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Apples and Oranges-- Contax G2 vs. Contax T2

Andy Fraser , Jan 22, 2010; 10:11 p.m.

Alright, here is my predicament: I can't decide between the contax t2 and the g2. Now I know, before I annoy everyone, that these camera systems are very different-- one a point and shoot, the other a rangefinder. I am just hoping to get some general impressions from any of you who may have experience with these cameras. I have heard great things about both. I normally shoot with a 5x7 LF camera and a Mamiya 7, but I am looking for something smaller, compact/ portable; ideally a camera that isn't so obtrusive for documentary work. I lean towards the t2 for the aforementioned reasons but it scares me to pay so much money for a point and shoot-- and I wonder if, like most point and shoots, the lack of manual features will hinder my pix. Okay, there it is. Please share any thoughts you may have.


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Martin Tai , Jan 22, 2010; 10:26 p.m.

I have Contax T2 and T3, no experience with G2.
If you are looking for something small, go with T3, it is smaller with a better recomputed 6 element Carl Zeiss Sonnar 35mm/2.8, vs 5 element Sonnar 38/2.8 of T2
The black titanium version T3 is un-obstrusive.

Both T2 , T3 are now rather cheap on ebay

Fred C , Jan 22, 2010; 11:18 p.m.

Did you see the T2/T3 comparison on this site and the Contax G pages? Do you need to use external flash or full manual control? The G and T all require pre-focus, with the T2 being the slowest, the G2 not as fast as an AF SLR either. Would you accept that?

The G2 is the same size as a medium sized SLR and the lenses are a bit smaller. OTOH, it's more a portability issue than "obtrusiveness" which is really a function of technique and demeanour.

John Shriver , Jan 22, 2010; 11:27 p.m.

Maybe try the Olympus Stylus Epic (with the fixed 35/2.8 lens), which is really a point and shoot, but with a very sharp lens, very compact, and the ability to spot meter. It is not a toy. Much lower investment to see if you can be happy with the whole genus .
The G2 is really an interchangeable lens point-and-shoot. The lenses are superb, incredible value for money. Yes, it uses an infrared rangefinder, so do many point-and-shoots. Of course, you do get some more manual control options with all of those Contax cameras.

Barry Fisher , Jan 22, 2010; 11:35 p.m.

The G2, and the G1 are smaller than a medium sized slr don't you think? No prism housing. They are about the same size as a Leica M, maybe a bit less length. I think all these cameras take great pictures, just whatever you like to use. The G2 has changeable lenses.

Ray . , Jan 23, 2010; 02:29 a.m.

The Stylus Epic I have is definitely soft around the edges. Surely quite different from the Zeiss optics on these cameras.

Tom Higgins , Jan 23, 2010; 07:11 a.m.

I have a T2 I bought as a "stand alone carry-around", it's pretty damn good. The g2 is definitely bigger and more a "system". Depends on what you're looking for. I'd go with Ray on the olympus stylus- although a great snapshot camera it's not in the same league as the t2 in terms of just about everything. My 2c. I have a black titanium T2 to sell, btw, if anyone is interested, drop me a line.

Charles Stobbs , Jan 23, 2010; 10:33 a.m.

I also have a Stylus Epic which is fun to use because of its compactness but IMHO the larger Nikon L35AF with manual set ISO instead of the Epic's DX coding, two stop backlighting compensation lever, flash off default instead of flash on default, and a threaded filter ring has a lot more versatility, and usually a little cheaper than the Epic on EBay. My current favorite however is the Konica C35 EF3 for various reasons but seldom found on EBay.

Blake Abbott , Jan 23, 2010; 11:33 a.m.

I had a T2 awhile back. I really liked the camera and the images were VERY nice, great 2.8 lens. Easy to carry with me, but.... the autofocus was maddening. When you pressed the shutter release, the lens had to focus before the shutter fired. Major lag=annoying.

rick dorn , Jan 23, 2010; 04:22 p.m.

I've used several modern Contax's, including the T2, T3 and G2. Since you have already heard many great things about them, let me objectively share some of the downside.
The lenses are all superb in the G2 range, and the T2 35mm was also excellent for a P&S, although it did have some corner vignetting, which is not uncommon in shutter-between-the-lens point and shoots. But the T2 shutter response is too slow for "decisive moment" shooting, even if you pre-focus. The G2 is much faster if pre-focused, more like a leica or modern SLR. Another constraint common to all these camera is that you have no visual feedback on focus, so you have to trust that camera is correctly focused, and the simple autofocus system in both cameras has given me more out-of-focus frames than any other cameras I have used. In particular, the G2 has some problems with it's 90/2.8 in consistent focusing. You have to pay careful attention to the focus distance shown in the VF every time you use the 90. The manual focus system on the G2 is very imprecise, and I found it largely unusable unless I had lots of time to get the shot.
The T3 has an even better lens than the T2 that also reduces the vignetting experience of the T2, as well as a slightly faster shutter response, although still too slow for street shooting or action.
Eventually, the slow shutter response of the T2 and the electronic quirkiness of the G2 became too frustrating for me (for example, the G2 once auto-set the ISO to the wrong value on a roll of Velvia and destroyed a complete roll of critically important shots. There is no indication of the actual ISO set on "Auto"), so I can't in good conscience recommend either. I still have a T3, but the slow focusing and slow shutter release means I can only use it for relatively static subjects, and on these it does yield some of the the very best results available in 35mm.
Of the two cameras you mentioned, I would say the G2 is more versatile, especially if you are accustomed to carrying big MF and LF bodies, so that the size won't be a concern. I don't think any of the three are the best choice for an all-around 35mm, however.

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