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Disappointment with a G1 and 90mm lens
Old 02-03-2017   #1
Evan Bedford
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Disappointment with a G1 and 90mm lens

I really, really wanted to like this camera, but the first roll I sent through indicates that it was somehow focusing a couple of inches behind where the focusing patch was pointed at. Luckily, it came with 14 day money back guarantee, so I'll pack it up and likely get either a Hexar RF or a Zeiss Ikon ZM instead.

The attached image shows a comparison with a Nikon F3. Same scanner, same software. I wish there was some easy fix, but I think that was my last autofocus film camera (had a similar experience with a Fuji GA645zi).
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Old 02-03-2017   #2
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Here's a better comparison (same photos, same bookshelf)
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Old 02-03-2017   #3
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And yet some shots -- though a very definite minority -- came out just fine. 100% crop attached.
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Old 02-03-2017   #4
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Where were you pointing the AF sensor in those first crops of the books?

Dark room with potentially very little contrast to focus on, that would be taxing for almost any AF system.

My results with AF improved after I learned that it needs an edge to focus on. Pointing it at blank sky or a low contrast plain wall would be worst case.
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Old 02-03-2017   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fixcinater View Post
Where were you pointing the AF sensor in those first crops of the books?

Dark room with potentially very little contrast to focus on, that would be taxing for almost any AF system.

My results with AF improved after I learned that it needs an edge to focus on. Pointing it at blank sky or a low contrast plain wall would be worst case.
I had the AF pointed at the middle of an 6' wide shelf of books from a distance of about 20' away. Both of the crops were close to the middle of the shelf. The room was decently lit, and I generally use about a 1 second exposure at f8 and ISO 100.

What seems to be a constant though, is the actual focus is significantly behind where the AF is pointed at. The attached (crop) image shows this: I had the AF pointed at about Volume 10, but the actual area of sharp focus is on the This England book (this was an oblique shot of the book shelf).
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Old 02-04-2017   #6
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What a shame. I nearly cried as I packed up the camera for shipping back to Japan. I don't think I've ever seen such a fine piece of craftsmanship (makes an Xpan look like a Holga). But it'll be the last autofocus film camera I ever buy. I suspect that it might've got jolted a bit on the way here, since the seller didn't put a heck of a lot of padding in with it.
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Old 02-04-2017   #7
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This is a major drawback of this camera which was discovered a few months after its commercial release in 1994 and which had its career sink in spite of Kyocera's quick marketing of the "green label" version of the G1 (which wasn't really better, because the problem is due to a design error).
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Old 02-04-2017   #8
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Great cameras for normal and wide angle lenses - since those give you a bit more DoF to play with. But I wouldn't use it with a 90, for sure. That statement is true for me with any rangefinder though.

That said - there is a way to adjust the focus. It's a bit complicated, and you need the service manual to get the hexadecimel codes needed. But no tools required, just time and effort.
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Old 02-04-2017   #9
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There is no design error. That is a great lens, BUT you have to figure out how to shoot it. There is a lot of info on the web about this, but in a nutshell, whatever you are focusing on has to be exactly in the center of those little marks in the viewfinder. I mean dead in the middle. Once you figure it out it becomes second nature.

The drill is to measure something say 3-4 feet away w/ a ruler, then practice focusing and refocusing, and looking at the distance the camera records in the viewfinder. It will vary all over the place until you learn to put the focus squarely within those marks, and then you will see that the distance reading in the camera will match exactly what you measured. Once you achieve focus, lock it w/ a half press of the shutter button and recompose your shot. Just google or duckduckgo the problem and you will quickly see the fix for it. Enjoy it, it is truly a wonderful piece of glass. Those are just very, very quirky cameras, and focusing that 90 requires a different technique than the shorter lenses. The G cameras are strange to focus in any manner, and make all sorts of strange noises when they're doing it, but again, once you get it, it works. Always ck the measurement readout w/ that lens to make sure it's right before you snap the pic. Make sure the focus is set to S, not continuous.
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Old 02-04-2017   #10
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I had this problem -- sent it to the service center in New Jersey and they fixed it. I believe the problem was with the lens in my case; it was a known issue.
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Old 02-04-2017   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve M. View Post
The drill is to measure something say 3-4 feet away w/ a ruler, then practice focusing and refocusing, and looking at the distance the camera records in the viewfinder.
Does the G2 give a precise distance measurement in the viewfinder? I'm pretty sure the G1 didn't.
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Old 02-04-2017   #12
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I think the AF on the G2 is better.

This is why I stayed away from af RF cameras, there is no way to tell if u got the focus right until u get ur film back. With af SLRs you can see if the focus is correct as u are taking the image, as the screen comes into focus. And with mf RF cameras, you are controlling the focus patch directly.

I prefer to missfocus due to user error, not camera error!
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Old 02-04-2017   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Huss View Post
I think the AF on the G2 is better.

This is why I stayed away from af RF cameras, there is no way to tell if u got the focus right until u get ur film back. With af SLRs you can see if the focus is correct as u are taking the image, as the screen comes into focus. And with mf RF cameras, you are controlling the focus patch directly.

