Home · Register · Search · View Winners · Software · Hosting · Software · Join Upload & Sell

Moderated by: Fred Miranda
Username   Password

  New fredmiranda.com Mobile Site
  New Feature: SMS Notification alert
  New Feature: Buy & Sell Watchlist
  

FM Forums | Alternative Gear & Lenses | Join Upload & Sell

  

Archive 2011 · Contax 645?
  
 
weezintrumpete
Offline
• • • •
Upload & Sell: Off
p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · Contax 645?


Anyone here have any experience with a Contax 645? I'm thinking about getting one...


May 02, 2011 at 11:08 PM
sirimiri
Offline
• • • •
Upload & Sell: On
p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · Contax 645?


It's a heavy, well-made modular system that lacks the useful custom functions Mamiya and Pentax incorporated into their latest 645 bodies. The lenses (and @#$ hoods) are larger, heavier and in general more expensive that the latter two 645 systems, used. But, if you want the Zeiss name/designs like the Tessars or Sonnars or Distagons it's your best option, short of using an adapter to drop 6x6 Zeiss lenses in front of 645 bodies, including the Contax.

I find it's also hamstrung by fussy buttons requiring precise tactile input, and pedestrian autofocus that evaporates in low light. The last Mamiyas and Pentax are superior in that regard. It is driven by a comparatively weak 6-volt CR2 battery with limited reserve, in comparison to the other 645 systems' 9-volt setups with ample mAh. That's in part what gives it the power-thirsty reputation, as it's drinking from a shot glass while the others sip their pints.

The vacuum insert is virtually academic by this point as there are few 220 emulsions left.

The 120mm APO Makro is nuts good, better than the Mamiya and the Pentax options for color and detail, and that's saying a lot. The rest of the lineup renders nicely, I think that without fault, they are mostly pin sharp in the center.

I have never used the Fuji/blad H1 so cannot compare the two.

You seem to shot a lot of models/fashion/portrait judging by your website, and often in controlled conditions. Since 645 and 67 use the same film format, would you consider an RZ instead? That system is much cheaper (and more plentiful) than the Contax, though if you shoot outside the slow leaf shutter might work against you if you want to shoot wide open for subject isolation as you seem to do.

Essentially you're buying into a lens system and overall size/format. What is it that the Contax will do for you that other systems can also do, at less cost and with longer likely parts support?

Those are the harshest things I can say about it; it is a really nice system to use, though. Just be aware of the functional limitations.

Phew, that's a mouthful.



May 03, 2011 at 01:15 AM
Dergiman
Offline
• • •
Upload & Sell: Off
p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · Contax 645?


The Contax 645 is great! If you put a digital back on it it draws less power but just get some of those rechargable batteries and carry some with you. The lenses are great and fast, autofocus is there (accurate but slow). IŽd give the RZ a closer look, larger format should give more and better bokeh, a lot cheaper and the image quality of the 6x7 negs is much better than 645. The RZ has some really nice features, rotating back, you can shoot vertical and horizontal with the waist level finder, different finders, gorgeous 6x7, large viewfinder, easy to focus, 75mm shift lens, spectacular 110/2.8 lens, tilt-shift adapter, bellows focussing for close focus and some others.

IŽd also look at the Rollei 6008, best and fastest lenses from Zeiss and Schneider in medium format but a bit expensive.



May 03, 2011 at 06:38 AM
sachman
Offline
• • •
Upload & Sell: Off
p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · Contax 645?


I have been looking for one.. but the prices have just gone through the roof!


May 03, 2011 at 06:47 AM
carstenw
Offline
• • • • • •
Upload & Sell: Off
p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · Contax 645?


I second all the good comments about the Contax 645, but agree that the RZ67 and 6008 systems are also worth considering (although the Contax is much more compact than those two). Note that the Contax has a regular shutter, not a leaf shutter, so if you want to use flash, one of the other systems is better. If you don't, that weighs in the Contax's favour.

The best lenses are the 35, 55, 120 Makro and 350, which are all brilliant. The rest are merely good I shot one project exclusively on the Contax 645 with 35 and 120 on Adox CHS 25, and got great results. The lenses are really great. The 35/3.5 is the medium format version of the 21 Distagon, btw. Same design, same great results, but with less moustache distortion, I believe.

Get the waist-level finder, if you can find it. It is great for tripod compositions. Buy lenses with the hoods, if you can find them, since the hoods on their own can be quite expensive.

Sadly I haven't used my Contax system for some time now. I also own a Hasselblad 203FE as well as digital, and somehow I don't pick up the Contax any longer. I should really pick another project to do with it, as it is such a pleasure to use, simple and perfect.



May 03, 2011 at 07:58 AM
Lotusm50
Offline
• • • • •
Upload & Sell: Off
p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · Contax 645?


carstenw wrote:
I second all the good comments about the Contax 645, but agree that the RZ67 and 6008 systems are also worth considering (although the Contax is much more compact than those two). Note that the Contax has a regular shutter, not a leaf shutter, so if you want to use flash, one of the other systems is better. If you don't, that weighs in the Contax's favour.

