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Zeiss Contax Forum for the classic Zeiss Contax I, II, III, IIa, IIIa , G series, and if you want to push it, the nice Contax point and shoots. Some spill over from the Kievs, the Soviet copy of the Contax II/III can also be expected. Plus the ONLY production camera ever made in classic Zeiss Contax Rangefinder mount WITH TTL metering ... the Voigtlander Bessa R2C.

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Old 10-07-2015   #41
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Quote:
Originally Posted by k__43 View Post
questions:
The Amadeo adapter focuses to 0.6m I've read, is this correct or what is this dedicated 50mm adapter about? is it coupled that close?
That would be a huge advantage over my ZM sonnar!

How close does the lens focus on a contax body?
The new dedicated Amedeo 50mm adapter does focus down to 0.6m. Or so it says. I never checked the actual distance, but on my M6 (with its supposedly minimum focusing distance of 0.7m ) the new adapter is rangefinder coupled down to last millimeter. No worries about loosing coupling with (too) close focusing.

So, either my M6's rangefinder can follow closer than 0.7m or my Amedeo adapter doesn't quite go to 0.6m. Which is perfect, I was worrried that I will loose rangefinder coupling before coming to the full extention of the adapter.

Otherwise, on Contax body it goes down to 0.9m (I think).
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Old 10-07-2015   #42
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The Amedeo adapter makes the lenses much heavier.
I never minded the weight, though I'm interested to see how much lighter the Sonnetar is. In all honesty, a superfast version of the 1.5 was kind of a dream of mine, back then in '09...
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Old 10-07-2015   #43
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Originally Posted by Highway 61 View Post
Once focused closer than 1m, the 50/1.5 Sonnar should suffer from terrible focus shift...
Well, you need to "know your Sonnar(s)".

I find it easier to compensate for the shift at close range than at distance.
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Old 10-07-2015   #44
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mabelsound View Post
I never minded the weight, though I'm interested to see how much lighter the Sonnetar is. In all honesty, a superfast version of the 1.5 was kind of a dream of mine, back then in '09...
I've never had a Sonnetar in my hands, but I would tend to think that the Sonnar+Amedeo combo would still be lighter. Specially if using an East German one. Just an educated guess.
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Old 10-07-2015   #45
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alas my contax 1.5 in amedeo is front focus, i have to "manually" over-focus it. any suggestions ?

raytoei
I have two Amedeo Contax adapters. The more deluxe one is spot on at f/1.5, not unlike a ZM C-Sonnar that has been set for f/1.5. And when you see that, you'd think that the Opton is the best thing since sliced bread. But this adapter is very hard to use with collapsible lenses, since it doesn't have a grip to focus, and you tend to unlock the lens by grasping it.

My dedicated 50mm adapter seems to behave the way you would expect a Sonnar to, which is to front focus a little bit at f/1.5 and come to center around f/2.4. This is the same behavior as the ZM C-Sonnar as delivered. That said, the front-focusing error diminishes very greatly at close distances (1m and under) - pretty much invisible. You could fix this, I think, by filing down the cam very slightly. But there is no free lunch with digital cameras and lenses with spherical aberration.

I am going to repeat this test now that both my Leica digital bodies are back from calibration. Didn't want to have miscalibration as a factor too.

A lot of this is that you are adding a ton of tolerances together by combining an infinitely adjustable Zeiss lens with a helicoid made 50+ years later. Count your blessings that this works at all!

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Old 10-07-2015   #46
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The Sonnar can balance nicely between high contrast areas and lower contarst areas in an image.
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Old 10-07-2015   #47
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Old 10-07-2015   #48
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Old 10-07-2015   #49
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Old 10-07-2015   #50
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Old 10-07-2015   #51
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I will use this lens more often. These images brought back some memories.
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Old 10-07-2015   #52
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I used to think that the Sonnar was THE 50mm for me. And I still love it to bits, make no mistake about it. But some years ago someone who is posting in this thread gave me the Nikkor version, and my 30-something year affair with the Sonnar went kaput.

The Nikkor-S is THE 50 for me.

L1000187 by Aguaitacaminos, on Flickr
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Old 10-07-2015   #53
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The Nikkor is a very good Sonnar too. I have it too.
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Old 10-07-2015   #54
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kevcaster View Post
and I like the lower contrast rendered by these older lenses.

On the 'soft corners at full aperture debate'. It is fairly unlikely that a picture made at full aperture has any important information in it's corners that needs to be sharp, and not a single viewer of any of my pictures has ever commented on my soft corners.
Actually this is not a low contrast less by any standard and was famed for it's excellent contrast. Wide open contrast does drop as with most fast lenses. However here it stopped down without edit on the M9:


jena blue by unoh7, on Flickr

and by comparison the v4 50 Cron a moment later:


L1023008-2 by unoh7, on Flickr

A lot of old lenses have haze and this has lead to generalizations about contrast, when in fact they vary alot.

As to WO sharpness to the edges, few lenses can manage this from any era, compared to how they do at 5.6. But some older lenses simply have soft edges all the way to f/5.6 and the Sonnetar is always soft on the edge.

