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  1. #421  
    Senior Member Ben Scott's Avatar
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    oooh that 100f2 looks sexy
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  2. #422  
    Senior Member David W. Jones's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nick Morrison View Post
    The bokeh is lovely Ben.
    Yes, but I think something may be wrong with the lenses, as they make those hot models look like beasts! ;)
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  3. #423  
    Senior Member Ben Scott's Avatar
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    One was fairly horny ;)
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  4. #424  
    Senior Member Nick Morrison's Avatar
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    Hey guys, here's an Army Wives "Dr.Scholls" branded spot starring Brooke Shields and other members of the AW cast. Shot on a Scarlet, and...of course...some Contax Zeiss glass (the 85mm "Super Speed"). Enjoy.

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  5. #425  
    Quote Originally Posted by Nick Pasquariello View Post
    The 35-70 doesn't move when the camera tilts. There is a bit of breathing when rack-focusing. But it's a lens meant for stills and cheap as hell compared to cine glass. One thing that the push-pull nature of the zooms helps with, is snap-zooms. Those ocasional shots where you need to SNAP from one extreme focal length to another. It's a weird, over-the-top kind of effect, but when you need it (as I did a few weeks ago) it's actually pretty helpful.

    The only downside of the 35-70 is that it's a 3.4. But, as compensation, it goes macro at 35.

    Honestly, I have both the 35 2.8 and the 35-70. This weekend, on a shoot, I only used the 35-70 and the 80-200. If I were you (and I'm not) I'd grab the 35-70 first, and then move on to other lengths.
    Out of curiousity, what is the purpose of having both the 35 f2.8 and the 35-70? Just the slight gain in speed/compactness?
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  6. #426  
    Senior Member Nick Morrison's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Matthew Robertson View Post
    Out of curiousity, what is the purpose of having both the 35 f2.8 and the 35-70? Just the slight gain in speed/compactness?
    It's funny, a lot of people end up getting both. But you're right, there isn't that much of a difference btw the two, except the extra 1/2 stop on the prime. The 2.8 also has a bit less distortion on the edges at S35.
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  7. #427  
    Senior Member Nick Morrison's Avatar
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    So far in The Contax Survival Guide, what we don’t have is an organized recommendation of what lenses to consider. So here’s a quick tour of what’s available.

    Here goes:

    THE CONTAX “Standard Primes”

    28 2.8
    35 2.8
    50 1.7
    85 2.8
    100 3.5
    135 2.8

    These “affordable” primes take advantage of their slower apertures to render unbelievably sharp and crisp imagery. If you are on a budget, you’ll be hard pressed to find a better set of primes to shoot with (and their Zeiss, to boot). To me, these are the “Standard Primes” of the Contax lineup. Slower, but unbelievably sharp and reliable. If you don’t need the speed, these will blow you away.

    If you get target MM’s with their newer coatings, you can build a contemporary yet organic set of lenses that will last you a lifetime. Or go AE and build a set with more character. Even wide open, these primes are often as sharp (and at times sharper) than their faster, more expensive brethren. If you want to blow the doors off optically on a limited budget, then give this set of Zeiss’s a long look.

    I would give them all an “A” grade - these primes sacrifice almost nothing in quality except speed.

    Individual reviews of the "Standards":

    28 2.8 - Stopped down, this lens is one of the sharpest Contax ever made, and gives the 28 f2 Hollywood a run for it's money from 2.8 onwards. Has a cleaner look than the Hollywood (which can't help ooze personality). Very popular with landscape photographers. The MM has improved WO performance over the AE - so I strongly urge getting the MM.
    35 2.8 - As good as the 1.4 from 2.8 on. So a great budget buy. Just doesn't have the creamy bokeh of the 1.4, of the faster lens's insane close focusing. However stopped down at 5.6 I wonder if it's better. Sharp even wide open, and a very nice punchy image. One of my favorite Contax primes.
    50 1.7 - An amazing lens. Sharper then the 1.4 wide open! Prone to more nervous bokeh, where the 1.4 is said to render more "classically". The 1.4 has slightly better close focusing, FYI. To keep costs down, the 1.7 used some plastic elements, so make sure your copy isn't too "loose". That being said, it's hard to fathom how this affordable lens can render so sharply. On a budget, this little powerhouse is hard to beat.
    85 2.8 - Sharp WO, and across apertures. High contrast. Superb lens. Desirable for it's "circular" bokeh at 2.8. The AE flares noticeably more then the MM, otherwise identical (I love how my AE flares!). I'm a huge fan of this tiny bionic lens - packs an enormous wallop in a tiny, tiny footprint (this lens is the same size as a 50 1.4)
    100 3.5 - Like the 85 Sonnar, but slower and possibly even sharper. May be one of the sharpest Contax primes ever made. Certainly sharper than both its larger brothers, the 100 planar and 100 Macro. While it beats them in resolution, bear in mind it does have more distortion (the 100 f2 and Macro 2.8 show their stripes and have almost none!).
    135 2.8 - Another superb Sonnar (aren't they all?). Like the 28 2.8, the MM is supposed to have improved performance WO, FYI. The focus throw is superb. For the price, this portrait prime is very hard to beat. See this test, where it even outperforms the vaunted Canon 70-200 2.8!!

