An Autofocus SLR Camera “CONTAX N1” Was Tossed about by the Fate…
In comparison with other CONTAX SLR film cameras, only a few people might have used the CONTAX N1.
In 2000, CONTAX has completely changed its own camera designs including lens mounts and then released the N series with a flourish of trumpets. It was a very ambitious series with the perspective of the DSLR cameras.
In the CONTAX N series, the N1 and NX were introduced as a 35mm SLR film camera at first, and then the CONTAX N DIGITAL was brought to market as a digital SLR camera with a full-size frame in 2002.
The CONTAX brand produced by Kyocera has been no longer in production since 2005, while the CONTAX N series has been discontinued as well.
Now, let’s explore more about the sad fate of CONTAX N1.
About the CONTAX N1
In terms of its mount system and autofocus system, the CONTAX N1 can be quite different from other CONTAX cameras.
Here, you can see some remarkable features of the N1!
Performances and Specifications of the CONTAX N1
The CONTAX N1 is an autofocus SLR camera produced by CONTAX/Kyocera, which was released in 2000. This is an evolutional camera in all aspects.
Its most distinguishing feature is the autofocus system. This five-point autofocus system is comparable to other SLR cameras at the same age.
Its lens mount is completely digital and its diameter has become larger than that of Yashica/CONTAX’s mount. Further, its operation system has been greatly changed from Yashica/CONTAX cameras that still have classic systems on manual focus SLR cameras.
In addition, the N1 includes a modern command dial as standard equipment. As a shutter dial is located on the left shoulder of the camera body, those who have already used CONTAX SLR cameras can comfortably get used to the N1.
The N1 is capable of recording 3.5 images per second in burst mode. There is a wide range of zoom lenses available, including single planar lenses (50mm/85mm).
Compatibility between the CONTAX N1 and the CONTAX 645
A good thing is compatibility between the CONTAX N series and the CONTAX 645 should be ensured from the start.
The newly developed CONTAX N mount can mount CONTAX 645’s lenses through a genuine CONTAX’s mount adapter. By doing so, you can enjoy dozens of different types of lenses including a Distagon 35mm single focus lens, even though the CONTAX N mount only offers a 50mm/85mm/400mm single focus lens and a 100mm macro lens.
In addition to that Mika Ninagawa (a Japanese woman photographer) has cherished the CONTAX 645, its appearance greatly enhances the impression of beauty. You can also feel what CONTAX has pursued product development in the 21st centuries.
However, CONTAX has unfortunately announced that they will stop the manufacture of the N series (N1/NX), resulting in the end of production for the CONTAX brand by Kyocera as well.
CONTAX Crowned the N Series
The N1 is actually the last SLR camera produced by CONTAX. Why was the N series marking the end of an era in the CONTAX’s SLR camera history?
About the Yashica Kyocera Autofocus SLR Camera
All CONTAX products have been named after Yashica/Kyocera cameras since the RTS was released in 1975. The CONTAX luxury compact cameras still have a great popularity among many enthusiastic camera fans because they can accept Zeiss lenses made in Germany.
But, an interesting fact is that Yashica/Kyocera CONTAX didn’t commence full-scale development of autofocus technology until the N1 was debuted.
Kyocera has actually released some SLR cameras from 1986 (Kyocera 230AF) to 1993 (300AF), while CONTAX has introduced the CONTAX AX in 1996, which achieves autofocus by using manual focus lenses and moving the film plane rather than the lens. But the AX wasn’t accepted by the market due to its large body, an expensive price, and the late timing of installing autofocus system.
Delay in Development of Autofocus System
CONTAX took a chance along with innovation of technology brought by the digitalization. Finally, CONTAX launched the N series including the N1!
As a result, the N series was developed with the determination to re-win the confidence as a high-end DSLR camera with advanced autofocus systems. But, it was a little bit too late…unfortunately…
Since Nikon, Canon, PENTAX, and KONICA MINOLTA had offered a wide range of autofocus SLR cameras and lenses at that time, each manufacturer had already many repeat customers. Surprisingly enough, even KONICA MINOLTA withdrew from the camera market not long thereafter.
As you can see, it was much harder than expected to complete a shift to autofocus SLR cameras from the beginning.
The Demise of the CONTAX N DIGITAL and CONTAX
The CONTAX N DIGITAL was debuted in 2002, which was initially scheduled for introduction. While the N1 is an SLR film camera, the N DIGITAL is a full-frame DSLR camera.
There were a few SLR cameras with an expensive full-frame sensor in 2002; therefore, only a couple of models might be generally purchased such as the Canon D1s and the Kodak DCS Pro 14n based on the Nikon F80. For this reason, the N DIGITAL marking a new era for the full-frame DSLR cameras seemed to be very welcomed by people at first… It was too early to release the N DIGITAL to the market.
The DSLR cameras became popular around that time, but the regular price was 800,000 yen. Besides its expensive price, the N DIGITAL couldn’t go beyond the autofocus SLR cameras produced by Canon and Nikon in terms of usability, as they had plenty of experience with development of autofocus SLR cameras.
Even though the CONTAX N series has a big advantage of accepting the Zeiss lenses, the N1 and the N DIGITAL were no longer in production along with withdrawing of CONTAX/Kyocera in 2005.
A Beautiful Autofocus SLR camera – “CONTAX N1”
The CONTAX N1, an autofocus SLR camera with Zeiss lenses, will never lead to loss of its value. This beautiful camera makes photographers look stylish with a modern and linear design, which can be seen in the CONTAX 645. It is true that some people around the city instinctively stop and look it with interest.
The CONTAX N series has moved with the times.
Would you like to refresh the CONTAX N1 in your hand?