Sony A7 cameras, un-moddifed, greatly exaggerate this problem of edge softness, especially at infinity. The "softness" is often a field curve which makes it impossible to have both edge and center in focus.

You are right, in many shots, this is immaterial.
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Old 10-07-2015   #55
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J3 in Kiev-Contax mount, OM-D E-M5, via Amedeo & Lumix M mount adaptors.

IL070753-Edit by Ivan Lozica, on Flickr
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Old 10-07-2015   #56
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Used one of my 50 Sonnars on a Contax II in September

Fomapan 100 with Y2 filter
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Old 10-18-2015   #57
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you guys got me hooked - I've bought a contax III w/ a sonnar /1.5
The camera is supposed to work too so I guess I'll make a side by side shoot out with my ZM sonnar soon
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Old 10-18-2015   #58
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k__43 -- you're going to love the Contax III. I own a Contax IIa and it's one of my favourite 'vintage' cameras. Beautiful build quality.

Just to keep this thread rolling, here's another tribute to the Zeiss Opton-Sonnar 50/1.5 ... first a photo of my beloved Contax IIa.



And here's an image taken with this lens ... Fuji Neopan 400, XTOL 1:0

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Old 10-18-2015   #59
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I wish I had a opton-sonnar T but I think mine (soon to arrive purchase) is older, but for the price of the set I couldn't resist. If I like the lens I'm selling the camera tho and get an adapter
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Old 10-23-2015   #60
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Fomapan 100, Y2 filter.
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Old 10-24-2015   #61
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Quote:
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Fomapan 100, Y2 filter.
This is an image of great quality.

Also others here have posted remarkably modern looking images as wells as some with a vintage look. Really nice work from the contributors.
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Old 10-24-2015   #62
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A pic of my IIIa Color Dial.... done by Henry Scherer with a J3. Wonderful camera and lens.

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Old 10-24-2015   #63
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Old 10-25-2015   #64
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Mr_Flibble + ray*j*gun ... great images. Thanks for posting!

Another image, just for fun.

Camera: Kiev 2a
Lens: Carl Zeiss Opton-Sonnar 50mm F1.5
Film: Neopan 400 developed in HC-110

The "Harry Potter" flying car.

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Old 10-25-2015   #65
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Love the Sonnar 50/1.5! Mine is with native nickel LTM mount, from 1933. A real rarity according to Zeiss experts.
Here's a portrait I took with the Sony A7R + helicoid adapter to come way closer than the 1m limit of the lens.
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Old 10-25-2015   #66
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General Tire by Rob F, on Flickr
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Old 10-29-2015   #67
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I had a Contax iiia with a 50mm f1.5 Sonnar T.
It is quite dreamy wide open. Sharper stopped down.
But it did not suit me. i sold it a while back.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg ContaxIIIa_820s.jpg (29.0 KB, 23 views)
File Type: jpg ContaxIIIa_835s.jpg (19.1 KB, 23 views)
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Old 11-09-2015   #68
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Old 11-09-2015   #69
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La Seine by Vic Stewart, on Flickr
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Old 11-23-2015   #70
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I was lucky to score very clean CZJ uncoated Sonnar last weekend and I must admit I'm blown away with this 1938 lens, last time I've seen such quality with modern ZM Planar.





nothing fancy, simple test shots on expired Fujicolor 100, but I really like the Zeiss rendering.
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Old 02-03-2016   #71
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Sonnars can be found in many other brands and sizes, most do deliver very well despite age. I have an adaper for my Ms besides my Contaxes.
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Old 02-05-2016   #72
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A lovely lens.
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Old 01-02-2017   #73
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Carl Zeiss 50mm f/1.5 Sonnar (Oberkochen) Acros 100/ID-11 1+3


















Carl Zeiss Jena 50mm f/1.5 Sonnar (coated) Fujifilm Provia 100F

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Old 01-02-2017   #74
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In terms of sharpness vs. dreaminess, in descending order of sharpness:

1. CZ (final) West German - has 80-85% of the contrast wide-open that it does at f/2. Bokeh not like the older ones. You could describe the sharpness at f/2 and close range as almost transgressive; in the central circle, it has extremely high contrast and apparent sharpness. Backgrounds, though... they tend to either have Nikon 1.4-style bokeh or look like paper cutouts against backlighting. The chrome and coatings on these (and even the aperture blades) are jewel-like.

2. (Tie) ZM C-Sonnar - really depends on how the lens is set. Lenses set to just focus at f/1.5 are very good all-around performers. The focus shift on this lens is not inherently any worse than any other Sonnar, and it really seems to be the one where the lore has gotten a little out of control. But there are better and worse ways to calibrate it. Yes, Virginia, you can make this your everyday 50. Less rickety mechanically than any of the others, takes 46mm filters, and is nicely finished. Best bokeh by far.

2. (Tie) MS-Sonnetar - at f/1.6 and down, it performs about as well as any of these. At the maximum aperture (1.1), it is roughly similar to the ZM. Has the advantage of being arbitrarily adjusted for focal length, which allows you to set a very precise relationship to the RF. Extremely light in weight.

