The Contax 645 AF is a relatively small and lightweight medium format film camera dating from the late 1990s. Have you owned a Contax 645 body? | Updated 1/22/2020, E-mail: contact@jeffandmichelephoto.com Phone:  502.551.5799, Privacy Policy | Website Terms & Conditions, Best Rechargeable AA Batteries for Wedding Photographers, What's in Our Bag: The Gear We Use to Photograph Weddings and More, Tools for Six-Figure Wedding Photographers in 2020. The same applies to Contax cameras, except I believe in Japan, where there are still a few (very few I suspect) people who will service and repair Contax CX, N and 645 cameras. Make Offer - Contax 645 210mm f4 Sonnar T* AF Lens f/ Contax Medium Format SLR Camera Mint-Contax 645AF 35mm f3.5 Carl Zeiss Distagon T* Lens 35/3.5 #500. This 45-90mm Vario-Sonnar certainly does deliver the goods, and although not the lightest lens we've worked with it seems to be the perfect companion for the Contax 645. However, on the few occasions that I’ve used the Contax’s spot or center-weighted TTL metering, I have never been met with any unpleasant surprises. Contax 645 bodies are great, but they can be very skiddish (Read more below and/or in my Contax 645 Review) I like Contax 645 and I like the Pentax 67 with 105mm, and highly favor the Pentax 67 w/ Cinelux lenses (p.s. Which Photography Style is Best for My Wedding? $918.54. Enough said. Yet, others will tell you that they've had their body for 10 years and never had a hiccup. It's not incredibly bright and clear, but it's not too bad either. If so, this post is for you! Check out the Fstoppers Store for in-depth tutorials from some of the best instructors in the business. If this review has already piqued your interest, then it’s highly likely that the Contax 645 is also the camera for you. But, it’s honestly very easy once you know what you’re doing! I don't find it to be quite as clear as my Pentax 645s or quite as clear as the Hasselblad H2. Of course, autofocus from the 1990s is never going to compete with today’s ultra-fast hybrid-mode, zillion-point autofocus systems. 72mm filters. If your style is built around shooting wide-open apertures for creamy backgrounds, then you should consider the Contax 645. Contax 645 is … Let us know in the comments below! For workshops, coaching, and other resources designed to help grow your skills as a photographer click here (after you read the article, of course)! This makes it very well suited for use with a speedlight in the other hand or when hanging off a lamp-post, fence, or whatever else you may have to climb up in search of a better vantage point. Battery life was always a issue, and costly. So, I've set out to write about it. August 16, 2018 The Contax 645 is excellent. In practice, this means that the Contax is well suited to shooting documentary, street photography, portraits, fashion, and even weddings. But if you’re converting over from a top-of-the-range Nikon DSLR or other modern professional cameras, don’t expect similar performance from this 20-year-old veteran. With over 20 years of experience as a professional photographer at a high international level, he now largely draws upon this expertise to provide educational content and consulting services to the industry. The other somewhat popular options seem to be the Sonnar T 140mm f/2.8, the Apo-Makro-Planar T 120mm f/4, and the Distagon T* 45mm f/2.8. Note: This post is part of our "Learn Blog" for photographers. However, if you commonly stop down the aperture, then the greatest asset of … A Contax 645 and the 80mm f/2 lens is all any portrait photographer could ever really need. With all of the changes and growth that have happened over the last decade, we wanted to highlight a few of the key factors involved when finding a wedding photographer who has a style you love. As with focus, when compared with modern burst shooting rates of 15+ fps, there’s really no competition here. Indeed, it comes with most of the features you would expect to see on a modern camera — albeit in a slightly less evolved form. With a digital back on the Contax 645, getting tack-sharp photos that are 9000 pixels wide is simple and the resolving power of the Zeiss glass makes magazine cover quality images without any issue. Finally, the Contax 645 is widely considered to be the best option for those seeking a medium format film camera that will also work well with a digital back. Tips to Get the Most Out of Your Wedding Day Timeline. Now, here is where manual focusing can come in very handy, which leads us to our next topic. I've had really good success with manually focusing the Contax 645. Be respectful, keep it civil and stay on topic. Fstoppers Original The Contax 645 AF is a relatively small and lightweight medium format film camera dating from the late 1990s. Sure, you don’t get the all-over sharpness of images shot on a modern digital MF camera, but that’s not why anyone shoots film today anyway, and