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Contax' Tvs digital camera. Used by permission of LetsGoDigital.nl, with modifications by Michael R. Tomkins. Contax confirms Tvs Digital launch date, pricing
(Monday, February 10, 2003 - 06:14 EST)

Kyocera Corp. issued a press release last Thursday reconfirming a digital camera which we first told you about last August, a little over a month before the Photokina show began in Germany.

At that time, little was known, beyond the fact that the camera would feature a 5 megapixel imager, and would follow in the footsteps of the company's Contax Tvs 35mm film camera series. A month later, we brought you full specifications for the camera, officially announced at Photokina - but pricing and availability of the camera were still not available.

The Contax Tvs digital was announced as having a 1/1.8" 5.25 megapixel CCD imager coupled with a Carl Zeiss Vario Sonnar T* 3x optical zoom lens, with a maximum image size of 2560 x 1920 pixels. Further specifications included a 1.6" LCD display, USB and video out connectivity, movie recording capabilities and a range of manual features.

Four and a half months have passed, and Kyocera has now published a new press release on its global website, reconfirming the model and providing for the first time a specific date from which the first Contax Tvs cameras should being shipping - February 20th, 2003 (in Japan, at least). Pricing will be ¥128,000 (US$1,063 / €983 / CDN$1,619 / £651 ignoring currency fluctuations, taxes and duties).

Note that this launch date is only for the silver version of the Tvs Digital - a "Titanium Black" version will also be offered, but this will not reach the Japanese market until late April at a price premium of ¥10,000 over its silver sibling (¥138,000 / US$1,146 / €1,060 / CDN$1,746 / £702 ignoring currency fluctuations, taxes and duties). A total of 5,000 units per month are planned to be produced for sale globally, and the cameras will come bundled with USB and video cables, Li-Ion battery pack, AC adapter, 16MB SD card, CD-ROM, hand-strap, remote control and camera case.

Further details follow in the official press release, as translated from Japanese by Kyocera, below:

Original Source Press Release:

Incorporating the Carl Zeiss T* lens and the five-megapixel CCD, The first compact digital camera in the CONTAX brand, CONTAX Tvs DIGITAL

February 6, 2003

Kyocera Corporation (President: Yasuo Nishiguchi) will release the new CONTAX Tvs DIGITAL, the first compact digital camera in the CONTAX lineup, on February 20, 2003.
CONTAX Tvs Digital incorporates the Carl Zeiss Vario Sonnar T* 7.3 - 21.9 mm F2.8 - 4.8*1, a 3X optical zoom lens, which is newly developed by Carl Zeiss for digital cameras. The lens features superior gradation performance unique to the Carl Zeiss T* lens. This performance is enhanced by a clear image produced by the T* coating on the lens and a five-megapixel CCD, in combination with a signal processing system which has been developed for this model.
This is a new premium-grade compact digital camera that meets the needs of sophisticated users who require high-quality images combined with a high level of usability that faithfully captures their intentions.
*1) Equivalent to approximately 35 - 105 mm on a conventional 35-mm format camera


Body color Silver Titanium black
Release date February 20, 2003 Late April 2003
Recommended retail price 128,000 yen (plus tax) 138,000 yen (plus tax)
Sales target (total of domestic and overseas sales) 5,000 units/month
Standard set The body, PC cable (USB connection), video cable, lithium-ion battery pack, AC adapter, SD memory card (16MB), CD-ROM, strap, remote control, camera case

Main Features of the Contax Tvs Digital

1. Newly Developed 3X Optical Zoom Lens, Carl Zeiss Vario Sonnar T* 7.3 - 21.9 mm F2.8 - 4.8
Using the latest Carl Zeiss optical technology, we have developed a new 3X optical zoom lens for digital cameras, consisting of six elements in six groups. By effectively allocating the lens components using three aspheric lenses and two high-refractive index glasses, the lens fully compensates for a range of aberrations and exhibits superior image quality up to the corners of the image. The Carl Zeiss original, multi-layered coating, known as T* coating, reduces the flare and ghosting that cause the image quality to deteriorate. These features enable you to take full advantage of the clear, outstanding digital image, the faithful color reproduction of the Carl Zeiss lens and the superb tonal range. Use of the 3X optical zoom with a 4X electronic zoom enables you to shoot up to 12X zoom.

