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Archive 2012 · Need opinions on Contax Zeiss 25/2.8 and 28/2
  
 
hauxon
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p.1 #1 · Need opinions on Contax Zeiss 25/2.8 and 28/2


I have questions about these two lenses. The 25/2.8 does not seem to be very popular with the masses, not sharp wide open and not too good in the corners according to forum discussion. But most comments seemed to be from people not having the lens. I did take a look at Flickr images and do see the Zeiss contrast/look in them. The guy who is selling the stuff, a seasoned photographer, said the 25 is one of his favorite lenses and was not even shure about selling it (because he could Leitax mount it to Nikon). He thought it was very sharp, and in the corners too at f/5.6+

I also like to hear from people about the 28/2 (called Hollywood right?). I know its a good lens and have had the ZE version before but I'm wondering if it will clear the mirror on my 5D2. At Pebble Place it's marked iffy. Is the original 5D and 5D2 mirror the same size? Has anyone tried the lens on a 5D2? I did try to mount it but did not hear anything unusual but a friend mine thought he heard something. The idea of the mirror hitting the rear element is frightening. ...how is the Contax 28/2 compared to the ZE/ZF version?

Hrannar



May 04, 2012 at 11:23 AM
AhamB
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p.1 #2 · Need opinions on Contax Zeiss 25/2.8 and 28/2


Hrannar, there's a review of the Contax 28/2 as well as the ZE 28/2 on Pebbleplace. I recommend looking them up (under the reviews section).
From everything I've read about the 28/2 Hollywood, I think you can pretty much rule out that it clears the 5Dmk2 mirror, but don't take my word for it (I haven't actually tried it). I think there's also a difference between the AE and MM (MM may possibly clear?).

Regarding the 25/2.8: I have seen only enthusiastic reports from actual owners/users. It performs a bit below the 28/2.8 at wide apertures perhaps. You could also look for a second hand ZF 25/2.8 (which performs better than the Contax) -- I found one for a great price, but preferred the 28mm focal length so I sold the ZF.



May 04, 2012 at 11:44 AM
hauxon
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p.1 #3 · Need opinions on Contax Zeiss 25/2.8 and 28/2


Yup, since I'm not the collector type I might just as well try finding ZE or ZF versions of the lenses since they are relatively not that more expensive. I've also been looking at the Contax 21/2.8 and the asking price for it is about the same as a used ZE. ...hmmm


May 04, 2012 at 12:12 PM
carstenw
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p.1 #4 · Need opinions on Contax Zeiss 25/2.8 and 28/2


I have a ZF21 (not ZF.2) in brilliant condition with full packing on the B&S somewhere. I need to refresh the ad and pull it back to the top


May 04, 2012 at 12:50 PM
johnahill
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p.1 #5 · Need opinions on Contax Zeiss 25/2.8 and 28/2


The ZF 25mm f2.8 is stellar imo.
Sharp wide open, dead sharp into the corners when stopped down just a stop or 2.
Great colour and contrast.

Actual focal length is something like 26mm, so not too different from 28mm but still wide enough for a lot of scenarios.

Yes it also focus as close as 0.17m but is not corrected for this range so bokeh is a fit funky/swirly.

For stopped down distance work it's pretty damn good imo.



May 04, 2012 at 01:10 PM
amplexis
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p.1 #6 · Need opinions on Contax Zeiss 25/2.8 and 28/2


the ZK 25mm f/2.8 distagon is my favorite lens on the NEX-7.







May 04, 2012 at 01:19 PM
Peire
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p.1 #7 · Need opinions on Contax Zeiss 25/2.8 and 28/2


I have both 25/2.8 ZF and 25/2.8 C/Y.IQ wise they are very similar i.e. very good on FF and APS-C.ZF is best at infinity and close ups,but does very well in medium distances stopped down to f8.C/Y does not have close up facility but renders images of comparable quality.ZF looks slightly crisper and is a tad sharper in corners,but there is enough 3D look in 25/2.8 C/Y when used rightly.If I had to chose I would get the ZF first despite it's bigger size and weight.