I prefer to missfocus due to user error, not camera error!
I totally agree. I may have to get a Fuji TX-1 simply in order to fulfill my titanium fetish, while still being able to manually focus.
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Old 02-05-2017   #14
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G2 and 90, stopped down a bit tho. Blisteringly sharp across the whole frame, I have prints of this at 16x20 that are crisp at every twist in the chain link.
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Old 02-05-2017   #15
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I may have been fortunate to have gotten sharp images with the G1 (green label) and the 90mm Sonnar.
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Old 02-05-2017   #16
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The photos were taken from the tenth floor of a friend's condo, shooting downwards.
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Old 02-05-2017   #17
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I have owned 3 silver label g1s. Each of them had back focus problems. I finally bought a green label version and focus was spot on with 28mm, 45mm and 90mm lenses. I now don't have to worry about left bracket or right bracket etc. It just works spot on every time. I now get very few shots out of focus at all. I guess I hit the jackpot with the camera but I'm glad that I did. Such a shame that it has to be so hit and miss in getting a good copy.
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Old 02-05-2017   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Huss View Post
I think the AF on the G2 is better.

This is why I stayed away from af RF cameras, there is no way to tell if u got the focus right until u get ur film back. With af SLRs you can see if the focus is correct as u are taking the image, as the screen comes into focus. And with mf RF cameras, you are controlling the focus patch directly.

I prefer to missfocus due to user error, not camera error!
Unfortunately film SLRs have the same problem. If the mirror is out of alignment then the focus will not be accurate. In my opinion the only system that allows you to manual focus lenses with guarantees accuracy are digital cameras with live view because you are seeing what the sensor is seeing. Any camera that has different mechanisms for focusing and taking the picture are by there very nature prone to problems over time.
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Old 02-05-2017   #19
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The only reports on missed focus seems to be on the 90mm Sonnar and the G1. The other G lenses seem to work well with G1 or G2.
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Old 02-05-2017   #20
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Raid, those are beautiful photos! very sharp and the contrast of the lens is clearly appreciated.
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Old 02-05-2017   #21
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Thanks. The 90mm lens is a very sharp lens. Its use requires some "listening". I pay attention to the zooming sound by the lens.
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something like that works well for me yoo
Old 02-05-2017   #22
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something like that works well for me yoo

It takes some getting used to, but it works.



Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve M. View Post
There is no design error. That is a great lens, BUT you have to figure out how to shoot it. There is a lot of info on the web about this, but in a nutshell, whatever you are focusing on has to be exactly in the center of those little marks in the viewfinder. I mean dead in the middle. Once you figure it out it becomes second nature.

The drill is to measure something say 3-4 feet away w/ a ruler, then practice focusing and refocusing, and looking at the distance the camera records in the viewfinder. It will vary all over the place until you learn to put the focus squarely within those marks, and then you will see that the distance reading in the camera will match exactly what you measured. Once you achieve focus, lock it w/ a half press of the shutter button and recompose your shot. Just google or duckduckgo the problem and you will quickly see the fix for it. Enjoy it, it is truly a wonderful piece of glass. Those are just very, very quirky cameras, and focusing that 90 requires a different technique than the shorter lenses. The G cameras are strange to focus in any manner, and make all sorts of strange noises when they're doing it, but again, once you get it, it works. Always ck the measurement readout w/ that lens to make sure it's right before you snap the pic. Make sure the focus is set to S, not continuous.
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Old 02-05-2017   #23
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The Contax G was known from release about poor focus with 90mm.
Like all "Auto-focus" one needs to know the exact method of usage.
I learnt that auto focus did NOT work in light hard for me to see!
Added this is an old camera. How it was used and treated is an issue.
SLR and DSLR have problems, manual focus or Auto depending on mirror.
Going for a Konica RF (issues with different focus point of Leica) or any discontinued camera not wise. Some testers thought focus point not an issue. The Fuji or Hasselblad camera areal beauty but if circuit is problematic, its black toast.
You want good RF, Its Leica.
A Leica with a recent CLR looked after and used.
All these cameras when introduced were said to obsolete the Leica RF.
I never thought that.
I was never disappointed.
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Old 02-05-2017   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mjd-djm View Post
I have owned 3 silver label g1s. Each of them had back focus problems. I finally bought a green label version and focus was spot on with 28mm, 45mm and 90mm lenses. I now don't have to worry about left bracket or right bracket etc. It just works spot on every time. I now get very few shots out of focus at all. I guess I hit the jackpot with the camera but I'm glad that I did. Such a shame that it has to be so hit and miss in getting a good copy.
Interesting. Mine was a silver label also. Maybe I should give the model a second chance and get a green label. Or maybe just go for a G2.
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Old 02-05-2017   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by raid View Post
The only reports on missed focus seems to be on the 90mm Sonnar and the G1. The other G lenses seem to work well with G1 or G2.
Nope. Some months after the focusing problems with the 90mm Sonnar were discovered, some tests in some specialized papers brought out some evidences of some serious problems with the 45mm Planar too.

