One of the most popular picks in the compact film camera scene, the Contax T2, has retained its allure almost three decades after being introduced. It was created with the professional market in mind, at a time when the “luxury compact” was in vogue in the 90’s. Its titanium body (for which the “T” stands for), sleek design, handy size, and excellent optics (an f2.8/38mm multi-coated Carl Zeiss T* Sonnar lens) cemented this superstar’s status in the photography world.
In fact, the last ten years or so still saw the Contax T2 being name dropped by international celebrities and celebrity photographers as their compact camera of choice. The latest of them is Kendall Jenner, who whipped out a rare platinum black Contax T2 on The Tonight Show With Jimmy Fallon (photo blogs and groups were quick to slam her for doing photography now but that’s for another story).
In a video below by Ian Wong of the Digital Darkroom, we get a glimpse of what it’s like to shoot with what he aptly calls “The World’s Most Fashionable Camera”:
Initially imagining what it would be like to shoot fashion portraits around Hong Kong a la Kylie Jenner, Ian (who used a T3 instead) and his photoshoot buddy Derrick, eventually engaged in a fun and carefree street shoot. It’s precisely what the Contax T2 camera has become popular for these days: laid-back street photography done in a fashionable way. Getting nice street shots, thanks to the high-end optics, is a big bonus. Essentially it does all the technical work for you while you, the artist, works with the models. Kylie of course photographs all her friends, who are models.
Ian also mentions what all the hype for the Contax T2 means: it has gotten more and more difficult to find these cameras. Even Bellamy Hunt of Japan Camera Hunter gets around 60 requests a week for this camera — a demand that has gotten so difficult to supply that he now refuses to entertain them. Instead, he wishes for camera manufacturers to just make a compact film camera of the same caliber to meet it. Also, the price has gotten insanely expensive on eBay — between $400 to $600 for the basic titanium model. That’s a lot of money for a compact film camera.
On a final note from Ian, at the end of the day, the Contax T2 may be worth a lot of money now but it’s still accessible to some who can afford the premium specs and lifestyle it offers. Most importantly, it’s still a camera worthy of its iconic status, and it most likely will remain that way.
Screenshot taken from the video.