    THE CONTAX “Supers”

    21 2.8
    35 1.4
    50 1.4
    85 1.4
    100 f2

    These are the Contax creme de-la-creme. And not surprisingly, these are the ones that still exist in the ZF/ZE lineup (except the 100), with only very modest changes to their optical designs.
    The 21 is just a magical beast...it’s like the MASTER PRIME of the Contax lineup. It has no flaws, and all the other lenses bow down to it, because they’re “not worthy”.

    The 1.4 “Supers” are superb, have lots of character, and will add incredible value to your shoots. The 85 1.4 has almost NO DISCERNIBLE distortion, and I believe this is the pixie dust that makes it a remarkable portrait lens. Of course the older, less contrasty T* coatings are very forgiving on faces, which only adds to the appeal. The 35 1.4 has fantastically creamy bokeh WO, and has mind-boggelingly close-focusing magic. The 50 1.4 is razar, razor sharp stopped down.

    The 100 f2 has a legendary reputation in the Contax world because it’s unique. It was never carried over to ZF/ZE, you can only find this design in Contax, and it has a singular magic and charm that given it a cult following. It’s revered both as a portrait and landscape lens. What I can tell you for a fact is like the 85 1.4, it has almost ZERO distortion, which again I think adds to it’s “magic”. The 85 and 100 planars stand out in the Contax world for their remarkable distortion free imagery.


    THE CONTAX “Bonus Babies”

    28 f2
    60 2.8 Macro
    100 2.8 Macro
    135 f2
    180 2.8
    35-70
    28-85
    80-200
    100-300

    These are the lenses I think you should focus on once you’ve built your kit, and are eager to “expand” your horizon and Contax offerings.

    The 28 f2 is great and has lots of personality. While the 28 2.8 is very strong (especially the MM), the gorgeous bokeh and close focus magic of the "Hollywood" is hard to pass up. Even though the ZE/ZE version is sharper wide open, the Hollywood has a magic all it's own. One of my faves...

    The two Macros lenses are SUPER sharp. I mean RAZOR. They are both also rare in that they go 1:1. Most macros (including the ZE/ZFs) only go half as close, to 2:1. When not shooting macro, the 100 has a short focus throw, FYI (compared to the 85 and 100 planars). The 60 has lovely bokeh, IMHO.

    The 135 f2 is a gorgeous lens, but wide open its not tack sharp. Unless you need the speed, the 135 2.8 will work fine as well.

    The 180 2.8 is a unique lens, in that you rarely see a telephoto designed with a “floating element” (like the 28 f2 “Hollywood” and the 35 1.4)...in order to help with CLOSE FOCUSING. This leads me to believe it was crafted with portraits in mind. Affordable and with fantastic barrel rotation, you should give this prime a long look.

    The Contax ZOOMS across the board should be on your radar. The two shorter zooms, the 35-70 and 28-85, are optical masterpieces that will challenge any prime. Their push-pull design makes them ideal for run-gun, and both zooms have remarkable close focusing abilities (the 35-70 has a fantastic Macro function). These two zooms are legendary in the stills community for a reason. If you don’t need the speed, then put them at the top of your list. The 28-85 has a more convenient range for shooting, but it does have some mild distortion at 28. Whereas the 35-70 puts on a clinic from top to bottom.

    The two tele Zooms deserve a long look as well. The 80-200 may be one of the best deals in optics PERIOD. For $300, you get a remarkable looking zoom with fantastic barrel rotation. For $1000, the 100-300 is an optical masterpiece that will shatter some primes. If you don’t need the speed, the 100-300 is like the 35-70 on roids. Perfect, and frighteningly sharp. In fact it may be the sharpest 100 “prime” in the Contax lineup. It also outclasses the 300 f4 (it’s not even close, to be honest). Part of the 100-300’s genius is that it’s the only Contax zoom to incorporate “Extra Dispersion” (ie APO) glass. If you can afford it, get it.


    THE CONTAX “Curious George’s”
    18 f4
    25 2.8
    45 2.8
    200 3.5
    300 f4

    These primes are good; get them if you need them. Here’s a quick round-up.

