Although there’s little to play around with the Contax S2’s controls, there’s a lot that can be said about this all-mechanical SLR camera. Its simple design and good build quality are two of its strongest characteristics as they give the photographer total control over all aspects when it comes to taking photographs.
The Contax S2 is a 35 mm single lens reflex camera that was introduced to the market in 1992. It was released by Contax to commemorate the company’s 60th anniversary and was marketed towards experienced photographers who are looking for a more hands-on approach to photography. The S2 had few controls and uses a battery only to power the spot meter. Simplicity was what Contax was aiming for when they released the S2.
What the Contax S2 lacked in technological features, it made up for in build quality. The S2’s body is protected by two durable and lightweight titanium top and bottom plates that also add a more premium look and feel to the camera. The mechanical metal vertical focal plane shutters are fast and accurate. They offer smooth operation — a sign that Contax took great care designing and building the S2.
Automation was not part of the design ideology behind this mechanical SLR. Features like DX code reading, shutter priority exposure, and motor advance are nowhere to be found. The photographer had to rely on skill and expertise with the camera so the S2 was considered as a “purist camera”. Contax understood this market very well and knew their clientele.
Despite being an all-metal SLR, the Contax S2 is relatively light and easy on the hands. The small form factor (when compared to hulking fully mechanical SLR's) paired with the textured grip make it ergonomic and a joy to use on photowalks. The less is more mentality behind the S2 again manifests itself in this aspect.
In another move to cater to the experienced shooters, Contax decided to adopt the Contax/Yashica bayonet mount for the S2. This allowed the Contax S2 to use a variety of good quality lenses that are available in the market. A definite pro for the S2 is its ability to accept Carl Zeiss T* lenses that are prized by many for their remarkable quality. Simple camera functions plus great quality lenses offer more creative applications for the discerning shooter.
Contax released another camera in response to customer demands for an S2 with a different light meter. The result was the S2b that was introduced in 1994. It was virtually identical to the S2 in almost all of the functions except the center-weighted light meter. The S2b also sported a sleek charcoal gray finish that played in contrast to the original S2’s metallic look.
Photos Taken by Our Community with the Contax S2
Contax S2 Technical Specifications:
Body: Titanium top and bottom covers
Type: 35mm focal plane shutter SLR
Lens Mount: Contax/Yashica MM mount
Shutter: Mechanical, vertical travel, metal shutter
Shutter Speed: Manual: 1 to 1/4000 sec, B, X 1/250 sec. Self-timer: Mechanical; 10-sec delay
Shutter release: Mechanical w/cable release socket, release lock
Exposure: Manual exposure w/ meterMetering sensor: SPD cell
Metering range: (ISO 100 f/1.4).
S2: Spot meter EV 4 to EV 20
S2b: Center-weighted average EV 2 to EV 20
Film speed: ISO 12 to 6400
Viewfinder: Fixed eye-level pentaprism finder w/ diopter adjustment and 8 optional diopter lenses
Focusing Screen: Interchangeable, FU4: horizontal split image micro prism; with optional:
FU3: 45 deg split image micro prism
Viewfinder: 0.82x mag and 95% field of view (with 50mm at inf -1 diopter).
Viewfinder display: LEDs for the flash indicator, over/under exposure warning and shutter speeds
Film transport: advance and rewind is manual by lever and winder
Power: 2x 1.5V LR44 or 1.55V SR44 silver oxide batteries with battery check
Dimensions: 134.5 × 89 × 51 mm
Weight: 565g without battery