Now if only Contax had stayed alive and made a G3, keep everything the same function wise as the G2, just a 1.6X 8-10 megapixel chip, a 2" screen with histogram/highlights preview and an ability to shoot RAW onto CF cards.
I was almost on the point today of buying a G2 for street B&W work but I didn't realise that I would be paying the same again on a decent scanner (no point in using contax lenses but scanning sub par, especially as I would want 16X20" prints). I really liked everything about it from the functions to the noise level and the very suprisingly good AF speed, it fits well in my hand and the ability to dial in hyperfocal distance in manual focus which can't be knocked off, while changing to AF and back with the flick of a switch for shooting with wider apertures really impressed me.
I was in the 2nd hand store looking at a table full of rangefinders looking for something that suited me. I really didn't like the Leicas (M3,M4,M6) for feel as well as the rather limiting shutter speeds (I'm looking for shooting in the Mid East, from experience 1/1000 is often not enough even at f4 during the day time). The Voiglander R2a had the best viewfinder and the IMO the best rangefinder 'square' but the rest of it wasn't so great, the shutter noise was almost the equal to a 20D that I tried next to it for tone and that is not good! The rangefinder I liked the best by a long stretch was the Konica Kexar RF, fit well to hand, super quiet even with the advance and a nice viewfinder. The G2 was on offer for £500 including the 35mm and 90mm in pristine condition for the price of the Konica body alone and given the great contax lenses, the nice AF (I'm not the worlds fastest manual focuser) and everything else it looked to be a sure winner despite being larger.
I was on my way to buy it today when I popped in to look at the prices of higher end film scanners. I've never done any scanning so I had assumed around £250, not twice that amount as it seemed from the Nikon and Minolta models. Once you are paying that amount for the camera, then the scanner, then the film over the next few years, damn it I could buy another 5D.
Film may be dying but possibly due to the heavy marketing at regular consumers and the death of so many companies dealing in this kind of market, the rangefinder niche seems to be passing by with very little if anything to replace it other than consumer P&S cameras with tiny sensors (have you seen the facial tones from those things?) unacceptable shutter lag and AF speed and a host of other annoyances. Yes there is the RD-1 and maybe the digital M may appear but the prices are high, the options far far too few and who knows whether this will just be the dying gasp of the type of compact camera which could be taken anywhere and do most anything. Now it's either DSLR or P&S.
Another point that I've been wondering is if in 5 years from now film will be a viable option economically either even if I were to invest in a decent scanner. Things are moving so fast, huge and groundbreaking changes are rocking the photographic world so often, will it be affordable to shoot B&W or even any film in the future? Will the economic realities make film disappear faster than we imagine whatever the cost to the pros? It's not them funding the film market so it might not be them who can hold it up. Ilford amost died maybe because it wasn't the regular consumer film, even Kodak is closing more factories by the year and they are the consumer film (gold). Would buying a G2 and scanner be silly in light of this? Hmmmm.