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Dustin Gent
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · Hooked on Contax now


After buying and selling several lenses over the last few months, i now have 3 C/Y lenses - 2 copies of the 35-70 and a mint 80-200 arriving on Monday in time for my trip to the Grand Canyon.

I am in need of a wide angle, but i am kind of over the UWA look. Perhaps it is from using the 14-24 for 3+ years (mostly at 14mm), but now i am looking at the C/Y 25mm over the Distagon 21mm (would love a loxia but that will have to wait until spring) - even though the 25mm doesn't get the love it deserves; probably because the AE version has softer corners than the MMJ version, according to this thread i found MMJ

anyways, after i find a 25mm MMJ for a good price, what other C/Y is worth picking up? I wouldn't mind a macro lens, and want to avoid over lapping focal lengths



Aug 19, 2017 at 03:11 PM
Sam_W
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · Hooked on Contax now


That really depends on your budget and your photographic goals.

There's quite a few fantastic C/Y lenses, as well as strong performers, or more artistically-inclined lenses.

Setting aside the expensive, but marvellous, Apo-Sonnar 2/200, Planar 1.2/85 50/60 Jahre editions, and so forth, you're left with quite a few good options:

* Distagon 2.8/21: Amazing piece of glass. Well-priced these days. Practically apo-level correction, and amazing colour. The newer Z* versions are sharper, but more clinical, and lose some "warmth".

* Distagon 2[.8]/28: The f/2 "Hollywood" is an art lens. But harder to find in good shape these days, without requiring some servicing or repair. The f/2.8 is amazing. It was my first ever C/Y lens. Get one in the late 8.xxx.xxx serial range. Size, performance, colours, everything is in the Leica territory, at a fraction of the cost.

* Distagon 1.4/35: The f/1.4 is amazing and artistic at the same time. On par, and sometimes arguably better, than the Summilux-R 1.4/35, but for a quarter of the price. Different lens between f/1.4 and, say, f/4.

* Makro-Planar 2.8/60 C: The C is fairly rare, and only does 1:2 magnification, but is considerably more compact than the 1:1 siblings. Good piece of glass.

* Sonnar 2.8/85: The Sonar design of the 85 focal length is superb. Especially if you find an MMG serial range 8.xxx.xxx one. For the price, you're getting a tiny yet lively powerhouse.


The longer glass is either so-so, or really expensive. And if you're going to drop US$5k+ for a telephoto, might as well get a Leica.

The wider (than 21mm) glass is also so-so, and overpriced. The Distagon 3.5/15 is good, but not great, and overpriced. The Distagon 4.18 is similar.

Most of the f/2.8 Distagons are good to great to fantastic. Like you've mentioned, even the 25mm. The 35mm is great, too. Super cheap, but, then again, most 35mm lenses are good. It's hard to screw up a 35mm or 50mm design these days unless you're really doing something very wrong, or very fast.

Speaking of, the Planar 1.7/50 is super cheap, and an excellent performer, though character isn't always there. (You'd have better mileage with a last-gen Summicron-R 2/50, especially with its "schizophrenic" rendering, as one FM-er previously described it.)

The PC-Distagon 2.8/35 is an interesting piece of glass. Actually owned it for a few years. Huge. Great quality (back then the biggest FF sensor I could stick it on was 12Mpix) even when shifted. But a 35mm T/S isn't that great. For the same price you can get a Leica PC-Super-Angulon-R 2.8/28. The change to 28mm helps a bunch.

Finally, the Planar 1.4/85 is pretty good, and some slight drawing style variations between AEG/AEJ/MMG/MMJ. I like it considerably more than the Z* versions, as the newer ones are pretty harsh and do horrible things to the bokeh depending on your background and lighting (such as when shooting against foliage in the mid-to-far background, and bright sky being visible behind it).



Aug 19, 2017 at 07:01 PM
jcolwell
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · Hooked on Contax now


The Planar 85/1.4 and Sonnar 100/3.5 are excellent.

In general, if you sometimes shoot stopped-down by one stop, and you don't like Ninja Star specular highlights, then stick to MM versions. I like the 50/1.4, too.

At 28mm, you can save some money with the SMC Pentax 28/2 (Vancouver), instead of the CZ 28/2 Hollywood (same optics), and SMC Pentax 28/3.5 over CZ 28/2.8 (Pentax cheaper, sharper edges, with slightly lower contrast).



