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Sony FE 100-400/4.5-5.6 GM vs Contax 100-300/4.5-5.6
  
 
Fred Miranda
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p.2 #1 · p.2 #1 · Sony FE 100-400/4.5-5.6 GM vs Contax 100-300/4.5-5.6


Here is a picture of them size by side:

100-400 GM with tripod foot (needed) and without caps/ hood: 1475g
Contax 100-300 + Leitax adapter without caps/ hood (there is no need for a tripod foot): 980g

The GM zoom is 495g heavier.








Jul 31, 2017 at 02:46 AM
Fred Miranda
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p.2 #2 · p.2 #2 · Sony FE 100-400/4.5-5.6 GM vs Contax 100-300/4.5-5.6


kdrk888 wrote:
Interesting comparison Fred. I remember Ronny Olson uses the CY too. Now I am intrigued. I want something lightweight for travel. I have the Sony 70-200 F4 but probably the CY is better.

Are there different versions of the CY? What adapters do I need?

Many thanks,

Douglas


Yes, the Contax 100-300 was better than the FE 70-200/4 G and 70-300 G lenses. The 100-400 GM did better than previous Sony lenses but it's only superior to the Contax zoom at 300mm. (mid-zone and edges*)
*edges not by much.



Jul 31, 2017 at 02:53 AM
Fred Miranda
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p.2 #3 · p.2 #3 · Sony FE 100-400/4.5-5.6 GM vs Contax 100-300/4.5-5.6


For those deciding which lens to get for landscapes, it's tricky. They are both great performers but if you mainly shoot at 100-250mm, get the Zeiss. If you shoot >250mm, get the GM.

The GM is much more versatile and can be used for many applications. The only downsize, aside from the slightly lower performance at the wider range (in comparison), is really weight and size. If I could only have one lens it would be the GM hands down but after seeing these results, I will continue using the Zeiss for landscapes.

Once I get better atmospheric conditions, I will update these crops.



Jul 31, 2017 at 03:02 AM
Justin Stone
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p.2 #4 · p.2 #4 · Sony FE 100-400/4.5-5.6 GM vs Contax 100-300/4.5-5.6


Yes, Sony does have a parlor trick in it from 301-400mm.

I suppose for landscape work you don't really need that much reach and you've made it known you definitely don't need that much weight.

Thanks for the comparisons Fred!

Fred Miranda wrote:
Yes, the Contax 100-300 was better than the FE 70-200/4 G and 70-300 G lenses. The 100-400 GM did better than previous Sony lenses but it's only superior to the Contax zoom at 300mm. (mid-zone and edges*)
*edges not by much.




Jul 31, 2017 at 03:04 AM
maestrofilms
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p.2 #5 · p.2 #5 · Sony FE 100-400/4.5-5.6 GM vs Contax 100-300/4.5-5.6


Neither lens is a slouch by any means. But man, that Zeiss is sharp for such a long zoom range!


Jul 31, 2017 at 03:05 AM
photomadnz
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p.2 #6 · p.2 #6 · Sony FE 100-400/4.5-5.6 GM vs Contax 100-300/4.5-5.6


Great work!!


Jul 31, 2017 at 03:13 AM
OwlsEyes
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p.2 #7 · p.2 #7 · Sony FE 100-400/4.5-5.6 GM vs Contax 100-300/4.5-5.6


I shot Contax cameras paired with Zeiss glass until 1997 when I could no longer resist the allure of autofocus. I knew the lenses were sharp then, but to be honest, I doubted that they would be competitive when compared to the most modern optics. Clearly, my assumption (presumption) was wrong. Other than the CA above 200mm, the Contax lens seems to beat the Sony throughout much of
the long range too... especially in the corners.

