Contax TVS Digital Review

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Contax TVS Digital

Review posted 4/8/03

Click to take a QTVR tour of the TVS Digital

Incorporating a 5 megapixel CCD, the Contax TVS Digital combines the superior optical quality from a newly-designed Carl Zeiss T* Vario Sonnar lens with the cutting-edge technology that Contax is famous for. The TVS Digital is the first Contax "Boutique" digital camera and incorporates many of the unique features found on Contax T series cameras. Starting with a titanium body, stronger than steel and lighter than aluminum, it ensures durability along with elegance. A diopter control is built-in to adjust the viewfinder for your needs. Sapphire glass viewfinder covers provide scratch-resistant protection to help keep the TVS Digital looking like new, even after years of use.

The Carl Zeiss T* Vario-Sonnar 7.3 - 21.9mm zoom (offering the equivalent view of a 35 - 105mm lens in 35mm format) offers 3X optical and 4X digital zoom. The latest technology in lens design is standard on the Vario-Sonnar. Three aspheric surfaces are incorporated in this six-element design. The T* anti-reflection coating is applied to each lens element, dramatically reducing flare and increasing contrast and sharpness in your photographs.

The Contax Tvs Digital features various multi-shooting modes. The macro mode allows the camera to focus as close as 3.7 inches. Five flash mode options are available (auto flash, red-eye reduction auto flash, fill-in flash, flash off and nighttime portrait). A variety of other modes are offered, including landscape, color, sepia, b/w, white balance (auto, preset, daylight, tungsten, cloudy, fluorescent), sharpness and chroma. Manual exposure compensation (+/- 2 EV in 1/2 or 1/3 increments) is also available.

The well-designed layout provides quick access to the menu items you want to control. Two setup modes for customization allow the user greater control over camera functions. Setup "C" changes camera functions (Flash mode setting, change of exposure compensation range, etc.) while Setup "D" changes digital functions (electronic tone, electronic zooming, startup screen setting, etc.). An AVI movie mode is also featured on the new Contax TVS Digital and can hold up to 30 seconds of high quality digital video.

Designed for long-time shooting, the camera is powered by a high capacity and rechargeable lithium-ion battery. The Contax Tvs Digital comes in both titanium silver or black finish, measures at 4.4" W x 2.4" H x 1.4'" D and weighs 7.4 ounces. Images are downloaded via the included USB cable.

TVS Digital Features

  • 5 Megapixel CCD imager for up to 2560x1920 pixel images
  • Carl Zeiss T* Vario Sonnar 3x optical 35-105mm f/2.8-4.8 zoom
  • 1.6" Dayfine color LCD monitor
  • Compact and durable titanium body (silver or black finish)
  • Program AE, Aperture priority and AE Bracketing
  • Movie mode w/sound 320x240 to 30 secs
  • Built in flash with five modes
  • Evaluative metering on focus point, Center-weighted or Spot
  • Exposure compensation: +/-2EV in 1/3-step increments
  • White Balance: Auto, 5 presets or Custom
  • Color mode, saturation and sharpness control
  • Shutter speeds: 1 to 1/2000 second, Long Time mode: 1, 2, 4 or 8 seconds
  • Selectable ISO settings from 50 to 400
  • Voice memo (up to 30 secs) can be attached to images
  • Builtin microphone and speaker
  • Rechargeable 1500mAh lithium-ion battery included
  • USB connectivity for PC and Mac
  • Epson PRINT Image Matching compatible

Contax TVS Digital

The Contax TVS Digital will be available in March 2003 at suggested list price of $899.95 for the titanium silver and $995 for the titanium black.

Physical Views

Contax TVS Digital

Contax TVS Digital

Contax TVS Digital

Contax TVS Digital

Contax TVS Digital

Contax TVS Digital

Contax TVS Digital

Contax TVS Digital

The TVS compared to an average CD disc.

