Kyocera Optics, Inc. (US) has today confirmed the Contax N Digital announcement we saw from Kyocera Japan yesterday. The US press release contains more information and more detailed specifications which now reveal that this six megapixel digital camera is capable of 3 frames per second for 5 images at JPEG 1/4, 8 images at JPEG 1/8, 13 images at JPEG 1/16 and 3 images in RAW or TIFF mode. The N Digital becomes the first digital SLR with a full frame six megapixel sensor. There's one thing the press release doesn't discuss - price, the Japanese press release said 800,000 YEN, my sources tell me that this camera is likely to cost more than that in Europe and the US.

Press release:

CONTAX ANNOUNCES THE N DIGITAL: WORLDS’ FIRST DIGITAL SLR WITH FULL-FRAME 6+ MILLION PIXEL SENSOR

Digital SLR Uses Full Array of Auto Focus Carl Zeiss Lenses

SOMERSET, NJ – Kyocera Optics, Inc. is pleased to announce the launch of the Contax N Digital, the world’s first digital SLR camera to employ a full-frame 35mm, 24 x 36mm, 6+ megapixel CCD. This achievement allows the camera full use of auto focus Carl Zeiss T* lenses while offering the user world-class digital picture quality.

The N Digital is based on the Contax N1 and provides the perfect ergonomic platform. The N1 which was introduced in the fall of 2000 has proven itself as a high quality product that can stand up to the every day rigors of the working photographer. The N Digital and N1 cameras share all basic functions as well as the unique features incorporated in the N1. This includes the "Dual Focus Mechanism", the world’s first "5-point Wide Array Diagonal Auto Focus System", and "Fine Focus ABC (Auto Bracketing System)". The N Digital can offer greater control and creativity to meet the photographer's demands by incorporating the Dual Focus Mechanism along with the highly advanced SLR digital image technology. The N Digital offers a high-resolution equivalent to film-based photography, meeting the needs of both professional and serious amateur photographers.

The new Contax N Digital will be able take advantage of the impressive lens line from the N system, which includes a total of seven lenses. In addition, the Contax N Digital can also use all eight lenses from the Contax 645 system with the NAM-1 adapter. The option of using lenses from the Contax 645 system is especially important to 645 owners since they could utilize their current lenses with the N Digital with the simple addition of the NAM –1 adapter.

CONTAX N DIGITAL Main Specifications

1. 6 Mega Pixel, 35mm format, full frame (24mm X 36mm) CCD

The N Digital is the world’s first Digital SLR to use a full frame 35mm CCD with 6.29 mega pixels. This gives the photographer the ability to use a full range of Carl Zeiss T* lenses as the focus angle (angular field) is exactly equal to that of a 35mm film camera. The photographer is now able to concentrate on shooting, as the capture area is the same size as in traditional film based photography.

2. Thin, lowpass filter developed by Kyocera crystal technology

An optical uncolored crystalline lowpass filter eliminates false color producing frequencies that often affect image quality.

3. Wide range of image recording modes

The N Digital can write in several formats, including JPEG (3 compression ratios) RGB-TIFF, and RAW formats.

4. Menu of white balance selections

  • Auto: automatic adjustment by a built in color-detecting sensor.
  • One Push Preset: selects a white balance based on a specific subject area
  • Custom: the photographer can use to select a favorite color temperature manually.

5. Recording media: Compact Flash Type I and II & Micro Drive

The N Digital uses the popular Compact Flash type I and II, which can offer large storage capacity. In addition, the N Digital also uses the IBM Type II Micro Drive to meet high capacity requirements.

6. High Speed DSP and IEEE1394

The N Digital uses high-speed digital image processing (DSP), which makes for real time processing and photography at 3 frames per second. The N Digital is equipped with a computer interface for reliable high-speed Firewire (IEEE1394) image transfer. It is possible to transfer a RAW 12.5 Megabyte file to a computer in one second and also handle high speed, data transfers efficiently.

7. An LCD monitor for immediate playback

A 2.0-inch, low-temperature, polysilicon, TFT color LCD monitor, with a Graphic User Interface (GUI) is located on the back of the body. The photographer can check exposure, focus and file information directly from the LCD monitor.

8. Shooting assist function

A. The LCD offers a visual Shooting Assist Function histogram.
B. Confirmation of exposure range (which can be shown in bright tone distribution graphics).
C. Displays exposure information and other file information simultaneously.

9. Basic functions of CONTAX N1

The N Digital shares all basic functions of the Contax N1. The photographer can concentrate on shooting because the N Digital can be handled the same as a traditional 35mm SLR. Some of the basic functions shared between the Contax N Digital and the N1 are as follows:

  • Dual Focus Function
  • 5 Point Wide Array Diagonal Auto Focusing
  • Fine Focus Bracketing (A.B.C.)
  • High Speed Shutter, maximum speed 1/8,000 sec., flash synchronization speed 1/200 sec.
  • TTL evaluative metering, center-weighted average metering, spot metering.
  • Flash auto set function
  • Mount Adapter NAM-1 as an optional accessory for CONTAX 645 mount lenses
  • Custom Functions
  • Shares N1 & NX accessories
  • All the interchangeable lenses (Contax 645 lenses with NAM-1 adapter) and accessories from the Contax N1 and Contax NX can be used with Contax N Digital.

All specifications are subject to change without prior notice.

