Contax N Digital

35mm AF digital SLR camera

Production details

Production details
Announced:February 2002
Production type:Mass production
System: Contax N (2000)


Imaging plane
Maximum format:35mm full frame
Mount and Flange focal distance:Contax N [48mm]
Imaging plane:36 × 24mm CCD sensor
Resolution:3008 × 2008 - 6 MP
Model:Electronically controlled
Speeds:32 - 1/8000 + B
Sensor-shift image stabilization:-
Exposure metering:Through-the-lens (TTL)
Exposure modes:Programmed Auto
Aperture-priority Auto
Shutter-priority Auto
Physical characteristics

Manufacturer description

Contax Introduces N Digital Camera, World's First Digital SLR With Full-Frame 6.29 Mega Pixel Sensor

Digital SLR Also Uses Full Array of Auto Focus Carl Zeiss T* Lenses

PMA 2002, ORLANDO, FL -- February 24, 2002 -- Kyocera Optics, Inc. is pleased to announce the Contax N Digital, the world's first digital SLR camera to employ a full-frame 35mm, 24 x 36mm, 6+ Mega Pixel CCD. This achievement allows the camera full use of Carl Zeiss T* N series Auto Focus lenses while offering the user world-class digital picture quality.

The N Digital is based on the Contax N1 and provides the perfect ergonomic platform. The N1, which was introduced in the fall of 2000, has proven itself as a high quality product that can stand up to the everyday rigors of the working photographer. The N Digital and N1 cameras share all basic functions as well as the unique features incorporated in the N1. This includes the "Dual Focus Mechanism," the world's first "5-point Wide Array Diagonal Auto Focus System" and "Fine Focus ABC (Auto Bracketing System)." The N Digital can offer greater control and creativity to meet the photographer's demands by incorporating the Dual Focus Mechanism along with the highly advanced SLR digital image technology. The N Digital offers a high-resolution equivalent to film-based photography, meeting the needs of both professional and serious amateur photographers.

The new Contax N Digital will be able take advantage of the impressive lens line from the N system, which includes a total of seven lenses. In addition, the Contax N Digital can also use all eight lenses from the Contax 645 system with the NAM-1 adapter. The option of using lenses from the Contax 645 system is especially important to 645 owners since they can utilize their current lenses with the N Digital with the simple addition of the NAM-1 adapter.

Contax N Digital Main Specifications

1. 6 Mega Pixel, 35mm format, full frame (24mm x 36mm) CCD:

The N Digital is the world's first Digital SLR to use a full frame 35mm CCD with 6.29 Mega Pixels. This gives the photographer the ability to use a full range of Carl Zeiss T* Auto Focus lenses, as the focus angle (angular field) is exactly equal to that of a 35mm film camera. The photographer is now able to concentrate on shooting, as the capture area is the same size as in traditional film-based photography.

2. Thin, Lowpass Filter developed by Kyocera crystal technology:

An optical uncolored crystalline lowpass filter eliminates false color producing frequencies that often affect image quality.

3. Wide range of image recording modes:

The N Digital can write in three formats, including JPEG (3 compression ratios) RGB-TIFF, and RAW formats.

4. Menu of white balance selections:

The Photographer can select from a menu of white balance modes.

  • Auto: automatic adjustment by a built-in color-detecting sensor.
  • One-Push Preset: selects a white balance based on a specific subject area.
  • Custom: A preferred color temperature can be selected manually.

5. Recording media:

The N Digital uses the popular Compact Flash type I and II, which can offer large storage capacity. In addition, the N Digital also uses the IBM Type II Micro Drive to meet higher capacity requirements.

6. High-Speed DSP and IEEE1394:

The N Digital uses high-speed digital image processing (DSP), which makes for real time processing and photography at 3 frames per second. The N Digital is equipped with a computer interface for reliable high-speed Firewire (IEEE1394) image transfer. It is possible to transfer a RAW 12.5 Megabyte file to a computer in one second and also handle high-speed data transfers efficiently.