The lenses are superb, but the AF of the camera just doesn't work.

Your 90 photos were shot at infinity or quite. Just test the lens for close-up portrait at f/2.8 and f/4. You might have bad surprises.

This is all why Kyocera hurried up to release the G2 (and the G1 "green label" at the same time). Both are better but aren't totally immune, though.
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Old 02-05-2017   #26
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I have a G1 (green), and I have used the 90mm lens also at close distances indoors for portraits. I don't see such focus issues. Maybe I am very lucky or maybe the green version is better than the standard G1.
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Old 02-05-2017   #27
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Quote:
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Maybe I am very lucky or maybe the green version is better than the standard G1.
Both. No kidding.
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Old 02-05-2017   #28
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I have the 45/2 Planar also in M mount (adapted) as I find this lens to be worth such a custom adaption.
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Old 02-05-2017   #29
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I adopted the G1 early with the 45 as the only lens for about a year then adding the 28mm and 90mm. Adding the 90 was a bit of a heartbreak.
I used the Contax Sonnar 85 in my SLR. The G 90Sonnar was very desirable from those SLR experiences.
The G2 was a breakthrough for Contax G users. It really is an improvement.
Still, user and camera need a fair bit of time together.

SteveM has good advice above.
Practice your eye to certain distances and test your focus technique confirming those distance.
When you start getting it you won't lose it. It's really about understanding where the exact focus point is in the VF then holding and recomposing even if it's only slightly.
Much as M users must practice. Once you dial it in it's there.
I wished that The C/Y designers had adopted the center "crosshair" like the Konica Hexar AF has instead of those little brackets.
As I move more towards AF, I often think of getting a G2 and 45.
So many great images from that set although,... it was probably my younger eye and subjects more than the camera/lens
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Old 02-06-2017   #30
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Old 02-06-2017   #31
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Quote:
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(Raid)..Your 90 photos were shot at infinity or quite. Just test the lens for close-up portrait at f/2.8 and f/4. You might have bad surprises.
Agreed, showing that the lens is able to focus properly at 'infinity' does not address focus issues.
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Old 02-06-2017   #32
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I totally agree. I may have to get a Fuji TX-1 simply in order to fulfill my titanium fetish, while still being able to manually focus.
You should. The TX1 is fantastic, lenses are incredibly sharp, and if you need to adjust the RF, it is incredibly easy to do so.
Plus the TX-1 can operate as a regular 35mm rf, or a real pano (no cropping of the 35mm frame to fake it, the frame becomes longer - from 24 by 36 to 24 by 65) at the flick of a switch.
I have one, and a TX-2, and sold the Xpan 1 (they essentially are all the same, I wanted to unload at least one and someone wanted my Xpan)
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Old 02-06-2017   #33
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Quote:
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You should. The TX1 is fantastic, lenses are incredibly sharp, and if you need to adjust the RF, it is incredibly easy to do so.
Plus the TX-1 can operate as a regular 35mm rf, or a real pano (no cropping of the 35mm frame to fake it, the frame becomes longer - from 24 by 36 to 24 by 65) at the flick of a switch.
I have one, and a TX-2, and sold the Xpan 1 (they essentially are all the same, I wanted to unload at least one and someone wanted my Xpan)
Actually, I had a TX-1 and an Xpan at the same time. Took one of them out to the Banff/Jasper Parkway and shot a roll of E6. I found that I didn't like shooting panoramas, though, so I sold both of them. Then, when the E6 came back, I kicked myself (one of my biggest occasions of seller's remorse). Luckily, I bought a Fuji GF670 for hiking.

Anyways, I've now gone down another rabbit hole for a work camera (I drive rural county roads quite a bit to inspect bridges and ditches). I was initially looking at smaller stuff like the Contax T2 and the Fuji Klasse, but yesterday I found out about the Konica Genbakantoku series. Anyone know how good the lenses are on these?

The zoom model has these: Wide angle: 40 mm f/3,5 (3 elements, 3 groups).
Tele: 60 mm f/5,2 (6 elements, 6 groups)

Another model has this: auto focusing fixed 28mm f/3.5 with a 7/8 lens design

There doesn't seem to be a lot of info on these. The two most comprehensive reviews I could find were these:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/25996130503
http://www.35mmc.com/05/08/2016/koni...-kantoku-28wb/

This may be the only thread on this site:
http://www.rangefinderforum.com/foru...ad.php?t=85496
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Old 02-06-2017   #34
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Quote:
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I really, really wanted to like this camera, but the first roll I sent through indicates that it was somehow focusing a couple of inches behind where the focusing patch was pointed at. Luckily, it came with 14 day money back guarantee, so I'll pack it up and likely get either a Hexar RF or a Zeiss Ikon ZM instead...
You're operating under a flawed premise, using the 90mm Sonnar on a G1 and expecting consistent good results. You want to use the G mount 90mm? Get a G2, although both G cameras require specific technique to get good results.

See SteveM's post above for some good tips.
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