Contax has today announced a lookalike of the SL300R T*; the four megapixel Contax U4R. The swivel lens camera has a curvier body and boasts a Carl Zeiss Vario Tessar 3x zoom lens and a 2-inch LCD. It will be available in October priced £399 (approx $595) and we're told that will include a 'fairly large' SD card of around 256MB.

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Press Release:

Contax launches 4 megapixel digital camera with swivel lens in retro look

Carl Zeiss Vario Tessar T* lens and RTUNE technology for crystal clear images

Hamburg, September 27, 2004 – Beautiful images from a beautiful camera: brushed magnesium body, genuine leather and an ultrasharp Carl Zeiss lens. Contax is launching its 4-megapixel U4R camera to coincide with Photokina 2004. Easy operation, an ergonomic shape and the ability to shoot images continuously mean that the Contax U4R will be a real photographer’s camera. will be The model will be available in Europe in advance from early October 2004 at a price of €498.

“We are particularly proud of the Contax U4R. It is a fusion of everything the Contax name stands for: timeless design, outstanding quality and the pinnacle of camera-making expertise,“ states Dirk Hülsermann, Marketing and Corporate Communications Manager at Yashica Kyocera. “Those with an eye for the unmistakable will love the Contax U4R. A brilliant lens, the finest leather and the timeless form make the Contax U4R both a visual and a tactile experience.”

Optimum handling thanks to ergonomic design

The ergonomically designed body sits in the hand perfectly thanks to its rounded lines. A high-strength magnesium alloy has been used for the body to make the camera impact-resistant. Genuine leather, in three different colours (black, camel and indigo), provides further protection for the body against damage and permits the camera to take on a patina with increasing age and use.

Swivel lens with titanium knuckle joint

The swivel lens enables the two housing halves of the Contax U4R to turn by up to 240 degrees relative to each other. This makes it possible to take images from unusual perspectives and also to take self-portraits easily. A titanium industrial joint developed specially to withstand high loads holds the two camera halves together. Its service life is ten times longer than conventional industrial joints.

Carl Zeiss T* multicoating

The interaction of the Carl Zeiss Vario-Tessar lens with the 1/2.7-inch CCD chip delivers impressive performance: with a resolution of 4 effective megapixels the Contax U4R serves up stunning image quality. A zoom lens developed specially for the slim camera format guarantees high-fidelity colour and image rendition. Thanks to the T* multicoating the images show scarcely any loss of contrast. The maximum aperture over the entire zoom range with focal lengths from 5.8mm to 17.4mm (equivalent to 38mm to 115mm in 35mm format) is f2.8 – 4.7. The integral zoom enlarges subjects three times optically, and no less than six times digitally.

Top image quality and continuous shooting thanks to RTUNE

Apart from the precise matching of the lens and the CCD chip, Kyocera’s RTUNE technology is crucial to the high image quality. The RTUNE double processor which is responsible for signal processing reduces digital artifacts in the image and guarantees excellent colour fidelity. This double processor has all but dispensed with the problem of shutter lag. Furthermore, high-speed continuous shooting at extremely high resolution is possible. The 9-field autofocus assists continuous shooting mode by focusing up to twice a second. At 130,000 pixels the high-contrast 2-inch display is superb for viewfinding and for direct playback of the images already shot.

Numerous setting options and a revised control concept

The Contax U4R has eight automatic programs, for example for action, portrait or low-light photography. The camera adjusts to the respective light conditions (cloud, sun, artificial and neon light) via one automatic or five preset white balance modes. Its sensitivity can be set manually in the range 50 to 400 ISO or automatically regulated, while the integral flash can be controlled by four flash programs.

Docking station and PictBridge

The Contax U4R comes complete with a docking station. The docking station is used to charge the battery and to provide a straightforward link to a PC, TV and printer. Images and videos can therefore easily be transferred to the computer, or video clips can be played back on the TV. The camera supports USB 2.0 for high-speed data transfer. It is also PictBridge-compatible. If connected to a printer which supports PictBridge, photos can be printed directly without first downloading them to a computer.

Accessories and availability

Power supply to the Contax U4R is provided by a powerful rechargeable lithium-ion battery. Measuring just 102 x 63.5 x 19 (W x H x D in mm), the Contax U4R is one of the slimmest digital cameras with a 3x optical zoom. The camera will be available from early October 2004 at a price of €498.

