I’ve been intrigued by Contax SLRs for a while so I eventually caved and got an RTSii and I’m blown away. It’s beautiful. a Porsche designed solid hunk of metal with a luxurious feel. Black leather grips, a red led digital viewfinder readout and a minimalist design. All that’s missing is the Knight rider theme tune and the smell of Drakkar Noir. It’s a high quality piece of kit and I’m surprised that they don’t cost more on the ‘bay.
These things feel Porsche designed (in a good way- the Porsche design brand has been added to some real crap over the years – I have a “pointlessly” Porsche designed Lacie hard drive- not one of their proudest moments). The camera is smooth to use. Feels great in the hand with a reassuring density. The shutter click feels slightly damped in some way, I like the separate exposure check button and the Aperture priority works as it should. I love the way that the film is loaded in such a way that doesn’t make it reverse back on itself. Rewinding a finished roll feels so smooth it’s almost as if the film isn’t there. The camera feels like an unashamedly “modern” slr and must have had quite an impact in design terms when it was launched- but seemingly not enough to make it as revered as other SLRs (which makes it cheaper to buy. bonus.)
The camera is a CY (Contax / Yashica) mount and there’s a whole bunch of really decent priced Carl Zeiss glass out there for it. I ended up going for the 50mm f1.4 which renders beautifully. This camera is a joy to use, staying out of your way when shooting. The shots here are taken with various films, as I messed about to see what the camera could do. I’m looking forward to using this more, as much for its looks and ergonomics as its results.