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any experience with contax cy lenses?


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#1 Seeker

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Posted 02 November 2016 - 06:20 PM

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Hello!

I have 5 Contax CY lenses from the film days.

Does anyone have experience with this mount on Sony A?

I just bought a nice used A7 and a new fotiodox adapter and I am waiting for them to arrive.

Obviously I should have asked the question before buying, but frustration of not really being able to use these lenses on Nikon or Canon (canon is easier but still not perfect) has made me want to try the Sony A7.

Thank you in advance.



#2 Marc Contaxtonikon

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Posted 03 November 2016 - 02:41 PM

Hi,

I bought the A7II because I have of CY glass - especially the 85/1.4. I never lookde back to my Nikon D700 - love every minute of it.

I recently added the Techart Pro adapter which essentially replicates the Idea of the Contax AX by providing AF capabilities to these lenses. It doesn't work that well with zoom lenses or with the 200mm but anything upto and including the 2.8/135 Sonnar works like a charm

What lenses do you actually own?

I have Distagon 2.8 / 28   

Planar 1.7 / 50  
Planar 1.4 / 85  
Sonnar 2.8 / 135
Tele Tessar 3,5 / 200   
Vario-Sonnar 4.0 / 80-200
Vario-Sonnarar 3.3-4.0 / 28-85 
Mutar I 2x 
 
Enjoy!
 
Marc

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#3 nomad

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Posted 03 November 2016 - 02:58 PM

Me too, I have a large collection and they shine on the A7R II. Have a look at this thread:

http://www.reduser.n...-Survival-Guide


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#4 Garnier1981

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Posted 03 November 2016 - 10:46 PM

They are excellent lenses, you are lucky to already have a collection.  They work very well on the A7 and are a joy to use, all you need is a simple adapter - very cheap.  

I have 2 - the CY Zeiss 50mm and the 135mm.  I would love to own the 21mm but the auction price is £1000-£1200 - That should give you an indication of how highly thought of these lenses still are.  



#5 KlausH

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Posted 04 November 2016 - 08:36 AM

I own the Vario-Sonnar 3.4/35-70, a really excellent zoom lens. Recently I bought a Yashica ML 2.8/28 (CY bayonet) for as little as € 40, just for fun. And it is much better than expected, a real bargin. With a Techart Pro (TAP) adapter now both can be used with autofocus too.



#6 addicted2light

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Posted 05 November 2016 - 04:49 PM

You can see quite a bit of samples and ratings right here on the forum:

 

Pictures taken with Sony Alfa Cameras and Contax Zeiss le...

 

As for me, of all the ones I use / I've used (18, 25, 35/2.8, 50/1.7, 60 Makro, 85/2.8, 28-85, 100-300) the only ones I didn't love are the 18, the 25 and, up to a point, the 35.

 

I say "love" and not "like", because they are still good lenses to take pictures with, just not great (18 and 25), or have soft-ish borders in some instances (the 35).

 

Please keep in mind that I use them on the A7r, that has the annoying habit of pointing out every tiny defect of the glass you put in front of it, ;) so on the A7 even the lenses I'm not particularly fond of might shine.


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#7 nomad

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Posted 06 November 2016 - 08:41 AM

Well, using the A7R II it's even harder for the lenses. To some degree I can confirm what you are saying.

 

The 25mm (which is actual more like 26) is one of the weakest lenses ion the whole Contax C/Y line, having soft corners WO. But it still has the Zeiss magic when stopped down to around 8 and it flares beautifully.

 

The 18mm is slow and has softer corners too, but gets pretty good when stopped down only one step. It's strength is a very nice way of correcting distortion for a lens of the era when there was no in-camera or software correction. But such a wide FF lens was a hard earned compromise at the time, so if you want ultimate sharpness and no CA at all, it's easier to do for current lenses where the manufacturer just doesn't care about distortion and leaves it to the camera.

 

Zeiss did it perfectly right for the 21mm, but that is too expensive now.

 

If you don't like the 35mm f2.8, have a look at the 35mm f1.4. It's big, heavy and expensive, but marvellous.



#8 addicted2light

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Posted 06 November 2016 - 09:02 AM

Well, using the A7R II it's even harder for the lenses. To some degree I can confirm what you are saying.
 
The 25mm (which is actual more like 26) is one of the weakest lenses ion the whole Contax C/Y line, having soft corners WO. But it still has the Zeiss magic when stopped down to around 8 and it flares beautifully.
 
The 18mm is slow and has softer corners too, but gets pretty good when stopped down only one step. It's strength is a very nice way of correcting distortion for a lens of the era when there was no in-camera or software correction. But such a wide FF lens was a hard earned compromise at the time, so if you want ultimate sharpness and no CA at all, it's easier to do for current lenses where the manufacturer just doesn't care about distortion and leaves it to the camera.
 
Zeiss did it perfectly right for the 21mm, but that is too expensive now.
 
