Introduced in 1996 by Contax (actually by Kyocera under the Contax brand), the G2 replaced the two year old G1. Improved autofocus and expanded lens compatibility were key upgrades. Production lasted until 2005 when Kyocera announced the end of all Contax branded production.
Technically the G2 is a rangefinder. It uses a two window system to focus just like a "real" rangefinder. The difference is the G2 does it electronically. The motor for the focus is located in the body. This mix between a traditional rangefinder and a point and shoot autofocus is both the charm and angst of the G2.
The size of the G2 is similar to a standard rangefinder like the Leica Ms, or the Voigtlander R3a. The build quality is excellent and the interchangeable G-Mount Carl Zeiss lenses are the real draw. But it is an electronic totally battery dependent camera. You can manually focus, you shouldn't, but you can. Manual focus is not why you shoot the G2. If you want manual focus get a manual rangefinders. MF is poor enough that I suspect there is a special place in hell for Leica shooters who have done bad things, forced to use the G2 in manual focus mode for eternity.
Autofocus gives you the option of CAF for continuous focus or SAF for single focus. I played with the CAF and think it might be good for slow moving subjects, but don't see it being up to sport of fast action use. I used SAF primarily. The focus was generally accurate. No worse than my old eyes get from manual focusing and the camera was decently quick about it. Think street not sports use.
Shutter speed is up to a nice fast 1/4000 (1/6000 in AUTO) and offers an AUTO mode that equates to aperture priority. Aperture is dependent on the lens you use. There is no shutter priority mode. The view finder adjust to the lens that is mounted so the view in the window is the frame. No more frame lines (think SLR not rangefinder).
I was minding my own business, just trying to buy developer when I spotted the G2. The nearest camera store where I can still find any darkroom supplies, also has a small used section. Like most camera stores today, the real money is selling digital cameras but they have kept a small section devoted to film. Thank you for that. This is not the first time their used department had taken my lunch money. The G2 had recently come in on trade and included four lens and a flash. 28mm, 45mm, 90mm, and 35-70mm.
In hand the G2 feels larger than say a Leica M body. The controls are intuitive. The only compaint would be the manual focus, but like I said this is not the camera to use if you need/want manual focus. I have to say that I am warming up to the G2. I was skeptical at first but using the G2 was a good experience. It will take some time to get use to the hybrid nature of the G2 but as a user, it is a winner.
The lens I picked for my test roll was the 45mm. I have since shot the other three lens and also like the 28mm. The 90mm is a limited use lens for me and I was not as impressed with the 35-70mm.
Lens: Carl Zeiss T* Planar 45mm f2.0
Film: Kodak MAX 400 expired