Contax G1 vs G2 [9 main differences]

One day I was getting ready to go on a trip and discovered that my camera wasn’t working. This became a problem for me because I couldn’t go on a trip without a camera.

Then my friend came to my aid and said that it was best to buy cameras of Contax. I immediately went to the store, but in the store, I was faced with the choice of which G1 or G2 camera should I buy.

This article will focus on the Contax G1 vs G2, which can help you make your choice in the future.

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1. Physical appearance and dimensions

  • Contax G1

I found that the Contax G1 exudes classic retro charm with its sleek and minimalist design.

I liked its compact body, which is made from durable materials that give it a solid feel without being too heavy.

The dimensions of the camera, as I checked, just allow it to be handled comfortably; it fits snugly in the hand without feeling heavy. Control applications are conveniently located and intuitive, allowing you to operate easily even in difficult shooting conditions.

  • Contact G2

Having now picked up the Contax G2 for comparison, I immediately noticed its sophisticated and modern appearance compared to the G1. The G2 is quite compact but has a modernized design – smooth contours and a streamlined appearance.

Despite its compact size, the G2 feels durable and comfortable, signaling durability. Control applications are conveniently located, which ensures comfortable shooting for a long time.


I found that when looking at the looks and dimensions of the Contax G1 and G2, the two cameras have similarities due to their compact design. However, I want to highlight G2 because it looks more sophisticated and modern compared to G1.

In conclusion, both cameras are easy to use, but the G2 may appeal to those who appreciate a sleeker, more modern design.

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2. Construction materials and durability

  • Contax G1

Now I needed to figure out the materials and design features. I looked at this film camera and found it to be a quality build. The camera is mainly made of metal, which makes it durable and reliable.

I believe the metal body makes the camera durable, ensuring that it can withstand any use.

  • Contax G2

Now let’s look at the Contax G2. I was impressed with the build quality of this camera. Like the G1, the G2 has a metal body that is durable and comfortable.

The absence of a rubber handle made me happy, as there would be no wear and tear over time. I liked the G2, this camera maintains high standards of durability while still improving the design of the camera.


I have verified that both the Contax G1 and G2 cameras have similar performance due to their metal construction.

However, I noticed that the lack of a rubber grip on the G2 could solve the problem of long-term wear, potentially increasing its overall durability over the G1.

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3. Ergonomics and handling

  • Contax G1

I found out that this film camera has good ergonomics. The handle fits comfortably in the hand and provides a secure hold while shooting.

However, I did notice that the placement of some controls, such as the manual focus dial, requires a bit of adjustment, which can be a little awkward in fast-paced shooting situations. Overall, I’ve tested the G1 to have good handling, though.

  • Contax G2

Upon reviewing the Contax G2, I immediately noticed improved ergonomics and better positioning of the manual focus dial compared to the G1. The handle is comfortable and provides a firmer, more comfortable grip.

Additionally, I appreciated the redesign of some controls, such as the manual focus dial. Overall, I’m impressed with the G2’s handling, which improves shooting quality.


When comparing the ergonomics and handling of the Contax G1 and G2, the G2 offers noticeable improvements over its predecessor.

The redesigned grip and more intuitive control layout of the G2 contribute to a more comfortable and user-friendly shooting experience compared to the G1.

While both cameras provide adequate handling, the enhancements introduced in the G2, such as the repositioned manual focus dial, make it a more compelling option for photographers seeking superior ergonomics.

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4. Autofocus and manual focus systems

  • Contax G1

I checked that the camera’s focus is good. Autofocus speed is decent, allowing me to capture sharp images of multiple exposure with relative ease.

But I noticed that in low light conditions or when shooting some difficult subjects there is intermittent hesitation in focusing. Overall, I found the G1’s autofocus performance to be satisfactory for general shooting purposes, but it may struggle in more challenging situations.

  • Contax G2

Moving on to the film camera Contax G2, I was impressed by the improvements made to the autofocus system over the G1. it has a continuous shooting mode, and autofocus speed is noticeably faster even in difficult lighting conditions.

I think that the introduction of an electronic autofocus system into this superior camera will improve its shooting quality and provide more accurate and reliable focusing. Overall, I found the G2’s autofocus system and continuous shooting mode to be very effective and suitable for a variety of shooting situations.


I’ve tested and compared both autofocus systems of these advanced film rangefinder cameras and it’s clear that the G2 offers significant improvements in terms of speed, accuracy, and reliability.