2. Ultra-Fine 1/1.8 Five-Megapixel CCD
The image pickup device incorporates a 1/1.8 five-megapixel CCD with a total of 5,250,000 pixels, using the primary color filter that excels in reproducing colors. The wide dynamic range of this CCD enhances the high gradation performance of the Carl Zeiss lens.

3. Fine Liquid Crystal Daylight Monitor - the TFT color liquid crystal monitor that is bright and easy to see even outdoors in daylight
To create images with a digital camera, an easy-to-see liquid crystal monitor is essential. The CONTAX Tvs DIGITAL incorporates a fine liquid crystal daylight monitor, the TFT color liquid crystal monitor adopting a dual backlight system, which is easy to see even outdoors in the daylight. By allocating a special optical film and exclusive optical waveguide inside the camera, it controls the diffusion and absorption of light entering from outside and uses the light as a reflection. It also incorporates an optical viewfinder that allows you to use it like a silver salt film camera.

4. Hybrid Infrared Filter that Enhances Black Reproduction
Most infrared filters with general coatings have a tendency to create red ghosting. To eliminate this ghosting, we use infrared absorbing glass together with a hybrid system that uses infrared-absorbing coating for different wavelengths in the final stage of the filter. This system removes invisible infrared signals that cannot be removed simply by the infrared filter, and enhances the black reproduction.

5. Large-Capacity Lithium-Ion Battery and Power-Saving Design that Enable You to Shoot and Play Back for Extended Periods
The large battery capacity and power-saving circuits enable you to shoot approximately 260 images*2when using the liquid crystal monitor. Under continuous playback, the camera can be used for approximately four hours and thirty minutes.
*2) Number of pixels: 2560 x 1920, Image quality: normal, Flash use 50% (Kyocera test conditions)

6. System of Controls that Allows You to Operate the Camera as a Flexible Tool for Creating Images
The system of controls is based on the concept of "intuitive functionality by seeing, touching and operating." The system includes a menu system that enables you to make your selection while viewing the liquid crystal monitor. The controls are designed to facilitate performing the main operations quickly with your right thumb while shooting. Furthermore, the menu screen is classified into three functional groups: the frequently used +/- W/B ISO (for exposure compensation and white balance), C.MENU (to set the shooting functions, such as switching the light metering mode) and D.MENU (to configure the settings specific to digital cameras, such as sharpness and chroma). This system makes it simple and easy to operate the multiple functions of the digital camera. The REC Review button is separately installed for replaying back images that have just been shot, without switching the camera to the Playback mode. This feature enables you to check the images you have taken, at a larger size so you can check the focus or delete unnecessary images.

7. Moving Image with Audio Function and After-Recording Function for Still Image
The camera facilitates shooting moving image with audio at 15 frames/second for up to 120 seconds, with an image size of 160 x 120 pixels. The recoded file is in the AVI format and can easily be played back on the camera itself or on a personal computer*3. The after-recording function for still images allows you to record 30 seconds of audio, such as data relating to the image.
*3) To play back the file on a personal computer, it is necessary to install QuickTime 4.1 or later.

8. A Various Range of Shooting Options, such as the Macro Mode for 15-cm Close-Up Photography
The camera incorporates a macro mode (with the zoom position fixed to "Wide"), which allows you to photograph the subject at a minimum of 15 cm from the CCD. You can shoot in a range of approximately 102 mm x 76 mm. It also has a wide range of shooting functions, including five flash modes, landscape mode, color mode, white balance selection, sharpness and chroma. Exposure compensation is available as well.

