera doing all the work for you, and when you feel more confident and experimental, you can start to use the other dials and settings to acheive different results.
Example Images Using the Contax G1
We don't understand the negative reviews that are out there about this camera and its capabilities.
From our real world experience using the camera, the autofocus is sharp, quick, and always spot-on. Not only this, but the camera has effectively metered some tricky exposures, and produced wonderfully exposed images.
We love this camera so much that we sent it off to one of our friends, Lydia Robinson, so she could have a go using the camera on her trip to Montenegro.
Lydia loved the camera, and had this to say about it:
"It’s a perfect sized, lightweight, high quality, shiny little thing. I really enjoyed the ease of the Contax G1. The controls are simple to use and the precision of the lens is second to none. With a sharp focus and built in meter, this camera is perfect for everyday use."
A customer of ours recently purchased the Contax G1 from us and has been sending us their fantastic results from using the camera in their client work. Thank you Michael for sending these through! You can see more of Michael's work here.
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