if that’s your goal, there are easier routes. Meaning that although you can pick up a body for next to nothing, you will probably need to remortgage your house in order to acquire any glass for it. I have pretty much the full set of lens and the tilt shift for my H5 and very very happy with it. by Jeff Armstrong. While there were quite a few lenses for the 645 system, I only used the 80mm f/2 Zeiss Planar so I speak only to my experience with the camera and this lens. I know there's a lot of features that I'm not going to delve into here. user-friendly, like most 645 format- but unlike many larger medium format cameras. When I need lots of light, I go to a slow-shutter speed and mount the Contax 645 on a tripod. Alongside the Mamiya 7ii and the Pentax 67, the Contax 645 has gained a reputation as one of the best medium format cameras ever made. My initial attitude toward the Contax 645 may well be coloured by the fact that in the ’80s I owned a Contax RTS III 35mm system. Plus the big thing Hasselblad fixes everything pretty much they produce. On the contrary, I've heard people say that they eat through the 2CR5 lithium batteries. Lenses with better AF performance. Having a self-timer is also great for taking pictures that you'd like to be in as well! So it seems wiser to me to just buy a 200-250 body and replace it when it breaks, instead of buying a 1000 dollar body. Produced during the twilight of the film era, the Contax’s design is far removed from that of earlier medium format SLRs. While 1/125 is not super fast by modern standards, it’s quick enough to avoid most motion-blur when balancing strobes with daylight. Some report that it just stops working in high-humidity areas. If I had bought it without any sort of buyer protection, I could have been out, at the very least, several hundred dollars in repairs. These old film cameras will break down eventually and are difficult to repair. Contax 645 – Sold My first medium format system was the Mamiya 645Pro along with their leaf shutter lenses. The lens itself delivers the equivalent of 28-55mm in 35mm format, wide enough for great scenics while the 2x zoom does leave room for compositional tweaking. As many already know, the Contax 645 is not without its cons, and with that in mind, I now present to you my official Contax 645 review. With the 80mm f/2 mounted, the view is exceptional. Eight Ways To Add Depth To Your Landscape Photo, This Is the Main Reason I Don't Use My Film Camera. Its weight is similar to other options you'll find in the medium format camera world, so that's pretty average. Distagon T* 3,5/35 Distagon T* 2,8/45 Distagon T* 3,5/55 Planar T* 2/80 Sonnar T* 2,8/140 Sonnar T* 4/210 Tele-Apotessar T* 4/350 As it happens though, the Contax 645 does exist. John is currently a contributing editor at VFXPro. Plus, it adds the ability to hold the camera comfortably in portrait orientation and even has the extra button on the grip to make it easy to click the shot. Image of bride wearing her ring holding the groom's hand taken with Contax 645 and 80mm f/2. Which Camera Manufacturer Has the Best Logo? Unlike with some other 120 cameras, there is a handy slot for storing the dark slide when the camera is in use considerably reducing the chances of losing it. No busy backgrounds, no out-of-focus weirdness — just good images. One thing I love about using the Contax 645 is the sound of the shutter. The Contax 645 AF is a 6×4.5cm medium format, autofocus film camera, introduced by Kyocera under the Contax brand on 20 February 1999 in Japan. Other than this, though, after many years of punishing use, the camera has (touch wood) yet to let me down. What Should I Include In My Flat-Lay Photos? Hasselblad files have a very unique look and feel that i just prefer. The most common alternatives are the Pentax 645n (or nii), the Hasselblad H1 or H2, or the Mamiya Pro 645. For photographers who work exclusively with daylight, the maximum speed at which a camera can synchronize flash and film shutter (and not result in images with black banding across them) is obviously of no concern. Checked the price and it is very expensive indeed. Consequently, I have also used this model quite extensively. However, the first Contax 645 I purchased in "excellent condition" apparently had a broken autofocus. The 120mm f/4 Contax Makro planar is the gem of the Contax lenses--nothing is sharper. The handgrip is comfortable to hold, and the on/off switch, autofocus, and most other controls are easy to adjust with just one hand while gripping the camera. Since the shift to digital, I’ve been surprised at how cheaply the Hasselblad H1 and its successors can now be bought, especially considering that the Contax has only risen in price during the same period. Tethering was no issue and using Capture One pretty rock solid. In short, I’ve been using the Contax 645 AF consistently for the best part of the last 20 years, and so I’m likely as qualified