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Author Topic: Contax vs Leica for Canon digital  (Read 5970 times)
snapsnap5674
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« on: September 20, 2005, 11:48:40 AM »
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HI

I have been debating buying a “Leica 28mm Rom” or a “Contax Distagon 28mm MM/AE” for my “1DS Mark II” Canon digital. I have received so many conflicting remarks regarding both lenses. I was hoping someone could put me in contact with someone, familiar enough with both lenses and their performance, to help me decide.

I want the lens that is the sharpest. From everything I’ve read, I concluded that the Contax was actually sharper. I then spoke to a camera dealer who explained that the Contax was only sharper in the center. I will be using the lens at “f/8” 99% of the time. The Contax Distagon 28mm MM/AE runs about $275.00 and the Leica 28mm ROM is at least three times that amount. Will I see a difference at that aperture in sharpness – edge to edge? What other differences exist between the two lenses: bokeh, contrast, acutance, resolution, color saturation? Why buy one other the other?

Thanks
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Jack Flesher
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« Reply #1 on: September 20, 2005, 12:55:44 PM »
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I have used both and here is my .02...  

Leica glass in general has a unique look.  It is actually of lower contrast than Zeiss yet very sharp.  The lack of contrast can initially make it appear as less sharp than a higher contrast image, but this is not the case on close ispection.  Zeiss OTOH has the clinical edge, which IMO comes from the contrast.  Both are pretty neutral in color, but I would say the Zeiss leans to slightly cool while the Leica leans to slightly warm.

In actual use at f8, you will see little difference between these lenses resolution-wise.  Wide open it will be a different story.  The Leica is reknown for creamy smooth Bokeh, and though the 28 is not their best in this regard it does (again IMO only) have slightly smoother Bokeh than the Zeiss.    

Finally, neither of these lenses is an overly "stunning" performer, but both are very good optics and certainly better than Canon offerings in 28mm.

Cheers,
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BJL
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« Reply #2 on: September 20, 2005, 01:23:22 PM »
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Finally, neither of these lenses is an overly "stunning" performer, but both are very good optics and certainly better than Canon offerings in 28mm.
With Canon added to the Leica and Contax comparison, what about other 28mm lenses, such as from Nikon? One nice thing about Canon's EF mount is that, at cost of losing automation, you can use almost anyone's 35mm format lenses with an adaptor.

I am a bit skeptical of the assumption that the prestigious old German brands are automatically superior to the now dominant Japanese ones. Moreso given that the Contax brand was since some years ago used by the Japanese company Kyocera befoer the droped it, and at least some Leica branded lenses were made for them by the Japanese company Minolta.
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Paul Sumi
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« Reply #3 on: September 20, 2005, 01:38:05 PM »
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I am a bit skeptical of the assumption that the prestigious old German brands are automatically superior to the now dominant Japanese ones. Moreso given that the Contax brand was since some years ago used by the Japanese company Kyocera befoer the droped it, and at least some Leica branded lenses were made for them by the Japanese company Minolta.
Were any of the renamed Minolta lenses used on a Leitz SLR (I believe Leica used a renamed/re-engineered Minolta XD at one point)?  I think the Leitz designed / Minolta manufactured CL rangefinder used a renamed Minolta lens as well as Leitz lenses.

Paul
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Jack Flesher
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« Reply #4 on: September 20, 2005, 01:40:24 PM »
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I need to distinguish Leica 28's for above -- I am referring to the ROM version Leica R 28 with built-in hood.  The older non-ROM with removable hood is not as good.

