Contax Cameras UK Limited

G Series - G2 Rangefinder - FAQ's

Q. What are the differences between the G1 and G2?

A. The G1 is a general use camera while the G2 is optimised for the professional photographer. The G1 is smaller (7mm shorter in length, approx. 2mm lower in height), and the G1 is lighter (16.23 ounces compared to 19.76 ounces in the G2). The progression of G1 to G2 has caused the shutter speeds and X sync to be enhanced on the G2. The G1 has shutter speed capability from 16 seconds to 1/2000 second in both Aperture Priority (AV) and Manual while the G2 has shutter speeds from 16 seconds to 1/4000 second in Manual and 1/6000 second in Aperture Priority (AV). The flash sync on the G1 is 1/100 second while the X sync on the G2 is 1/200 second making flash fill photography much easier.

The integrated motor drive on the G1 can operate continuously at two frames per second(fps) or single frame advance, The G2 can operate at four fps, two fps or single frame advance. Coupled with the frame rate, in the G1, is a hard link to the autofocus mode. The continuous advance mode is combined with the continuous autofocus mode. In the single advance mode the G1 is locked with the single auto-focus mode. The G2 de-links these features so that they may be set independently.

The autofocus system of the G2 is entirely new. It features an active infrared system over-layered with a passive auto focus system. The infrared system roughs in the focus mechanism to within a zone, then the passive system hones the focus to the actual distance to the subject. The benefit is that the passive AF system is not compelled to search over the entire focusing range to find the focus point. It only searches in the zone found by the infrared system.

The G1 uses a traditional passive autofocusing system which searches the entire focusing range to find its target. You will note that there is a red emitter on the G1 to aid in focusing. This is not infrared, it is a visible light that paints a grid on the subject that the camera can then focus on under low light conditions. Infrared, of course, is not visible to the human eye.

Another point of difference between the G1 and G2 is in the totally re-designed manual focus system. The G1 uses a thumb wheel on the top right of the camera to change focus manually. The G2 has been re-designed to put the manual focus wheel at the front right of the body. This is virtually the same location as the original Contax rangefinder cameras. Additionally, the tactile feedback has been improved on the G2. The G1 was criticised because there was little resistance to the turning of the manual focus wheel. The G2 introduces a very fine vernier click with just enough resistance. This button doubles as the ISO changing wheel.

Another area of difference is that the G2 has a larger viewfinder than the G1. This viewfinder is also brighter in the G2 than the G1. Parallax correction in the G1 is accomplished by automatic shifting of the frame on the left and top of the viewfinder window. As these frame segments move down and toward the right, the user must mentally add the parts of the scene that are gained there. The G2 moves the entire frame mask, top, bottom, left and right. Therefore, you see an accurate presentation regardless of where you are focused.

After each, and all, of these changes are evaluated, you may be assured that there will be no difference in the quality of the photographs you get back from the lab. The changes or evolutionary aspects of the G2 camera may be summed up in one word, faster.

Q. I understand I can have my G1 upgraded to a G2 with a coupon packaged with the two new Carl Zeiss lenses. Is this true, and how can I have this done?

A. The G1 cannot be modified to become a G2 in any way. The upgrade packaged with the new lenses, Biogon T* 21mm f2.8 and the Planar T* 35mm f2, is a Random Access Memory (ROM) upgrade only. This ROM upgrade adds information to the G1Õs memory telling it what a 21mm and 35mm lens is. The camera has to know how far to rotate the drive mechanism to change the distance in focusing for a specific focal length lens.

You can tell whether you need the ROM upgrade by checking the colour of the film loading instruction sticker located in the film chamber. If it is silver, you would need the upgrade, if the sticker is green, the upgrade has already been integrated. When you purchase either the Biogon T* 21mm f2.8 or the Planar T* 35mm f2, you will receive a coupon in your packaging that entitles the owner to a free G1 upgrade. If you never plan to purchase the 21mm or 35mm lenses, you do not need this upgrade.

Q. Do you have a more powerful flash than the TLA140 or TLA200 flashes designed for the G series cameras?

A. Yes, all flashes in the Contax line may be used with any camera, in TTL mode. Contax offers five different flashes, each with a different power output.

Both the G1 and the G2 can accomplish second curtain shutter photos easily with the TLA280 and higher.

TLA140 f4.6 @ ISO 100, 10 feet No Second Curtain Hot Shoe Flash Type No Bounce No Swivel
TLA200 f6.6 @ ISO 100, 10 feet No Second Curtain Hot Shoe Flash Type No Bounce No Swivel
TLA280 f9.2 @ ISO 100, 10 feet Second Curtain Hot Shoe Flash Type Bounce No Swivel
TLA360 f11.8 @ ISO 100, 10 feet Second Curtain Hot Shoe Flash Type Bounce Swivel
TLA480 f15.7 @ ISO 100, 10 feet Second Curtain Handle Mt. Flash Type Bounce Swivel
Q. How do I use a polariser with my G2 (or G1)?

A. Simple. Rotate the polariser between thumb and first finger, before your eye. When you get the effect you want, note the orientation of the filter on a clock. Almost all polarisers have an index mark such as a bump, dot or handle to allow this. Attach the polariser to the lens and orient the polariser in the same way with regard to the clock position. Incidentally, a linear polariser is adequate for the G series cameras, you will not require a circular type.

Q. I want to do flash fill outdoors with the G2, how can I do it?

A. Any type of flash fill will be accurate with regard to ratios only at one specific distance from the subject. This makes any ratio system subject to error. With a subject at 10 feet the following procedure will provide reasonable results.

ISO 100 film speed will be assumed in this illustration. The first task is to meter the ambient scene with the flash turned OFF. In the Auto mode (Aperture Priority, AV) turn the f stop ring until X sync (1/200 sec.) or the closest you can get to it, comes up as the active shutter speed in the viewfinder. This will provide approximately f11 at 1/200 second, outdoors. With the flash turned OFF, lock the resulting shutter speed via the AE Lock (the position on the main power switch of the camera beyond the ON position. Set the Exposure Compensation dial to -1 (minus one) for a 1:2 ratio or -2 for a 1:3 ratio. Turn the flash on to TTL and shoot.


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