Some examples 25/2.8 C/Y+NEX5N

















and ZF 25/2.8 + NEX5N


















Edited on May 04, 2012 at 03:20 PM · View previous versions



May 04, 2012 at 03:00 PM
philber
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p.1 #8 · Need opinions on Contax Zeiss 25/2.8 and 28/2


Hrannar, I have the 25 f:2.0, after having had the 28 f:2.0. The 28 is sharp, even close up, no dout about it. But its colours were the least saturated of all ZEs I had, its contrast was the weakest, and CA was the strongest. I used it for high-contrast situations, like mid-day sun, but it was very much a speciality lens, and I quickly let it go.
The 25 f:2.0 is on the other hand the best Zeiss lens so far, no counting the 15 f:2.8. Yes, extreme corners (just a few pixels) are not absolutely sharp, but for detail, contrast and colours, which are my priorities, it even outperforms the 35 f:1.4, though not by much.




  Canon EOS 5D Mark III    25mm lens    25mm    f/5.6    1/15s    100 ISO    0.0 EV  




May 04, 2012 at 03:17 PM
jotdeh
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p.1 #9 · Need opinions on Contax Zeiss 25/2.8 and 28/2


I have the CY 25/2.8. It's my widest and only 25, so I can't compare directly. I like it a lot, very light and compact. Wide open it's definitely soft along the edges, and vignettes significantly. For stopped down work, or where edge performance is not critical (and the vignetting might even add to accentuate the subject) it is great!
Here are two shots:


IMG_2508.jpg by Johann D, on Flickr


Bruxelles Grand Place by Johann D, on Flickr




May 04, 2012 at 04:00 PM
philip_pj
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p.1 #10 · Need opinions on Contax Zeiss 25/2.8 and 28/2


Options:

1. Ask carsten for a sweet deal for the 21mm, it's a lens that *never* disappoints, especially for nature.
2. Get the ZF 25/2.8 for its much smoother, consistent behaviour even within the APS-C frame, and you are on full frame right? It's a bargain IMO, with the release of the 25/2.
3. Go with the CY 25/2.8 and accept the poor corners (for detail, macro contrast is high at f5.6) at all apertures, as micro-contrast loses out.

That is not necessarily a bad thing, Leica were doing this in many wide-normal R lenses, and the centre performance is truly outstanding in the CY 25, but it falls off fast, much faster than the similar 28/2.8, one of my favourites, and one I shoot with this character very clearly in mind.

One caveat is the 40 lpmm lines (infinity) separate early and stay apart all the way in the ZF25/2.8 - it may signal CA or something more benign like residual astigmatism or curvature. Owners may know. Distortion/weight are similar for these two 25s.

Most images from all lenses tend to accentuate the lenses' strengths and minimise their weaknesses, most of us do this almost unconsciously when composing perhaps.

See how the CY shots above have little necessary detail in the corners? Peire's CY images have strong central elements within framing elements (lamp posts being an example in one), but his ZF 25/2.8 images need even detail across all the (APS-C) frame...Johann's are either close focus or have dark corners.

The CY 21 is very unlikely to ever become a 'bargain' for reasons that are obvious when you look at the images. Best of luck, I like your work also, and the options are framed with it in mind.



May 04, 2012 at 11:32 PM
 

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carstenw
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p.1 #11 · Need opinions on Contax Zeiss 25/2.8 and 28/2


Another option: get the ZF28/2 again. You know the lens, you like it, and it is quite different than the ZF25/2.8. I have tried both, and find the 28/2 much more interesting. The new 25/2 might be better than both, but at double the price I can wait to find out. If you decide for the 21 (which goes well with the 28 in an all-round kit), I will knock 100 Euro off the price, as a thank you for getting me into the 28/2, which I love.


