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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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85mm lens
Old 03-02-2019   #1
pauld111
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85mm lens

I am thinking of buying an 85mm f2, Opton Sonnar for my Contax ii. Would it be advisable to get a viewfinder for this lens or is it close enough to a 50mm to guess? Which is the best viewfinder to get, there seems a lot of different models made for the Contax?

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Old 03-02-2019   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pauld111 View Post
I am thinking of buying an 85mm f2, Opton Sonnar for my Contax ii. Would it be advisable to get a viewfinder for this lens or is it close enough to a 50mm to guess? Which is the best viewfinder to get, there seems a lot of different models made for the Contax?

Thanks
The best ones I found for that focal length is the Canon brightline finder, the ones in the black and chrome finish.

Years ago they were low priced because people only wanted the 50mm to the wide angle variety, but now the 85mm Canon brightline finders sell for over 200 USD, unfortunately for buyers.
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Old 03-02-2019   #3
Steve M.
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There's quite a bit of difference between a 50 viewfinder and one for an 85 lens, but since the 50 is much bigger, at least you won't end up with unexpected cropping if you decide to use the 50 viewfinder and keep the subject in the middle of the frame. That 85 lens you mentioned is a very good lens.

A 90mm viewfinder is almost exactly the same as an 85, so here's a Leitz finder from one of my favorite sellers for $95. This is the sort of thing that drove me to SLR's. No matter what lens you use, the viewfinder is always the same. If you plan on shooting that 85 at f2 you will need to really nail the focus. Fortunately your Contax has a long rangefinder base.

https://www.ebay.com/itm/LEICA-LEITZ...:pf:0&LH_BIN=1
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Old 03-02-2019   #4
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Thanks guys I will do further research. At the moment it is just an idea.
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Old 03-02-2019   #5
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That is my next desired lens. The Jupiter 9 may be a reasonable alternate.I have a Nikon Varifocal viewfinder already, but a dedicated brightline would be nice.
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Old 03-02-2019   #6
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Zeiss made a combined 85-135 finder, several companies made turret finders with multiple focal lengths, and KMZ made a single focal length finder for the Kiev (Contax copy) that is fairly common, and can be had for a low price (plus shipping).



Best deal I saw was $20 for the finder, and free shipping, with the plastic case and "passport". Only thing with the KMZ finders is there is no parallax correction, and sometimes you get one glued together at an angle, so all your photos wind up with a slant if you don't compensate for it.


Zeiss also made finder adapters for the II and III that fit over the front and back of the viewfinder, but they are a bit more expensive.

https://www.ebay.com/itm/Zeiss-Ikon-...ss!24019!US!-1


https://www.ebay.com/itm/Zeiss-Clip-...UAAOSwvENcFF3E



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Old 03-03-2019   #7
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I recently bought a new-old-stock Voigtlander 90mm external viewfinder to use on my Bessa T with my Zeiss Tele-Tessar T* 85mm f4 ZM lens. I havenít actually shot a roll of film with this combination yet so I donít know how well this plan will work, but I have high hopes that the 90mm VF/85mm lens will be a good match. By-the-way, the Voigtlander 90mm external viewfinder is beautifully built, I bought the silver one, it comes in a blue leather pouch like a piece of jewelry.

Mike
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Old 03-03-2019   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by farlymac View Post
Zeiss made a combined 85-135 finder, several companies made turret finders with multiple focal lengths, and KMZ made a single focal length finder for the Kiev (Contax copy) that is fairly common, and can be had for a low price (plus shipping).



Best deal I saw was $20 for the finder, and free shipping, with the plastic case and "passport". Only thing with the KMZ finders is there is no parallax correction, and sometimes you get one glued together at an angle, so all your photos wind up with a slant if you don't compensate for it.


Zeiss also made finder adapters for the II and III that fit over the front and back of the viewfinder, but they are a bit more expensive.

https://www.ebay.com/itm/Zeiss-Ikon-...ss!24019!US!-1


https://www.ebay.com/itm/Zeiss-Clip-...UAAOSwvENcFF3E



PF
I think if I get the lens I will definitely get the Zeiss adapter. I looked on the UK Ebay site and I can get one for about £68.

Thanks for the idea.
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Old 03-04-2019   #9
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The eBay listings above are for attachments for post war IIa and IIIa models. If you have a pre war Contax II they won't fit. Zeiss did make similar attachments for pre war models, but these mount in the accessory shoe and are specific to the II and III models.
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Old 03-04-2019   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cascadilla View Post
The eBay listings above are for attachments for post war IIa and IIIa models. If you have a pre war Contax II they won't fit. Zeiss did make similar attachments for pre war models, but these mount in the accessory shoe and are specific to the II and III models.
http://rick_oleson.tripod.com/index-26.html Is a Rick Oleson DIY solution
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Old 03-05-2019   #11
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I have a post-war (Zeiss Stuttgart) 85mm viewfinder that seems to work very well with the 85mm Sonnar on both my II and IIa cameras.

And I found that the Soviet-era plastic 85mm finder doesn't do a very good job.
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Old 03-06-2019   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cascadilla View Post
The eBay listings above are for attachments for post war IIa and IIIa models. If you have a pre war Contax II they won't fit. Zeiss did make similar attachments for pre war models, but these mount in the accessory shoe and are specific to the II and III models.

Thanks for pointing that out. I always thought the other way, but tonight I find out that there was one specifically made for the III that fit into the accessory shoe (and may have been the one I originally saw), but the later versions wrapped around the end of the camera.


Source of info: https://www.pacificrimcamera.com/pp/zicontaxfinder.htm


I learn so much on this Forum.


PF


ps: They left out the 438 "torpedo" finder for 85/135mm
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Old 03-23-2019   #13
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I have now purchased a lens. The link is:

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Zeiss-for...53.m2749.l2649

And I purchased this external finder to use with it:

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Zeiss-Iko...53.m2749.l2649
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Old 03-25-2019   #14
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Congratulations on your lens--I'm sure you will enjoy it. The #427 finder is not my favorite Zeiss finder for an 85 since the image is smaller than the #440 and 438 finders that also show the 85 mm field of view. It will work, though, and it does have some parallax compensation.
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Old 03-25-2019   #15
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Paul, over the years I have used many 85/90's or equivalent in different formats all the way from m4/3 to 4x5....
It is a very useful focal length.
Enjoy!
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Old 03-25-2019   #16
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I'm using my Canon 85mm LTM with a russsian 85mm viewfinder. It is good enough and quite cheap at $30-40 on the bay. Is not a brightline but it gets the job done for a focal length that I don't use that often.

Regards

Marcelo.
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Old 03-25-2019   #17
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Thanks guys for all the great feedback. Once I get the lens and have chance to test it I will post some photos.
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Old 03-25-2019   #18
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I've got one of those 427 finders. Got it to use on my Contina cameras, but have never tried it on the Contax.


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Old 03-28-2019   #19
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A few photos I took with my Pre-War 85mm f2 lens. Still waiting for the viewfinder.





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Old 03-28-2019   #20
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My 85 VF is a Canon. An older one, not brightline. But I've used it with so many different cameras! Nikon RF, Zorki-4, Canon RF... I'd be lost without it.
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