Aug 19, 2017 at 07:20 PM
Sam_W
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · Hooked on Contax now


Ooh, yes, forgot the Sonnar 3.5/100. It's quite a nice tiny compact lens. Excellent for 100mm and size/price.


Aug 19, 2017 at 07:29 PM
wayne seltzer
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · Hooked on Contax now


C/Y 100/2 planar, an excellent lens which I did not see mentioned yet.


Aug 19, 2017 at 07:49 PM
Dustin Gent
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · Hooked on Contax now


The Hollywood always comes up, and i would love to get one someday. Saw one on eBay for $800 in great condition. The 100-300 is on my list, but is also fairly expensive at $800-$1K. The 28mm 2.8 though is well priced and I always see it praised.

I will realistically go this route:
25mm 2.8. If not wide enough then;
21mm 2.8
28mm 2.8
Makro 100mm?

Since getting the A7r, i am purposely trying to change my shooting "DNA". I never ever thought I would part with the 14-24, but i honestly grew tired of it. I didn't feel challenged photographically; with that i mean UWA is low lying fruit so to speak, and you really couldn't go wrong with using it in 95% of landscapes.

Now armed only with the 35-70 and 80-200, i feel I will be challenged! Might sound dumb, but sometimes i get bored.

thanks for the info on the lenses. I have a notebook full of info thanks to recommendations



Aug 19, 2017 at 08:22 PM
JohnJ
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · Hooked on Contax now


I must admit I'm kind of stuck on the Contax 2/135. I find it has the softest bokeh of pretty much any lens I've tried and is still very sharp wide open. It's one of my favourite portrait lenses, if you can keep a bit of distance from the subject. I use it alternately with a Leica R 2/180 which is optically superior in every way except it's bokeh which is just a tad harsh, rarely noticeable, and the Leica weight 2.5kg.

I also vote for the Contax 2.8/28 (I have MM and AE and prefer the MM) and find it's close enough, except in price, to the Leica R 2.8/28E55 to not matter.

The Contax 1.4/50MM is a must if you're into Contax lenses. Great wide open sharpness, great colours and a lively bokeh, depending on distance. I can't see any difference between the AE and MM in optical performance, I have both, but the shape of the aperture blades on the AE might bother you.

I had the Contax 1.4/85 before I bought a Leica R 1.4/80, well before digital, and was never able to compare them directly. It might be one to investigate further.



Aug 19, 2017 at 10:03 PM
Mathieu18
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · Hooked on Contax now


Hmm...

Never got to the 28 or 25, but both have been on my list for a while.

35/2.8 has a great 3D rendering to it.

35/1.4 is a nice lens to be sure, amazing micro contrast. But I never really got along with it despite being a dream lens for so long.

I preferred the 50/1.7 to the 1.4. Any sharpness gains weren't apparent and found it sharper with less SA wide open.

85/2.8 is a crisp lens, enjoyable to use.

85/1.4 sort or left me feeling like the 35/1.4. Great but didn't fit. One thing that bothered me with both was 6 straight blades. Stop down to f/2 to get some more sharpness and the bokeh turns into hexagons.

Never got to the 100/3.5 but I'd like to some day.

135/2.8 is a great lens. There are better but sharp and smooth.

Never got to the 180/2.8 but it's another I'd like too.

80-200 is as good as the Canon L 80-200 FD. They trade minor differences. Not as contrasty as the 200/3.5 though.

200/3.5 is surprisingly nice. Very close in quality (and size) to the Nikon 180 ED.

200/4 is also nice. Not much special too it, but competent.

All that said, selling most CY to pay off a set of Black G's. Wanted a smaller AF package, might just keep the 35/2.8 though in lieu of a 35-70.




Aug 20, 2017 at 03:21 AM
rico
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p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · Hooked on Contax now


The D28/2.8 has some lateral color but should be easy to correct in post. I consider it an Eternal Lens along with the S100. Both are well-behaved optically and handle like a dream. Unlike modern primes, these CZ have longer throw and thoughtfully designed DOF scales. The Contax system also has its share of exotics if you want to go crazy: FD16, P85/1.2, TAT300/2.8.


Aug 20, 2017 at 01:44 PM
Dustin Gent
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p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · Hooked on Contax now


I didn't list primes between 35 and 70mm since i have the 35-70mm, and it really is a spectacular lens! I almost bought a 25mm last week, but i don't like to rush a lens purchase (only a few listed on eBay) and i think at $430 it would be over paying quite bit for it (MMJ version). AE versions are a bit less. I will just wait for one to pop up

The longer FL primes have intrigued me, and they seem priced well.



