Contax RTS Camera Review & Sample Photos

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In this video, Jules and I review the Contax RTS, a professional segment analog SLR camera which hit the market in 1975. The Contax RTS was the result of the cooperation between Carl Zeiss and Yashica (which later became Kyocera) and comes with a beautiful shutter sound, high built quality, and access to Carl Zeiss lenses. Take a look at our review for all the details.

Films used:
Kodak T-Max 100
Kodak Portra 400

Dev & Scan:


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hey guys this Max and today we want to review the contacts RTS but before we dive into the review I want to tell you the story of how I got this particular camera and it starts a couple of weeks ago when I visited my aunts place in this way BIA and I brought along my Leica m6 because I wanted to visit my grandmother as well who is almost 90 years old by now and living in a retirement home and I wanted to use the opportunity to take some of her portraits and of course bringing along the Leica m6 sparked a conversation about analog photography with my aunt at some point and she mentioned that she worked at Carl Zeiss for 28 years mostly in over cuffin and that back in the mid 1970s when she started she actually bought a contacts with three different card size lenses and she told me all about how she enjoy photography back then and especially the macro lens that she got and of course I got increasingly interested and I carefully asked her about the whereabouts of this camera and she was like well actually I think I gave it to your sister at some point so I instantly texted my sister who is living in Southern Denmark and she was like yeah I do remember that camera and I think it's somewhere in our attic so to make a long story short not even a week later I was holding this context RTS together three beautiful lenses in my hand realized that it's in a really great condition and working with Rosie and I could instantly start taking some photographs was instantly developing the first test roll and testing it extensively in the last couple of weeks and now it's about time to do a proper review so today this is what we're going to do Jules and I will take a couple of photographs with this particular camera using all the three lenses that came with it that's a 50 millimeter f1 point for planar lens this 60 millimeter F 2.8 macro lens which is amazing and the 200 millimeter F 3.5 portrait lens so let's take a closer look at this camera contacts is a card size brand that the company used between 1932 and 2005 and before getting into the entire contacts history which is really interesting I just want to focus on the 1970s here and back in 1972 around that time card size was looking for a cat new cameraman a manufacturer so basically a company that would create an SLR body that would go along well with their high quality card size lenses and at first there were talks with the company Pentax but eventually they decided to work with the Yashica the first result of the cooperation between card size and Yashica was this contacts RTS with RTS standing for real-time system which of course meant that it was metering in real time basically once you press the shutter it selected the right shutter speed and ensure that your exposure was right and the camera was first introduced at Photokina in 1974 and was an immediate hit when it hit the market in 1975 and that's also the year when my aunt purchased this camera what is interesting is that it was directed at the professional level market and here I really have to mention that in combination with a professional motor drive this camera was able to or still is able to shoot five frames per second and that is really interesting because when you look at the prices on eBay today this camera can be had for on average around 130 euros right now of course the prices are profound to change but and what you get is a really solid and wonderfully designed camera that was directed as a at the professional market back then so in comparison to other SLRs that you can get this is really a great bargain and I encourage you to take a look at it especially because you do get access to card size lenses so now let's take a closer look at the technical details of the contacts RIT s um what is most important is that it has an electronically controlled horizontal cloth focal plane shutter with speeds ranging from one second to 1 mm of a second so really fast and in addition to that you have a ball mode besides that there is a dedicated ISO dial ranging from iso 12 to 3200 and there is exposure compensation of plus 2 and minus 2 depending on what you want to do in addition to the shutter speed and the eyes a dial of different buttons we have a mirror lock-up we do have a depth of field preview down here and a self-timer and most importantly we have a metering button here on the front that you will use a lot if you're in manual mode the manual exposure mode so what you would usually do is take a look through the viewfinder press that button here on the front with your index finger and then get an indication of the suggested shutter speed and then you can reset it up here what is interesting with someone also mentioned to me already in one of the forums is that you set your shutter speed here on the left with a dial on the left and not what is more common by now here on the right where the contacts are ts has its ISO dial what I should also mention is the viewfinder which is really bright and wonderful and covers 92% of what is actually ending up on the film and has a very nice indication of the shutter speeds here on the right side and the important information that you need and what is also interesting when you use the camera in the aperture priority automatic exposure mode that you can set here where you just set it to a you still have the shutter speeds briefly lighting when you press the shutter so you also get some degree of control or at least the information that you need about your shutter speed in the automatic control setting yeah so these are the typical features that you would expect um from such an advanced professional segment SLR camera you so what are our findings after using the contacts RTS for the last couple of weeks most importantly this camera really feels like a professional SAR even today after 40 years the electronics run smoothly the high quality material comes through it's such a joy to press the shutter the shutter sound is simply amazing and what I particularly like is that the shutter itself almost feels like a soft release the shadow release is so soft you instantly get some feedback and it sounds wonderful what I also really appreciated is the separation between the shutter and the metering button here at the front so especially in manual mode kind of much more consciously thinking about okay pressing metering first and then doing your settings maybe over exposing a little bit if you need to and then actually pressing the shutter and have that completely separated what I also liked is the amazingly bright viewfinder and how easy it is to frame and focus using it so even with the 50 millimeter f1 point for planar lens I found myself really hitting focus when shooting portraits with this camera and also find must found myself using it quite a bit for portrait sessions because I enjoyed so much and it also creates a certain atmosphere because of the shutter sound because with the speed that brings along as a manual advanced film advanced camera I really really enjoyed it last but not least what is also important to think is that it is well suited for starters for beginners so if you're just starting out and looking for a solid maybe even professional segment SLR analog camera you should definitely take a look at this camera because it can be had as mentioned before for only around 130 euros on eBay of course price is about to change and they this body does instantly give you access to card size lenses and this last but not least is of course what I enjoyed the most getting this camera from my own and then a set of lenses these lenses are amazing and what they bring out on 35 millimeter cameras and 35 millimeter film is really astounding so thanks for watching I hope you enjoyed this review of the context RTS if you did remember to like this video and maybe even share it with your friends and if you want to see more videos like that please um leave us a comment in the comment section below and subscribe to autumn channel as you know Jutes and I really appreciate it so thanks for watching we hope to see you soon bye

