Camera – Noun: A device for recording visual images in the form of photographs, film, or video signals.
Is that all a camera is? A device? A tool for capturing images? Where does the Contax T2 fit in this analysis?
What’s your all-time top five film cameras? Would you use superfluous adjectives or elaborate metaphors to describe each one on the list? Or would the word “device” be sufficient in all five examples? I appreciate this type of thinking can get very deep depending on your viewpoint. I don’t want to get all philosophical on you. Especially in the absence of a good rum, or at the very least a hot tea with a few biscuits on the side (my biscuit preference is Hobnobs if you were wondering).
Eighteen months ago I ventured across this marvellous website you’re now reading trying to find information on the mythical beast that is, the Contax T3. I had, rather naively, never considered compact film cameras as being of a sufficient quality to use on a daily basis. Especially for professional work. I tended to associate them to my childhood and the memory of getting back poorly exposed blurry images. Normally with one of my grubby child fingers partially covering the lens.
After chatting with Hamish via email, and subsequently submitting some non-compact camera reviews I took the plunge and purchased a Contax T2. Yes a T2. Have you seen the price T3s go for? I purchased a gold 60 year anniversary edition Contax T2. Unused, sealed and in a rather fancy mahogany box. I put a small mark in the gold paint the first week of shooting with it.
I’ve had the Contax T2 over a year now. It’s constantly in my bag and I use for personal images and as a secondary camera for the majority of my photoshoots. I’m not going to write a review on the camera. Hamish has done a very good job of that already. The T2, It’s very good, it has a couple of minor niggles, but what camera doesn’t? Did I say it’s very good? Well it is, very good.
Would I sell the Contax T2? No. Do I love it? Not really. It wouldn’t make my top five cameras I’ve owned. It’s hard to say anything apart from it’s very good and I’ve said that four times now. Sadly that’s why it doesn’t make the list. This specific camera is “a device” in a very similar way I find the camera on my phone “a device”. The images are excellent but I’m not excited about the image making process, nor does the camera compel me to venture out and shoot. Maybe it’s just too easy to use. I know that may sound silly but I like the process of shooting film. It really does slow you down. If I can rattle of a roll of film in a couple of minutes without thinking about it then I might as well be shooting digital. Well maybe not but you get the idea. As a device, as a tool the T2 (wait for it) is very good, and that dear reader is what sparked my quandary as I’m normally more emotive about cameras. I can talk to you for hours about some of the delights/monsters I’ve owned, but in this instance a very capable device/tool will suffice.
In review, I have come to a conclusion: the more automated a camera is, the less I personally enjoy the overall shooting experience. Even when shooting with a technically very good camera. In very much in the same way I prefer manual gearboxes in cars to automatics. As a secondary camera, you couldn’t ask for more, but as a primary device I personally require a camera with more manual interaction than the Contax T2. I appreciate this view may not be shared by the majority of community but it is something I have come to appreciate, like a good manual focus lens and a film advance lever.
The gracious models include: Emma Holt, Hannah Hornblow, Victoria Lindsay Coutts, Elizabeth Fletcher, Charlotte Roffey, Lucy Jackson, Madie White, and Lisa Minichiello.
All the links to the various models, agencies, and MUAs can be found on my Instagram account including my latest work: www.instagram.com/adamlawsphotography Or alternatively my website: www.adamlaws.com
You can read Hamish’s review of the Contax T2 here