View Full Version : adapting CJZ Contax lenses to Leica

02-07-2019, 13:16
Good afternoon,
I just acquired a very nice early un-coated Contax CZJ 5cm f2.8 Tessar and would like to use it on my Leica M digital. It seems there are adapters out there such as this one

(Amedeo Zeiss Contax Rangefinder Mount to Leica M Mount)

However, these are very expensive and understandably so as it is a bit more complicated then just a question registry distance and mount. Specifically because the mount includes the helical focus body.

My question is this...
If I buy a cheapo mount to adapt the lens (one without a helical focus function). Can I just use this built in collapsible bayonet to push/pull focus? I am unsure if the focus body turns the lens out past the extended bayonet distance.

Alternately, should I maybe just consider selling it and getting an early un-coated Elmar? Or other lens (Canon ltm 5cm f2.8?). I hear it has very similar performance and will provide the classic Tessar look which is what I am after. I specifically want the older Tessar look and not as interested in the modern or coated versions even when considering price.

Open to other ideas as well and thanks for all who contribute here. It has helped me tremendously.

02-07-2019, 13:41
Unfortunately, using the lens' collapsing mechanism won't allow you to focus normally. Any adapter you use will generally be designed for your lens to focus to infinity when mounted. The helical will then extend away from the flange in order to focus closer. Collapsing the lens will move it closer to the flange, therefore focusing *past* infinity, and will therefore not form a usable image.

If you are only planning to use the 5cm Tessar lens on your Leica, Amedeo makes an excellent adapter for 50mm lenses specifically, which you can find on his ebay page. Not only does it reverse the focusing direction to match Leica lenses, but is also rangefinder-coupled down to 0.6m - far closer than the original mount. It's not cheap, but I've been using one with an uncoated 5cm F1.5 Sonnar from 1937, with excellent results.

02-07-2019, 16:59
Amedeo makes superb adapters, I’ve had both types (50mm specific and the standard adapter.)

That said, you can probably pick up a Tessar-style uncoated lens for less...

02-07-2019, 22:47
bought an Amedeo adapter for my Zeiss Opton Sonnar 50/2.0 to use on a Leica M3... xpensive but worth every penny....

02-08-2019, 00:08
I'd say the adapter is probably not worthwhile for just this lens, unless you've tested it somehow and are absolutely in love with it. You could get either a Kiev or maybe even Contax body, or a tessar in ltm, such as an elmar, Canon, Minolta... or one of the Soviets, for less.
OTOH the adapter would allow you to use other Contax lenses in the future..

02-08-2019, 08:14
Thanks for the thoughts and suggestions. You all seem to lean in the same direction my mind was already headed on this matter.

I guess Ill need to do some makeshift free lensing and barrow or rent an old Elmar and do some dirty work to decide.

Anyone know if the Canon ltm 5cm f2.8 is a clone of the old style Tessar? I know the design of the Contax CZJ changed significantly around post war which I assume is around when Canon started making their lineup of range finder lenses.

02-08-2019, 10:59
Looking for Tessar "look" on a digital M:

Not sure if you've considered the FSU lens Industar-22. Yes, its very inexpensive and sometimes discounted as a mere FSU lens, but its actually a fine lens in terms of performance and I believe it is more of a true Tessar than the Elmar. I happen to have 2 or 3 of this lens and I've used them to get photographs I like -- film and digital.

They are so inexpensive I think you could chance getting one (or a few) and trying it out. I don't recommend collapsing it on a digital body though :eek:.

There are in existence LTM Tessar lenses (actual Tessar lens). I think Zeiss made some, but I also know there are quite a few "adapted" Tessars out there. Our longtime RFF member raid might have one. I suppose with some patience and looking, you could find one for yourself.

Or grab an I-22. :D

02-08-2019, 13:28
Thank you rfaspen...yours is the voice of the sensibility here. I suppose I like to think of myself as a shooter and not a collector even though I get bouts of GAS that cannot be explained or helped at times. Ill look around for some examples from the Russian lenses and see what I like about them.

I welcome some comments from "RAID" as well if he does indeed have an ltm Tessar. I started my journey with an old 50mm Tessar and find myself drawn back to it after a few years of playing with other glass.

I am also very interested in finding the look produced from the Rolleiflex 2.8 Planar/Xenotars in rangefinder form as well. Again, Specifically from the era of the 2.8C-F. I love those cameras and the images they produce and would like to translate this to RF in some way. I know the format is different and it wont be exact but I am sure there are RF formulas that compare out there. Possibly a Xenon/Summarit or another old Biotar/Planar variant. I have really grown to like the quirks and flaws of the old glass over newer more corrected designs and coatings.