as anyone to comment on its features and handling. Other than the Hasselblad H series, the Contax 645 is as close as you can get to a modern shooting experience with a medium format film camera. CONTAX RX II – 2002; Only the 645 AF stands out to me and that’s primarily because it’s an autofocus medium format camera. In this particular review, I will focus on the Contax 645 body, and will only bring minor discussion in on the Zeiss 80mm f/2. On top of which, my own Contax 645 has traveled umpteen times around the globe, rattling away in the overhead luggage bins on countless long-haul flights. The Contax 645 portraits I had seen online from fashion photographers and wedding photographers seem to be unmatched by any other camera / lens combination. Here's where things get weird. Pentax 645 Camera Review - The Best Entry Level Medium Format Film Camera - Casual Photophile The desire to jump into medium format photography is usually accompanied by visions of Hasselblads, Rolleiflexes, and the Contax 645. It's easy to hold. So no, the Contax 645 won’t win any awards for focus speed. For those who remain unconvinced by the Contax, but are still interested in the 6x4.5 cm film format, Hasselblad’s H-series 645 cameras are also a great option. Contax 645 Ergonomics and Feel. So, you'll have to excuse me for that. It seems like a daunting concept and a burden insurmountable. Carl Zeiss Lenses for the Contax 645 - Photo Courtesy John Bramaan. I think you can get a good hasselblad 501c for this price. When I bought mine, it included a 30-day return policy on eBay, plus the coverage I have through eBay and Paypal's buyer protection. Want to see behind the scenes action, keep up with Jeff & Michele, and receive wedding style and planning resources? The body is heavier and felt more durable than my Mamiya systems and the images were sharper as a result of the Zeiss lenses. I am, of course, ignoring the hugely unsuccessful, over-a-decade-late N line of autofocus cameras – designed to be used with CONTAX’s own (non-Zeiss) lenses, as well as Carl Zeiss CONTAX 645 mount and Hasselblad V-System lenses. We respect your privacy and will never share your email. The Contax 645 AF is a relatively small and lightweight medium format film camera dating from the late 1990s. It … Indeed, if I were ever forced to choose only one camera to work with, I’m in no doubt as to which it would be. Competing cameras include Pentax 645N and Mamiya 645 AF. A comprehensive review of the Contax 645 medium format film camera system for wedding photography, portrait photography and studio portrait photography. Others tell horror stories of broken shutters, messed up auto-focus, so on and so forth. And while far from photography’s best-kept secret nor much of a bargain when considered in purely economic terms, I believe that it’s worth every cent of even the inflated prices it currently sells for. The results are incredible. When we got engaged, we anticipated a lot of planning for the wedding—plus we had to begin planning to move in together once we were married! On top of that, I often experience some focus-searching when using the camera in low light. That is until I read a review of the Bronica rf645. The Contax 645 feels great in the hand. Among the alternatives, the particularly strong suit of the Contax 645 is the amazing quality of the native Zeiss 80mm f/2. While the Contax 645 is not entirely unique in this respect, it has to be said that there’s not a great deal of competition out there on this front. Cannot say enough about the stability and files from the Hasselblad and Phocus software. The Contax 645’s viewfinder provides one of the brightest, most contrasty viewing images I’ve ever seen. Indeed, if something were to go wrong with my own Contax now, I’d be in real trouble; I have a lot of money invested in the glass but would struggle to replace the body at current prices. It is an argument for buying the simpler older SLR’s like Leicaflex/SL/SL2, Contax S2/S2B, Contarex/Contaflex, Ashai Pentax, older Minoltas and so on. This means that over the years, I’ve handled rather a lot of them. So, do your due research and consider buying a Contax with a warranty and/or return policy of some sort. The backs on this camera are great: super fast and easy to load and quick to release from the body. So is the all-of-a-piece build quality. It seems to last for hours and hours on four Eneloop Pros (which were at the top of my Best Rechargeable AA Batteries for Wedding Photographers, by the way). For those who prefer their focus action to be all manual, this is of course entirely possible with the Contax, and AF can easily be overridden by the press of a button. Sure, everything is a little bit slower than with today’s cameras, but nothing essential is missing. Canon R6, Sony a7 III, Nikon Z 6II, and Panasonic S5: Which Is Best? The Contax 645 feels great in the hand. It's fairly compact for a medium format SLR, although