While the G1’s autofocus system is suitable for most shooting situations, the G2’s improved performance makes it a more attractive choice for photographers who require fast and accurate autofocus capabilities.

I have verified that the G2’s autofocus system delivers superior results to its predecessor. provides superior results to its predecessor. Moreover, regardless of whether you are shooting in a well-lit room or difficult conditions.

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5. Lens compatibility and optical performance

  • Contax G1

In my experience with this film camera, I’ve found it accepts the only zoom lens for the Contax G system. The G1 is compatible with a range of high-quality Carl Zeiss lenses, which consistently deliver excellent image quality with sharpness and clarity across the frame.

I think the G1’s lens lineup covers a variety of focal lengths, providing versatility for different shooting scenarios. Additionally, I’ve had positive experiences with the G1’s automatic adjustment to focal length when paired with compatible lenses, ensuring quick and accurate focus in most situations, unlike in manual focus mode.

  • Contax G2

Stepping up to the Contax G2, it accepts the only zoom lens attached for the Contax G system. Like the G1, the G2 uses Carl Zeiss lenses renowned for their superb optical quality.

However, the G2 introduces advancements such as improved coatings and optical designs, resulting in even sharper images with excellent contrast and color rendition. I’m sure that the G2’s automatic adjustment to focal length further enhances the performance of these lenses, providing fast and accurate focus across various shooting conditions, much cooler than in manual focus mode.


When comparing the lens compatibility and optical performance of the two Contax cameras, both cameras excel in delivering outstanding image quality with Carl Zeiss lenses.

However, the G2’s optical performance benefits from advancements in lens technology, resulting in slightly sharper and more contrast-rich images compared to the G1.

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6. Shutter speed and exposure control

  • Contax G1

Regarding shutter speed and exposure control on the Contax G1, I’ve found the camera to offer a versatile range of settings that accommodate various shooting situations. The G1 provides manual control over shutter speed and aperture, allowing for precise exposure adjustments.

Additionally, the camera features a Program mode for convenient automatic exposure control when desired. I think the range of 1/2000 to 16 seconds offers flexibility for capturing a wide range of subjects and lighting conditions, although some photographers might find the maximum shutter speed limiting for certain fast-paced situations.

  • Contax G2

Moving on to the Contax G2, I’ve been impressed by the improvements in shutter speed and exposure control compared to the G1. This superior camera offers an expanded range of 1/4000 to 4 seconds, providing greater flexibility for high-speed photography and long exposures.

Additionally, the G2 introduces aperture priority and multiple exposures, enhancing creative control over exposure settings. I’m sure that photographers will appreciate the increased versatility offered by these additional exposure modes, allowing for greater customization of the exposure settings to suit individual preferences and shooting conditions.


When comparing the shutter speed and exposure control of the Contax G1 and G2, it’s evident that the G2 offers enhancements that provide greater flexibility and control over exposure settings.

Whether capturing fast-moving subjects or experimenting with long exposures, the G2’s improved shutter speed and exposure control capabilities make it a preferred choice for those who prioritize creative flexibility.

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7. Metering systems

  • Contax G1

Regarding the metering system of the Contax G1, I’ve found it to be reliable and accurate in most shooting situations. The G1 uses a center-weighted metering system, which measures light primarily from the central portion of the frame to determine proper exposure.

I think the center-weighted metering is well-suited for a wide range of scenes, providing consistent results with balanced exposures. Additionally, the G1 offers exposure compensation to fine-tune exposure settings based on creative preferences or challenging lighting conditions, further enhancing the flexibility of the metering system.

  • Contax G2

Transitioning to the Contax G2, I’ve observed improvements in the metering system compared to the G1.

The G2 retains the center-weighted metering system of its predecessor but introduces a more sophisticated multi-pattern metering option.

I’m sure that the multi-pattern metering system analyzes the entire frame to determine proper exposure, taking into account various lighting conditions and subject brightness to achieve accurate exposures. Additionally, the G2 offers exposure lock functionality, allowing for precise control over exposure settings even when recomposing the frame.


Comparing the metering systems of these film cameras, both of them offer reliable and accurate exposure metering. While the G1 uses a center-weighted metering system, the G2 introduces a more advanced multi-pattern metering option, providing enhanced accuracy and flexibility in challenging lighting conditions.

