Morning all, I hope this finds you well with a hot beverage and ideally a biscuit nearby (I’m rather partial to a bourbon myself).
After speaking with Hamish about an advance compact a month or so ago I agreed to submit my thoughts in relation to the shiny Contax G2. I subsequently got somewhat side-tracked with the joys of editing, and then sold the camera in question (more on that later), which made me ponder if I should even submit my musings at all. Anyway I guess I should start at the beginning.
Hello, my name is Adam and I’m predominantly a portrait photographer. I generally work with model agencies and various other creative folk supplementing my digital work with polaroids and film.
I purchased the Contax G2 from our friendly Japan Camera Hunter. It was in great condition apart from some LCD leak situated in shutter counter (a common problem). It replaced my Lecia M6. I appreciate that may sound like blasphemy to some of you, and that by admitting to this a mob armed with pitchforks and torches running to my house as we speak but there was a purpose to this. The Contax G2 would act as my daily analogue camera in the same way as the M6, but in addition, and unlike the M6 had the extra capability of a “usable” flash sync with my studio equipment.
Anyway below is a very brief synopsis of my findings.
Ergonomically, the Contax G2 feels great in your hand. The addition of a thumb rest and small grip really enables you to get a grip over the camera, rather than it feeling like a slippery metal bar of soap. It feels so reassuringly solid that you may believe you could defend yourself from a rampaging rabid goat with a swift twat to the head, although I might add, this is not a course of action I would recommend or condone.
The Twiddly Bits
It has them, all of the ones you can possibly want. From exposure compensation, exposure lock, auto bracketing (because film isn’t expensive at all) and various shooting modes. It’s all rather easy to control by feel and the dials have a good amount of resistance on them.
It also has custom modes, although generally I didn’t use them because it requires you push ISO and focus lock button down for a few seconds, and then twiddle the manual focus dial. Then up, down, left, right, A, B, C, start and then you get the level select and Super Sonic options. Ahh I might got muddle up with the last sentence. I do have friends who use the custom options, but generally I didn’t feel the need too.
Manual focusing requires more twiddling of the front nob. It’s a chore and I never perfectly felt comfortable that I have actually focused on what I intended so I kept with the autofocus.
Th Contax G2 autofcus works like magic. So much so after you receive a roll of film perfectly in focus you may feel the need to make a sacrifice to the great camera gods. It does however sound like Robocop. It’s not loud, I doubt many people would notice it in a street scenario unless you are close enough to steal their last Fruit Pastel, which I might add is somewhat frowned upon.
The Contax G2 viewfinder is small “ish” (I think I have read somewhere .57x magnification with the 45mm but please don’t quote me on this) but very accurate and It compensates for parallax, which you would expect from a Robocop of a rangefinder. It also has the added benefit of diopter adjustment for those who wear glasses.
The best thing about the viewfinder is that not once will you have to worry about the rangefinder patch deciding to disappear and go on holiday when lighting conditions get a little more challenging.
I don’t look at MFT charts. Really who has the time? Comparing the images from 45mm to the 50 cron’ they look just as good in my opinion. That’s all I can say.
So to summarise my experience with the Contax G2 there is a lot to like about this camera. It’s almost a perfect camera for those who want an automated rangefinder camera with manual overrides, and that is why I ultimately sold it. I missed the more manual process of shooting with a manual camera. Of course I could shoot the Contax G2 in full manual, but when you have the options of automated everything I found myself ultimately getting lazy, and shooting it as I would a digital camera. One of the joys of shooting film is in my opinion the manual interaction with the equipment so I now find myself with another Leica.
Hopefully you enjoy the varied selection of images I’ve submitted. All images were processed by Aperture in London and UK Film Lab (Who I couldn’t recommend enough for level of service).
You can find my latest work on Instagram – www.instagram.com/
Or alternatively my website – www.adamlaws.com
All the best,