Back in Time: The Contax SL 300R T* Camera

I had three Contax film SLRs in 2004 and was excited about the release of their compact digital camera, the SL 300R T*.

Contax SL 300R T* compact digital camera - 2004

For me, it was the epitome of craftsmanship. At 4" wide and 1/2" thick, the SL 300R was constructed of high tech metal alloy, encased in fine leather. It featured an f/2.8 Carl Zeiss zoom lens (38-115mm 35mm) with T* coating and a 1.5" LCD screen. Its resolution with a mere 3 megapixels.

Imagine the delight of a budding nimble photographer who could carry such a precision tool in his shirt pocket. Even though the maximum ISO was only 400, the relatively fast lens allowed me to shoot pictures in most lighting conditions.

Unfortunately, Contax did not survive the transition to digital imaging. They did release the 400R, but it wasn't a huge success. Not long after, they stopped making cameras all together.

To this day, I miss shooting with Contax. For me, they were the affordable luxury cars of photography. (Unlike Leica, which I've never owned.)

It wasn't until years later, with the release of the Olympus OM-D, that I felt that flutter again.

Note: You can see more pictures of the Contax SL 300R T* in the new History section.