Main features

1. Photographer’s Dream, A Carl Zeiss Vario-Tessar T* 5.8-17.4mm f/2.8-f/4.7 Lens

The Contax U4R offers a Carl Zeiss Vario-Tessar T* 5.8-17.4mm f2.8-4.7 lens (equivalent to approx. 38mm to 115mm in 35mm film format) consisting of 6 elements in 6 groups and includes three aspheric and two high index lens elements. This Carl Zeiss Vario-Tessar T* 5.8-17.4mm lens has been developed specifically for digital usage and achieves outstanding color reproduction and rich gradations. In addition, Carl Zeiss’ special multi-layer T* coating dramatically reduces flare and ghosting which results is crisp, ultra sharp images. For greater creative control, 28mm filters can be used via the included filter adapter. The U4R also incorporates a 3x optical zoom and 6x digital zoom for a maximum of 18x total zoom and includes up to 8x digital zoom in play back mode.

2. RTUNE’s High Speed Image Processing System Enables High Speed Continuous Shooting At 3.3 Frames Per Second

The Contax U4R provides high speed continuous shooting up to a maximum 3.3 frames per second up to the full capacity of memory card ( *1) at the highest resolution, thanks to Kyocera’s RTUNE image processing system. Even during continuous shooting, the LCD monitor displays in real time. The Contax U4R starts up in less than 0.9 seconds and features a shutter lag time of approx. 0.07 seconds ( *2), giving the camera the title of being one of the fastest performing cameras available. The performance of the Contax U4R also eliminates the stress that photographers endured in the past caused by waiting for the camera to start up or being able to capture an image at any moment due to long shutter lag time. The U4R is ready when you are to seize the exact moment and capture images at anytime without fail.

*1) When using a high speed SD card formatted by the camera with. The high speed SD cards of which full performance have been confirmed are listed on Kyocera global site ( Depending on shooting conditions, the memory may not be fully utilized. The speed of continuous shooting or movie shooting depends on shooting conditions, camera settings and memory card conditions.

*2) The time from locking focus via the shutter release button and releasing the shutter to capture the image.

3. High Resolution 4.0 million effective pixel, 1/2.7 Inch CCD With Improved Image Gradation Thanks to “RTUNE”

Contax U4R uses a CCD with 4,230,000 gross pixels (1/2.7 square pixels, using an original color filter) as an image pickup device. By adjusting RGB color balance of the signals from the CCD at the analog front end, color noise is minimized which is easily created in the A/D conversion. The A/D conversion provides 16-bit internal processing to minimize a lack of data and then outputs as 12-bit data to the next image processor. In doing so, drastically reduces a wide range of noise generated in a captured image and is reproduced with natural colors and a fine array of gradations.

4. Easy-Framing Body Is Only 19mm (.55 inches) Thin

At only 19mm thin and rounded edge design the U4R can easily fit into a shirt pocket or bag for easy of portability. The covers are made of magnesium and the front panels are covered with genuine leather for superior grip ability and are available in three elegant color variations (black, indigo, and camel). The “Easy-Framing Body” with rotating lens allow you to find a comfortable position to shoot in a variety of photographic situations such as self-portrait, low/high angle and macro mode shooting.

5. Enhanced Continuous AF Shooting Function Stays Focused Even On Moving Subjects

The Enhanced Continuous AF shooting function that has been incorporated into the Contax U4R, enabling it to lock onto virtually any moving subjects for precise focus. It provides superlative performance under conditions which were previously difficult to capture images, such as children playing or pets whose actions are unpredictable. With Enhanced Continuous AF, the Contax U4R can capture continuous images at up to 2 frames per a second until the memory is filled (*1).

*1) When using a high speed SD card formatted by the camera with. The high speed SD cards of which full performance have been confirmed are listed on Kyocera global site ( Depending on shooting conditions, the memory may not be fully utilized. The speed of continuous shooting or movie shooting depends on shooting conditions, camera settings and memory card conditions.

6. Increased Focusing Accuracy With 9-point Multi AF Function

For increased focusing accuracy and convenience of use, the Contax U4R incorporates a 9-point Multi AF function. The 9-point Multi AF Function is the perfect solution especially with subjects that are not centrally located in the composition. With the 9-point Multi AF system, the U4R automatically selects focus via one of the nine focusing points for precise focusing accuracy. This ensures increased focusing accuracy. Digital photographers who would like to control the focusing point, the U4R also includes Spot AF for user control.

7. Easy View 2-inch LCD Monitor With Continuous Zoom Playback And Group Mode

The large, Easy View 2-inch LCD monitor makes it simple to compose an image which is one of the most important elements of digital photography. In addition, the large two inch LCD is also perfect for viewing captured images, movies and it also makes it extremely easy to navigate the menu selections. Images that are captured RTUNE’s Continuous Shooting mode can be viewed in a big way. After capturing a series of images in continuous mode, the photographer can zoom in on one of their continuous shots in playback mode and then scroll through the rest of the images captured in the series at the same magnification. This is extremely important when checking for that perfect image. In addition when multiple continuous captured image series wish to be viewed, the i4R makes it easier. In group mode, the first image of each group is shown for easy selection of a continuously captured series. This is extremely helpful when viewing two or more continuously captured image series.

