I am looking for a complete medium format system for my PhaseOne P45 back.
Mamiya 645: No, to much plastic!
Hasselblad H2: Maybe
Contax 645: Interesting, but is it discontinued?
What is the situation so far?
Interesting question, especially for those of us who have invested heavily in Contax gear, starting just before it was discontinued back in the spring.
I bought the C645 with the idea that I'd migrate to digital when I could afford a back. I just hope that back-makers keep making backs to fit it, and that prices of either new or used backs eventually reach my affordability point. I figure that it's going to take one or two more generations of new backs for the Contax before I can pick up a P20 or P25 on the used market. I just hope those newer generations will include the Contax.
In the meantime I have fallen in love with the camera, so now all reason has fled. Great camera--by far the best I've ever used.
Michael did an extensive piece on his own decision tree when he took up the C645 a few years ago. Don't have the link but you should be able to find it easily enough. To summarize, he liked the ergonomics and build quality of the Contax, and was heavily influenced by the quality of the lenses. He found the H to be a good camera but not as good a value as the Contax. Don't recall exactly what put paid to his considering the Mamiya.
Contax bodies, prism finders, film backs, battery grips, and most lenses (other than the 350) are pretty available thru used dealers or on eBay. Some of the accessories, like lens hoods, waist-level finder, and various caps, are darn near impossible to find affordably. Supposedly Kyocera or its successor organization (?ToCAD?) will service the camera for ten years--assuming parts are still available. I have enough faith in this that I just bought an under-warranty demo body as a backup.
Wonder if Michael is reading this, if any other info is available about the future for Contax? Michael, are you still as enamored of the Contax/Phase combo as before, or are you increasingly turning to your Canon gear? Did you decide to upgrade to the P45?