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Contax G 28mm, intermittent focus?
Old 5 Days Ago   #1
agoglanian
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Contax G 28mm, intermittent focus?

Hi everyone,

I decided to finally try out a Contax G2 after being interested for so many years. I got a kit with the 28, 45 and 90mm lenses for what I feel was a very reasonable price. They arrived and are in great shape cosmetically and I already went out and shot 4 rolls of film my first day!

The 45 and 90mm spring to life instantly when I mount them on the camera but I seem to be having trouble with the 28mm. I want to rule out user-error here so Iíd appreciate some help.

I understand that one has to set the aperture past f/8 or so when mounting / dismounting lenses, but despite doing that, only holding the middle ring when attaching the lens and definitely hearing it click into place, most of the time it is lifeless when I turn on the camera.

I have to mount and dismount it a few times and switch between the focus settings a few times and then it seems to come alive, at which point it behaves just like the 45 and 90mm.

So my question is: Is this lens faulty or am I doing something incorrect since it DOES technically work, just not all the time. Iím a bit confused.

Thanks for the help!
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Old 5 Days Ago   #2
Gerry M
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Abram,
I am sure you have already tried this, but have you cleaned the lens & body contacts?
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Old 5 Days Ago   #3
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Gerry,

I did try that my current theory is that the screw-drive motor is not engaging for some reason. I’m definitely not ruling out user error here as this is only Day 2 with my first ever Contax G experience (I’ve never even held one or seen one in person prior to yesterday).

All three lenses, and the body are in excellent cosmetic condition and don’t look abused so I’m not sure what could be the problem at the moment.
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Old 4 Days Ago   #4
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Best of luck with the diagnosis. I think it is a really great system. I have G1, G2, 28, 35, 45 & 90.
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Old 4 Days Ago   #5
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Abram,

I realize this doesn't help you, but I've never had a problem with the 28 on either a G1 or G2 body. It should work just like the 45 and 90, so incompatibility not inherent in the system.
The 28 is one of the better 28s ever made fwiw.
Best of luck getting it sorted. Outside of the already offered suggestion of cleaning the contacts, I've got nothing else helpful to add. Sorry.

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Old 4 Days Ago   #6
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Thanks for chiming in guys, it’s seeming more and more that there might be a fault with the lens so I’ve reached out to the seller. I do have a friend with a G2 kit somewhat close to me and he also has a 28mm so I’m going to meet up with him so we can do some A/B testing between our two kits to rule out user error and confirm if it’s a hardware fault.
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Old 4 Days Ago   #7
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I use G1 with 28-45-90 lenses, and I am happy with the three lenses. I have seen many complaints online on the 90mm lens not snapping into focus. I don't recall reading on problems with the 28mm G lens.
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Old 4 Days Ago   #8
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It's more of a "non-responsive" issue. I might have not worded it properly but essentially when I mount the lens, nothing happens. No AF, no MF, can't trip the shutter. If I fiddle with it, and apply a little extra twist on the mount and switch it in and out of Manual Focus mode sometimes it connects and then I can use AF normally.

It's kind of bizarre really.
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Old 4 Days Ago   #9
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In my experience, little if anything ever seems to go wrong with the G1 cameras. One of mine occasionally won't rewind films and I have to do a manual rewind, but eventually the problem seems to fix itself and it rewinds as usual. Annoying but I live with it for the superb images the G1 produces.

Yours may be a problem with the 'pins' (for want of a better word) that connect the lens to the camera. I had this with my 45mm Planar many years ago and had to get the pins straightened and reset. I was fortunate that a Contax Japan trained repairman (now retired) then worked out of Melbourne and he did the job for me. It was expensive but I think well worth it.

The 28 Biogon is a truly outstanding lens and well worth investing in a clean and service IF you intend to use the camera long term.

