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Author Topic: contax 645 lenses..  (Read 4318 times)
marcwilson
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« on: October 03, 2006, 08:17:23 AM »
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Hi all,

I have managed to get myself a great deal on a contax 645 kit and as well as a 35mm lens I am looking for one of the longer lenses.
Aside from the obvious macro facility are there other differences between the 120mm and 140mm lenses, especailly in terms of image quality and performance at infinity focus?

Thanks,

Marc
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william
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« Reply #1 on: October 03, 2006, 08:24:45 AM »
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The 140mm is a stellar performer.  The 120mm, however is the best lens I have ever used for any camera, both in terms of "tonal quality" for lack of a better word and sharpness.  There are lenses that are theoretically sharper, but they don't have the look of the 120.  

Quote
Hi all,

I have managed to get myself a great deal on a contax 645 kit and as well as a 35mm lens I am looking for one of the longer lenses.
Aside from the obvious macro facility are there other differences between the 120mm and 140mm lenses, especailly in terms of image quality and performance at infinity focus?

Thanks,

Marc
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larryg
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« Reply #2 on: October 03, 2006, 08:34:08 AM »
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I have the Contax system with 35mm lens, 45-90 zoom, 120 macro and the 210

The good about the 120 is: very sharp, macro for closeups.
The 120 does not have auto focus (not a significant issue for me)

I decided on the 120 for the macro capabilities (besides the sharpness factor)
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marcwilson
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« Reply #3 on: October 03, 2006, 08:39:48 AM »
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Thanks guys.

Lack of autofocus on the 120mm does not bother me.
Sharpness etc does..and as it has the added bonus of macro all the better!

Marc
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mtomalty
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« Reply #4 on: October 03, 2006, 09:55:59 AM »
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Marc

Both are excellent and you can't go wrong with either.

The obvious hasn't been stated in that the 120 is an f4.0 lens while the 140 is a 2.8.
Also the 140 is internal focus while the 120 is not and 'grows' to quite a considerable size
when focussing close. The focus throw on the 120 is also very long and requires a lot of
rotation to move the elements.

Mark
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mikeseb
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« Reply #5 on: October 03, 2006, 10:14:11 AM »
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Marc, I am outrageously overinvested in the Contax 645 system--a long story that....

I have both the 120 and the 140 (another long story); suffice to say the 140 is my most used lens. I shoot a lot of portraiture, and it's ideal for that. It's relatively fast, razor sharp, and focuses quickly.

Contrary to the prevailing view, I think it's sharper than the 120, but I admit i've not systematically tested them against each other.

Unless you think macro is going to figure prominently in your shooting, I'd advise you to get the 140.

Don't overlook the 210 either, if you think you might need something a little longer. This is the least-liked Contax lens, but I think it's unjustly maligned for supposed lack of sharpness. I love its bokeh also. Great for those portrait shots where you really want the background gone.
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michael sebastian
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Gary Ferguson
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« Reply #6 on: October 03, 2006, 01:00:49 PM »
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Marc, I'll give you a slightly different perspective based on my two years with the Contax 645 system, during which I used every Contax lens except the zoom.

The Contax 120mm is a gold-standard lens that stands comparison against any other optic I've ever used. I wish the Hasselblad V 120mm macro was as good. The 140mm on the other hand is okay, but IMO will never take a seat in the pantheon of world beating lenses.

However, if you want an objective measurement rather than a string of opinions then print out the MTF charts for the Contax 645 lenses versus some Hasselblad V alternatives from here,

http://www.zeiss.de/c12567a8003b58b9/Conte...12570f90049667d

And also get the Hasselblad H MTF charts from here

http://www.hasselblad.co.uk/products/h-system/lenses.aspx

You shouldn't normally compare MTF charts from different suppliers, however the Hasselblad MTF charts are made using the same Zeiss testing equipment that Zeiss themselves use, and to the same operating procedures. What you'll see is what I experienced, the Contax 120mm macro is outstanding. The rest of the Contax line-up gets trumped by individual optics such as the 38mm Biogon, the Hasselblad V system 40mm IF, the Hasselblad H system 80mm, the Hasselblad V system 100mm, the Hasselblad V system 180mm, the Hasselblad H system 210mm, the Hasselblad V system 350mm tele-superachromat etc.

Don't get me wrong, Contax lenses have specific virtues of their own, mellifluous out of focus transitions for example, and they're certainly no worse than venerable Hasselblad warhorses like the V system 150mm. But if for you it's all about absolute resolution then IMO you'll do better elsewhere.
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Gary Ferguson
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« Reply #7 on: October 03, 2006, 03:53:59 PM »
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Marc, maybe on reflection I've been too harsh on the Contax 645 lenses, I recall the 35mm as being a very good optic, and the unsung hero of the range for me was certainly the 55mm. This little gem was a tremendous performer, and both light and (relatively!) inexpensive too. A combination of the 35mm, 55mm, and 120mm macro would certainly be a very high performance trio. In any event, enjoy the camera, like virtually every modern medium format camera it's capable of producing some stunning images!
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MarkKay
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« Reply #8 on: October 03, 2006, 04:18:58 PM »
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I have used the contax 35mm, 45mm, 55mm, 80mm, macro 120, 140mm, and 210mm.  In my opinion the 120mm macro was the best optic for resolution at short and medium distances.  At infinity, I found the 140mm to be a better lens.  THe 210mm was ok but not stellar.  I thought the 35mm was a stellar wide angle lens.  The 45 and 55mm were very close.  I have now gone to the hassy H2 system and never did a side by side but at this time I own the 35mm HC, 50-110mm, 120mm macro, and 210mm. I am considering the 80mm prime as well.

Quote
Hi all,

I have managed to get myself a great deal on a contax 645 kit and as well as a 35mm lens I am looking for one of the longer lenses.
Aside from the obvious macro facility are there other differences between the 120mm and 140mm lenses, especailly in terms of image quality and performance at infinity focus?

Thanks,

Marc
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marcwilson
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« Reply #9 on: October 03, 2006, 04:58:49 PM »
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Thanks for all the replies.

Gary, I do understand what you say about the hasselblad lenses..I used to be amazed at the quality of my 40 inch sqaure prints from my old 500cm and 60mm cf lens..I went for the contax in the end for various other reasons, knowing the zeiss lenses would also be, and have been in the past, very good for me also.

I currently have the 80 that is coming with the camera and also a well used 45mm that I have had for a while now.
I am looking to get, of course, a 35mm and then one long lens..either 120mm, 140mm (I do like the samller size of the 140, although many are suggesting a hasselblad 180 with adapter instead for that one).
I shall also be getting a hartblei 45mm shift.
I have always and do like the sound of the 55mm as it gives that nice 35mm equivalent..always a good lens to have...but not sure about having both 45 and 55 to start with.

Anyway, thanks for the advice and please do let me know if anyone has, or hears of a 35mm for sale..they do seem harder to come by than the others.

Marc
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fpoole
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« Reply #10 on: October 03, 2006, 05:52:13 PM »
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Marc,
 
I am also a former Hasselblad user that switched to Contax for a variety of reasons.  All I miss about the Hasselblad is the square and the higher sync speed.  
The Contax lenses are outstanding in real life use(I never read resolution charts) whether with film or digital.  The 35mm lens is beyond outstanding when coupled with a 22mp digital back ( I use a sinarback54 Hr).  They seem to be a little scarce now and you may pay a premium for one but you won't be disappointed.  The 80mm has a beautiful fall-off when shot wide-open.

Best,
Frank Poole
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