7. An LCD monitor for immediate playback:

A 2.0-inch, low-temperature, polysilicon, TFT color LCD monitor, with a Graphical User Interface (GUI) is located on the back of the body. The photographer can check exposure, focus and file information directly from the LCD monitor.

8. Shooting assist function:

A. The LCD offers a visual Shooting Assist Function histogram.

B. Confirmation of exposure range can be shown in bright tone distribution graphics.

C. Exposure information and other file information can be displayed simultaneously.

9. Basic functions of CONTAX N1:

The N Digital shares all basic functions of the Contax N1. The photographer can concentrate on shooting because the N Digital can be handled in the same manner as a traditional 35mm SLR. Basic functions shared between the Contax N Digital and the N1 include:

  • Dual Focus Function
  • 5 Point Wide Array Diagonal Auto Focus
  • Fine Focus Bracketing (A.B.C.)
  • High-speed shutter, maximum speed 1/8000 sec., flash synchronization speed of 1/200 sec.
  • TTL evaluative metering, center-weighted average metering, spot metering.
  • Flash auto-set function
  • Mount Adapter NAM-1 as an optional accessory for CONTAX 645 mount lenses

10. Custom Functions

  • Shares N1 & NX accessories
  • All the interchangeable lenses (Contax 645 lenses with NAM-1 adapter) and accessories from the Contax N1 and Contax NX can be used with Contax N Digital.


Contax N Digital Detailed Specifications

Type: 35mm focal plane shutter AF/AE SLR digital camera

Image Size: 24 x 36mm

Image Device: 35mm format full-frame square pixel RGB primary color CCD

Effective Pixels: 6.29 mega pixels

Recording Pixels: 6.13 mega pixels

Recording format: JPEG (compression ratio 1/4-1/8-1/16); RGB-TIFF; RAW 12bit. (RAW data should be developed through image data processing with the dedicated application software)

Recording Media: CompactFlash(TM) card (type I, II), MicrodriveTM (510MB, 1GB)*1

White Balance: Auto, fluorescent light, flash, one-push preset setting, color temperature setting (pre-defined value)

Auto White Balance: Measured by an internal sensor

Image regulation: Tone curve, edge emphasis

LCD monitor: 2.0 inches low temperature polysilicon TFT color LCD, approx. 200k pixels

Playback Display: Single image, 9 image index, playback zoom function, histogram view, high light view

Lens Mount: Contax N Mount

Shutter: Vertical-travel focal plane shutter

Shutter Speed: Av, P: 32 sec. to 1/8000 sec.; Tv, M: shutter dial setting 4 sec. to 1/8000 sec.; Command dial setting 32 sec. to 1/8000 sec.; B: Bulb; X: 1/125

Sync Settings: X setting (1/200 sec. or slower), direct X setting sync-terminal provided

Self-timer: Electronic type with 2 & 10 sec. delays

Shutter Release: Electronic release with dedicated cable switch socket

Exposure Control Modes: (1) Aperture priority auto; (2) Shutter priority auto; (3) Program auto; (4) Manual exposure; (5) TTL auto flash

Metering System: TTL evaluative matrix, center-weighted average or spot (selectable)

Metering Range (ISO100, F1.4): EV 0 to 21 (evaluative matrix / center-weighted metering); EV 3 to 21 (spot metering; based on 3mm diameter area in center of viewfinder).

Speed Range: ISO 50 to 1600 equiv. (1/3 step)

AE Lock: EV at image plane stored in memory

Exposure Compensation: +2 EV to -2 EV, in 1/3 EV or 1/2 EV steps (selectable)

Exposure A.B.C. System: Compensation: 1/3 EV or 1/2 EV or l EV steps (selected with Exposure A.B.C. Lever)

Coupled Flash System: TTL direct flash control

Flash Coupling: Automatic shutter speed adjustment when Contax flash unit reaches full charge

Flash Auto-set: Available for Contax flash units with auto-set function

Second-curtain Sync.: Available for Contax flash units with second-curtain sync.

