Lost Files: โ€œSaturday Cookie Chillโ€ ๐Ÿ˜€ Contax N Digital

Good morning guys! I know I’ve been gone for way too long but I’ll explain it more below. But first I recently found a bunch of lost files so let’s start with this one:

A wonderful Saturday morning to do nothing but chill and eat chocolate chip cookies ๐Ÿช๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜€

This was shot with the Contax N Digital and 50mm f/1.4 N Zeiss Planar. The N Digital as you may remember is the world’s first 35mm full frame digital camera.

If you remember my review you know the sad fate of this camera. But when it worked, it was awesome within its limits especially for a DSLR from 2002! My original 2014 review can be found in the link here:

https://cameralegend.com/tag/contax-n-digital-review/

A LOOK AT GEAR FROM 1996

Recently I was clearing out a lot of junk I’ve been hoarding. A large amount of that “junk” happens to be photography magazines! Hey, that was the only way to get my photography fix pre internet era!

Anyway, with so many magazines to throw away, I appreciate more and more the internet. Even though I’m old school, things weren’t necessarily better back then. These physical magazines take up a lot of space man!

Here’s my latest YouTube video and it was all sparked by going through just one magazine. It’s not a good idea going through them because it just makes it harder for me to throw them away!

Also on the video, I’m letting the people know, as I’m letting you guys reading this know that I’m just burnt out! It’s not even so much the blog but it’s life. And I put myself in a hole because doing videos and the blog at the same time is what’s killing my passion for it. Not my passion for photography or cameras. Just my passion for blogging, YouTubing, etc.

There must be a happy medium. Any suggestions?

I also want to apologize to my fellow bloggers. I don’t want to be seen as one of those guys who just “like” your postings to get “liked” back. When I’m burnt out, I close out completely. If I’m off WordPress, I’m really off. If I’m on, I’m on! That’s just the way I am, sorry about that ๐Ÿ™‚

As always, I thank you for your time and your support!

The First 35mm Full-Frame Digital SLR: The Contax N Digital

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Introduced in 2000 and brought to market in 2002, the Contax N Digital is the world’s first 35mm full-frame DSLR.

Many people mistakenly believe that the popular Canon EOS-1Ds of 2002 was the first, but it wasn’t. The 1Ds may have caught the public’s attention in 2002, but the short-lived N Digital was actually the first.

The Contax N Digital sported a 6mp full-frame sensor made by Phillips of the Netherlands.ย The camera was designed to take lenses from the Contax “N” series of Carl Zeiss autofocus lenses. As expected, many of the lenses were outstanding.

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“Z 3D” 2013. Contax N Digital, Zeiss 50mm f/1.4N Planar, ISO 50. I think you might see some of that famous Zeiss “pop” in this image. Please click on the photo for a larger and better view.

In 2013, I was able to procure the use of the N Digital through a good friend. The camera, as might be expected from a camera from 2002, was a bit limited in its ISO range. It had a cool ISO 25, but only went up to 400.

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“Jok” 2013. A rice porridge that is a Thai comfort food. Contax N Digital, Zeiss 50mm f/1.4N Planar, ISO 400.

I was not expecting much from such an old sensor, but found the images to be superb when mated to the 50mm f/1.4N Planar and with reasonably good light, although as always, I tried to stretch its abilities to see what I could get.

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“The Fence” 2013. Contax N Digital, Zeiss 50mm f/1.4N Planar, ISO 100. One of my “boring test shots” as I call them. Contrary to what a lot of people say, I usually find Zeiss bokeh to be “busy” but eye catching. You can get “smooth and silky” bokeh, but you need to get in close without a lot of clutter in the background.

The Contax N Digital is pretty rare on the used market, although they show up once in a while on eBay, and once in a blue moon on KEH’s website. Prices are trending at $2K or above for minty, working samples.

Now here’s the CAVEAT…A few months after giving back the camera, my friend reported that the camera had a sensor failure! Thankfully, I was not to blame ๐Ÿ™‚

With my help, we sent the camera back to Tocad, who were still servicing Contax cameras at the end of 2013. I am not sure if they still are.

Anyway, Tocad sent the camera back to Kyocera in Japan for servicing. Guess what? It came back a couple months later, UNREPAIRABLE. I guess if the sensor is gone, you have $2000 brick as a souvenir ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

I felt bad for my friend, but he took it all in stride. Still, this is a lesson to be learned especially when buying older and expensive digital cameras. They are not a good buy.

And while I loved the Contax brand, there has always been one thing I’ve known since using Contax film cameras in the 90s: They are fragile. They may feel tough and well made, but the insides are brittle, especially the electronics which are prone to failure.

I still use Contax film cameras now and then, but would never buy a Contax N Digital unless the price was really, really good. That said, there is no denying that the Contax N Digital was a pioneering camera. It was full-frame digital before anyone even thought about full-frame digital! In working condition, when mated to those spectacular Zeiss lenses, the N Digital is capable of superb images. And with its distinction of being the very first 35mm full-frame digital, well that alone makes it a Camera Legend.