9. Function for Installing Your Favorite Start Screen
The camera incorporates a function that allows you to install your favorite start screen. You can use any image that you have taken with the CONTAX Tvs DIGITAL for the start screen. The screen appears whenever you turn on the power to the camera.

10. Two Setup Modes for You to Set Up the Camera as You Like
There are two setup modes, SET-UP C, which allows you to change the camera functions, such as the flash home position and the width of exposure compensation, and SET-UP D, which allows you to change the digital functions such as the volume of sound alerts, the electronic zoom, the start screen and so on. The setup modes allow you to configure the camera as you like.

11. Optimum Materials for Durability
Apart from being a camera for taking photos, it is important for you to be able to enjoy using the camera and to be proud of the camera for a long time. For this reason, the camera body is made of titanium, which is the metal best suited to lightness, strength and outstanding anti-corrosion. The viewfinder is a zoom viewfinder of a real imaging system and it incorporates a dioptric adjustment system of +1 to -3diop.

12. Remote Shutter Release from Either the Front or Back of the Camera
The camera incorporates a remote control*4for use with a tripod to prevent the camera from moving when taking landscapes or using long exposure settings.
*4) Up to about four meters from the front of the remote receiver and up to one meter from the front of the eyepiece section of the viewfinder at the back of the camera.

13. Body colors available, classy titanium black as well as silver
CONTAX Tvs DIGITAL Titanium Black has a dignified dark appearance while highlighting the feeling of the titanium. This is created by the surface treatment of applying titanium nitride coating on the titanium body cover. Moreover, this surface coating enhances the anti-corrosion, anti-abrasion and hardness of the surface.

14. Optional accessory
As an optional accessory, a quick battery charger, the Kyocera battery charger BC-2 is available (recommended retail price: 6,000 yen plus tax).

Back: Silver
(Back: Silver)
  • Using the CONTAX Tvs DIGITAL with a personal computer

    Windows requirements:
    OS: Preinstalled with Microsoft Windows 98, Windows 98 SE, Windows Me, Windows 2000 Professional, Windows XP Home Edition or Professional. Performance is not guaranteed if these operating systems are upgraded. Memory: 64MB or more. USB terminal and CD-ROM drive.

    Macintosh requirements:
    OS: Preinstalled with MacOS8.6 to 9.2 or OS X v.10.2 (excluding the OS X server). Performance is not guaranteed if these operating systems are upgraded. USB terminal and CD-ROM drive.

    * All prices in this press release exclude consumption tax.
    * Windows is a registered trademark of Microsoft Corporation in the United States and other countries.
    * QuickTime, Macintosh and MacOS are registered trademarks of Apple Computer, Inc. in the United States.
    Other company names and product names are trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective companies.