27 thoughts on “Contax RTS Camera Review & Sample Photos

  1. I recentely purchased a pristine 1975 Contax RTS + Planar 50mm 1.4 + Real Time Winder. 299 euro in total and it came with a 12 months warranty. That's how sure this well known shop was of this camera. I looked up just the going rates for the Planar and I couldn't find it (in NL) under 400 euro.

    Aside from that, this camera is such a joy to use (oh, that satisfying sound and feel, indeed)…and the metering is spot on accurate (passed the litmus test: Ektachrome E100)! Of all my cameras (incl digital) this is now my favourite. I don't think I'll ever part with it. Oh, here's the punchline: I watched this video back in 2017, again late 2018 and I'm pretty sure this had subconsciously stuck with me, until I happened upon the opportunity in Feb 2019 :). Cheers.

  2. Wow! How nice. I too am a contax user i have have two bodies and several amazing zeiss lenses including the three that you mentioned. I would say that the 60mm f2.8 macro in unquestionably the finest lens that I have ever used. I purchased a Sony A7ii and an adapter that allows me to shoot with my many zeiss lenses, and i am always astounded with the brilliant optical performance. I still shoot film but not as often.

  3. I love the Contax RTS, the problem is that their "first gen" electronics are fragile and kind of jammed into the body. My local repair guy was a Yashica repair tech for his whole life, but the parts just aren't available anymore to repair/replace the electronics. I've had 2 RTS 1s, and 1 RTS 2 and they're all unserviceable now. I bought an RTS III and it developed a fault too but my local tech found a source in Japan for the part. Only took 2 years to find. Anyway the RTS III and Aria are still working and you're right it's a wonderful system to use. If you have a working one, treasure it. I think they nailed the user interface. Great video and keep up the good work.

  4. Schönes Video, schöne Kamera.. Ich habe immer mit dem Contax-System geliebäugelt. Da ich aber schon ein umfangreiches Nikon-System nutze, möchte ich nicht in ein weiteres KB-System investieren.

  5. Great job Max. Contax made some of the highest quality and unique cameras. you will be pleasantly surprised when you try the super solid Contax RTS III (built in vacuum back to flatten the film), and the Contax AX which will autofocus with the manual Zeiss lenses (no kidding, just look into it). Keep up the good work.

  6. I didn’t see you using it, so I would like to point out that the f/3,5 200mm has a built-in lens hood. The thin ring in front of the rubber focus collar is the end of the hood. Pull it forward to extend it.
    The whole RTS series are wonderful cameras and the lenses are amazing. Thank you for bringing attention to them.

  7. I love my Contax RTS too Max! I wish I could afford the Contax 85mm F1.4 & the 50mm F1.4 Planner lenses! Maybe one day? The body and functionality are amazing! So simple to use and the meter is spot on! I have the 50mm F1.9 Yashica lens and works just fine.

  8. Thank you Max and Jules for this beautiful tribute to the Contax range of cameras. I really admired your compositions, so clearly considered and perfectly executed. You did the RTS proud. I picked up a Contax 139Q O’Meara years ago complete with lens and winder for a small sum of money in a Paris flea market. Some repairs were reared but worth the investment. I have since added the Contax 167MT and on the watch for a Contax RX at a reasonable price. The sense of physicality and the superb engagement with the image-making is what I like. Eye, brain and mind must all work together. Well done you guys!

  9. Nice.. well, I never did get Contax's idea of placing the shutter speed and iso controls the other way around. If Someone would like acces to Zeiss Contax lenses is good to know that they can be mounted on Yashicas too. Might be even cheaper.

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