If you don't like the 35mm f2.8, have a look at the 35mm f1.4. It's big, heavy and expensive, but marvellous.


I did like the 18, even with its weaknesses, but eventually I sold it because I seem to see the world either at 15 o 21mm, but not at any intermediate focal lenght...and every time I buy an intermediate focal lenght I end up selling it. Then I decide to try again a few years later, but it ends just the same.

Last year I found a 35/1.4 for 300€, from a reputable shop, and foolishly waited too long (couple minutes!) to place the order. Needless to say someone else snatched it. At some point I'll buy one, but not at current prices.

Btw, the 35/2.8 (like almost all my Contax lenses, bar the 18 that is fairly soft on that sensor) performs great on the Fuji x-trans!

And on a side note, the humble 50/1.7 (or at least my copy) is so sharp on the A7r that it looks like you stepped up one format...

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#9 nomad

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Posted 06 November 2016 - 10:38 AM

Interesting point about the look on a Fuji X-Trans. There might be differences between the A7R and mark II as well, since it's a very different sensor (BSI).

 

My comment about distortion of the 18mm is mainly related to filming, since the distortion doesn't look to unnatural. Anything wider and it's only good for music clips or comedy…

 

For photography I may consider something more extreme too.

 

The 50mm f1.7 is razor sharp, doing reproductions with it is like a scan, only faster ;-)

 

And the 60mm Macro is goof for many things besides macro only, like portrait!

 

I envy you for the 100-300mm, still looking for one at a reasonable price level. Meanwhile, I enjoy my 180mm f2.8. Heavy beast, but focusing sooo close.



#10 addicted2light

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Posted 06 November 2016 - 03:26 PM

Interesting point about the look on a Fuji X-Trans. There might be differences between the A7R and mark II as well, since it's a very different sensor (BSI).

 

My comment about distortion of the 18mm is mainly related to filming, since the distortion doesn't look to unnatural. Anything wider and it's only good for music clips or comedy…

 

For photography I may consider something more extreme too.

 

The 50mm f1.7 is razor sharp, doing reproductions with it is like a scan, only faster ;-)

 

And the 60mm Macro is goof for many things besides macro only, like portrait!

 

I envy you for the 100-300mm, still looking for one at a reasonable price level. Meanwhile, I enjoy my 180mm f2.8. Heavy beast, but focusing sooo close.

 

 

Yep, the 60 is a great lens as well. Actually the fact of having it was another motive that led me to buy the 18. One of my favorite combos is 24 + 85mm, but with 25mm quite weak in the Contax lineup, I hoped that 18 + 60mm could replace that. Nope, not for me.

 

I know that the next logical combo would have been 28 + 85, but I already have the 28-85mm zoom that covers that; it is as good or better than the corresponding Contax fixed focal lengths (not just my impression, also from Zeiss MTF charts), but sometime is nicer to go out with just a couple of primes. It also puts you in a different frame of mind.

 

As for the 100-300, I was quite lucky. I managed to get one from a shop that was about to close for good, new old stock!, and at a fair price. Even accounting for the money spent to have its aperture repaired (a bit of oil, probably because of the decade it spent sitting in a box on a shelf instead of being used) it was almost a steal.

 

Btw, I've seen magnificent things shot with the 180, especially in black and white. If it weren't for the weight (remember, I hike) I might have considered one myself.


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#11 Seeker

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Posted 07 November 2016 - 09:14 PM

Thank you all for the replies!

I am surprised that the distagon 25 isn't more loved, I have amazing velvia slides from it.

I also love my VS 28-85



#12 lassethomasson

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Posted 23 November 2016 - 07:09 PM

Jumping in a bit late here.

 

Got my A7SII in January and stumbled over Contax lenses a few months later when I found a cheap (but good) copy of the 85 1.4. And fell in love with the micro contrast and rendering.

 

So now I got the 35/2.8, 50/1.7, 60/2.8 macro, 85/1.4, 100/3.5, 135/2.8 and 35-70/3.5. Of these the absolute favorite is the 35-70 zoom. There is something organic and magic with the rendering and micro contrast of that lens. The other fav is the 100/3.5. Just one of the sharpest Zeiss lenses with uniform sharpness all over the frame on all apertures.

The 35/2.8 is a mixed bag with suffering corner sharpness on larger aperture but stopped down to f8 it's dead sharp with wonderful contrast and colors.

The others are just very very good :)



#13 nomad

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Posted 24 November 2016 - 01:55 PM

Your 35 f2.8 might be a bit out of order then, since mine is tack sharp into the corners from 2.8 (other than the 25mm).



#14 lassethomasson

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Posted 24 November 2016 - 03:59 PM

Your 35 f2.8 might be a bit out of order then, since mine is tack sharp into the corners from 2.8 (other than the 25mm).

 

 

Yes, could be the case. Or that you are lucky and got a golden one.

Even Zeiss does not rate corner sharpness that high according to their own specs.
http://www.zeiss.com...n2-8_35mm_e.pdf




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