Contax (Kyocera) Aria Review

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★★★★☆
4.2 / 5
From 8 reviews
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  • Photograph Quality

  • Features

  • Ease of Use

  • Value For Money

cceuk's review of Contax (Kyocera) Aria

★★★★★

“I bought my first CONTAX Aria in 1999 and loved it...”

Written on: 05/08/2003 by cceuk (1 review written)

Good Points
Handling, viewfinder, versatility, size and weight

Bad Points
CZ lenses are SO expensive!

General Comments
I bought my first CONTAX Aria in 1999 and loved it from the moment I picked it up, but the results were superb (even with the Yashica ML lenses, not the CZ items) and confirmed it as my favourite camera ever (a position previously held by the Contax 137MA). Sadly a burglar parted my company with both cameras, and with the insurance money I was seduced by an attractively priced Contax RX. For some reason I never got on with the RX - I think because of a poorly placed AEL button which resulted in countless over- and under- exposed pictures. Apart from this and a disappointingly dim viewfinder, it handled so well and felt superb, but eventually I sold it. I then bought my second Aria in January 2003 and found it as delightful as the first. There was a slight glitch when I ran my first slide film through it, and discovered a tendency to over-expose (though when the slides were scanned into my computer the exposure suddenly became spot-on for some strange reason). I got round this by over-riding the DX system and rating the 200ASA film at 250ASA.



I have not experienced any reliability problems with this or any other Contax camera.



No other camera I have handled comes close to the Aria. Even though it seems like the poor relation of the Contax range, do not be fooled - this is a seriously capable camera and delivers quality results. It is also simply an enjoyable camera to use.

  • Value For Money

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123561_Bryan.'s Response to cceuk's Review

Written on: 24/08/2003

I really don't see how anyone could give a modern camera a 10 out of 10 rating that regularly overexposes frames or has a dim viewfinder, especially as one can easily find cameras that don't share these shortcomings. If you're a diehard Contax fanatic maybe you have no choice but to invent work-arounds and excuses but there's no need for the rest of us to settle for second best on a camera that costs what the Aria does.

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168190_Davidchristie's Response to cceuk's Review

Written on: 01/09/2004

I have problems with my Aria (Aug 2004) in that contrary to most reviews I find it UNDER exposes on centre-weighted exposure on slide film (Velvia). It has been returned and supposedly fixed but appears to still have this defect. I intend to return it and ask for a replacement or my money back! I still have a Contax 139 which behaves perfectly on manual. Is this a sign of the times?
<br>
<br>David Christie.

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Tomseverin's Response to cceuk's Review

Written on: 01/02/2004

Actually I've found overexposure to be a common complaint of Aria owners, so the reviewer is correct. But, as a visitor on occasion to a camera repair and auto repair shop, I can confirm the BMW analogy as both seem to be constantly in need of repair.

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Dij's Response to cceuk's Review

Written on: 02/12/2003

Bryan, please read the review properly before you rate it. The Contax RX is criticised for its dim viewfinder and wayward exposure, not the Aria, which I for one found to be a smooth and accurate camera, possessed of intuitive handling. And Petepsy, either you were drunk at the time of writing or your negative rating of another's review was high hypocrisy. It can be said that the Contax brand itself provides the initial attraction to its product, but longterm use will tell you what that brand stands for. Less a Porsche than a BMW: not too much flash, a little mysterious, but its true worth is apparent over time.

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Petepsy's Response to cceuk's Review

Written on: 30/08/2003

Handling a Contax camera is an experience, it' s the Porche photograpy experience. So if someone states it may be slightly darker in the viewfinder, be reminded of the incredibly high standard Contax has. Buy one experience it then critise it, but my thoughts are if you bought a model you like you'll never part with it. Unless a burgular has other ideas.

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