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Contax N Digital Comparison Review

The Contax N Digital is a DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) camera that was officially introduced in February 2002 and is equipped with a full frame sensor. It offers a resolution of 6.1 megapixel.

Body comparison with a credit card

The physical dimensions of the Contax N Digital relative to a credit card are illustrated in the side-by-side display below. Three successive views from the front, the top, and the rear are shown. All size dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

Contax N Digital vs credit card front
N Digital versus credit card top view
N Digital and credit card rear side

The table below summarizes the key physical specs of the Contax N Digital alongside a set of comparators. If you want to review a camera pair side-by-side, just select a right-side comparator from among the camera models in the table. Alternatively, you can also move across to the CAM-parator tool and choose from the broad selection of possible comparisons there.

Camera Body Specifications
Camera Camera
Width
Camera
Height
Camera
Depth
Camera
Weight
Battery
Life
(CIPA)
Weather
Sealing
(y/n)
Camera
Launch
(year)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(amazon)
Used
Price
(ebay)
Contax N Digital 152 mm 138 mm 80 mm 990 g 100 no 2002 7,399discont. check
Canon XC10 (⇒ lft | rgt) 125 mm 102 mm 122 mm 1040 g .. no 2015 2,499discont. check
Canon 10D (⇒ lft | rgt) 150 mm 107 mm 75 mm 850 g 500 no 2003 1,999discont. check
Canon Rebel (⇒ lft | rgt) 142 mm 99 mm 72 mm 649 g 400 no 2003 899discont. check
Canon D60 (⇒ lft | rgt) 150 mm 107 mm 75 mm 855 g 620 no 2002 2,999discont. check
Leica M10 (⇒ lft | rgt) 139 mm 80 mm 39 mm 660 g 210 no 2017 6,595 latest check
Leica Digilux 3 (⇒ lft | rgt) 146 mm 87 mm 77 mm 606 g 750 no 2006 1,499discont. check
Nikon D100 (⇒ lft | rgt) 144 mm 116 mm 81 mm 780 g 370 no 2002 1,999discont. check
Nikon D1X (⇒ lft | rgt) 157 mm 153 mm 85 mm 1100 g 1200 YES 2001 5,999discont. check
Olympus E-330 (⇒ lft | rgt) 140 mm 87 mm 72 mm 637 g 750 no 2006 999discont. check
Panasonic L1 (⇒ lft | rgt) 146 mm 87 mm 64 mm 606 g 750 no 2006 999discont. check

The listed prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The Contax N Digital was launched in the US market at a price of $7,399. Usually, retail prices stay at first close to the launch price, but after several months, discounts become available. Later in the product cycle and, in particular, when the replacement model is about to appear, further discounting and stock clearance sales often push the camera price considerably down. Then, after the new model is out, very good deals can frequently be found on the pre-owned market.


Sensor comparison with a 35mm slide

The size of the sensor inside a digital camera is one of the key determinants of image quality. A large sensor will generally have larger individual pixels that offer better low-light sensitivity, provide wider dynamic range, and have richer color depth than smaller pixels in a sensor of the same technological generation. Furthermore, a large sensor camera will give the photographer more possibilities to use shallow depth-of-field in order to isolate a subject from the background. On the downside, larger sensors tend to be associated with larger, more expensive camera bodies and lenses.

The Contax N Digital features a full frame sensor and has a format factor (sometimes also referred to as "crop factor") of 1.0. Within the spectrum of camera sensors, this places the Contax N Digital among the large-sensor cameras that aim for top notch image quality.

Contax N Digital sensor measures
Sensor size

Consistent information on actual sensor performance is available from DXO Mark for most cameras. This service is based on lab testing and assigns an overall score to each camera sensor, as well as ratings for dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), color depth ("DXO Portrait"), and low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports"). The table below summarizes the physical sensor characteristics and sensor quality findings and compares them across a set of similar cameras.

Sensor Characteristics
Camera Sensor
Class
Resolution
(Megapixel)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
Contax N Digital Full Frame 6.1 3040 2008 no - - - -
Canon XC10 (⇒ lft | rgt) 1-inch 12.0 4000 3000 4K/30p - - - -
Canon 10D (⇒ lft | rgt) APS-C 6.3 3072 2048 no 21.1 10.9 571 57
Canon Rebel (⇒ lft | rgt) APS-C 6.3 3072 2048 no 21.0 10.8 544 55
Canon D60 (⇒ lft | rgt) APS-C 6.3 3072 2048 no - - - -
Leica M10 (⇒ lft | rgt) Full Frame 23.8 5952 3992 no 24.4 13.2 2133 86
Leica Digilux 3 (⇒ lft | rgt) Four Thirds 7.4 3136 2352 no - - - -
Nikon D100 (⇒ lft | rgt) APS-C 6.0 3008 2000 no - - - -
Nikon D1X (⇒ lft | rgt) APS-C 5.9 3008 1960 no - - - -
Olympus E-330 (⇒ lft | rgt) Four Thirds 7.4 3136 2352 no - - - -
Panasonic L1 (⇒ lft | rgt) Four Thirds 7.4 3136 2352 no - - - -

Feature comparison

Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Contax N Digital in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar cameras. If you need more detail on the specs, you can find comprehensive listings, for example, in the dpreview camera hub.

