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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
Model
Camera
Width
Camera
Height
Camera
Depth
Camera
Weight
Battery
Life
(CIPA)
Weather
Sealing
(yes/no)
Camera
Launch
(announced)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(USD)
Used
Price
(USD)
Camera
Model
Contax N Digital 152 mm 138 mm 80 mm 990 g 100 n Feb 2002 7,399- i Contax N Digital
Canon XC10« » 125 mm 102 mm 122 mm 1040 g .. n Apr 2015 2,499- i Canon XC10
Canon 10D« » 150 mm 107 mm 75 mm 850 g 500 n Feb 2003 1,999- i Canon 10D
Canon 300D« » 142 mm 99 mm 72 mm 649 g 400 n Aug 2003 899- i Canon 300D
Canon D60« » 150 mm 107 mm 75 mm 855 g 620 n Feb 2002 2,999- i Canon D60
Leica M10« » 139 mm 80 mm 39 mm 660 g 210 n Jan 2017 6,595 i i Leica M10
Leica Digilux 3« » 146 mm 87 mm 77 mm 606 g 750 n Sep 2006 1,499- i Leica Digilux 3
Nikon D100« » 144 mm 116 mm 81 mm 780 g 370 n Feb 2002 1,999- i Nikon D100
Nikon D1X« » 157 mm 153 mm 85 mm 1100 g 1200 Y Feb 2001 5,999- i Nikon D1X
Olympus E-330« » 140 mm 87 mm 72 mm 637 g 750 n Jan 2006 999- i Olympus E-330
Panasonic L1« » 146 mm 87 mm 64 mm 606 g 750 n Feb 2006 999- i Panasonic L1

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

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
Model
Sensor
Class
Resolution
(MP)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
Camera
Model
Contax N Digital Full Frame 6.1 3040 2008-----Contax N Digital
Canon XC10« » 1-inch 12.0 4000 30004K/30p----Canon XC10
Canon 10D« » APS-C 6.3 3072 2048-21.110.957157Canon 10D
Canon 300D« » APS-C 6.3 3072 2048-21.010.854455Canon 300D
Canon D60« » APS-C 6.3 3072 2048-----Canon D60
Leica M10« » Full Frame 23.8 5952 3992-24.413.2213386Leica M10
Leica Digilux 3« » Four Thirds 7.4 3136 2352-----Leica Digilux 3
Nikon D100« » APS-C 6.0 3008 2000-----Nikon D100
Nikon D1X« » APS-C 5.9 3008 1960-----Nikon D1X
Olympus E-330« » Four Thirds 7.4 3136 2352-----Olympus E-330
Panasonic L1« » Four Thirds 7.4 3136 2352-----Panasonic L1

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
Model
Viewfinder
(Type or
'000 dots)
Control
Panel
(yes/no)
LCD
Size
(inch)
LCD
Resolution
('000 dots)
LCD
Attach-
ment
Touch
Screen
(yes/no)
Shutter
speed
(1/sec)
Shutter
flaps
(1/sec))
Build-in
Flash
(yes/no)
Build-in
Image
Stab
Camera
Model
Contax N Digitaloptical Y 2.0 200 fixed n 8000 4.0 n n Contax N Digital
Canon XC10« »- n 3.0 1030 tilting Y 2000 3.8 n Y Canon XC10
Canon 10D« »optical Y 1.8 118 fixed n 4000 3.0 Y n Canon 10D
Canon 300D« »optical n 1.8 118 fixed n 4000 2.5 Y n Canon 300D
Canon D60« »optical Y 1.8 114 fixed n 4000 3.0 Y n Canon D60
Leica M10« »optical n 3.0 1037 fixed n 4000 5.0 n n Leica M10
Leica Digilux 3« »optical n 2.5 207 fixed n 4000 3.0 Y n Leica Digilux 3
Nikon D100« »optical Y 1.8 118 fixed n 4000 3.0 Y n Nikon D100
Nikon D1X« »optical Y 2.0 120 fixed n 16000 3.0 n n Nikon D1X
Olympus E-330« »optical n 2.5 215 tilting n 4000 3.0 Y n Olympus E-330
Panasonic L1« »optical n 2.5 207 fixed n 4000 3.0 Y n Panasonic L1
 

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 (cameralabs, dpreview, ephotozine, imaging-resource, photographyblog). You can find the full text of the reviews by clicking on the site logo in the table header.

Review Scores
  Camera
Model
cameralabs dpreview ephotozine imaging-resource photographyblog Camera
Launch
(announced)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(USD)
Used
Price
(USD)
Camera
Model
Contax N Digital----- Feb 2002 7,399- i Contax N Digital
Canon XC10« »-80/100--- Apr 2015 2,499- i Canon XC10
Canon 10D« »-HiRec-rev- Feb 2003 1,999- i Canon 10D
Canon 300D« »-HiRec-rev- Aug 2003 899- i Canon 300D
Canon D60« »-HiRecrev-- Feb 2002 2,999- i Canon D60
Leica M10« »--4/5-4.5/5 Jan 2017 6,595 i i Leica M10
Leica Digilux 3« »----- Sep 2006 1,499- i Leica Digilux 3
Nikon D100« »-HiRecrevrev- Feb 2002 1,999- i Nikon D100
Nikon D1X« »-HiRec-rev- Feb 2001 5,999- i Nikon D1X
Olympus E-330« »-Recrev3.5/5- Jan 2006 999- i Olympus E-330
Panasonic L1« »85/100Rec-rev3.5/5 Feb 2006 999- i Panasonic L1

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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