The Contax RX is a 35 mm single-lens reflex camera produced by Kyocera in 1994. Being under the Kyocera line, it used Carl Zeiss lenses with its popular Contax/Yashica (C/Y) lens mount. Zeiss lenses are prized for their good craftsmanship and even better image quality. That’s why it’s no surprise that some photographers have nothing but good words to say about the RX. Contax kept the RX’s design simple — almost minimalist in nature. It had gentle angles, plain black body coating, and just the right curves to keep it ergonomic.
It may not have been a knockout when it came to looks but the RX had a few things up its sleeves to wow photographers. Although it had a manual focus body, the RX also had an electronically-assisted focusing system that helped users get better and more refined shots. It was called the Digital Focus Indicator or DFI and it worked in various lighting condition ranging from EV 2 to 20. Its role was simple — to notify the photographer if the shot was in focus. A series of circles appeared at the bottom of the viewfinder when the image was out of focus. The fewer circles, the better.
The DFI was a relatively “new” feature at the time but Contax went ahead and put it in the RX as a show of their abilities as a camera maker. It was a nifty feature to have at the time, like an add-on when you buy a high-end car. At best, the DFI was a redundancy because the RX had a perfectly bright viewfinder and could be easily focused optically, thanks to its high-quality Zeiss lens that came as a standard.
Aside from its forward-thinking DFI feature, the RX also had automatic film advance/rewind, center-weighted metering, Av/Tv/P-mode auto exposure, and shutter speeds up to 1/4000. The RX also had a nice shutter sound according to people who used and owned one. It was the sleeper SLR that had a lot to offer but was overshadowed by other popular cameras. Under the radar but definitely not underappreciated, this camera is something to look out for if you’re into good image quality and cool camera features.