I look forward to seeing the comparison when haze is not a factor.
Bruce



Jul 31, 2017 at 03:30 AM
Fred Miranda
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p.2 #8 · p.2 #8 · Sony FE 100-400/4.5-5.6 GM vs Contax 100-300/4.5-5.6


OwlsEyes wrote:
I shot Contax cameras paired with Zeiss glass until 1997 when I could no longer resist the allure of autofocus. I knew the lenses were sharp then, but to be honest, I doubted that they would be competitive when compared to the most modern optics. Clearly, my assumption (presumption) was wrong. Other than the CA above 200mm, the Contax lens seems to beat the Sony throughout much of
the long range too... especially in the corners.

I look forward to seeing the comparison when haze is not a factor.
Bruce


Yeap. I'm getting morning marine layer and haze/heat throughout the day. I'm intrigued by the 200mm corner results for the GM but my best of 3 show the same result. Since I own both lenses, I will definitely re-shoot this when the conditions are more favorable but I doubt our conclusions will be any different.



Jul 31, 2017 at 03:40 AM
Fred Miranda
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p.2 #9 · p.2 #9 · Sony FE 100-400/4.5-5.6 GM vs Contax 100-300/4.5-5.6


Images from the Zeiss have that "3d" effect that is hard to describe but it can be seen in many samples. There is an entire thread about it.


Jul 31, 2017 at 03:43 AM
Fred Miranda
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p.2 #10 · p.2 #10 · Sony FE 100-400/4.5-5.6 GM vs Contax 100-300/4.5-5.6


kdrk888 wrote:
Interesting comparison Fred. I remember Ronny Olson uses the CY too. Now I am intrigued. I want something lightweight for travel. I have the Sony 70-200 F4 but probably the CY is better.

Are there different versions of the CY? What adapters do I need?

Many thanks,

Douglas


Get the MMj version. Any C/Y to E-mount adapter will do. I opted for the Leitax because it is more sturdy and lighter than any other I've tried. You can use it with TAP and gain AF as well.



Jul 31, 2017 at 03:45 AM
 

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AGeoJO
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p.2 #11 · p.2 #11 · Sony FE 100-400/4.5-5.6 GM vs Contax 100-300/4.5-5.6


kdrk888 wrote:
Interesting comparison Fred. I remember Ronny Olson uses the CY too. Now I am intrigued. I want something lightweight for travel. I have the Sony 70-200 F4 but probably the CY is better.

Are there different versions of the CY? What adapters do I need?

Many thanks,

Douglas



Douglas, like Fred mentioned, in general you may want to get the MMJ version, that's the newer version. The smallest aperture marking, f/22, is painted in green to separate that from the older version. You can get AF only up to 90mm though with the TAP. While I set my Contax 135mm f/2.8 for that FL for the 3-axis IBIS to work. But for landscape, where you mostly use tripod, a non-AF adapter will do just fine. Another word of caution, the front of the lens rotates if you turn the focusing ring. It can be a pain in the you know where if you use a polarizer with it.



Jul 31, 2017 at 04:00 AM
philip_pj
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p.2 #12 · p.2 #12 · Sony FE 100-400/4.5-5.6 GM vs Contax 100-300/4.5-5.6


Horses for courses, the 100-400 will please a lot of people with its modern features (OIS, and excellent adjustability for 'sports, wildlife, and action').

Both do very well. Surprising to see how well the Vario Sonnar did WO and at f5.6 in the extreme edge at 100mm. The MTF shows a little midfield curvature at 100mm/WO and this shows up in the mid-zone here. I prefer the color transitions provided by the VS's advanced glass formulations and the already very good 1996 coatings. Sony's new zooms can show slightly blue-tinged, saturated greens at the expense of near tones, with resulting subdued yellow and oranges - to my vision at least. You see this most strongly here in outer frames, as the definition declines.

The 3D is very real, results from the combination of the glass, color transitions and micro-contrast; when definition falls off the organic color saves the day. I shoot in very clear air (vis 50-80kms) with this VS 100-300, and often see a pleasant smoothness to the image, despite the definition.

