Tips & Workarounds...
With thanks to Mr Okayan's Hack Contax Page
Hoods & Shaders
Flash & Fill-In Flash
Filters - Standard G size is 46mm except for the 21mm lens
which is 55mm. Hoya don't do the super-multicoated
(SMC) filters in 46mm size, 49mm being the smallest. They do however do 46mm
multi-coated. My 46mm Hoya MC UV filters work fine. I have never seen any
degradation using them.
B&W do 46mm filter sizes, but some people including myself, are unhappy with their quality control. My one B&W multicoated KR1.5 MC (chucked in with the camera) has firstly lost a small amount of its coating with minimal and very careful use and secondly the front holding ring tends to unscrew. My Hoya multi-coated filters on the other hand have been immune to problems including using washing-up liquid for really grubby marks! So if you want the best SMC Hoya filter, you will have to get a step-up ring (see Hoods).
Genuine Contax filters are the same depth as Hoya filters (4.5mm) but the outer diameter of the gorgeous titanium coloured metal ring is slightly greater. The range of colours/effects is very small. If you are into Black &White you will have to get non-Contax filters. Whether my B2(82A) or A2(81B) Contax filters are any better than the Hoya versions I don't know. All I know is that I bought them mint second hand for less than Hoya new! No argument...
Hoods & Shaders - All three Contax G hoods bulge out
to 55mm rather than remaining at 46mm diameter. Heliopan
make cylindrical metal hoods in many diameters including 46mm and 55mm and two length
sizes, standard and telephoto. These can be screwed together to increase the length.
If you don't like the image through the viewfinder being obscured in the bottom right
hand corner, try these narrower diameter Heliopan hoods. (See Hacks)
If your favourite filter doesn't come in 46mm sizes get a step up to 49, 52, 55mm and then get Heliopan metal hoods and if need be cut them down. (See Hacks)
The Contax 55mm lens cap (GK51) for the 21mm lens will also work when used on the hoods GG1, GG2 and GG3. Plastic anonymous 55mm Snap-On lens caps fits all Contax G hoods a treat and are oh-so-much cheaper than kosher Contax hood caps. If the black paint inside the hood comes off from the spring pressure, then re-paint with flat black paint or even black permanent marker every so often. Not a problem...
Otherwise a plastic 57mm slip-on hood works fine - again a lot cheaper. I have a Yashica one bought for 50p (35 cents) from a remainder box in my local dealer.
Hoya also make Multi-Hoods but I have found that even the smallest (49mm) blocks up the bottom right view in the finder excessively. I don't use it any more on the Contax.
Hama make a nifty rectangular hood for 24mm lenses (filter sizes 49mm & 55mm). Looking at it, it seems better and more effective than the round Contax 28mm hood (GG1) - BUT it needs a 46>49mm or 46>55mm step-up ring to attach to. If you use filters then fix the Hama hood to this filter (UV or 1A etc.) or step-up ring and use the combination permanently for your 28mm lens. It will always screw in in the right position once set up OK.
As the Hama lens is plastic it would not be impossible to trim the front edge back quite a bit so that it would fit a 21mm lens without vignetting. Haven't tried it yet - Well to be frank I haven't got the 21mm lens just the 28mm, 45mm and 90mm lenses.
Lens Caps - Get a deeper 28mm Rear Lens Cap (GK R2) for each of your 35, 45 and 90mm lenses. There will then be no problem with what goes with what in the excitement of taking photos in the field.
Polarisers - Impossible
through the view finder as not SLR. However Hoya polarisers have a white mark which
if rotated until pointing towards the sun will give maximum polarisation. This is
the same as holding your hand out so your thumb is at right angles to your forefinger, and
pointing your thumb at the sun your forefinger will describe the area of maximum
polarisation i.e. an arc 90 degrees to the sun.
Another variation is to get an old polariser with the same mark and keep it in your pocket. Use it as a viewer to judge the best angle of polarisation rotation. Rotate the lens polariser to be in line with your hand held one.
Changing Lens - There is a lack of markers to align lens
and body from every angle except one. I thought of sticking or, horror of horrors,
drilling and implanting a coloured bead to the black collar by the lens mount!!!
Sanity returned and a close inspection reveals that the Infinity 'oo' sign denoting the
focusing limits on the rear of the barrel nearly corresponds with the red spot on the lens
mount. Now I know what to look for, lens changing, except in twighlight, is rapid
If need be a stick coloured paper circle can be attached to the right spot.
Flash & Fill-In Flash - The TLA
200 is a pretty flashgun that looks perfect. Unfortunately the results don't
match the looks especially if one is used to bounce variable power flashguns. You
need to get the flash further away from the body and the easiest way is to buy a cheap
flash hand bracket, a generic high powered bounce flash and an extension flash lead.
It will look awful.
Even better is to raid the piggy bank and go up-market getting a better, bigger and more expensive Contax flash and a Contax extension flash lead. You will then be able to get 'Second Curtain Flash' among other benefits. It will still look awful and totally out of proportion.
Fill-in flash is a muddle with conflicting advice being given out by Contax/Kyocera and users. So far I have not tried it in earnest (results not a pretty sight) but will give it a go soonish.