Archived posting to the Leica Users Group, 1998/04/29

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Subject: Re: [Leica] Contax G-2
From: Shawn London <>
Date: Wed, 29 Apr 1998 20:06:58 -0500

BD Colen wrote:

>Have any LUGers had any substantial experience with the Contax G-2, and, if
>so, what did/do you think? Is the autofocus fast and accurate, particularly
>in low light? How do the lenses compare to their Leitz counterparts? Is it
>- forgive the heresy! - in the same quality/serious photo tool catagory as
>the M6, or is it essentially a rich persons P&S?

I have had a G-2 for about a year and a half with both the 35mm f/2 
Planar and 90mm f/2.8 Sonnar lenses.  As far as the camera body itself 
goes, I think that in terms of feel (solid metal feel) and craftsmanship, 
it is comparable to an M6.  The G2 adds all the great features of an SLR 
such as faster flash sync (1/200), metal-bladed electronically-controlled 
shutter with higher top speed (1/6000), motor wind, and autofocus, 
without all of the weight, unnecessary complexity, and bulk.  The 
autofocus is very reliable (it works best when using vertical lines as 
focusing points), and is great in poor light due to its invisible infared 
AF assist light.  The lenses are both comparable to M lenses in terms of 
sharpness and contrast.  They seem to have a relately "cold" bias, and 
really give exceptional performance for their price (under $500, except 
for 21mm biogon for $1100).  The price/performance ratio is certainly 
better in the G than the M.

However, the M is a completely different kind of camera, and I do not 
consider the two systems directly comparable.  I will say that I prefer 
using my M6 because the quiet operation and mechanical precision are 
missing from the G2.  The M finder is a lot brighter and clearer as well. 
 The G lacks the superspeed lenses which make the M really shine in 
low-light work.  If you work with moving subjects a lot (kids), it is 
great to have the benefits of a rangefinder without having to bother 
focusing.   People who like auto-everything SLRs but are looking for a 
compact travel package will also prefer the G2 to the M6.  

If I could only have one camera, though, it would certainly be the M.  
You have a reliable, small package which mounts some of the best and most 
unique lenses made, in my opinion.  Sure, the lenses are expensive new, 
but there are plenty of great deals to be made in second-hand glass at 
affordable prices.  You cannot consider the M6 an "investment" (if you're 
looking to make money, put the cash in the bank for a sure deal), but all 
things being equal, it will probably hold more of its value than most 
other cameras, especially if you buy used.  

The Contax G is a camera to like, but the M6 is a gem that you can really