A new film camera system introduced in 2001

Digging through some old content I found this article on the Contax N1 system, a film SLR system to compete with Canon EOS and Nikon. It was introduced in 2001! (The Kodak (/Nikon) DCS digital SLR came out in 1991. The Canon D30 came out in May 2000; the professional EOS 1D in 2001)

There were a lot of bright people at Kyocera and Zeiss behind this. Let’s forgive ourselves next time we miss a trend that seems obvious in retrospect!

3 thoughts on “A new film camera system introduced in 2001

  1. I am glad I did not buy into it! I have the Contax AX — their last attempt at autofocus which moved the film plane and mirror box — and the all manual Contax S2. The 28/2.8, 50 /1.4, 85/1.4, 135/2.8 and the 35-70/3.4 lenses were used on both. From that, I moved to the Alpha 700, the A7 then the A7RII. I still use the 67mm Contax UV(MC) filters on the Zeiss Batis lenses… they are a PERFECT fit in external diameter and in finish!

    One unfortunate retardation which the current Zeiss products share with the Contax N-mount lenses of yore is the unnecessarily FAT lens barrels. Just look at the Batis and how fat they are. The glass is a slim column in the middle and the rest is belly fat on the sides. Just because a lens is autofocus doesn’t mean they have to be that way. The Sony-Zeiss lenses are NOT that way. And, don’t give me the bullshit about sharing the 67mm filter thread. Nobody cares about that.

    Contax’s end was a sad story… the N-mount and (especially) the Contax 645 were genuinely good products overtaken by the digital revolution which Kyocera was not financially and strategically positioned to join. I wonder how many of the Contax engineers wind up at Sony.. one cannot help but notice the uncanny resemblance between the Contax design language and that of the A7 series. From the chiseled polygon body style, to the switch collar around the shutter release, to the diamond knurled rotary knobs, it all yells CONTAX!

  2. They also introduced (but never shipped) the N Digital at the same time, the first full-frame DSLR, so they were certainly not in denial, any more than Nikon when they introduced the F6 or Canon the EOS 1v.

  3. @ Fazal Majid
    Oh, the N DIgital shipped alright; it shipped and was later withdrawn! It shipped after about two years of delays. It was discontinued and withdrawn about 1 year after it shipped. It SUCKED. It is the first full frame DSLR, yet it’s bullshit Phillips sensor was OK at ISO 25 and bad by ISO 100 in terms of noise and artifacts.

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