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  1. #1

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    Contax SLR lens recommendations

    I am just back into the C/Y system having purchased an RXII recently... just need some lenses ;-) I had Aria some moons ago and used a 50 f1.7 and 135 f2.8 - both of which I thought were very nice. I mainly use a Leica M2 with the 35 Biogon f2.8 and I kind of want a small system to supplement it.

    I realise this is an incredibly broad question with many answers but I'd appreciate a heads-up on the primo C/Y lenses. I'd like a 50 that I can use for reasonably high mag. I don't really need macro but the f1.4 at 0.45m should suit me well. Stopped down is this lens good at close distances? Out of interest is there a general consensus on the 60 macro quality?

    I'd also like one longer lens and a 24-28. I've done a bit of research and read great things about the 28mm. Also the 135 (f2.8) seems like a bargain really. Any other suggestions? Would the 28 / 50 f1.4 and 135 be a good start? Obviously I am thinking smallish budget here so the real top end lenses will be out of my range at the moment.

    Thanks.

  2. #2

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    I should also mention that I mainly shoot landscape (natural and urban) with a small amount of portrait / street. 95% is black and white. Thank you.

  3. #3
    ic-racer's Avatar
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    Not sure what you mean by "small" in the original post, as most of the Zeiss retorfocus wide angle lenses are much bigger than rangefinder lenses.

    You can't go wrong with any of the Zeiss lenses in the Contax mount. I have used most all the identical Zeiss lenses in the Rollei QBM mount since they were contemporary lenses in the 1980s and they are excellent performers. I also have all the Yashica ML wide and normal lenses in the C/Y mount and they are also very good.

  4. #4

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    My two favorite lenses for that system was the 28mm (my favourite angle of view anyway) in either f2.0 or 2.8 and the 35mm f1.4. I really liked the 28mm 2.0, but the 2.8 was a great little compact and sharp lens that gave a nice 3D "pop" effect. However, my bread n' butter was the 35mm f1.4. I can't say anything bad about that lens -it was magical. Highly versatile, some of the best quality 20x24 enlargements I've made and a very nice signature.

  5. #5

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    Either the 1.4 or 1.7 Planar should serve that purpose nicely. And if you get some extension tubes, you'll be able to do close-up shots on the cheap. You'll want to stop down the lens.

    The 28mm Distagon is a large lens -- about 57mm in length (rear element to front element). Carl Zeiss usually takes a no-compromise approach to its lenses.

    These were shot with the f/1.7 Planar (no extension tubes).









    Last edited by elekm; 12-14-2012 at 07:40 AM. Click to view previous post history.

  6. #6
    TheFlyingCamera's Avatar
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    The 50 1.4 is an outstanding all-around lens. There are two versions of the 60 makro-planar - the 60 C (for compact) which will give 1:2, and the 60 non-C which will give 1:1. The non-C version is much larger, physically, heavier, and it also will only work in aperture preferred or manual. It is however considered to be one of the best macro lenses for 35mm.

    On a short list of lenses for this system, with a limited budget:

    28mm f2.8
    50mm f1.4
    85mm f2.8

    That would get you a nice well-rounded kit, without forcing you to get a second mortgage. Save up and get the 85mm f1.4 when you can. It's one of the best lenses at that focal length ever. I took it with me to Cambodia and got some awesome photos of the monks at Angkor.

  7. #7
    Jeff L's Avatar
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    The ones that I really like are the D25 f2.8, P100 f2, S85 f2.8, and the 2 VS's 28-85 and 100-300. I have read that some don't think the D25 is as good as it should be, but it's one of my favourites. Maybe I got a good one. The only Zeiss lens I had that I didn't like was the TT 300 f4. My VS 100-300 was far better.

  8. #8

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    The 50 and 85 f1.4's are great lens, but I'd like to recommend the 35 f2.8 also. It has become my surprise favorite of the system.
    Last edited by Mark Crabtree; 12-14-2012 at 01:08 PM. Click to view previous post history.

  9. #9
    Richard Sintchak (rich815)'s Avatar
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    Contax SLR lens recommendations

    I've shot an RX for years and recently acquired an RTS and RTSII finding some good bargains. The 85/1.4 is hands down my favorite. Awesome lens. But the right hood can be hard to find as us expensive now. The 50/1.7 my next fav. The 50/1.4 has better build quality but is now so expensive as to not really be worth it unless you absolutely need that extra speed and will shoot wide open a lot. Tests online report both as great performers with the 1.7 having a slight edge overall but only barely. Next fav is the 180/2.8, such a beautiful lens. The 100-300 Vario-Sonnar is one of the sharpest lenses I think I've ever shot but its so big I do not use it that often. The macro 60/2.8 is up there with the best of this type for sure. I also have the 35/2.8 PC which is a true marvel of quality build and workmanship and is a great performer though its expensive and quite big and heavy. Only lens of the Contax Zeiss set I've ever sold was the 80-200, good but not the stand-out the rest have been. And the 50/1.4 when I determined the 1.7 was as good or better. Now I was lucky, I got all of mine mostly back in the late 90's early 2000's for about half what they are going for now (before the digital crowd discovered them once good and cheap adapters were produced) but many are still quite nicely priced. Back then the 50/1.7 could be found for under $100 and the 1.4 for only a tad more. Now the 1.4 is often $300 or more. Another reason I sold it since I had the 1.7 also, no regrets.
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  10. #10
    flatulent1's Avatar
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    Heh. Even Zeiss suffers from sample variation. My 80-200 is a fabulous lens, sharp and clear and beautiful. It's what's keeping me from buying a Canon 70-200L. Apart from that I'd say the 25 is my favorite and possibly the most frequently used lens that I have in that mount, then the 28-85. I really don't think there's a dog rocket in the bunch.
    Fred Latchaw
    Seattle WA


    I am beginning to resent being referred to as 'half-fast'.
    Whatever that's supposed to mean.

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