3. CZJ (uncoated) - lower contrast all around; not as sharp as the CZ when it is sharp (which is not surprising at all - and in many cases desirable). Most pleasing lens at f/1.5. With this one, you can fix this one to adjust like a Sonnetar, which seems to be important because pretty much every example I have owned seems to front-focus on Amedeo adapters. I'm guessing these were collimated for particular cameras. Nicely finished, but the newest of these are approaching 80 years old.

Dante

And for the people who don't believe that the ZM Sonnar is sharp.... this is wide-open on an M240. Just keep making your repair guy adjust it until it's right. Totally worth it.

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Old 01-02-2017   #75
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Very nice portrait, Dante!

I should get an adapter too.

Contax I v7, Sonnar black/nickel 50mm f/1.5 uncoated, 400-2TMY.

Erik.

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Old 01-02-2017   #76
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I have a number of CZJ 5cm f/1.5 Sonnars now. All pre-war, 2 in Contax-mount, one shoe-horned into an Jupiter-3 LTM mount by Mr Sweeney.

Looking forward to play with them on my Contax IIa when it arrives.
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Old 01-02-2017   #77
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dante_Stella View Post
In terms of sharpness vs. dreaminess, in descending order of sharpness:
...

3. CZJ (uncoated) - lower contrast all around; not as sharp as the CZ when it is sharp (which is not surprising at all - and in many cases desirable). Most pleasing lens at f/1.5. With this one, you can fix this one to adjust like a Sonnetar, which seems to be important because pretty much every example I have owned seems to front-focus on Amedeo adapters. I'm guessing these were collimated for particular cameras. Nicely finished, but the newest of these are approaching 80 years old.

Dante
...
Dante,

Thanks for the rundown. I've been interested in the Sonnars for a while and happened onto a very early Contax mount one this fall. I believe mine is about 1934.

I'm curious to hear more about a couple of your comments. This is the only 50 1.5 Sonnar I've shot other than a Nikkor (1.4) version. I'm wondering why you think it is not surprising that the early uncoated lens is less sharp than the late version. Do you think the design was tweaked in a positive way over the years? Or glass choices improved? And do you find the older one less sharp even stopped down? The Nikkor I tried seemed just a slight bit sharper wide open than the old Sonnar, but I prefer the look of the Sonnar. I'm not sure whether there was much difference in sharpness stopped down; both seem good.

I use mine on the simpler 50 only version Amedeo adapter, and the main thing I wondered about was your comment on adjusting the lens. Mine front focused at full aperture as you indicate, and seemed to match at about 2.8. I found that very awkward since I mostly wanted the lens for low light. After reading a lot of Brian Sweeney's old posts on tweaking Jupiters I experimented with slightly unscrewing the rear group to increase the focal length a little and get very accurate focus wide open now. Is that the same adjustment you mention?

It is a lovely lens. I'm tempted to try a later version, or maybe even the new Jupiter, but this one is working well enough for me that I may not bother.
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Old 01-02-2017   #78
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I've been interested in the Sonnars for a while and happened onto a very early Contax mount one this fall. I believe mine is about 1934.
(...)
I'm wondering why you think it is not surprising that the early uncoated lens is less sharp than the late version.
It is not less sharp. It is older and uncoated. So it's probably dirtier than a late CZ 1950s version, with a dirty and oily layer everywhere on the optics elements, probably. And being uncoated it's more prone to internal reflections, hence a lower micro-contrast, hence an impression of "less sharp" photos.

Once properly cleaned, a prewar Sonnar, aimed at no contrejour, and fitted with a good lens hood, will deliver the same results as a postwar Sonnar. The formula is the same. But it can't compete with a later T coated Sonnar in difficult lighting conditions.

Erik Van Straten's photo above tells it all.

I have several Sonnars 1.5 for Contax. The best of the best is the Zeiss-Opton T. But it's because it's exceptionally clean I guess, with intact coatings. Yet, in similar, overcast and plain lighting conditions, I can't guess the photos shot with it from the photos shot with the prewar (1937) uncoated one, or with the prewar coated one (1938) which has damaged coatings and some light unremovable haze in its rear group.

I used a modern C-Sonnar 1.5 ZM several times, but it was on a Leica M8-2, with a sensor crop factor. So I can say nothing relevant about it.
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Old 01-02-2017   #79
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Even against the light a clean uncoated Sonnar 50mm f/1.5 performs satisfactory at full aperture.

Contax I v7, Sonnar black and nickel 50mm f/1.5 full aperture, 400-2TMY.

Erik.

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Old 01-02-2017   #80
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In terms of the difference (and I can't speak to early West German lenses; I only have a late one), it's not as much the resolving power as the way focus rolls off on detailed subjects and how light rims on out of focus highlights. It's subtle, but it's pretty clear that something is different. If I get a minute today, I'll make some comparison shots that will make this more visible. Oil haze can lower contrast, but it seems extraordinarily unlikely that it would change aberrations.

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