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Archive 2012 · Trying to pick an alt portrait lens [Contax vs Leica R]
  
 
Ezmo
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · Trying to pick an alt portrait lens [Contax vs Leica R]


Trying to choose a portrait lens and have narrowed it down to three within my budget range. Wondering if anyone has experience with more than one of these.


Contax 85mm f1.4
Leica R 90mm f2 Summicron
Contax 100mm f2

Leica is supposedly sharpest wide open but most of my set is currently Zeiss so I'm erring towards the other two for the sake of visual consistency. Any advice is appreciated, thanks.



Nov 16, 2012 at 03:28 PM
cogitech
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · Trying to pick an alt portrait lens [Contax vs Leica R]


Visual consistency is an admirable quality and the Contax 85/1.4 is certainly capable of what I would call "good" portaits (I have direct experience only with that one of the three listed).

However, if given your budget and the choice of these 3, I would choose the Leica without hesitation based on images I have seen (lots and lots of them) and because, consistent or not, I dislike "the Zeiss look" particularly for portraiture. This is, of course, a very personal thing so take it for what it's worth. Well below this budget range there are many others that I would choose before either Zeiss for portraiture.



Nov 16, 2012 at 03:51 PM
Dutchflyer
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · Trying to pick an alt portrait lens [Contax vs Leica R]


Having used the leica. It's color simply amazing. Haven't got exp with the 2 contaxes mentioned above but with others contaxes I've used, I must admit leica is better in term of color and smoothness transition for portrait. Photos taken with leica 90 didn't need much time for PP. Anyway still a fan of contaxes though. Hope this help.



Nov 16, 2012 at 03:59 PM
briantho
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · Trying to pick an alt portrait lens [Contax vs Leica R]


Any one of those would be great for portraits. My personal choice for portraits is the FD 85 1.2L.


Nov 16, 2012 at 04:04 PM
Ezmo
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · Trying to pick an alt portrait lens [Contax vs Leica R]


Cogitech, thanks for being upfront about not enjoying the "Zeiss look"would you mind telling me what elements of it you don't like? I'm a fan of Zeiss although I hardly buy into the whole 3D thing. I've used several Leica Rs, primarily for video, but not the 90mm.


Nov 16, 2012 at 04:19 PM
wayne seltzer
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · Trying to pick an alt portrait lens [Contax vs Leica R]


For Contax I prefer the N85 and then 100P.
I like the more 3-d look of the 100P over the 85P.
For Leica I like the 80 lux stopped down because of smoother less busy bokeh than 90 AA.
I am shooting portraits with 100APO on D800E and find the bokeh fine and don't mind the longer macro throw.
All lenses you mention are excellent and just depends on which rendering style you like.



Nov 16, 2012 at 04:34 PM
hauxon
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · Trying to pick an alt portrait lens [Contax vs Leica R]


I'd go with the Leica based on images I've seen and experience with my own 90 Elmarit-R. The Zeiss look is all about contrast which works great with landscapes, objects and wider portraits. The more subtle contrast of Leica is gentler to skin variation in my opinion.


Nov 16, 2012 at 04:37 PM
Gary Clennan
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · Trying to pick an alt portrait lens [Contax vs Leica R]


Another vote for the Leica.


Nov 16, 2012 at 04:46 PM
cogitech
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p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · Trying to pick an alt portrait lens [Contax vs Leica R]


Ezmo wrote:
Cogitech, thanks for being upfront about not enjoying the "Zeiss look"would you mind telling me what elements of it you don't like? I'm a fan of Zeiss although I hardly buy into the whole 3D thing. I've used several Leica Rs, primarily for video, but not the 90mm.


It's funny; the things I don't appreciate about "the (Contax) Zeiss look" (particularly for portaits) are all the things others seem to love about it. Think of all the things you love about the look and you'll have an approximate list of what I am not so keen on (particularly for portraiture).

Having said all this, I must also say that the Contax 21/2.8 Distagon is in my top three of all-time favourite lenses I have ever owned and I forever regret letting mine go. For landscape work, I am a huge fan of "the Zeiss look", but that is where it ends... well sort of. There is one Zeiss I used for portraiture quite extensively and enjoyed; the Contax 135/2.8. It is particularly unique among the others I have tried - it is the least "Zeiss-like", I suppose.

Also, I got a great deal on a Contax 50/1.7 (80 bucks) a long time ago and I keep it around for those rare times that I want that uber-contrasty, in-your-face, POW! that it can offer. It gets very little use.



Nov 16, 2012 at 04:47 PM
cogitech
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p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · Trying to pick an alt portrait lens [Contax vs Leica R]


hauxon wrote:
I'd go with the Leica based on images I've seen and experience with my own 90 Elmarit-R. The Zeiss look is all about contrast which works great with landscapes, objects and wider portraits. The more subtle contrast of Leica is gentler to skin variation in my opinion.