Focusing System: TTL phase-difference detection (5-point)

Focus Modes: Single AF, continuous AF (predictive), manual, Fine Focus A.B.C., System Automatic (set with focus dial)

Viewfinder: Fixed eye-level pentaprism (long eye-point) 95% field-of-view, 0.73x magnification (with 50mm standard lens at infinity -1 D diopter, fitted with eyepiece shutter.

Diopter adjustment: Internal mechanism, adjustable from -3D to +1D; FM type eye piece lenses (2 types) optionally available

Focusing Screen: Supplied with whole-view matte FX-2; interchangeable with other FX-type screens

Finder Display: Focus frames, Exposure A.B.C. icon, Fine Focus A.B.C. icon, Exposure counter/Self-timer counter/Exposure A.B.C. sequence, Fine Focus A.B.C. sequence, Metering indicator, Flash ready, Focus indicator, Aperture, Shutter speed, Exposure meter/Exposure compensation/Metering divergence, Manual exposure icon, Exposure compensation icons

Display Panel (Top-LCD): Exposure counter, Self-timer counter, Exposure A.B.C sequence, Fine Focus A.B.C. sequence, Bulb time, Focus frame selection, Exposure compensation (when exposure compensation dial is in green position), Drive indicators, Battery status (shooting mode), Aperture, Shutter speed/Film speed/Camera customized functions

Rear LCD: Exposure counter, Recording format, White balance, Digital function customized setting, Memory card cover indicator, Battery status (playback mode)

Drive Modes: Single-frame, continuous exposure, self-timer (2, 10 sec.)

Continuous Shooting Speed: Max. 3 frames per second in continuous ("C") mode [with fresh battery at room temperature]

Max. Burst Shooting: JPEG1 (1/4 compression) approx. 5 shots; JPEG2 (1/8 compression) approx. 8 shots; JPEG3 (1/16 compression) approx. 13 shots; RGB-TIFF approx. 3 shots; RAW approx. 3 shots (Shooting speed should decrease after 3rd shot, complying the recording mode)

Exposure Counter: Subtractive type, visible on top-LCD panel, rear-LCD panel and inside viewfinder, top-LCD panel and rear-LCD panel displays "99" when more than 99 shots remain

Accessory Shoe: Direct X contact (coupled W/TLA flash)

I/O Interface: IEEE1394

Power Source: AA-type Ni-MH rechargeable battery x 4, AC power adapter

Battery Check: Automatic, status indicated on display panel

Number of shots: Approx. 500 shots or more (room temperature, JPEG 3)

Other Features: Exposure check button, Depth-of-field preview button, AF light, Camera customized functions, Digital function customized setting, Vertical shutter release button (with lock function), Focus target selector

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Table of contents
Contax N system cameras

Copyright © 2012-2022 Evgenii Artemov. All rights reserved. Translation and/or reproduction of website materials in any form, including the Internet, is prohibited without the express written permission of the website owner.

35mm full frame

43.27 24 36
  • Dimensions: 36 × 24mm
  • Aspect ratio: 3:2
  • Diagonal: 43.27mm
  • Area: 864mm2

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Image stabilizer

A technology used for reducing or even eliminating the effects of camera shake. Gyro sensors inside the lens detect camera shake and pass the data to a microcomputer. Then an image stabilization group of elements controlled by the microcomputer moves inside the lens and compensates camera shake in order to keep the image static on the imaging sensor or film.

The technology allows to increase the shutter speed by several stops and shoot handheld in such lighting conditions and at such focal lengths where without image stabilizer you have to use tripod, decrease the shutter speed and/or increase the ISO setting which can lead to blurry and noisy images.

Original name

Lens name as indicated on the lens barrel (usually on the front ring). With lenses from film era, may vary slightly from batch to batch.