  • Main specifications of the CONTAX Tvs DIGITAL

Camera type Record, playback and delete all-in-one digital camera
Recording media/ recording method SD memory card / MMC (Multi Media Card), in compliance with DCF (*Note 1) (Exif Ver2.2), in compliance with JPEG, DPOF compatible (*Note 2)
Effective pixels 5,000,000 pixels
Image pickup device 1/1.8 square pixel primary color filter interlace reading system CCD (total number of pixels: 5,250,000)
Still image sizes 2560 x 1920, 1600 x 1200, 1280 x 960, 640 x 480 pixels
Moving image sizes 320 x 240, 160 x 120 pixels
Image quality Two levels, Fine and Normal
Lens Carl Zeiss Vario Sonnar T* 7.3-21.9mm F2.8-4.8 (Six elements in six groups), equivalent to approximately 35-105 mm in the 35-mm format
Aperture Wide: F2.8, F3.3, F4.0, F4.7, F5.6, F6.7
Tele: F4.8, F5.6, F6.7
Electronic zoom Settings available: x1.3, x1.6, x2, x3, x4
Focal adjustment Video feedback auto focus and manual focus (configurable distance)
Range of shooting (from the CCD) AF: 0.6 m to infinity
MF: 0.6 m, 0.7 m, 0.8 m, 1 m, 1.5 m, 2 m, 5 m, infinity
Macro (Wide fixed): 0.15 to 0.6 m
Exposure control
- Control method Program AE, aperture priority AE, LT (long-time exposure)
- Light meter system Can be selected from the three modes: CCD Screen Multi-dividing Evaluative Metering, Center Weighted Metering, Spot Metering system
- Metering switchable range LV3 to LV16.5
- Exposure compensation +2.0EV to -2.0EV (1/3 step or 1/2 step, switchable in SET UP C)
ABC (+/-0.3EV, +/-0.5EV, +/-1.0EV)
Shutter Using both CCD electronic shutter and independent aperture wings electronic control shutter1 to 1/2000 seconds, LT setting: configurable in 1, 2, 4, or 8 seconds
White balance Auto, sunlight, incandescent light, cloudy weather, fluorescent, preset
Color mode Color, monochrome, sepia
Sharpness +3 to -1 (Five levels)
Chroma +, 0, - (Three levels)
Sensitivity setting Configurable in auto and manual (ISO80, 100, 125, 160, 200, 250, 320, 400)
- Optical viewfinder Real imaging zoom viewfinder (field of view: approximately 83%, magnification: 0.35 to 0.99, dioptric adjustment: +1 to -3diop)
- Liquid crystal monitor TFT color liquid crystal 1.6-monitor adopting the 85,000 pixel dual back light system (354 x 240 dots), field of view is 100%
Flash Light control system built-in flash / Light adjustable (+/-1EV)
Delay time is about 5 seconds (When it is fully charged in room temperature, based on the Kyocera measuring standards)
Flash mode (1) Auto flash, (2) Auto flash with red eye reduction, (3) Flash disabled, (4) Forced flash, (5) Night portrait mode
AF mode (1) Wide AF, (2) Spot AF
Moving image recording mode File format: AVI, selectable whether to record audio or not
Moving image recording time 30 seconds at a time (320 x 240), 120 seconds at a time (160 x 120). The maximum recording frequency differs depending on the capacity of the recording media. Playable environment in personal computer: QuickTime 4.1 or later (Windows, Macintosh)
Still image shooting function
- C.MENU Self/remote control, AF mode selection, light metering mode selection, ABC, drive (S, C), LT (long time exposure), flash adjustment
- D.MENU Color mode, number of pixels, image quality, WB bracket, sharpness, chroma
Moving image shooting function
- C.MENU Self/remote control, AF mode selection
- D.MENU With/without audio (moving images), color mode, number of pixels
Liquid crystal monitor indications Flash mode, WB, light metering mode, metering mark, drive mark (C), number of pixels, image quality, number of available images, exposure compensation, shutter speed, f-value, sensitivity, sharpness, chroma, electronic zoom, self/remote control, macro mark, MF, AFL mark, ABC mark, WB bracket mark, battery mark, date
Panel indications Flash mode, macro mark, drive mark (C), number of available images, MF mark, AFL mark, exposure compensation mark, LT mark, battery mark
Playback mode Multi screen display (six screens), after-recording (audio memo for still image), protect, delete, delete all, resize, rotate, slide show, DPOF setting, close-up playback, thumbnail playback, moving images playback (only images shot by this camera), histogram display
After-recording Up to 30 seconds recording and playing per image. File format: .wav
Resizing Possible to resize to 320 x 240 or 160 x 120
Possible to select the area to resize. File format: .jpg
Deleting Possible to delete one image or delete all images
Setup function
- SET UP C Setting of flash home position, alphabetical order, setting of AFL continuous time, AE lock by the AFL button, setting of continuous time of exposure compensation, range of exposure compensation, setting of MF continuous time
- SET UP D Adjustment of the brightness of the liquid crystal, date setting, date printing, card format, auto off setting, electronic zoom, operational sound volume setting, shutter sound volume setting, change of selected color, start screen selection, auto REC review, language selection (Japanese, English, German, French, Spanish), video output switch, file consecutive number reset, setting reset
Video output NTSC/PAL composite video signal switching system, audio output
Input/output terminal Video output terminal, external power source input terminal, USB terminal (mini-B)
Power source 3.7V lithium-ion battery 1500 mAh, exclusive AC adapter
Charge time: Approximately 6 hours (+10oC to +30 oC)
Number of images that can be taken When the liquid crystal monitor is on: Approximately 260 images, When the liquid crystal monitor is off: Approximately 310 images(When using a flash for 50%, using the exclusive lithium-ion battery, in 2560 x 1920, at normal image quality)
Time for continuous playback Approximately 4 hours and 30 minutes* When a battery is fully charged, at room temperature, using the attached battery pack (BP-1500S), based on the Kyocera measurement standards.
Dimensions 112 (width) x 60 (height) x 33 (depth) mm (Excluding the projections such as liquid crystal and lens)
Weight Approximately 210g (excluding battery and recording media)
Operating temperature 0 to 45 oC (no condensation)
Others Remote control release (Contax remote control RC-1)
*Note 1) DCF is an abbreviation of the Design rule for Camera File system, the standard of the Japan Electronics and Information Technology Industries Association (JEITA). The standard is stipulated by JEITA primarily for the purpose of facilitating the transfer of image files of digital cameras between related equipment.
*Note 2) DPOF is an abbreviation of Digital Print Order Format established by four companies, Canon Sales Co., Inc., Eastman Kodak Company, Fuji Photo Film Co., Ltd., and Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., Ltd. This is the standard for recording the specified information in the recording media, such as the images and number to print out from the images shot by a digital camera.
  • Standard of the number of images and number of pixels
2560 x 1920 Approximately 4 to 6 images (Fine), approximately 8 to 12 images (Normal)
1600 x 1200 Approximately 10 to 15 images (Fine), approximately 20 to 29 images (Normal)
1280 x 960 Approximately 16 to 23 images (Fine), approximately 30 to 43 images (Normal)
640 x 480 Approximately 54 to 73 images (Fine), approximately 88 to 112 images (Normal)
Moving image 320 x 240 Approximately 1 to 2 times (with audio, when recording for 30 seconds)
Moving image 160 x 120 Approximately 1 to 2 times (with audio, when recording for 120 seconds)
* When using a 16-MB card and recording in the same mode only. The number of images to be shot differs depending on the subject and the type of card.