CONTAX N DIGITAL Specifications

Type 35mm focal plane shutter AF/AE SLR digital camera
Image Size 24 x 36mm
Image Device 35mm format full-frame square pixel RGB primary color CCD
Effective Pixels 6.29 mega pixels
Recording Pixels 6.13 mega pixels
Recording format JPEG (compression ratio 1/4-1/8-1/16)
RGB-TIFF
RAW 12bit
(RAW data should be developed through image data processing with the dedicated application software)
Recording Media CompactFlashTM card (type I, II), MicrodriveTM (510MB, 1GB)*1
White Balance Auto, fluorescent light, flash, one-push preset setting,
color temperature setting (pre-defined value)
Auto White Balance Measured by an internal sensor
Image regulation Tone curve, edge emphasis
LCD monitor 2.0 inches low temperature polysilicon TFT color LCD, approx. 200k pixels
Playback Display Single image, 9 image index, playback zoom function, histogram view, high light view
Lens Mount Contax N Mount
Shutter Vertical-travel focal plane shutter
Shutter Speed Av, P: 32 sec. to 1/8000 sec.
Tv, M: shutter dial setting 4 sec. to 1/8000 sec.
Command dial setting 32 sec. to 1/8000 sec.
B: Bulb
X: 1/125
Sync Settings X setting (1/200 sec. or slower), direct X setting sync-terminal provide
Self-timer Electronic type with 2 & 10 sec. Delays
Shutter Release Electronic release with dedicated cable switch socket
Exposure Control Modes Aperture priority auto
Shutter priority auto
Program auto
Manual exposure
TTL auto flash
Metering System TTL evaluative matrix, center-weighted average or spot (selectable)
Metering Range
(ISO100, F1.4)

EV 0 to 21 (evaluative matrix / center-weighted metering)
EV 3 to 21 (spot metering; based on 3mm diameter area in center of viewfinder)

Speed Range ISO50 to 1600 equiv. (1/3 step)
AE Lock EV at image plane stored in memory
Exposure Compensation +2 EV to –2 EV, in 1/3 EV or 1/2 EV steps (selectable)
Exposure A.B.C. System Compensation : 1/3 EV or 1/2 EV or l EV steps
(selected with Exposure A.B.C. Lever)
Coupled Flash System TTL direct flash control
Flash Coupling Automatic shutter speed adjustment when Contax flash unit reaches full charge
Flash Auto-set Available for Contax flash units with auto-set function
Second-curtain Sync. Available for Contax flash units with second-curtain sync.
Focusing System TTL phase-difference detection (5-point)
Focus Modes Single AF, continuous AF (predictive), manual
Fine Focus A.B.C. System Automatic (set with focus dial)
Viewfinder Fixed eye-level pentaprism (long eye-point) 95% field-of-view, 0.73x magnification (with 50mm standard lens at infinity -1 D diopter, fitted with eyepiece shutter
Diopter adjustment Internal mechanism, adjustable from -3D to +1D; FM type eye piece lenses (2 types) optionally available
Focusing Screen Supplied with whole-view matte FX-2; interchangeable with other FX-type screens
Finder Display Focus frames. Exposure A.B.C. icon, Fine Focus A.B.C. icon, Exposure counter/Self-timer counter/Exposure A.B.C. sequence, Fine Focus A.B.C. sequence, Metering indicator, Flash ready, Focus indicator, Aperture, Shutter speed, Exposure meter/Exposure compensation/Metering divergence, Manual exposure icon, Exposure compensation icons
Display Panel

Top-LCD
Exposure counter/Self-timer counter/Exposure A.B.C sequence/Fine Focus A.B.C. sequence/Bulb time, Focus frame selection, Exposure compensation (when exposure compensation dial is in green position), Drive indicators, Battery status (shooting mode), Aperture, Shutter speed/Film speed/Camera customized functions

Rear-LCD
Exposure counter, Recording format, White balance, Digital function customized setting, Memory card cover indicator, Battery status (playback mode)

Drive Modes Single-frame, continuous exposure, self-timer (2, 10 sec.)
Continuous shooting Speed Max. 3 frames per second in continuous ("C") mode
[with fresh battery at room temperature]
Max. Burst Shooting

JPEG1 (1/4 compression) approx. 5 shots
JPEG2 (1/8 compression) approx. 8 shots
JPEG3 (1/16 compression) approx. 13 shots
RGB-TIFF approx. 3 shots
RAW approx. 3 shots (Shooting speed should decrease after 3rd shots, complying the recording mode)

Exposure Counter Subtractive type, visible on top-LCD panel, rear-LCD panel and inside viewfinder, top-LCD panel and rear-LCD panel displays "99" when more than 99 shots remains
Accessory Shoe Direct X contact (coupled W/TLA flash)
I/O Interface IEEE1394
Power Source AA-type Ni-MH rechargeable battery x 4, AC power adapter
Battery Check Automatic, status indicated on display panel
Number of shots Approx. 500 shots or more (room temperature, JPEG 3)
Other Features Exposure check button, Depth-of-field preview button, AF light, Camera customized functions, Digital function customized setting, Vertical shutter release button (with lock function), Focus target selector
Dimensions (W x H x D) 152.0 x 138.0 x 79.5mm (6 x 5-7/16 x 3-1/8 in.)
Mass (weight) 990g (2.18 lbs) - no battery
Standard Accessory AA-type Ni-MH rechargeable battery x 4/Quick battery charger, AC power adapter, Strap, CCD parameter CDR

All specifications are subject to change without prior notice.