Format refers to the shape and size of film or image sensor.

35mm is the common name of the 36x24mm film format or image sensor format. It has an aspect ratio of 3:2, and a diagonal measurement of approximately 43mm. The name originates with the total width of the 135 film which was the primary medium of the format prior to the invention of the full frame digital SLR. Historically the 35mm format was sometimes called small format to distinguish it from the medium and large formats.

APS-C is an image sensor format approximately equivalent in size to the film negatives of 25.1x16.7mm with an aspect ratio of 3:2.

Medium format is a film format or image sensor format larger than 36x24mm (35mm) but smaller than 4x5in (large format).

Angle of view

Angle of view describes the angular extent of a given scene that is imaged by a camera. It is used interchangeably with the more general term field of view.

As the focal length changes, the angle of view also changes. The shorter the focal length (eg 18mm), the wider the angle of view. Conversely, the longer the focal length (eg 55mm), the smaller the angle of view.

A camera's angle of view depends not only on the lens, but also on the sensor. Imaging sensors are sometimes smaller than 35mm film frame, and this causes the lens to have a narrower angle of view than with 35mm film, by a certain factor for each sensor (called the crop factor).

This website does not use the angles of view provided by lens manufacturers, but calculates them automatically by the following formula: 114.6 * arctan (21.622 / CF * FL),


CF – crop-factor of a sensor,
FL – focal length of a lens.


A lens mount is an interface — mechanical and often also electrical — between a camera body and a lens.

A lens mount may be a screw-threaded type, a bayonet-type, or a breech-lock type. Modern camera lens mounts are of the bayonet type, because the bayonet mechanism precisely aligns mechanical and electrical features between lens and body, unlike screw-threaded mounts.

Lens mounts of competing manufacturers (Canon, Nikon, Pentax, Sony etc.) are always incompatible. In addition to the mechanical and electrical interface variations, the flange focal distance can also be different.

The flange focal distance (FFD) is the distance from the mechanical rear end surface of the lens mount to the focal plane.

Lens construction

Lens construction – a specific arrangement of elements and groups that make up the optical design, including type and size of elements, type of used materials etc.

Element - an individual piece of glass which makes up one component of a photographic lens. Photographic lenses are nearly always built up of multiple such elements.

Group – a cemented together pieces of glass which form a single unit or an individual piece of glass. The advantage is that there is no glass-air surfaces between cemented together pieces of glass, which reduces reflections.

Focal length

The focal length is the factor that determines the size of the image reproduced on the focal plane, picture angle which covers the area of the subject to be photographed, depth of field, etc.


The largest opening or stop at which a lens can be used is referred to as the speed of the lens. The larger the maximum aperture is, the faster the lens is considered to be. Lenses that offer a large maximum aperture are commonly referred to as fast lenses, and lenses with smaller maximum aperture are regarded as slow.

In low-light situations, having a wider maximum aperture means that you can shoot at a faster shutter speed or work at a lower ISO, or both.

Closest focusing distance

The minimum distance from the focal plane (film or sensor) to the subject where the lens is still able to focus.

Closest working distance

The distance from the front edge of the lens to the subject at the maximum magnification.

Magnification ratio

Determines how large the subject will appear in the final image. For example, a magnification ratio of 1:1 means that the image of the subject formed on the film or sensor will be the same size as the subject in real life. For this reason, a 1:1 ratio is often called "life-size".

Manual focus override in autofocus mode

Allows to perform final focusing manually after the camera has locked the focus automatically. Note that you don't have to switch camera and/or lens to manual focus mode.

Manual focus override in autofocus mode

Allows to perform final focusing manually after the camera has locked the focus automatically. Note that you don't have to switch camera and/or lens to manual focus mode.

Electronic manual focus override is performed in the following way: half-press the shutter button, wait until the camera has finished the autofocusing and then focus manually without releasing the shutter button using the focusing ring.

