I’ve been using the Contax G2 with the 45mm Planar lens for about 5 years now. It was the second proper film camera I had ever purchased, and upon shooting for the first time, I was in love. No other camera in any format has been as perfect for me as the G2. Similarly, as I imagine many film shooters have experienced, I had this same feeling the first time I received my scans back from my first roll of Kodak Portra 400.
The G2 with Portra 400 is absolutely a match made in heaven.
A friend of mine asked me to take some photos for his clothing brand and told me I had free reign to do whatever I chose. The night prior, I went out and upon returning home at 3 am, I realised I had nothing planned for the shoot and started panicking. I racked my brain, and the only idea that came to mind was this old idea I had of wanting to try using flash capturing a running shower stream.
Thankfully, when I got to my friends’ house (who would be modelling for me that day), they had no objection to jumping in the bathtub for this.
The shoot itself was super fun, the compact Contax G2 with the tiny but impressive TLA200 flash meant I could balance and lean up against various parts of the tub without having the weight of the camera ruin my balance and drag me down, which was imperative, as trying to fit three people in a bathtub in various positions, with the water running is not only amusing to look at but dangerous.
Every frame for the entire roll was shot using the TLA 200 flash, with settings unchanged at either f/16 or f/11 (depending on the distance to subject), 1/60th shutter and adding -1 stop of exposure compensation. The roll was then lab develop and scanned, with no further editing done.
I know Portra has a reputation of having great exposure latitude, but I always prefer to shoot at box speed. In these frames, I really think the TLA200 did all the work and stole the show. I am so happy to have purchased it, the flash has even determined and influenced my photographic aesthetic and style. I also use the TLA200 flash with my Mamiya 7, and it works perfectly with that camera.
I’ve never owned any of the other Contax G lenses (any other focal length I need I have on other cameras) and to be honest, I have no desire in owning any of them. The 45mm is a perfectly fitted glove for the G2, perfect for basically everything, but especially for portraits, which is what the bulk of my work is.
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