Hi Everyone. I’ve been using my Contax T2 since last summer and feel I can finally do justice to a little review. But it's going to be quite a personal look, these are just my random, sometimes unfinished thoughts about a wonderful camera.
The main point of this review isn't really the words at all - it's the pictures. I hope by showing you lots of real-life photographs you can get a feel of the camera and its famous Carl Zeiss lens. For the record I get my film developed in a lab, scan them at home and then edit them a little in Lightroom.
So, I’ll say it's a camera that felt right and seemed to justify its reputation as soon as I picked it up. It was more or less love at first sight.
I adore how the camera looks and feels when you use it. When you turn it on the lens comes out with such speed and precision and with a brief, reassuring whurr. It feels like an exceptionally well made machine. The dials feel great and they click perfectly between each setting.
I bought the T2 after using a Contax G1 for a very short while. I loved the build and feel of that camera, but found the autofocus quite frustrating and wanted something smaller to mainly use as an extra camera at weddings and also for travel.
I kind of chose the gold coloured version just to be silly. I thought it would be fun to have a sparkly bling camera for weddings. I'm not a particularly sparkly bling person, so it was a bit of an in joke - with me being the only person in on the joke.
It has a fixed 38mm lens which gives a field of view that I haven't entirety got accustomed to.
The camera I most commonly use for a small take everywhere camera is Fuji's digital X100 with its 35mm equivalent field of view.
What on earth can 3mm more do? It seems crazy, but it's just a pinch more narrow than I'm used to and I do notice it. Although it is most probably just in my head.
Compared to other cameras that I'm used to using it has a relatively slow maximum shutter speed of 1/500. This speed seems quite common in film compact cameras, but it means using 400 film on a sunny day can force you to stop down the aperture quite a bit. There's nothing wrong with that at all, but if you're looking for a shallow depth of field it's not the easiest look to get with this camera. Using a much slower film can of course help with that.
Getting closer to your subject can force a more shallow depth of field, however the camera’s closest focusing distance could be better and in fact it was improved in the Contax T3. The T2 focuses at 70cm and the T3 at half that distance.
Is the T2's closest focusing distance something I've actually been aware of while shooting? Just a little I guess, but only really with portraits.
A few words have to be said about the Carl Zeiss lens. People rave about it and I'm very happy with it. As with my lens reviews I prefer to just show you lots of real life photos and let you see how they look, instead of putting ideas in your head and words in your mouths about how they look. That said - it can make some nice pictures.
A quick word about the cost of the camera. I paid whatever the standard price was in summer 2018 and many people like to hint that it's overpriced, and almost suggest that people buying them are suckers.
Sure, they have gone up a lot in recent years, but as far as I know I could sell it tomorrow for the price I paid for it. That's really not a bad deal. It's new digital cameras that tend to depreciate quickly - people buying those are suckers. Unfortunately that's me too.
I have loved owning and using the Contax T2, but it might be time to try something new. I would be very reluctant to sell it, but I'm curious to try the G2, and lots of other cameras too. We'll see.