its Zeiss lenses, with their all-metal construction, are considerably heavier than some other I still shoot with Capture One for my 1ds Mark 111, but the Phocus platform is the best using it with the Hasselblad. We receive a portion of the total sale price, so it helps us out a lot! However, after 10 terrifying minutes of trying to figure what was “broken,” this in fact turned out to be a case of user error; evidently, while playing with the camera, the individual in question had knocked a button, sending the camera into the mirror-up position or something similar. No mention of the Pentax 645 line? I’ll be honest that this is the one area of the camera in which I have relatively little experience, simply because the habit has always lead me to meter with my handheld Sekonic. With lower sync speeds of 1/90 or 1/60, the same cannot be said for most competitor 645 film models. But if after numerous detours, I still come back to this camera as the model I’m most comfortable working with today, it’s because overall, it does the job I need it to do very well. This is a pro camera and offers everything in a very direct and convenient manner. I loved mine and used it with both film but mainly with a phase one back. Its easy to jump back and forth, from one platform to another but if i had my choice .... Phocus everyday every shoot thanks! The Contax 645 is an autofocus camera and unlike the Contax AX 35mm camera I wrote about, the AF on the 645 is quite good and definitely usable. But i use the t4 most of the time. Although I’ve occasionally branched out into using other makes, models, and formats of cameras over the years, I’ve been using the Contax 645 since it was still a new product, and it remains my default camera today. You can also add the tilt shift adapter plus the True focus ability of the camera its an amazing tool. As it is, though, the most notable problem with this camera is simply how good it is, which has, unfortunately, lead to it selling at totally outrageous prices. I enjoyed the kit but transitioned to the RZ ProII which I loved. Please, consider using our links to help support what we do! Thanks to several high profile photographers using the Contax 645 as their main camera even to this day, it has garnered a high amount of praise among the film shooter community. Additional l y I am unable to repair at the moment ANY RTS3 with viewfinder backlight issues or power issues due to the lack of DC/DC converter spares. Sure, the Contax produces smaller negatives than all three, but having for years exhibited ultra-large prints made from scans of these very negatives, I can honestly say that this is not a problem. A couple photographers I assisted in the day owned the Contax 645 and it was an impressive setup. The Contax 645 is a modular system with removable backs, prisms, and lenses. Both an AE prism and a waist-level finder were produced for the Contax 645. Photography and Camera News, Reviews, and Inspiration Today we’re going to take a look at two film cameras. With that said, it’s probably not necessary that I elaborate. Personally I am no collector so I'd rather buy a reasonably priced capable medium format camera. Although I’ve used literally dozens, if not hundreds, of these cameras — often ones that passed through the punishing hands of hardworking professionals on a daily basis — I’ve never seen a Contax 645 in poor condition. So, it’s with some alarm that I’ve recently learned that the Contax 645 doesn’t enjoy a great reputation for its electronic circuitry, not that I’ve personally had any problems on this front. However, when I belatedly learned that the Contax 645 had been discontinued, I realized that the time had come to purchase one of my own. This alone clinches the deal as far as I’m concerned. I did have a upgraded screen in the Contax which was nice add on, the grip too so you had longer battery life. To learn a little more about those, check out the comparison I did with the Maxwell Screen on a Pentax 67. And unlike many of the Contax 645’s contemporaries, there’s no fussing around with manual focus, old-style double-action film-advance cranks, nor external metering (unless you want to, of course). Discuss: Contax 645 - SLR camera - medium Series Sign in to comment. The body when fitted with AE prism and film back feels very solid and is as beautiful to look at, as it … They are more than happy to talk about options for wedding photography in Kentucky and have been labeled by reviewers as top Wedding Photographers in Louisville Ky. Louisville Wedding Photographers | Cincinnati Wedding Photographers | Lexington Wedding Photographers | Kentucky Wedding Photographers | Jeff & Michele © 2020 All Rights Reserved. Zeiss Contax 645 80mm f/2. in the brief window between the Contax 645’s discontinuation and its elevation to the status of cult medium format film camera that it enjoys today.

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