May 05, 2012 at 08:34 AM
Samuli Vahonen
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p.1 #12 · Need opinions on Contax Zeiss 25/2.8 and 28/2


hauxon wrote:
I have questions about these two lenses. The 25/2.8 does not seem to be very popular with the masses, not sharp wide open and not too good in the corners according to forum discussion. But most comments seemed to be from people not having the lens. I did take a look at Flickr images and do see the Zeiss contrast/look in them. The guy who is selling the stuff, a seasoned photographer, said the 25 is one of his favorite lenses and was not even shure about selling it (because he could Leitax mount it to Nikon). He thought it
...Show more
Hrannar, while I patiently waited Zeiss ZE 25mm I have used 2010 and 2011 the C/Y 2.8/25 as my 2nd most shoot lens, and almost only wide angle I used (having possibility to use ZE 2/28, ZE 2/35, C/Y 2.8/28 and ultra wide ZE 2.8/21 in addition to 25). I have seen also lots of comments you refer and that leads me only to think that either there are two versions of this lens (I personally would avoid ME version and get MM) or there is sample variation. I heard a lot of talk this lens not being sharp and problematic corners, but I choose to evaluate myself instead trusting web comments and it turned out to be excellent performer.

Personally I prefer C/Y 2.8/25 over C/Y and ZE/ZF 28mm lenses. Now the new ZE 2/25 is even better. But my preferences are different than many others; I haven't pixel peeped for years, it doesn't make any sense; pixel peeping equals 1.5-2 meter wide prints size. Who the ##ck is so stupid prints tiny 36mm*24mm sensor created images to that magnification? I have set my quality standard to that I can print showroom quality A2 print - that is enough for me. If I print larger, then I'll have to get larger sensor (stitching or getting larger format camera).

My preference has been that in my prints (and images viewed 2560x1600) show "presense" and "being there". On this attribute C/Y 2.8/25 delivers, and delivers well. Now ZE25 seems to work as well, after the initial learning curve. However ZE2/25 will also make the pixel peepers happy, so as overall it's better. However like I have tried to say to people; all lenses are compromises - you have to find lenses, which compromises suit you the best.

I was processing some old photos to post is Zeiss discussion thread, but I can double post them here (well technically not double post since I have not yet posted to Zeiss discussion ). Some of these I have posted before on Zeiss discussion or C/Y lenses.

2009 Norway close to Sweden border - f/8 ND-grad done in PhotoShop (sky 1/100s, forest 1/40s) - larger


2009 Flakstad, Norway - f/2.8 - larger


2009 Lapland, Finland - f/8 - larger


2009 Skibotn, Norway - f/5.6 - larger


2009 Skibotn, Norway - f/8 larger


2009 Skibotn, Norway - larger


2009 Oulangan kanjoni, Salla, Finland larger


2010 Pulkajärvi, Pirkkala, Finland - f/11- larger


2010 Pulkajärvi, Pirkkala, Finland - f/11 - larger


Samuli



May 05, 2012 at 11:01 AM
carstenw
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p.1 #13 · Need opinions on Contax Zeiss 25/2.8 and 28/2


I should add to my comment that I mostly shoot close to wide open, whereas Samuli often stops down, even quite a lot, so there are different aspects too.


May 05, 2012 at 11:35 AM
Samuli Vahonen
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p.1 #14 · Need opinions on Contax Zeiss 25/2.8 and 28/2


Few more from Austria 2011. Like in post above all SOOC (Straight Out Of the Camera), just black levels adjusted and most images with near white sky also highlights slider was touched.

f/5.6 larger


f/8 larger


f/5.6larger


f/5.6 larger


f/8 larger


f/5.6 larger


f/5.6 larger


f/5.6 larger


f/5.6 larger


f/5.6 larger


f/5.6 larger


f/5.6 larger


f/5.6 larger


f/5.6 larger


f/5.6 larger


f/5.6 larger


f/5.6 larger


f/4 larger


f/5.6 larger


f/5.6 larger


Hope these help you get understanding of the Contax Distagon T* 2.8/25 performance.