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Page Two

TVS Digital Specifications


Digital still camera with record, playback and erase modes

Recording Media

Image Format

SD Memory Card and MultiMedia (MMC) cards

Complies with JPEG standard (Exif 2.2), DCF Standard, supports DPOF

Effective Pixels

5.0 Megapixels

Pickup Device

1/1.8" square-pixel interlace readout system CCD with 5.25 million gross pixels

Recorded Pixels

Still: 2560x1920, 1600x1200, 1280x960, 640x480
Movie: 320x240, 160x120

Image Quality

JPEG F (Fine) or N (Normal)



Carl Zeiss T* Vario Sonnar 7.3mm-21.9mm, F2.8-4.8 (6 elements in 6 groups), (approx. focal length in 35mm format, 35mm-105mm)

Wide: F2.8, F3.3, F4.0, F4.7, F5.6, F6.7

Telephoto: F4.8, F5.6, F6.7

Digital Zoom

x1.3, x1.6, x2, x3, x4

Focusing Control

Video feedback auto-focus and manual focus

Focusing Range

(from CCD surface)

AF: 0.6m ~ infinity

MF: 0.6, 0.7, 0.8, 1, 1.5, 2, 5m, infinity

Macro: 0.15 ~ 0.6m

Exposure Control

Program AE, aperture-priority AE, LT (Long Time) mode

Metering modes

CCD multi-area evaluation metering, center-weighted metering, and spot metering

Exposure compensation

+2.0EV ~ -2.0EV (1/3EV or 1/2 steps)

ABC (Automatic Bracketing Control) +/-0.3EV, +/-0.5EV, +/-1.0EV

Automatic exposure range

LV3 ~ LV16.5


CCD electronic shutter and programmed electronic shutter with independent aperture control,

1 ~ 1/2000 sec

LT mode: 1 sec, 2sec, 4sec, 8sec

White Balance

Auto, Day light, Cloudy, Tungsten lamp, Fluorescent light, Preset

Color mode

Color, B/W, Sepia


+3 ~ -1 (5 steps)


+, 0, - (3steps)

Exposure sensitivity

Auto and Manual setting

Optical finder

Real-image zoom viewfinder
Approx. field of view 83%, magnification 0.35 ~ 0.99, diopter adjustment, -3 ~ +1 diopter

LCD monitor

1.6-inch 84,960 pixels TFT Color LCD monitor (354x240 dot)


Built-in Flash, flash-compensation -1 ~ +1

Flash modes

Auto-flash, auto red-eye-reduction flash, no flash, fill-in flash, night portrait flash

AF modes

Wide AF and Spot AF

Movie mode

File format: AVI file, sound record on/off

Recording resolution: 320x240, 160x120

Recording period: 30 sec/session (320x240), 120 sec/session (160x120)

Playback: QuickTime 4.1 or above (Windows, Macintosh)

LCD Monitor Info

Flash mode, WB, metering mode, focus mark, drive(C ), pixels, quality, number of recordable images, exposure compensation, shutter speed, aperture, exposure sensitivity, Sharpness, Chroma, digital zoom, self-timer/remote release, macro, MF, AFL, ABC, WB bracketing, battery indicator ,date

Display Panel

Flash mode, macro, drive mode (c), number of recordable images, MF, AFL, exposure compensation indicator, LT, battery indicator

Playback mode

Multiple image display, after record, protect, erase, erase all, resizing, slide show, DPOF setting

Close up image playback, Thumbnail Playback, Histogram display

Audio record

30sec/still image

File format: wave


320x240 or 160x120

file format: jpeg


Erase single frame or erase all frames

Video output mode

NTSC/PAL composite video signal selectable


Video output connector, External power input connector, USB connector (mini-B)

Power Supply

3.7v rechargeable lithium-ion battery pack (1500mAh)
310 frames with the LCD off or 260 frames with the LCD on
Continuous playback time is four hours and thirty minutes
The maximum charging time is six hours

Outer shell material

Titanium, silver or black finish


4.4"W x 2.4"H x 1.3"D (not including protruding parts)
112 x 60 x 33 mm


Approx. 7.4 oz / 210 g (without battery pack and memory card)

Operating temperature

0 ~ 45°C (under the dry conditions)

Accessories included

Remote release RC-1, lithium battery and charger, USB cable, A-V cable, user manual, 16MB SD card, software CD and carrying case

*Specifications as represented by the manufacturer and subject to change

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