Let me begin by stating that this is in no way an extensive review or a microscopic breakdown of the camera specs. I simply wanted to share my immediate viewpoints on the comparisons between the Contax® RTS III and the 167MT for those who happen to be curious or are undecided on which one to buy, just as I once was.
The first noticeable thing to mention is the size difference. The RTS III has more weight and body mass which feels a lot more heavy-duty or “professional” in your hands. The added dimensions add comfort when shooting and is ergonomically more responsive. If you have smaller hands or don’t like holding hefty cameras for long shooting durations, I would opt for the 167MT. The RTS III added weight also accounts for the newly implemented settings (dials) which I wish Contax® would have kept simplified with the LCD and slider-switch system that the 167MT embodies. For me, the LCD slider combo is super easy and fast once you get the hang of it. You can responsively adjust your shutter speed through the viewfinder and it becomes second-nature to adjust speeds to accommodate the built-in light meter without ever having to take your eye away from the camera. This approach comes in clutch when you’re trying to capture a frame on the fly. Speaking of the built-in light meter, I also prefer the 167MT’s easy to use arrow style metering system. Perhaps I’m just not technically inclined but the RTS III meter isn’t nearly as simplified when it comes to shooting in real-world scenarios. Life moves fast and I like my cameras to be able to keep up. I also wish they would have kept the LCD as it was because I like being able to look at the top of my camera and have all of my settings displayed digitally rather than having to spot where the needle is pointed on the dials like I have to do with the RTS III. This isn’t a huge problem since you can see the digital read-out when your eye is to the viewfinder.
As for the build, in my opinion, the RTS III blows the 167MT out of the water. Mechanically it feels like a much more superior machine with added vertical and horizontal (landscape and portrait) shutter buttons. The viewfinder has been proficiently upgraded to adequately accommodate my poor eyesight when compared to the lackluster eyeglass of the 167MT. A lot of my frames would tend to come out soft since the viewfinder was hard for me to nail focus through, especially when I would forget my eyeglasses. Now with the new big bright viewfinder its like having floor-to-ceiling windows in your home. You can clearly see all of the beauty that stands before you. Contax® also added an appealing rear privacy curtain to help prevent the undesirable dust that tents to party-crash its way into the finder.
I can honestly say the RTS III performs elegantly yet ferocious like that of a luxury sports car. I believe that’s what the Porsche® design team had in mind when they implemented their automotive disciplines and applied them to a machine that could equally transpire experiences into thrills and turn them into small desirable fractions of happiness.