    The 18 is special because it has almost no visible distortion (it may even outclass the 21 2.8 in this regard). It’s not tack sharp wide open (the updated ZF/ZE is), but I love this lens’s character and if you don’t need the speed, give it a look. I think the 18mm focal length is an important one to have.

    The 25 is a venerable Zeiss design, which is why it has “magic”, and why it suffers. My older AE design is tack sharp wide open in the center, but falls apart at the edges. You may not see the edge fall of on S35, but you may start to on Dragon. The fall-off may just give it “character”. My AE flares magically. Stopped down, this lens is razor sharp from edge to edge. Don’t let anyone fool you. Stopped down this lens is no joke, regardless of what you’ve heard.

    I have noticed a trend of people hating their MM copies of this lens. Whereas the AE’s seem to have fared better. Not sure why, and this is just an observation. A friend of mine in NYC has two copies (an AE and MM), and his MM is terrible WO, whereas his older AE is great. So keep this unsubstantiated “caution” in mind when you hunt for this lens.

    The 45 is a pancake lens, and is not as a sharp as any of the 50 primes. It has slightly busier bokeh. A classic, old design. Not much else to say.

    The 200 Tessar is a favorite of mine. Has very nice bokeh. My AE has character. Not tack sharp wide open, but good. Stopped down it actually outresolves the 180 2.8, so this classic lens has some punch in it. I kind of love it.

    The 300 Tessar is a good classic lens. Nice bokeh. Can’t keep up with the more modern 100-300, but for the price, I don’t see why it needs to.

    NOTE:
    I've spent a couple of weeks writing this, but I don't pretend to know everything (by a long shot). Together, our collective feedback can help augment and improve these suggestions, so please don't be shy (but please be cordial).
    Last edited by Nick Morrison; 03-17-2014 at 09:29 PM.
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  8. #428  
    Senior Member Nick Pasquariello's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Matthew Robertson View Post
    Out of curiousity, what is the purpose of having both the 35 f2.8 and the 35-70? Just the slight gain in speed/compactness?
    A few reasons.

    First, I'm very new to the world of glass; I only really started paying attention in the past year. One of the first "rules" I learned was that "Primes are always sharper than Zooms". Since I have been feeling that my images lack the sharpness of higher-end productions, I tend to focus on using, and thus acquiring, primes.

    So, I started building out my lens set with the most basic of basics: the 50mm. I got the f1.4. Then, a few weeks later, Keh posted the second-most-used-focal-length among primes (according to all my reading and research), the 35mm 2.8. And also a 50mm 1.7 for a steal of a price. The 1.4 isn't quite as sharp, but focuses close to 45 inches. The 1.7 is a tad sharper but only focuses close to 60 inches. For a few projects I'd like to do, it's actually important to me to have both of those 50's; and again: I got the second 50mm at a steal of a price.

    Then Nick Morrison went on and on and on about the 35-70. And other people too. So when an EX+ version went up on Keh, I snagged it. The same day, Keh had a poor condition 80-200 for an amazingly low price of $94. After getting that lens in hand, I can tell you the only better deal I've gotten on gear is my Pico Dolly, for $65.

    The 35-70 is now my go-to lens. It's the first lens on the camera, every shoot. Even when I'm not using my own camera, I take my lenses, pop on the 35-70, and only change it out for specific needs. I've never done a direct comparison between the 35mm 2.8 that I have and the 35-70, so I can't comment on sharpness between the two. What I can tell you is that the 35-70 produces some sharp images (really, watch the video I posted about 2 pages ago; 80% of it was shot on the 35-70), and also goes beautifully macro at 35.

    So, out of my 5 lenses, my 35mm 2.8 is certainly my least used. But yes, I've kept it in case I ever need that extra half stop of light, or want the ninja star bokeh at f4.

    Personally, I would tell anyone to start with the 35-70, rather than any of the primes. It'll give you a good feel for how Contax glass works, how it looks, and give you a wide array of focal lengths, in addition to a Macro functionality. If you don't like it, you can sell it for as much as you bought it for, if not more.
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  9. #429  
    Senior Member Nick Morrison's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nick Pasquariello View Post
    Then Nick Morrison went on and on and on about the 35-70. And other people too.
    Guilty as charged, haha. Glad you like the Zoom Nick. It's one of my fave's.
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  10. #430 100mm macro 2.8 for sale 
    Senior Member Domenic Barbero's Avatar
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    FOR SALE: In mint condition, comes with lens hood. Pm for pics. 77mm front. Does not come with any adapter.

    Will trade for non macro 100mm contax zeiss f2.0 and a little cash. The lens is amazing and several will attest to that.

    :)
    Last edited by Domenic Barbero; 05-27-2013 at 04:03 PM.
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