This CY lens is a 12/7 design against a 22/16 design, separated by 21 years, 450 grams and $1500.
Zeiss wisely chose to optimize the wide end, so it can be thought of as a great 100-200mm option with a good broad center from there on. I suspect most wide range tele zooms get plenty of use at 100-150mm. The CA is largely absent in the center 300mm crop, it comes from the onset of creeping astigmatism in the outer frame. The lens lacks a fixed infinity stop so it really needs the EVF focus magnification (or TAP I just learned, lol) - note the focus ring index line in the image of the two lenses above.

PS It's also excellent at near distances and has nice bokeh, as Ronny's work shows. Thanks so much, Fred.



Jul 31, 2017 at 04:12 AM
Fred Miranda
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p.2 #13 · p.2 #13 · Sony FE 100-400/4.5-5.6 GM vs Contax 100-300/4.5-5.6


philip_pj wrote:
Horses for courses, the 100-400 will please a lot of people with its modern features (OIS, and excellent adjustability for 'sports, wildlife, and action').

Both do very well. Surprising to see how well the Vario Sonnar did WO and at f5.6 in the extreme edge at 100mm. The MTF shows a little midfield curvature at 100mm/WO and this shows up in the mid-zone here. I prefer the color transitions provided by the VS's advanced glass formulations and the already very good 1996 coatings. Sony's new zooms can show slightly blue-tinged, saturated greens at the expense of near tones, with resulting subdued
...Show more

I was waiting for your comment Philip. Spot on as always.
The VS 100-300 always impressed me at 100mm wide open. It's better than most primes! It's true that at 300mm it loses its mojo but as you can see from these crops, when stepping down to f/8, it's still very good.

Regarding the versions. I only see MMJ versions. I think that's the only version for this lens but could be wrong.

Here is the manual:
https://www.zeissimages.com/mtf/cy/Vario-Sonnar4.5-5.6_100-300mm_e.pdf



Jul 31, 2017 at 04:21 AM
Phillip Reeve
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p.2 #14 · p.2 #14 · Sony FE 100-400/4.5-5.6 GM vs Contax 100-300/4.5-5.6



Fred Miranda wrote:
Agree on CA. I forgot to mention but the GM zoom is better corrected for CA aberration, especially after 200mm.

Do you say that based on this comparison? Usually you can't deactivate automatic CA correction in LR with the native Sonys and you have to use an open source raw converter to check this aspect. So I usually activate CA correction for the manual lens in such comparisons for a fair contest.

Apart from this small aspect thanks for your work. I am really surprised by how well the 100-300 performs here even though Jannik has been praising it for a while and Ronny and Wfrank certainly have gotten some really nice results out of it.



Jul 31, 2017 at 05:04 AM
DavidBM
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p.2 #15 · p.2 #15 · Sony FE 100-400/4.5-5.6 GM vs Contax 100-300/4.5-5.6


Fred Miranda wrote:
I was waiting for your comment Philip. Spot on as always.
The VS 100-300 always impressed me at 100mm wide open. It's better than most primes! It's true that at 300mm it loses its mojo but as you can see from these crops, when stepping down to f/8, it's still very good.

Regarding the versions. I only see MMJ versions. I think that's the only version for this lens but could be wrong.

Here is the manual:
https://www.zeissimages.com/mtf/cy/Vario-Sonnar4.5-5.6_100-300mm_e.pdf


Ha anyone compared the 100-300 with the Zeiss c/y 4/80-200 over the shared range?



Jul 31, 2017 at 05:10 AM
Fred Miranda
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p.2 #16 · p.2 #16 · Sony FE 100-400/4.5-5.6 GM vs Contax 100-300/4.5-5.6


Phillip Reeve wrote:
Do you say that based on this comparison? Usually you can't deactivate automatic CA correction in LR with the native Sonys and you have to use an open source raw converter to check this aspect. So I usually activate CA correction for the manual lens in such comparisons for a fair contest.

Apart from this small aspect thanks for your work. I am really surprised by how well the 100-300 performs here even though Jannik has been praising it for a while and Ronny and Wfrank certainly have gotten some really nice results out of it.


