Every Friday, I end the workweek by posting an Ask Me Anything on the site’s Instagram stories. Through these AMAs, readers of the site and customers of the shop get a chance to yell at me about something we’ve published or ask questions that have been nagging them about photography, cameras, and anything else. It’s a great way to engage with fellow photo geeks, and it’s a lot of fun.
Last Friday, a reader asked me to choose and list three cameras that are overrated, and three that are underrated. I did this, and I included in my trifecta of over-hyped cameras the Contax T2.
Another reader, Gabriel Fontes, disagreed with me so vehemently that he wrote in to let me know I was wrong (very politely, I should add – thanks for that Gabriel). We chatted for a while, and he shared his opinions and some images made with his Contax T2, which he says is one of the best cameras he’s ever used. He made some good points, though I won’t go so far as to say I’m totally convinced.
But rather than leave that conversation languishing in my inbox, I thought, why not put his argument on the site? I told people on Instagram that the T2 is overrated, why not let someone else have their say.
In the spirit of community and conversation, here’s what Gabriel had to say about his experience with the Contax T2. And below, see some of his photos.
“I keep reading people saying that the Contax T2 is overrated and I reached out in defense of the camera because I don’t find that to be totally fair. I admit that the Contax T2 is completely over-priced right now, no doubt, and I do understand that there is too much hype around it. These things can cause some backlash among more seasoned photographers.
I got my T2 a while ago, after resisting it for a long time because the prices were just too crazy. I took it out immediately and started shooting. Even on that first day, my impressions couldn’t have been more pleasant.
The body is much sturdier that I expected, the viewfinder is hands down the best I have ever seen in a point-and-shoot camera and the autofocus seemed fast and reliable. Perhaps the grip could be farther away from the lens to prevent the occasional finger bump during focusing. But that’s all the improvement that I could think of.
The camera feels like it was really designed with absolute care. By the end of the day and three rolls later, it really felt like I’d found my perfect companion. It was just a hassle-free, nice experience and it made me want to shoot more.
Then the negatives came back from the lab. I couldn’t believe how much I loved the results. It’s all about the lens. I have a Contax G2 and the Planar 35mm, and I still don’t know if there’s any actual difference between image quality from the two setups. The Contax T2 is as sharp as the G2 with 35mm. Images show beautiful bokeh, and more micro-contrast than I could dream of in a point-and-shoot. That all leads to insane resolution. And the autofocus and light meter are reliable. I seldom get anything improperly exposed.
I had many point and shoot cameras before I had the T2, and none delivered to me the same experience shooting. Amazing lens paired with a sturdy, reliable, made to last titanium body with a good amount of features. And oh, it looks insanely gorgeous.
I must have shot more than a hundred rolls through it by now, and every time I pick another point-and-shoot to go out I get this FOMO [fear of missing out] feeling for leaving the T2 behind.
So yes, despite the high price, I do feel like this is one very rare example of the hype being real.”
So that’s one argument for the Contax T2. My argument is naturally the inverse, that there are plenty of point-and-shoots that will make the same quality images at a tenth the cost of the T2. But to really argue this I need to put together an actual shootout, rather than just make claims.
I admit, I’ve not yet reviewed the T2, even after shooting one for a few months. They’re lovely cameras, I just have a hard time justifying the cost. But Gabriel makes some good points, and this seems like as good a time as any to get to work on a T2 writeup. It is, after all, the most popular point-and-shoot in existence today. Look for that, coming soon.
Thanks to Gabriel for chiming in, and for sharing his photos. Plenty more can be seen at his Instagram.
How do you feel about the Contax T2? Or the T3 for that matter? Let me know in the comments, and tune in every Friday for our AMAs on Instagram. Maybe your conversation will get the spotlight next.