Manual diaphragm

The diaphragm must be stopped down manually by rotating the detent aperture ring.

Preset diaphragm

The lens has two rings, one is for pre-setting, while the other is for normal diaphragm adjustment. The first ring must be set at the desired aperture, the second ring then should be fully opened for focusing, and turned back for stop down to the pre-set value.

Semi-automatic diaphragm

The lens features spring mechanism in the diaphragm, triggered by the shutter release, which stops down the diaphragm to the pre-set value. The spring needs to be reset manually after each exposure to re-open diaphragm to its maximum value.

Automatic diaphragm

The camera automatically closes the diaphragm down during the shutter operation. On completion of the exposure, the diaphragm re-opens to its maximum value.

Fixed diaphragm

The aperture setting is fixed at F/ on this lens, and cannot be adjusted.

Number of blades

As a general rule, the more blades that are used to create the aperture opening in the lens, the rounder the out-of-focus highlights will be.

Some lenses are designed with curved diaphragm blades, so the roundness of the aperture comes not from the number of blades, but from their shape. However, the fewer blades the diaphragm has, the more difficult it is to form a circle, regardless of rounded edges.

At maximum aperture, the opening will be circular regardless of the number of blades.


Excluding case or pouch, caps and other detachable accessories (lens hood, close-up adapter, tripod adapter etc.).

Maximum diameter x Length

Excluding case or pouch, caps and other detachable accessories (lens hood, close-up adapter, tripod adapter etc.).

For lenses with collapsible design, the length is indicated for the working (retracted) state.

Weather sealing

A rubber material which is inserted in between each externally exposed part (manual focus and zoom rings, buttons, switch panels etc.) to ensure it is properly sealed against dust and moisture.

Lenses that accept front mounted filters typically do not have gaskets behind the filter mount. It is recommended to use a filter for complete weather resistance when desired.

Fluorine coating

Helps keep lenses clean by reducing the possibility of dust and dirt adhering to the lens and by facilitating cleaning should the need arise. Applied to the outer surface of the front and/or rear lens elements over multi-coatings.


Lens filters are accessories that can protect lenses from dirt and damage, enhance colors, minimize glare and reflections, and add creative effects to images.

Lens hood

A lens hood or lens shade is a device used on the end of a lens to block the sun or other light source in order to prevent glare and lens flare. Flare occurs when stray light strikes the front element of a lens and then bounces around within the lens. This stray light often comes from very bright light sources, such as the sun, bright studio lights, or a bright white background.

The geometry of the lens hood can vary from a plain cylindrical or conical section to a more complex shape, sometimes called a petal, tulip, or flower hood. This allows the lens hood to block stray light with the higher portions of the lens hood, while allowing more light into the corners of the image through the lowered portions of the hood.

Lens hoods are more prominent in long focus lenses because they have a smaller viewing angle than that of wide-angle lenses. For wide angle lenses, the length of the hood cannot be as long as those for telephoto lenses, as a longer hood would enter the wider field of view of the lens.

Lens hoods are often designed to fit onto the matching lens facing either forward, for normal use, or backwards, so that the hood may be stored with the lens without occupying much additional space. In addition, lens hoods can offer some degree of physical protection for the lens due to the hood extending farther than the lens itself.


Teleconverters increase the effective focal length of lenses. They also usually maintain the closest focusing distance of lenses, thus increasing the magnification significantly. A lens combined with a teleconverter is normally smaller, lighter and cheaper than a "direct" telephoto lens of the same focal length and speed.

Teleconverters are a convenient way of enhancing telephoto capability, but it comes at a cost − reduced maximum aperture. Also, since teleconverters magnify every detail in the image, they logically also magnify residual aberrations of the lens.

Lens caps

Scratched lens surfaces can spoil the definition and contrast of even the finest lenses. Lens covers are the best and most inexpensive protection available against dust, moisture and abrasion. Safeguard lens elements - both front and rear - whenever the lens is not in use.