The Contax G1 is the predecessor to the Contax G2 camera, the most advanced 35mm rangefinder ever made, and arguably one of the finest 35mm cameras ever made. With the addition of the Carl Zeiss T lenses which have been tested to be some of the sharpest lenses ever created for 35mm, you have a combination that can produce outstanding photographs. Even through 2015 serious photographers are still using the Contax G1 and G2 camera systems.
Specifications of the Camera
Size – 5.3in x 3.1in x 1.7in
Power –2 CR2 batteries should get you approximately 80 rolls of 24exp film
Flash sync – 1/100 sec
Motor speed – 2FPS
Operational Modes of the Camera
Manual Mode-Full manual control from 1/2000sec to 16sec
A Mode-Aperture Priority control. You set the aperture, it sets the shutter speed.
AF Mode-Camera uses auto-focus system.
MF Mode– Manual focus system.
Other functions of the Contax
ASA/ISO Setting– DX from 25-5000, manual setting 6-6400.
Exposure Compensation– up to +2/-2 stops in 1/3 stop increments.
TTL Flash Metering– Full integration with TTL flash units, compatible with all Contax TLA units. Has a connector for a sync cable.
Timer– Yes it has a timer to trip the shutter of the Contax G1 after 10 seconds.
Optional Accessories for the Contax G1
GD-1 Data Back– Imprints date and time within the picture area, CR2025 battery.
TLA140 Flash– Designed expressly for the Contax G1, guide 14 (matches 28mm), TTL/Auto modes, 1xCR123A lithium battery
TLA200 Flash– Designed expressly for the Contax G1, guide 18-25 adjustable, TTL/Auto modes, 2xCR2 lithium batteries
GK-41 – Lens Cap, most common with the Contax G1, 46mm (fits Zeiss Biogon T* 28mm f/2.8, Zeiss Planar T* 35mm f/2, Zeiss Planar T* 45mm f/2, Zeiss Sonnar T* 90mm f/2.8, Zeiss Vario-Sonnar T* 35-70mm f/3.5-5.6)
GK-54 – Lens Cap , 57mm (fits GG-1, GG-2, GG-3 lens hoods)
GK-B – Body cap/cover
GG-3 – Lens hood
GA-1 – Lens adapter to use Zeiss C/Y lenses on G bodies, manual focus, no electronics
GF-21 – Finder for 21mm lens
Contax G1 Lens availability
90mm f/2.8 Carl Zeiss Sonnar T* (1994, Popular Photography said this was the sharpest medium tele lens they ever tested)
The Contax G1 debuted in 1994 and is built on an aluminum alloy chassis with titanium outer panels which makes it a very rugged body. The lens mount is stainless steel. The finder is non-focusing and covers only the lenses in the G line from 28mm to 90mm (there are accessory finders for the 16mm and 21mm) with parallax correction. The G1 may not use the 35-70mm zoom.
The shutter in the Contax G1 is a Titanium leaf vertical-travel focal-plane model that runs from 16sec to 1/2000sec. Metering is accomplished with a center-weighted meter off of the shutter curtain. No spot metering etc is available.
The Contax G1 original price was somewhere around $3,000 for the full kit when released.
Q: Why can I not use the 35mm-70mm G series Zoom lens with the Contax G1?
A: Originally the G1 was built with five contacts for the lens, the zoom requires seven. Also, there is no programming for this lens.
Q: Is there any way to use other lenses?
Q: Can I shoot macro shots with the Contax G1?
Q: I see some cameras listed as “green” stickers or labels, what is this?
Q: I have heard that the lenses for the Contax G1 are better than <insert brand here>, is that true?
Q: Why a rangefinder?
Q: Can you still get the green sticker upgrade or other factory work done (Contax G1 green label)?
A: No. Contax, lastly a division of Kyocera, ceased operations in 2005.
Q: Why film?
2016 update: Digital camera are even better today, as are the software tools to process the images. You can now create images in digital that will fool 90% or more of people into thinking it was shot with film. Film is still fun to use and unique which is why the Contax G1 body still sells for around $100 on auction sites while the 28mm 2.8 Biogen sells for approximately $300. Even after twenty-two years there is good demand for the Contax G1 and accessories.
NOTE: IF YOU HAVE PICTURES OF THE ACCESSORIES OR LENSES THAT I DO NOT AND WOULD BE WILLING TO DONATE THOSE IMAGES TO THIS FAQ, PLEASE USE THE CONTACT FORM AND LET ME KNOW.
Using the links/ads provided to purchase items helps to support this website and is very much appreciated!
Enjoy your Contax G1!
Share this post!