I had heared a lot about the Contax G cameras on youtube and other medias. Before I began my trip within the compact camera realm I wasn't too sure about the Contax G system. Mostly because of the general idea that the AF on compact cameras weren't that good. After some reading and research on the web it seemed people were very pleased with the system and the Contax glas has always had a good reputation. BTW check out Mike Thomas review of the G-cameras on you tube.
Anyway several months after, as the GAS (gear acquisition syndrome) had been laid to rest, my friend Ola Billmont popped the question if I was interested in buying a G2 kit he was selling. The Contax G2 with 28/2.8, 45/2 and the 21/2.8 with external finder! All for a very good price. So.. I felt the GAS coming back and thought that I should try this camera. I later found a very cheap G1 on ebay for dual wielding of course :)
Don't worry I won't bore you with the same old facts you find everywhere :) There are so many thoughts about this camera, and some many really nice things.. First of all the autofocus system was better than I expected, on both cameras! The G2 actually has two systems that operate side by side. The first one is contrast based and the other one uses infrared technique. As it focuses it uses the contrast based one first and then confirms it with the infrared light, which is not visible to the eye. In low light where the contrast based system may struggle it uses the infrared one to focus. I have never found the camera hunting focus at any time. It focuses almost instantly. This autofocus system works really well! The G1 only has contrast based focusing and a striped red assist light that helps it in low light. Honestly its hard to tell a difference in good lighting. They both work very well.
There are some small differences between the cameras other than the autofocus system, size and the maximum shutter speed of 1/4000 vs 1/200 on the G1. But all in all they are very fine cameras. Personally I find the G1 a bit nicer. It fits my hand better and weighs a bit less too. One thing I didn't find too good was the viewfinder. This is a very relevant opinion. The size of it is perfectly fine, but the thing is that even if it is a rangefinder camera it doesn't show anything outside the fames lines in the finder, like say a Leica. Having used a lot of rangefinder cameras I am used to seeing the frame lines and outside them to help me compose and anticipate what's going to come into my frame. The G-cameras only show what you are going to get as a SLR would do. Outside the parallax adjusting frame in the cameras is only black masking. This took me some time to get used to, but now I don't think about it that much.
My final words is that this is one of the most useful cameras according to me. I love this camera! It has autofocus, it's quick, small and light! Great for snaps and street photography as well as travel photography being a compact and "light" system. Here are some random shots with the G1 and G2.