I think we are on the same page regarding this...



Nov 16, 2012 at 04:48 PM
 

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slungu
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p.1 #11 · p.1 #11 · Trying to pick an alt portrait lens [Contax vs Leica R]


I actually had all 3 and would say that I think the Leica R 90 Cron would be the best of the bunch if you go for portraits only but I think the 100/2 is a more versatile lens while the 85 is a great lens but at least for me the 1.4 is not that useful in this FL. I liked all of them and the decision for them was along with the lineup - all Leica or all Zeiss, rather than about only one lens.


Nov 16, 2012 at 05:54 PM
Jabberwockt
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p.1 #12 · p.1 #12 · Trying to pick an alt portrait lens [Contax vs Leica R]


I have the cy100, occasionally, I am in awe of how much 3D "pop" it render with, but I'm not sure that the characteristic would be desirable as a portrait lens.

There are more than one version of the Summicron R90 as far as I know and the later APO versions are suppose to be sharper. I don't have the Summicron R90, but I did recent acquire the older version of the Summicron M90 - I think they are both Mandler Designs. From what I've seen so far, the older version of the 90 although not razor sharp wide open, has a general sense of smoothness in the images without being unsharp.



Nov 16, 2012 at 06:02 PM
freaklikeme
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p.1 #13 · p.1 #13 · Trying to pick an alt portrait lens [Contax vs Leica R]


Given the price range of the Contax 85/1.4 and 100/2, I don't think the OP is looking at the 90 AA, since it typically goes for 3-4x's their average price.

I use a Summicron 90 for portraits and love it. I'd look for either the e55 Canadian or German. You'll get beautiful skin tones and very gentle focus transitions and smooth bokeh, which is where I think it's superior for this usage over either the 85 or 100. The e55 thread will make replacing the lens cap, finding filters, and using the spectacular Elpro-3 close up lens much easier than the earlier series VII version.



Nov 16, 2012 at 07:34 PM
slungu
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p.1 #14 · p.1 #14 · Trying to pick an alt portrait lens [Contax vs Leica R]


I was under the impression that we were talking about the pre-AA Cron. At least I was referring to it.


Nov 16, 2012 at 07:55 PM
JimBuchanan
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p.1 #15 · p.1 #15 · Trying to pick an alt portrait lens [Contax vs Leica R]


Of the 3 listed, my preference would be the C/Y100 Planar, not so much the fact that it is Zeiss, but the focal length. For portraits, 100mm doesn't require as much wasteful cropping and the working distance is reasonable.

The grand dad of portrait lenses is the Nikon 105/2.5, but the focus direction is different.



Nov 16, 2012 at 07:59 PM
carstenw
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p.1 #16 · p.1 #16 · Trying to pick an alt portrait lens [Contax vs Leica R]


The focus direction is correct! Yes, that lens is so good, and quite cheap too. I compared it once to my ZF.2 100MP, and found them very similar apart from MFD and f/2.


Nov 16, 2012 at 08:01 PM
JimBuchanan
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p.1 #17 · p.1 #17 · Trying to pick an alt portrait lens [Contax vs Leica R]


carstenw wrote:
The focus direction is correct! Yes, that lens is so good, and quite cheap too.


Ha! I was thinking about getting a donor Minolta 100/2.5 and stuffing the 105 optics into it, but when I got the Minolta 100/2.5, it turned out to be pretty good for portraits, too. So, there's another option.



Nov 16, 2012 at 08:08 PM
Paul Yi
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p.1 #18 · p.1 #18 · Trying to pick an alt portrait lens [Contax vs Leica R]


For portraits, I prefer Leica....

For landscaps and others.... Contax....



Nov 16, 2012 at 08:10 PM
mortyb
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p.1 #19 · p.1 #19 · Trying to pick an alt portrait lens [Contax vs Leica R]


For male portraits, I'd prefer the Contax or Zeiss look. Female portraits, not so much.


Nov 16, 2012 at 08:28 PM
wfrank
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p.1 #20 · p.1 #20 · Trying to pick an alt portrait lens [Contax vs Leica R]


mortyb wrote:
For male portraits, I'd prefer the Contax or Zeiss look. Female portraits, not so much.


For faces I'd definetly agree to that. I have no Leitz experience, but say if traditional portraits is the goal it would mean a less contrasty look including a short or short:ish DOF with super soft bokeh. I'd go for something like Samyang 85/1.4 which is incredibly sharp where it is supposed to be. Rest is soft or even über-soft.

But for anything else I'd go for Zeiss and in particular CY. This is the CY 100/2 on a 5D2. Not a portrait I know but sort of.






Nov 16, 2012 at 10:19 PM
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