R6.2 vs Contax RTS II.

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I have a nice contax RTS II, which actually just sits there since I favor the M outfit. Still one day I think I would like to play around with it, especially for some close up shots. Sould I just keep what I have and forget about the R series? Or should I switch? BTW, would there be any advantage using my SLR for upcoming baby shots? Thanks in advance for your thoughts!

-- John Abela (jamriman@yahoo.com), June 06, 2002


John, first of all congrats on the upcoming baby (I got a 7 months boy at home, and anohter one on the way (yes, you read right)). I haven't used either R6.2 or Contax RTS II, but I'll give you my 2 cents anyway.

I so no reason for investing in Leica's R series when you do have a nice Contax at home. IMO, 35mm SLR is the first family of equipment that will get overshadowed by digital, thus if I was to invest in SLR I would buy gear that has some future, be it Contax N-series, Nikon or Canon (currently in the lead, if you ask me). I think an EOS body, a 50/1.4 and their excellent 100/2.8 USM Macro might get you most of your baby shots for quite a while (then perhaps add a L class zoom).

Hence, you can achieve a lot of nice family photo style using M equipment (as evident here but it is much easier to accomplish with a fast AF SLR.

Me, I don't want to spend the dollars to have multiple lines of equipment, thus the Leica rangefinder is the only 35mm film equipment that I plan to keep. The rest will, sooner or later, be rendered worthless (accept lenses) and become digital.

Hope I didn't open a can of worms here...


-- pat (modlabs@yahoo.com), June 06, 2002.

John, I have an rts2 as well. Shot a wedding last friday with it and the couple called me yesterday to say how much they liked the shots. I have the camera now for about 10 years and it never failed me. Remember that the R6.2 is an all manual camera so taking pictures of your child will be slower than with the aperturepriority of the rts 2. The lenses of the contax are excellent as well and are in no way performing less than the leica r lenses.

a couple of years ago a Dutch magazine published an article by the well known Erwin Puts in which he and another person from the magazine compared Leica's r7 with Nikon's F3, incl. the lenses of 2,8 24, 2,0 35, 2,0 90/85 and 3,4(L) and 2,8 (N) 180mm lenses. As it turned out both authors were sometimes complimenting the qualities of one brand while looking at a picture taken with the other brand. The conclusion was that the differences were absolutely minimal, except for the enormous price difference. This difference was justified by Mr Puts because of the in his opinion better mechanical quality of the Leica optics and that in very difficult lightsituations, leica optics offered just a very little bit more. The other author acknowledged this but still found the prices of the leica stuff out of proportion.

So I would say that going over to Leica R will add nothing to your photographs.

-- Frank (frank_bunnik@hotmail.com), June 06, 2002.

I too have thought about this being a long term Contax RTS2 owner, but having tried various R incarnations in my local Leica dealer, I feel that the Contax is better designed, feels more sturdy with all the controls in the right places, plus I just love that 'feather touch' shutter button. The mirror slap of R bodies is very dampened and a lot quieter compared to the RTS2
The R lenses though are better built than the Zeiss equivalents, but which is better optically is debateable. If you have an extensive RTS kit, I would stick with it. Second hand prices for manual Contax is not that good with the introduction of the Contax N

-- Karl Yik (karl.yik@dk.com), June 06, 2002.

I agree with what has been said here. I think the Zeiss lenes for the Contax are every bit as good as the Leica at 1/3 the price. Probably don't want to be making a substantial investment in a film based SLR system as the availablility of Lenses and gear is disappearing. Note Olympus just discontinued its OM line one of the most popular film SLRs ever, especially in Europe.

-- Bob Haight (rhaigh5748@aol.com), June 06, 2002.

I also have a Contax RTS at home, and recently decided against trading it against C****, N**** or Leica stuff. Each of these systems has its pros and cons, and none is perfect (though some are more than others). You just have to live with the quirks of the system you chose.
Contax MF gear is currently priced quite cheap used, and if you stick to 35mm and don't want to go digital, keeping the Contax is the right decision in my eyes, since you also would not get much money in return. Rather save it for your baby or spend it for more Leica M gear ...

-- Kai Blanke (kai.blanke@iname.com), June 06, 2002.


Much as I essentially favor Leica lenses and the system over the Contax. It does not seem sensible unless you wish to follow your Leica passion. I would just use the RTS with the standard lens to start with - all you need for a new baby and it should be great. You can always add a short tele later at much less effort than getting into an R system. When the baby grows up you will need to use it more, as in my opinion, an M is not the best for toddlers.

-- Robin Smith (smith_robin@hotmail.com), June 06, 2002.

Get a mid priced digital camera ( like a canon g1) for your family shots. And take as many as possible. No film, no processing: all you have to do is keep the battery charged (lasts a long time) .

-- leonid (murkacat@hotmail.com), June 06, 2002.