8. Easy Charger USB Cradle

With the Easy Charge USB Cradle, the user no longer needs to be concerned about plugging an ac adapter into the camera each time the battery needs to be charged or a USB cable to transfer images. With the Easy Charge USB Cradle user hooks it up once to an ac outlet and to a personal computer via the supplied USB cable. Once the Easy Charge USB Cradle is connected to an outlet and computer, whenever the camera needs to be charged, it is just placed in the cradle for charging. When captured images need to be transferred from the camera, the camera is just placed in the Easy Charge USB Cradle for convenient transfer of images.

9. Superfine, VGA Movies With Audio

Movies with audio (30 frames per second) can be shot up to the maximum capacity of the memory card with easy operation (*4). The recorded file is in AVI format and you can easily played back and seen in superfine movies without image dropouts at 30 frames per second on the U4R’s two inch liquid crystal monitor or a personal computer. (To play back your movies on a personal computer, it is necessary to install QuickTime 4.1 or later.)

*4) High speed continuous shooting up to the full memory capacity is possible when using a high speed SD card formatted by the camera with. The high speed SD cards of which full performance have been confirmed are listed on Kyocera global site ( Depending on shooting conditions, the memory may not be fully utilized. The speed of continuous shooting depends on shooting conditions, camera settings and memory card conditions.

10. Eight Scene Modes For Any Situation

The Contax U4R offers 8 predefined scene modes that enable the camera to make the most just about any photographic setting according to the situation. The 8 modes scene modes include, Sport Å @ Action, Portrait, Night Portrait, Sunset, Twilight, Night View, Black and White and Sepia. For example, in Sport mode and Continuous AF, the decisive moment like a goal in an athletic meet can be captured.

11. Customizable Single and Multi Image Startup Screen

The Contax U4R incorporates a user, customizable startup screen that allows them to select a favorite image that has been captured as their startup screen whenever the camera is powered on. In addition, the Contax U4R includes a Multi Startup Screen feature. With the Multi Startup Screen, 10 separate images or continuous captured images can appear as a movie within the approximately one second camera startup time.

12. In Camera Image Resize Mode

With the Contax U4R is easy to resize an image to 320 x 240 pixels or 160 x 120 pixels after it has been taken, and save it so that it can be use with a PDA or sent via e-mail. You can also crop the area to be resized from the whole image, quarter or one-sixteenth.

13. “Pictbridge” Compatible, The Industry Standard For Printing Images

The Contax U4R supports “PictBridge” technology, the industry standard for printing digital images. By directly connecting the U4R via its USB cable to a PictBridge printer that supports the PictBridge, images can be printed directly from the printer without the use of a personal computer. You can also make changes in settings for the prints as well, such as the number of images to be printed.

14. Hi-Speed USB 2.0

The Contax U4R meets High-Speed USB 2.0 standard by allowing large amounts of image data to be transferred to a personal computer. Due to the advent of high resolution still images and movies and large capacity memory cards, the demand of speed data is essential. Adopting Hi-Speed USB 2.0 standard with a maximum transfer speed of 480Mb/s, one can handle large image files on a personal computer as comfortably as an external hard disc drive. Of course, personal computer using USB1.1 standard also can be used (the transfer speed is limited by USB specification of the personal computer). The installation of a USB driver is not needed, except Windows98 and 98SE.

Contax U4R specifications


• 1/2.7" Type CCD
• 4 million effectivel pixels

Image sizes • 2272 x 1704
• 1600 x 1200
• 1280 x 960
• 640 x 480
Movie clips • 640 x 480 (30 fps)
• 320 x 240 (30 fps)
File formats

• Still: JPEG
• Movie: AVI
• Sound: WAV

Lens • 38 - 115mm (35 mm equiv) 3x optical zoom
• F2.8 - F 4.7
Focus • Autofocus
Focus distance • Standard: 60 cm - infinity
• Macro: 20 cm - 60 cm
ISO sensitivity • ISO 50 - 400
Exposure compensation • +/-2EV
• 1/3 stop increments
Shutter speed 1 - 1/2000 sec
Aperture • F 2.8 / F 7.5 (wide)
• F 4.7 / F 7.5 (tele)
LCD monitor • 2" TFT LCD
• 130,000 pixels
Connectivity • USB 2.0
Print compliance • Exif 2.2
Storage • SD/MMC card
Power • Lithium ion battery
Weight (no batt) 140 g (4.9 oz)
Dimensions 102 x 64 x 19 mm (4 x 2.5 x 0.7 in)

Additional images