BJL:  I have not tried any Nikon 28's other than the 28 PC and it is not in the same league as above -- perhaps other Nikon 28's are very good, but I have not tried any.  HOWEVER, I did test an Olympus 28mm f2.0 lens and it was excellent, easily in the same league as the above lenses.
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Jack Flesher
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« Reply #5 on: September 20, 2005, 01:43:49 PM »
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Were any of the renamed Minolta lenses used on a Leitz SLR (I believe Leica used a renamed/re-engineered Minolta XD at one point)?
Yes, I think a few of them were.  I'm no expert on this, but I am pretty sure the 24's all are Minolta designs, as are a few of the older zooms and the 500 mirror lens.  There are probably others as well, but these are the ones I am aware of.
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LeifG
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« Reply #6 on: September 20, 2005, 02:14:55 PM »
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You might want to consider the Nikon 28mm F2.8 AIS. This is a manual focus lens, it is very sharp, with excellent edges even wide open, and it focusses very close due to a floating element. It's much better than any other Nikon 28mm F2.8.

Leif
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BJL
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« Reply #7 on: September 21, 2005, 01:48:27 PM »
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Jack and Leif,
   thanks for the replies.

Since the 28mm PC-Nikor lens must have an oversized image circle, and so the design has be corrected over a distinctly wider angular FOV than a regular 28mm, it does not surprise me that it gives up some quality (and costs more.) There is always a "crop factor" with a PC lens!
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samirkharusi
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« Reply #8 on: September 21, 2005, 10:57:40 PM »
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I think there have been a number of posts here and elsewhere that convincingly show the superiority of the Zeiss wides when compared to the typical Canon EF wides. However there are 2 Canon medium-wides that stand out by their cost @$1100, the 24/1.4L and the 35/1.4L. Their published MTFs also show quite some potential when closed down a bit. My main interest is f2.8 to f4 for astrophotography, regardless of the widest aperture on the lens. Anyone ever had these L lenses head-to-head with either the Zeiss or Leica fare?
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Jack Flesher
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« Reply #9 on: September 25, 2005, 10:20:41 AM »
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the 24/1.4L and the 35/1.4L. ... Anyone ever had these L lenses head-to-head with either the Zeiss or Leica fare?
I've owned both.  The 24L is very good, but really not stellar even stopped down, at least on the 1Ds2.  OTOH, the 35L is very good and becomes excellent by f4.

HOWEVER!  The 35/2 is very nearly as good as the 1.4L by f4 and by f5.6 they are tough to tell apart -- other than the L shows better (more) contrast.  At f2.8 the L is the clear winner.

I have tested a few Leica wides as well.  The Leica 24 is a Minolta design and is not very good period.  The Leica 35/1.4 (Summilux) is very good even wide-open and becomes superb by f4/f5.6. It does suffer from astigmatism at the wider apertures, so for astrophotography you might be better off with the 35/2 (Summicron) which is better corrected (and significantly less expensive ).
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Ben Rubinstein
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« Reply #10 on: September 25, 2005, 01:19:43 PM »
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I didn't know that about the 35/2 Jack, though I'm on the point of buying the contax 28/2.8, any comparison shots of the two 35's out there or even better, compared to the 24-70L?
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MarkWelsh
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« Reply #11 on: November 10, 2005, 06:44:20 PM »
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The lenses on your shopping list should be:

Olympus 28mm f2
Zeiss 28mm f2
Zeiss 28mm f2.8
Leica 28mm
Nikon 28mm f2.8 AIS
Nikon 28mm f1.4D

All are fabulous. Not all are fabulously expensive. Pound for pound, it is very hard to beat the Nikon AIS and Zeiss 28mm f2.8.

MO preferences come into play here: the faster lenses are better at f4-5.6, the f2.8's are generally equal by f8.

Also aesthetic preferences: Leica for bokeh and colour, Zeiss for contrast and a particular 3D quality.
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seaum
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« Reply #12 on: December 29, 2005, 10:11:36 PM »
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Mark,

Do you know how the Zeiss 35 2.8 compares to the Zeiss 28 2.8?

Thanks,
Jack
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Yakim Peled
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« Reply #13 on: December 30, 2005, 07:59:14 AM »
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http://www.16-9.net/lens_tests/index.html
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Happy shooting,
Yakim.
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