I bought into the G1 line in 2004 and have never looked back. A few years ago they were dirt-cheap on the Japan Ebay market and I bought three others. I have the full range of lenses from 21 to 90 (not the zoom, which works only with the G2), but even if I had only the 28 (my second choice is the 45) to work with, to me it is worth the cost of the kit.

Last edited by ozmoose : 4 Days Ago at 20:01. Reason: minor wording changes.
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Old 2 Days Ago   #10
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Just figured I’d update you all.

I’ve found that when mounting the lens I have to give it a little extra twist back and forth to get it to catch the AF motor then it seems to work. This isn’t an ideal solution however.

The seller was very honorable and is giving me a partial refund which I am happy with so my plan is to just buy another copy of this lens and sell this one as is (properly describing the condition of course).

Don’t want to miss out on this gem as it’s one of the main optics I was interested in! (The 21 is definitely on the radar...) no real interest in the 35 or the zoom though.
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Old 2 Days Ago   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by agoglanian View Post

(The 21 is definitely on the radar...) no real interest in the 35 or the zoom though.
Yet. You should have said "no interest yet". The interest will come once you find out how good this camera is, and that using anything else starts to make less and less sense It happens.
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Old 2 Days Ago   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Larry Cloetta View Post
Yet. You should have said "no interest yet". The interest will come once you find out how good this camera is, and that using anything else starts to make less and less sense It happens.
Agree with Larry on this!!!
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Old 2 Days Ago   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by agoglanian View Post
So my question is: Is this lens faulty or am I doing something incorrect since it DOES technically work, just not all the time.
When I purchased my Contax G system, I also purchased a Contax G to Fuji X adapter so I could quickly test my lenses on my digital camera before using them with film. I had a similar problem getting one of my four lenses (21, 28, 45, 90) to mount properly with the adapter. I solved the problem by purchasing a different adapter from a different manufacturer to get it to mount.

Glad you were able to diagnose your problem. The Contax G is definitely a great camera.


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Old 2 Days Ago   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Larry Cloetta View Post
Yet. You should have said "no interest yet". The interest will come once you find out how good this camera is, and that using anything else starts to make less and less sense It happens.
No itís more that I just donít really care too much for 35mm as a focal length anymore. It used to be a favorite and Iím sure if it was all I had I would be fine, but I definitely tend to favor 28/50 together over 35. I donít know what it is but I just am really having difficulty SEEING in that focal length in the past couple years so I sold my last 35 this year.

All I have on my Leicas is a 28 and a 50 (both slow!) 21mm however is a focal length I am very comfortable with
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Old 2 Days Ago   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by agoglanian View Post
Just figured Iíd update you all.

(The 21 is definitely on the radar...) no real interest in the 35 or the zoom though.
I do use 21 most of the time, and I'm full of praise for that lens. Too bad that you're biased against 35, though. Even though it's got bad rap from some tests I found it super sharp when closed down to f/5.6-8, where I use it most of the time, anyway.
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Old 2 Days Ago   #16
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It really sounds like a connectivity issue with the lens, Abram. Not sure how they are put together as I've never studied them before, but there could be some bad springs on the pins, a pin has slipped off the end of a spring, or something could have gunked up one or more contacts making them stick in the depressed position. One other possibility is a bad circuit connector to a pin, but that would normally create a permanent open, rendering the lens useless.

The fact your other lenses work fine means it's not a problem with the camera. And the wiggling back and forth necessary to make the 28 work is a clear indicator it needs service. Will be hard to sell that way unless at a steep discount.

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Old 1 Day Ago   #17
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It will be marked down and clearly described of course. I'm not one to hide something like that. When I reviewed my film scans I shot with it though they looked great so at least we know the glass is good and it can focus accurately.

I've purchased a new 28mm so I'm hoping that one won't be problematic.
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Old 1 Day Ago   #18
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Well, if I had a G1 or G2, I'd be willing to take a chance on being able to fix it myself, but most folks today probably don't want the extra wait and expense of having to ship it off for repair as soon as it comes in the mail.

But there is always an optimist somewhere in the crowd.

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