Core Features
Camera Viewfinder
(Type or
'000 dots)
Control
Panel
(Y/n)
LCD
Size
(inch)
LCD
Resolution
('000 dots)
LCD
Attach-
ment
Touch
Screen
(Y/n)
Shutter
speed
(1/sec)
Shutter
flaps
(1/sec))
Build-in
Flash
(GN)
Build-in
Image
Stab
Contax N Digital optical YES 2.0 200 fixed no 8000 4.0 no no
Canon XC10 (⇒ lft | rgt) no no 3.0 1030 tilting YES 2000 3.8 no YES
Canon 10D (⇒ lft | rgt) optical YES 1.8 118 fixed no 4000 3.0 13 no
Canon Rebel (⇒ lft | rgt) optical no 1.8 118 fixed no 4000 2.5 13 no
Canon D60 (⇒ lft | rgt) optical YES 1.8 114 fixed no 4000 3.0 12 no
Leica M10 (⇒ lft | rgt) optical no 3.0 1037 fixed no 4000 5.0 no no
Leica Digilux 3 (⇒ lft | rgt) optical no 2.5 207 fixed no 4000 3.0 13 no
Nikon D100 (⇒ lft | rgt) optical YES 1.8 118 fixed no 4000 3.0 11 no
Nikon D1X (⇒ lft | rgt) optical YES 2.0 120 fixed no 16000 3.0 no no
Olympus E-330 (⇒ lft | rgt) optical no 2.5 215 tilting no 4000 3.0 13 no
Panasonic L1 (⇒ lft | rgt) optical no 2.5 207 fixed no 4000 3.0 13 no

Expert reviews

While the specs-based evaluation of cameras is instructive in revealing their potential as photographic tools, it remains incomplete and does no justice, for example, to the way the N Digital handle or perform in practice. At times, user reviews, such as those published at amazon, address these issues in a useful manner, but such feedback is on many occasions incomplete, inconsistent, and unreliable. This is why expert reviews are important. The table below summarizes the assessments of some of the best known camera review sites. You can find the full text of the reviews, respectively, at cameralabs.com, dpreview.com, ephotozine.com, imaging-resource.com, and photographyblog.com.

Review scores
Camera camera
labs
.com
dp
review
.com
ephoto
zine
.com
imaging
resource
.com
photography
blog
.com
Camera
Launch
(year)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(amazon)
Used
Price
(ebay)
Contax N Digital - - - - - 2002 7,399discont. check
Canon XC10 (⇒ lft | rgt) - 80/100 - - - 2015 2,499discont. check
Canon 10D (⇒ lft | rgt) - HiRec - reviewed - 2003 1,999discont. check
Canon Rebel (⇒ lft | rgt) - HiRec - reviewed - 2003 899discont. check
Canon D60 (⇒ lft | rgt) - HiRec reviewed - - 2002 2,999discont. check
Leica M10 (⇒ lft | rgt) - - 4/5 - 4.5/5 2017 6,595 latest check
Leica Digilux 3 (⇒ lft | rgt) - - - - - 2006 1,499discont. check
Nikon D100 (⇒ lft | rgt) - HiRec reviewed reviewed - 2002 1,999discont. check
Nikon D1X (⇒ lft | rgt) - HiRec - reviewed - 2001 5,999discont. check
Olympus E-330 (⇒ lft | rgt) - Rec reviewed 3.5/5 - 2006 999discont. check
Panasonic L1 (⇒ lft | rgt) 85/100 Rec - reviewed 3.5/5 2006 999discont. check

The review scores listed above should be treated with care, though. The assessments were made in relation to similar cameras of the same technological generation. Thus, a score needs to be put into the context of the launch date and the launch price of the camera, and rating-comparisons among cameras that span long time periods or concern very differently equipped models make little sense. Also, please note that some of the review sites have changed their methodology and reporting over time.


Contax N Digital FAQ

Below are some additional questions and answers concerning some particular features of the N Digital.

What type of imaging sensor is used in the N Digital?

The camera features a CCD (Charged Coupled Device) sensor.

What is the ISO sensitivity range of the N Digital?

The camera has a native sensitivity range from ISO 50 to ISO 1600.

What is the fastest shutter speed that can be used with flash?

The N Digital's flash sync speed is 1/250 sec.

Which battery does the N Digital use?

The camera gets its power from the 4xAA, which is a rechargeable Lithium-Ion power pack.

Camera to camera comparisons

If you would like to see a side-by-side review of this and another camera, just make your choice using the following search menu. An an alternative, you can also directly jump to any one of the listed comparisons that were previously generated by the CAM-parator tool. If you do not see the camera that you are looking for, kindly get in touch, and I will try to add information on that model to the database.

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