With a bit of searching, you’ll snag a Contax T2 for under $1,000 right now.
The Contax T2 is, without a doubt, the most expensive point and shoot camera on the market. Depending on the cultural times, it shares that spot with the Contax T3. And right now, it’s possible to snag one at a price you can afford. Made famous by a bunch of celebrities and photographers both, the camera is a rarity. To this day, I’m still perplexed by why Zeiss didn’t reissue this camera.
The Contax T2 started getting really hot when one of the Jenner sisters used it on a talk show. In 2017, we wrote:
“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).”
People thought that they’d get images just like her. They probably also believed that they’d become an overnight influencer. Unfortunately, reality set in, and that’s not the case. But it sent the camera’s price skyrocketing. It was already trendy. However, it’s rare to see a Contax price outdoing Leica cameras. And that’s exactly what we saw.
We’ve got a whole chronicle on how the Contax T2 became the most popular point and shoot camera as well. In that piece, we have one of the best quotes from street photographer Brent Eysler:
“The Contax T2 was a very unique camera created at a time when most manufacturers were producing some pretty plain Jane options for that segment. The titanium body is solid and tough, the dials are well-positioned and click easily, and the minimal options are very easy to scroll through, but offer quite a lot of control and options for a camera of this type.” Eysler said. “Due to its success, Contax would also create a zoom version (the TVS) and eventually the even more compact T3 in 2001.”
Brent has since sold his camera. But his words are very telling. The photo industry today is oversaturated with cameras and lenses that are all the same. They’ve more or less got the same sensors. The lenses are similar. The features are similar. There isn’t much setting them all apart.
This is why I’m still so perplexed by some of the recent decisions by Zeiss. Zeiss has more or less pulled away from the photo market. They see more traction in the video market. And that’s understandable. But they launched the ZX1. Granted, this is an innovative camera. But no one is going to pay $7,000 for it. What they could have done is re-released the Contax T2 at a more affordable price. That would have driven the original camera’s price up so much. Folks would just buy the new one instead. Besides, how cool would it be to own something like that? Plus, it would be so much different. It would be a refreshing take on the otherwise monotonous photo industry.
If you act quickly, though, you’ll find loads of Contax T2 cameras at solid prices. You can probably thank the state of the global economy for that price drop. But act soon. You give it some time, and the prices might just start going back up again.