The best lenses are the 35, 55, 120 Makro and 350, which are all brilliant. The rest are merely good I shot one project exclusively on the Contax 645 with 35 and 120
...Show more


I'll second all of this and add the following: The 140mm and 45mm are better than merely "good". The 140mm is a lovely portrait lens. The AF is a bit slow by today's standards but was better than its contemporaries when it was made. If you are familiar with Contax 35mm SLR cameras, then the 645 will be very familiar to you -- its handling and control layout is almost identical. It is a very ergonomic camera and intuitive in use. Finally, it's shutter and mirror are much better damped than its competitors --certainly those competitors when it was made (I spent a lot of time with both the Contax and the Mamiya at the time and the Contax was superior in virtually every way). My understanding is -- although I don't have first hand experience -- that it's still better damped than current 645/6x6 format cameras. I loved using the 645. Sadly, I too don't really use it anymore -- and I have a freezer full of 120 and 220 film. Maybe I should dust it off and take it out for a spin.




May 03, 2011 at 12:28 PM
McGrattan
Offline
• • •
Upload & Sell: On
p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · Contax 645?


Just picked one up, was a backup camera, according to the original owner its had 8 rolls of film through it. Whether I believe him or not it does look brand new, no sign of any use at all.

I haven't got my first 2 rolls back from the developer so I can't comment on the results, but its very SLR like to use, comparable to a 5D+grip+L. I can't believe no one has said anything about the 80/2, what a joy to look through!

I can't help but think that the C645 will only be a stop-gap to a larger format though... love the idea of a mamiya 7



May 04, 2011 at 01:49 PM
 

Search in Used Dept. 



davenfl
Online
• • • •
Upload & Sell: Off
p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · Contax 645?


I concur with Sirimiri's mostly accurate comments on the Contax. Having owned all the mentioned medium format systems I chose to retain and still actively use the Pentax 645 and Hasselblad, Pentax is frankly my favorite. The high points of the Contax system are the lenses mentioned but then we have to speak of cost and availability, not good for Contax. If you pickup a good Contax body and 2-3 lenses your investment could well be $3000-4000 or more, that's a lot. The optics of the Pentax system for your purposes are really up to world class standards so your not giving anything away. I would echo concerns about service and parts availability in the future. Beautiful cameras but for practical purposes as well as cost other choices make better sense, practically the Pentax IMO.

Dave



May 04, 2011 at 02:26 PM
McGrattan
Offline
• • •
Upload & Sell: On
p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · Contax 645?


davenfl wrote:
I concur with Sirimiri's mostly accurate comments on the Contax. Having owned all the mentioned medium format systems I chose to retain and still actively use the Pentax 645 and Hasselblad, Pentax is frankly my favorite. The high points of the Contax system are the lenses mentioned but then we have to speak of cost and availability, not good for Contax. If you pickup a good Contax body and 2-3 lenses your investment could well be $3000-4000 or more, that's a lot. The optics of the Pentax system for your purposes are really up to world class standards so your
...Show more

+1, lots of nice Pentax 67 pics in the 'post your film pics thread'.



May 04, 2011 at 02:34 PM
Lotusm50
Offline
• • • • •
Upload & Sell: Off
p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · Contax 645?


davenfl wrote:
The high points of the Contax system are the lenses mentioned but then we have to speak of cost and availability, not good for Contax. If you pickup a good Contax body and 2-3 lenses your investment could well be $3000-4000 or more, that's a lot.



Yes, availability is an issue. They are not being made anymore, and the people that have them don't part with them easily. That and the cost to acquire are really indicative of value and worth people attach to the Contax 645 system. There is an element of "you get what you pay for" here.




May 04, 2011 at 02:50 PM
photowed
Offline

Upload & Sell: Off
p.1 #11 · p.1 #11 · Contax 645?


A couple of time ago I bought a contax 645, but really for the value I prefer Pentax...
My 2 cents



Oct 25, 2011 at 11:37 PM
DaveOls
Offline
• • •
Upload & Sell: Off
p.1 #12 · p.1 #12 · Contax 645?


If you are looking at the Rollei 6008, the non AF model is half the price and can be bought used. I think the AF is newer and harder to get used. I think Tamarkin sells the Rolleis. Pluss with the Rollei you can get Zeiss and Schneider lenses.

DaveOls



Oct 26, 2011 at 12:59 PM
cineski
Offline
• • • •
Upload & Sell: Off
p.1 #13 · p.1 #13 · Contax 645?


The vacuum backs are not just academic. Kodak just released 3 new 220 films and they really shine used with the Contax 645 and vacuum backs. If you want to shoot mostly wide open, the vacuum backs really do keep the film flatter. I'd never be without my 3 vacuum backs. The lenses are just to die for. The 45, 55, 80, 140 (what I use) are all stellar and provide beautifully luminescent images. I tested the 35mm and while it is nice it's got too much distortion for environmental portraiture. Portraits especially shine with this camera. The autofocus is slow but accurate in most instances. Every camera can be fooled now and then but the Contax is mostly quite accurate. I recommend the split focus screen (if you can find one, this is the rarest of the rare for Contax gear). If you get a Contax 645, get the battery grip. I have one and it's a life saver at weddings and commercial shoots. The camera as a whole is not heavy imo. Not sure where that comment comes from. Bulky, yes. The lenses are heavy but the body is rather light. The body is a bit on the dated side, though (when compared with the likes of Hassy and Phase One....but Contax has that Zeiss glass so it's a wash). Although you have old school controls which can be nice.

There's a reason Contax is expensive. They're quite in demand and for a good reason.



Oct 26, 2011 at 02:02 PM





FM Forums | Alternative Gear & Lenses | Join Upload & Sell

    
 

You are not logged in. Login or Register

Username   Password    Reset password