Contax Is Not So Dead After All

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Tom Duffy

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"The agreement would not have been possible without our contractual commitment from Kyocera Corporation and their long term goal of continuing distribution of Contax products and Carl Zeiss T* lenses to professional users."

This bodes well for my investment in Contax 645 equipment, though I wonder what they mean by "to professional users". Which other cameras in their line do they consider "professional"? Hopefully the G2 and N1 are included.

The cinical side of me says I'll believe their long term commitment when I see a Contax 645 Mark II or one of the oft-promised leaf shutter lenses or the telephoto zoom lens actually appear. Otherwise maybe they're still trying to unload a huge backlog of built, but not bought cameras.
Take care,
Tom
 

Lee Shively

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I don't have an iron in this fire but I'm totally confused. One side says Kyocera is discontinuing Kyocera digital cameras only and one side says Kyocera is discontinuing everything but camera phones? Do I have that right, even?

What, pray tell, does Kyocera say?
 

Ian Grant

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Lee Shively said:
I don't have an iron in this fire but I'm totally confused.

What, pray tell, does Kyocera say?
Quite agree as the information was not an internet rumour and came from Kyocera. Also this PDF file is not posted on a Kyocera,Contax, Zeiss or one of their distributors sites. Perhaps this supplier is worried that sales of their remaining stocks will slump.

But then Contax was a joint venture with Zeiss and Zeiss do have a number of other partners in camera manufacture. So if Kyocera did cease production just who does actually own the Contax brand name.

Zeiss did say last year that they expected their major growth area to be in designing & licensing production technology for these mobile phone cameras lenses.
 

Flotsam

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A few days ago the meter on my S2 stopped working, hopefully just dead batteries. It's a mechanical camera and I generally use a handheld meter anyway so it didn't put a hitch in my gitalong but it made me start to think about my investment in lenses and the future availability of bodies to hang them on. The manual lenses should last longer than me but I wonder what the future of the bodies and service will be.
 

Mongo

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Flotsam said:
...I wonder what the future of the bodies and service will be.

You can still get Bronica S series cameras repaired...I wouldn't sweat it too much.
 

fingel

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Ian Grant said:
So if Kyocera did cease production just who does actually own the Contax brand name.

Ian,
According to the Carl Zeiss web site, Zeiss owns the Contax brand name and licenses it to Kyocera to use. So I would assume that if Kyocera stops making Contax cameras, that Zeiss could license the name to who ever they want or produce something them selves with that name.
 

Flotsam

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I've got a Yashica FX3 Super that I keep as a back up. It's pretty cheesy but it takes great pictures with CZ lens on it. My interest is that someone make a body with a Contax lens mount on it. Hopefully they'll get back to basics, unlike Kyocera. Fewer gizmos and gimcracks for fewer dollars.
 
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bjorke

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Flotsam said:
My interest is that someone make a body with a Contax lens mount on it.
Canon, of course!

cantax_logo.gif
 

Flotsam

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How do those adapters work? Can you focus to infinty? Are you stuck with stop-down shooting?
 

Mongo

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Flotsam said:
How do those adapters work? Can you focus to infinty? Are you stuck with stop-down shooting?

If they're anything like the Nikon -> Canon adapters, then they focus just fine to infinity, but you are stuck with stop-down shooting. I mount my old Nikon MF glass on a Canon AF body all of the time with two of these adapters (cheapies from eBay that work fine). Since Canon puts all of the metering smarts in the bodies, you can still meter in aperture priority and manual mode just fine. Since the Canon bodies are so slim, you can mount just about any other brand of lens on them with an adapter. (The reverse is not true in many cases. For example, you can't mount a Canon AF lens on a Nikon body without introducing some glass into the adapter, because the Canon lens would be too far from the film plane.)

There is no electrical or mechanical connection between the lenses (other than the actual mount itself), so you can't use shutter priority mode (there's no way for the camera to set the aperture on the lens), all program-style modes are out, and autofocus lenses won't autofocus.

A quick scan of eBay will show you which adapters are commonly available. If you can live within the limitations imposed, it's a great way to use old glass on a new body. With any luck I'll still be shooting with my Nikkor 105/2.5 for another thirty years, even if my FE2 gives up the ghost.
 
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bjorke

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You can focus to infinity. The metering is stop-down, yes. Persoanlly, I find it a good idea to rack a lens wide open for focus and stop down explictly -- the screen on a digi is tiny, and even on a film EOS there's not split-prism etc so the more help you can get on focus, the better.
 
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