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Contax G2
The Ultimate 35mm Travel Camera?

(Archived article from 2001)

University of Minnesota Marching Band

Above: Cropped photo of the University of Minnesota Marching Band. The inset photo near the bottom of the page was cropped from an even tinier portion of a 35mm negative. (Contax G2, Zeiss f/3.5-4.5 35-70mm Vario-Sonnar zoom lens, Kodak Supra 800 exposed at ISO 640.)

In today's digital world, is there room for a film camera that combines the workmanship of a classic Leica or Kodak Retina with electronic technology and convenience? Aficionados of the Contax G2 rangefinder camera continue to vote an enthusiastic"yes" with their dollars, euros, and yen, for several reasons:

Zeiss lenses. The Contax G2 offers a range of superb Zeiss optics from 16mm to 90mm. All seven lenses are remarkably light and small, making them ideal for travel.

Automation. Unlike other high-end rangefinder cameras, the G2 offers the convenience of automatic focusing and exposure (although it does allow manual control).

Quality. In an era when molded plastic is wrapped around everything from cameras to automobiles, the G2's titanium body has a reassuring strength and solidity. Lens housings and user controls are machined from metal, adding to a tactile pleasure that translates into pride of ownership.

University of Minnesota Marching Band - Thatcher Imboden and friendsI was lucky enough to borrow a Contax G2 kit from the manufacturer, Kyocera Optics, thanks to Michael Zorek of HWH Public Relations/New Media in New York. I took the camera and three lenses on a European cruise, and this article is based on my experience as a low-end photographer using a high-end camera.

Next Page > The camera - Page 2

In this archived article:
The camera
The lenses
Test results
Related Web sites
Digital vs. film

Also see:
The Ultimate Camera Bag for Travelers