Thread: Contax Zeiss vs Leica Rs?

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  1. #1 Contax Zeiss vs Leica Rs? 
    Hey all: long time lurker, first time poster. I'm a grad student working on a cyberpunk short in which we're going for a look somewhere between Beyond the Black Rainbow (a low-con, 70s/80s sci fi vibe) and Blade Runner (low-key, noir lighting).

    We're shooting on a BMPCC 6K so*we can shoot BRAW and tweak in post, but*we're also limited to EF-mount lenses (the PL adapter is out of our price range for this project). After doing a ton of research I've*zeroed in on renting a 70's set of either Contax Zeiss or Leica R still lenses (I'm aware of the crop issue with the Super 35 sensor). I can't find a full set of LOMOs in the LA area that are EF mount*-*that would have been my first choice.

    Anyway, I've been watching a bunch of videos to gauge differences between the Rs and the Contax lenses, but it's hard as this piece is gonna be fairly dark with a lot of LEDs and most of the review videos are the standard "someone in front of the camera shining a flashlight into the lens to show you the flares" thing, which is great, but I'm not at the point where I can extrapolate that information into my use case.

    Kinda at a standstill with this decision and wanted to reach out and get your impressions on how they compare.
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  2. #2  
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Los Angeles
    If you like the Lomo's, might be worth sourcing a PL mount.
    Ranger Gemini
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  3. #3  
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Los Angeles
    If you're talking about the round front LOMOs from the late 70s-early 80s, the look is incredible but they can be hard to work with. The front elements of the LOMOs (original housing) rotates with focusing. It makes using a matte box or filters a pain. I recently shot my first feature with them and learned a lot. The 18mm has a ton of CA, the 22mm was the best lens of the set. All of them, although fast, are pretty soft wide open (at least with the set I used but I've read it's fairly common). Stopped down they were great.

    After my feature (shot last September) I wound up building myself a set of Zeiss Contax standard speeds (2.8 except for 50mm 1.7). They're incredible! As I'm sure you know, the look is incredible. I wished I had used them on my feature instead. I've also used the Leica Rs a lot in the past and holy crap are they beautiful. Honestly, you can't go wrong with either set.

    I find the Contax are lower contrast (which I love) while the Leica's in my experience had deeper blacks and were a bit warmer. Honestly, you'll love the look of either set. It'll just depend on your budget (Leica R's rent a little more expensive).
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