Samuli



May 05, 2012 at 11:48 AM
AhamB
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p.1 #15 · Need opinions on Contax Zeiss 25/2.8 and 28/2


@Samuli: I think I am seeing some color shift in your shots (previous post, not the ones from Austria) -- magenta cast at the (short) borders and more cyan in the middle. Otherwise very nice shots.


May 05, 2012 at 11:52 AM
jotdeh
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p.1 #16 · Need opinions on Contax Zeiss 25/2.8 and 28/2


Here's how *not* to do landscape with the CY 25/2.8: wide open with the detail at the edges

SOOC


Mount Kenya by Johann D, on Flickr



May 05, 2012 at 11:59 AM
Samuli Vahonen
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p.1 #17 · Need opinions on Contax Zeiss 25/2.8 and 28/2


carstenw wrote:
I should add to my comment that I mostly shoot close to wide open, whereas Samuli often stops down, even quite a lot, so there are different aspects too.
Yes, good point. Lately I have been stuck to shooting 2 stops down, seems to be "sweet spot" between narrow DOF and lack of optical errors (specially in bokeh and also in focus plane) with most longer lenses (except Leica 180APO) but wide angles I'm preferring f/2-2.8.

With Contax 25mm I have mostly shoot medium long distance mostly with f/5.6, f/8 is still usable (contrast does go worse and have to raise black point higher) but f/11 is not usable (according to my quality requirements for A2 print size). Close-ups I have been shooting also with f/2.8 and f/4, but mostly with f/5.6. The f/11 close-ups were more exception (in minimum distance aperture comes effective close to f/13 and definitely image quality isn't anymore anything suitable for A2 prints, works well on smaller prints).

Samuli



May 05, 2012 at 12:01 PM
edwardkaraa
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p.1 #18 · Need opinions on Contax Zeiss 25/2.8 and 28/2


I personally much prefer the Contax rendering over the Zeiss rendering, especially in lenses that were improved from older Contax designs. I find too much emphasis was put on technical performance in the newer lenses. Some of the old Contax have some magic that seems to be lacking in the technically superior modern Zeiss. The 25 in particular had and still has a faithful following despite the not so stellar MTF. Although I personally never used it (but had the ZS version) I think there must be a reason why owners love this lens, while most critics don't even own it, and base their dislike on the MTF not actual use.

Regarding mirror clearance, I have found out in my own experience that most Contax lenses will clear the mirror with a good adapter of the correct thickness (1.5mm). Most adapters are around 1.2mm to 1.4mm, and that is enough to block the mirror.



May 05, 2012 at 12:07 PM
Samuli Vahonen
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p.1 #19 · Need opinions on Contax Zeiss 25/2.8 and 28/2


AhamB wrote:
@Samuli: I think I am seeing some color shift in your shots (previous post, not the ones from Austria) -- magenta cast at the (short) borders and more cyan in the middle. Otherwise very nice shots.
Didn't even notice it first... should not process photos in hangover... I'll see it in two last Skibotn shots, they are only ones I used Hoya polarizer (i think, I can't be sure, don't have the shooting notes anymore and often I don't even write that kind of info there).

There are bad color errors in some Austria shots, due to thick fog - the correct WB for top of photo might be 500K different than for the bottom of image. Might be possible to correct by PS using layers and to different WB conversions, but I'm not sure is it worth the artifacts additional processing causes (and time spent).

Samuli



May 05, 2012 at 12:14 PM
wayne seltzer
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p.1 #20 · Need opinions on Contax Zeiss 25/2.8 and 28/2


My order of preference for landscape use would be:
1) ZE 21/2.8 -my favorite landscape lens
2) ZE 25/2 - no CA, sharp and good color. Has infinity corner blur problem due to some FC.
3) ZF 25/2.8 - has some CA and quite a bit of FC.
4) ZE 28/2 - has CA and FC
I liked the ZE 21 over the 25/2 when shooting side by side.
Both are great lenses and the 25/2.8 is a great value for the money stopped down.



May 05, 2012 at 03:55 PM
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