"No film, no processing: all you have to do is keep the battery charged (lasts a long time)." That's right, all you need is a computer (if you don't have one), faily expensive photo editing software, memory cards and a printer. Hmmmm?

-- Bob Todrick (bobtodrick@yahoo.com), June 06, 2002.

I guess i will take the contrary view. i have a leica r6.2 and a SL which i use along with my M system. i evaluated both the contax and the leica before settling on the leica. what sold me on the leica is the larger selection of lenses especuially used lenses. If you want to get some long glass, leica makes an excellent 400 f6.8 telyt. they also have an excellent 100 f2.8 macro. while i like the contax, i was concerned that there move to autofocus and their limited line of lenses would mean that i could not find what i want at a reasonable price. digital is a personal choice. i personally have not gone in that direction simply because i do not want to spend any significant amount of money on a camera that will become obsolete in three years. a scanner will do just fine. at some point you will probably want to get a pro AF system. for me it was when they started playing sports.

good luck on you decision and you really cant go wrong either way. for more information on leica R bodies and lenses see doug herr's excellent site www. wildlightphoto.com./leica/

-- greg mason (gmason1661@aol.com), June 06, 2002.

You will not get very much for the Contax, and you will pay dearly for the Leica R6.2. It's a great system and if you didn't already have the Contax I'd say for sure go for the R in preference, but I'd probably suggest you get an R5, R-E, R7 or even R8 before the R6.2. The 6.2 makes a great outfit for hiking and shooting landscapes (Marc and David Muench used them a few years ago)because the bodies are small and light. For photographing your upcoming toddler, do yourself a huge favor and get any recent Canon EOS body and the 28- 135-IS lens.

-- Jay (infinitydt@aol.com), June 06, 2002.

Get a mid priced digital camera ( like a canon g1) for your family shots. And take as many as possible. No film, no processing: all you have to do is keep the battery charged (lasts a long time) .

Yes, but it is not the whole truth - keep your computer up to date, expensive paper and ink (this is processing, digital processing) - NOTHING is free, and you have to worry about archiving your images. O but of course this won't be any issue since technology solves everything...

-- Robin Smith (smith_robin@hotmail.com), June 06, 2002.

I also happen to think a Canon G1 or G2 would be a terrible choice for any toddler pictures - talk about missing the critical moment! I do much better than my wife with my R6.2 and MF lenses than she does with her Elan 7 and zoom. I still humbly suggest the Contax will work just fine.

-- Robin Smith (smith_robin@hotmail.com), June 06, 2002.

Robin, you're comparing 2 cameras *and* 2 photographers. Give your wife the R6.2 and see if she has better results than with the Elan7. I wouldn't suggest you trying the Elan because you've already made up your mind the R6.2 is faster and better. For me, and I think my R8's and R6.2's are much more satisfying tools in my hands, I simply can not get the same number of superior images of skittering critters (2 legged or otherwise) with them than with my 1V's and the 45-point AF. This wasn't true with the 5-sensor Nikons or the 1N.

-- Jay (infinitydt@aol.com), June 06, 2002.

Missing the critical moment !? Why makes you say that ? Have you shot with this camera ?

-- leonid (murkacat@hotmail.com), June 06, 2002.

forget about the Canon G1 & 2 for baby shooting - I tried it...

OK, I got some nice shots to email to friend and family of the newborn, but the shutter lag is HORRIBLE, the flash is too strong in most cases, the value of the gear is half they day after you buy it, and it sucks spending all that time in from a laptop (no, thanks, I alread work in the software industry, don't need to spend my weekends too in front of the darn thing) and also most friends/family want prints (resize, adjust, send to ofoto.com... zzzzzzzzzzzz)

Keep your Contax. If you want to sell it, now is the time though, in a few years it will be worth even less.


-- pat (modlabs@yahoo.com), June 06, 2002.

Now that I think about it, it did have shutter lag. However I was able to photograph my neighbor's nervous cat for their New Years greeting card (w/o flash) without any problems. Perhaps the elan 7 would be the better (and quicker) choice .

-- leonid (murkacat@hotmail.com), June 06, 2002.


Actually I am pretty impressed with the Elan 7, but at this particular thing (fast moving toddler) it is not as good. Otherwise it is a very fine camera. The zoom is not bad either.

-- Robin Smith (smith_robin@hotmail.com), June 06, 2002.

for babies and any other small "items" you cannot beat an slr! you can use your M, but the lack of closeup will annoy you pretty soon. don't buy a leica r if you don't intend to use it. my 'backup' slr is a pentax mx, probably not in the contax league, but perfectly adaquate for those 1-2% of closeup shots i take.

if you don't have it get a really fast lens for your contax. you can torture a baby quite a lot with a flash or even bright light. use fast film.

with a baby you will have one of the best reasons why to take photos. congratulations!

-- stefan randlkofer (geesbert@yahoo.com), June 06, 2002.

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