    Since the Contax I model was released in 1932, a great number of CONTAX brand cameras incorporating optical technologies have been developed and released, in a wide range of genres, such as silver salt single-lens reflex cameras, compact cameras, range finder cameras, medium format cameras and digital single-lens reflex cameras.
  • Evolution of the main CONTAX compact cameras (except for color variation)
Product name Release date Price * Model Incorporated Carl Zeiss T* lens
CONTAX T February 1984 99,000 yen 35 mm Sonnar T* 38 mm F2.8
CONTAX T2 December 1990 120,000 yen 35 mm Sonnar T* 38 mm F2.8
CONTAX TVS September 1993 170,000 yen 35 mm Vario Sonnar T* 28-56 mm F3.5-6.5
CONTAX Tix October 1997 120,000 yen APS Sonnar T* 28 mm F2.8
CONTAX TVS II December 1997 150,000 yen 35 mm Vario Sonnar T* 28-56 mm F3.5-6.5
CONTAX TVS III September 1999 160,000 yen 35 mm Vario Sonnar T* 30-60 mm F3.7 - 6.7
CONTAX T3 March 2001 98,000 yen 35 mm Sonnar T* 35 mm F2.8
CONTAX Tvs DIGITAL (New product) February 2003 128,000 yen Digital Vario Sonnar T* 7.3 - 21.9 mm F2.8-4.8
* Only the price of the CONTAX T includes tax. Other prices exclude tax.

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