Additionally, the G2’s exposure lock functionality adds another layer of control over exposure settings, further refining the metering capabilities of the camera.

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8. Film loading and rewind mechanisms

  • Contax G1

In my experience with the Contax G1, I’ve found its film speed dial and film loading and rewind mechanisms to be straightforward and reliable. Loading film into the camera is a simple process, with clear instructions provided in the manual.

The film rewind function operates smoothly, allowing for easy retrieval of exposed film when needed. Overall, I think the G1’s film handling mechanisms are user-friendly and well-designed, ensuring a hassle-free shooting experience.

  • Contax G2

Switching to the Contax G2, I’ve been equally impressed by its film speed dial and film loading and rewind mechanisms. Similar to the G1, loading film into the G2 is a straightforward process, requiring minimal effort and time. The film rewind function operates smoothly and efficiently, allowing for quick retrieval of exposed film for processing.

Additionally, I appreciate the inclusion of a mid-roll rewind feature in the G2, which provides added convenience for changing film mid-shoot.


When comparing the film loading and rewind mechanisms of these film cameras, they offer user-friendly and reliable operation. The process of loading film into both cameras is straightforward, and the film rewind function operates smoothly in both cases.

However, the G2 introduces additional features such as mid-roll rewind, providing added convenience for photographers. While both cameras excel in film handling, the G2’s extra features may appeal to those seeking enhanced versatility in their shooting workflow.

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9. Price and availability

  • Contax G1

Considering the price and availability of the Contax G1, I’ve found that it varies depending on factors such as condition, included accessories, and seller location. Generally, prices for the G1 tend to be relatively stable on the secondhand market, reflecting its reputation as a sought-after collectible camera.

However, availability may be limited, particularly for models in good condition with desirable accessories. I recommend checking multiple sources, such as online marketplaces and specialty camera stores, to find the best deals on a Contax G1.

  • Contax G2

Moving on to the Contax G2, I’ve noticed that it tends to command higher prices compared to the G1, reflecting its status as a more advanced and desirable camera. The G2’s superior autofocus system, expanded feature set, and enhanced performance contribute to its higher price point on the secondhand market.

However, availability may be more limited for the G2 compared to the G1, especially for models in excellent condition with all accessories included. I suggest thoroughly researching prices and checking reputable sellers to ensure a fair deal on a Contax G2.


When comparing the price and availability of the Contax G1 and G2, it’s evident that the G2 typically commands higher prices due to its advanced features and superior performance.

While both cameras are sought after by collectors and enthusiasts, the G2’s higher price reflects its status as a more desirable model.

Availability may also be more limited for the G2 compared to the G1, particularly for models in good condition with all accessories included.

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Is G2 better than G1 Contax?

I think it depends on individual preferences and needs. The G2 offers enhancements such as faster autofocus and additional exposure modes, making it preferable for some photographers. However, the G1 has its charm and may appeal to those who appreciate its classic design and simplicity.

Why is the Contax G2 so popular?

I’m sure its popularity stems from its reputation for exceptional build quality, superb image quality with Carl Zeiss lenses, and advanced features such as fast autofocus and exposure modes.

How old is Contax G1?

The Contax G1 was introduced in 1994, so it is 30 years old as of now.

Does Contax G1 have autofocus?

Yes, the G1 does have autofocus capabilities. It features a passive autofocus system that relies on contrast detection to achieve sharp focus on subjects. While the autofocus performance may not be as fast or advanced as some modern digital cameras, it is still reliable for most shooting situations.

What is the difference between the green label and the silver label?

The difference between the green label and silver label Contax G lenses lies primarily in their production era and compatibility with seven interchangeable lenses. Green label lenses were manufactured during the initial production run of the Contax G system, while silver label lenses were produced later.

The primary distinction lies in the fact that the green label version incorporates updated firmware, enabling it to support newer interchangeable lenses, such as the Sonnar telephoto lens.

When shopping for the G1, attempt to locate a model with a green label. Verify that the camera has a green label because otherwise there is no way to upgrade it.


In conclusion, speaking of the Contax G1 vs G2, both the Contax G1 and G2 are remarkable examples of precision engineering and timeless design, offering photographers a choice between classic elegance and modern sophistication.

William Owens

Every snapshot tells a story and each click of the camera captures a moment of life’s brilliance. Join me as we embark on a visual journey guided by the lens of a true wanderer and photographer extraordinaire.

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