Thanks Phillip. CA correction was activated for both Zeiss and GM zooms on this comparison.

I find the 100-400 GM to be well corrected for CA. (La and Lo)
Even with the LR auto-CA fix, it's possible to spot any correction at 1:1 or 2:1 on high contrast edges. I don't see much of an issue for this lens.

When analyzing the images again in Lightroom, I noticed that the GM lens benefits from stopping down (about a stop) for most focal lengths but the Zeiss does not. It's best wide open at all focus lengths. (Including 300mm)
When stopping down, I can definitely see some softening in high frequency detail areas..even the edges.

The VS 100-300 and Zeiss 85/4 ZM lenses are my only adapted lenses currently. I find them to be outstanding landscape lenses.



Jul 31, 2017 at 05:16 AM
Fred Miranda
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p.2 #17 · p.2 #17 · Sony FE 100-400/4.5-5.6 GM vs Contax 100-300/4.5-5.6


DavidBM wrote:
Ha anyone compared the 100-300 with the Zeiss c/y 4/80-200 over the shared range?


I compared the VS 100-300 to the CY 100/3.5 (another amazing lens). I was surprised the zoom was very similar at center and extreme edges and noticeably better at mid-field. That's when I knew this lens was special.



Jul 31, 2017 at 05:38 AM
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p.2 #18 · p.2 #18 · Sony FE 100-400/4.5-5.6 GM vs Contax 100-300/4.5-5.6


The Zeiss 100-300 has been my goto telezoom for a few years now. I don't shoot those focal lengths too much though (so I almost sold it at one point). But, when I do it always impresses me. I like its size and the weight isn't too bad considering its build and IQ.

I just went hiking today with mine. I even used it😀



Jul 31, 2017 at 07:31 AM
Jannik Peters
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p.2 #19 · p.2 #19 · Sony FE 100-400/4.5-5.6 GM vs Contax 100-300/4.5-5.6


Actually the Contax is a tough enemy in the ring. It's the best manual telezoom lens ever made (my opinion) and much better than other legacy zoom lenses. It was the first Zeiss lens that has ever used ED glass, and they used it wisely (obviously).

Your Contax looks almost exactely like mine..

I am also debating if I should go the GM route or keep my Contax 100-300.. It took me almost two years to find one.. One aspect that is interesting is the bokeh. In my opinion, not only sharpness but the excellent bokeh sets the Contax 100-300 apart from other xxx-300 lenses, it really shines in that regard.

I see it that way:

Contax:

+ Sharpness and Microcontrast until 200
(+ Bokeh) --> to be proved
+ Size
+ Weight

GM:

+ 400mm
(+) Sharpness at 300mm
+ No visible LaCA at 300mm
+ OSS
+ EXIF
+ AF
+ Better TCs

A pretty long list for the GM and I see a bigger potential to get the horsepower on the road. The Contax is lovely for tripod work but the quirky setup of IBIS and the rotating front element limit it's practical usefulness a little although it's something I could live with regarding it's optical excellence.

Nevertheless, the increase of size and weight is worriying me even more, I'm really undecided yet which route to go and I definitely can't justify to own both because of financial aspects and because shorter focal lengths are more important for most of my photography.

Edited on Jul 31, 2017 at 08:01 AM · View previous versions



Jul 31, 2017 at 07:56 AM
DavidBM
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p.2 #20 · p.2 #20 · Sony FE 100-400/4.5-5.6 GM vs Contax 100-300/4.5-5.6


Fred Miranda wrote:
I compared the VS 100-300 to the CY 100/3.5 (another amazing lens). I was surprised the zoom was very similar at center and extreme edges and noticeably better at mid-field. That's when I knew this lens was special.


Wow! While I have lenses that measure a bit better than the 3.5/100 I don't have any that really look better (sunstars aside) so that's an amazing result.



Jul 31, 2017 at 07:59 AM
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