Aug 20, 2017 at 03:11 PM
 

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Cadaver
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p.1 #11 · p.1 #11 · Hooked on Contax now


Dustin, You've probably seen this, but just in case, here's an excellent revue of all Contax Zeiss lenses (midpage) from the Reduser site.

http://www.reduser.net/forum/showthread.php?92044-Contax-Zeiss-Survival-Guide/page43



Aug 20, 2017 at 03:45 PM
Abuttolph
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p.1 #12 · p.1 #12 · Hooked on Contax now


I have the 35-70mm that I used almost exclusively on a vacation last fall and really was pleased with the results. The only issue that I had was that it is difficult for me to tell when I have nailed the focus, but I am not sure if that is the lens or my eyes.

I also have the 35mm f/2.8, which I have been thinking about selling. It is a terrific lens, but I just find that I use my other 35mm prime (newer Zeiss) and the 35-70 more as they seem to work better for my style of shooting. I have to say though that the Contax C/Y 35mm f/2.8 is the first prime lens that I purchased. I took a single shot with it and could not believe the difference between the image from that and the kit lens that I had been using. It set off a big case of GAS, but it was well worth it as I now have a wonderful selection of awesome lenses!



Aug 20, 2017 at 03:48 PM
Dustin Gent
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p.1 #13 · p.1 #13 · Hooked on Contax now


as far as the in focus issues, it could come down to adapter used. I zoom in as much as i can on live view to check, and usually shoot f/8 or f/5.6


Aug 20, 2017 at 11:34 PM
genji
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p.1 #14 · p.1 #14 · Hooked on Contax now


Dustin Gent wrote:
as far as the in focus issues, it could come down to adapter used. I zoom in as much as i can on live view to check, and usually shoot f/8 or f/5.6


The 28/2.8 might be a better (and is certainly a cheaper) choice if you usually shoot at f/5.6 or f/8. Most of the Hollywood's magic occurs at or close to wide open.



Aug 21, 2017 at 01:54 AM
2ndviolinman
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p.1 #15 · p.1 #15 · Hooked on Contax now


Having owned both, I would take the 28/2.8 over the 25/2.8, and add the 21 if you wish. My 28mm was quite a bit better than the 25 in the corners, and for me at least, 21 and 28 was a better combination than 25 in that range.


Aug 22, 2017 at 05:51 PM
jcolwell
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p.1 #16 · p.1 #16 · Hooked on Contax now


Dustin Gent wrote:
as far as the in focus issues, it could come down to adapter used. I zoom in as much as i can on live view to check, and usually shoot f/8 or f/5.6

genji wrote:
... Most of the Hollywood's magic occurs at or close to wide open.


...and the magic increases, as you get closer to the main subject.




Aug 22, 2017 at 07:35 PM
George Orwell
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p.1 #17 · p.1 #17 · Hooked on Contax now


I always wondered why Carl Zeiss makes 21mm lenses as opposed to 20mm. Just to be different?

Those Contax lenses always tug on me. Came real close to buying an RTS III just to get into this system.




Aug 22, 2017 at 10:57 PM
jcolwell
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p.1 #18 · p.1 #18 · Hooked on Contax now


George Orwell wrote:
I always wondered why Carl Zeiss makes 21mm lenses as opposed to 20mm. Just to be different?


Olympus OM is all over 21mm. Leica-R is there, too.



Aug 22, 2017 at 11:03 PM
George Orwell
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p.1 #19 · p.1 #19 · Hooked on Contax now


jcolwell wrote:
Olympus OM is all over 21mm. Leica-R is there, too.


OK. Any ideas why the odd number? It just seems weird.



Aug 22, 2017 at 11:28 PM
jcolwell
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p.1 #20 · p.1 #20 · Hooked on Contax now


George Orwell wrote:
I always wondered why Carl Zeiss makes 21mm lenses as opposed to 20mm. Just to be different?

jcolwell wrote:
Olympus OM is all over 21mm. Leica-R is there, too.

George Orwell wrote:
OK. Any ideas why the odd number? It just seems weird.


Nope. It's probably something that happens somewhere between design inception, build, marketing, and sales. Maybe the big boss had a preference.



Aug 22, 2017 at 11:45 PM
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