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C645 140mm Lens revisit


Well-Known Member
It has been over 13 months anybody written any message on the Contax 645 lens thread. Are there anyone shooting with their Contax 645 anymore? Too much fun with there dSLRs?

13 months seems to be a long time, especially in the digital world. Reading some of the thread over a year old almost sounded funny and silly now.

I do want to ask a question. Is the Contax 140mm any good? I asked the same question two years ago regarding 120mm vs 140mm. I bought a 120mm shortly after than and I absolutely love it for table table and portraits. It is the best lens I owned.

Lately, there are a lot of Zeiss 140mm lens for sales in ebay around $850, mostly like new in box.
A year ago, you could not found one in less than $1100 in the similar condition.

I just bought one due to the low price. Am I the only one still buying/using Contax MF stuff?

I should get my lens next week, but I would love to hear more about the 140mm lens quality.


Well-Known Member
Are you kidding me Albert?

The C645 is my "MONEY MAKER of all time" camera system !!!!!

I use it to do almost ALL of our commercial jobs using the Kodak C645 Proback. I recently purchased a 55/3.5 and added a complete back-up 645 kit to make sure I can shoot that camera well into the future. The only lens I've sold recently was the 350/4 (fab lens, but a lot of cash tied up in an infrequently used lens).

My Canon 1DsMKII sucks compared to this kit. I tried to use the Canon for some commercial studio jobs (like shooting jewelry), and had to immediately switch back to the C645, 120/4 Macro and Kodak Proback. The dynamic range and larger sensor size of the C645, Kodak proback and Zeiss glass beats the crap out of the Canon with L lenses.

The 140/2.8 is great. I also use it with the 1.4X APO extender for a 200/4.

Here's another tip: Some of the legendary Hasselblad glass like the 110/2F and 150/2.8F can be had for around $800 to $1,100. and is even more spectacular optically than the 645 glass. (You need the MAM-1 adapter or one of the other maker's adapters). I recently added a Hasselblad 203 camera to my closet, and upgraded my 150/2.8F to an FE lens, so I have a 150/2.8F in mint shape for $975. if anyone is interested in one for their C645.

With a MAM adapter you can also use the Hasselblad Mutar Shift unit with many Hasselblad lenses, which is fabulous for tabletop and still life work.

The C645 with a Proback is still one of the highest quality, totally portable digital solutions out there for under $10,000. Considering that the Canon 1DsMKII is $7,500 to $8,000 just for the body, and the Phase One 22 meg portable solution is $30,000.+, and the Leaf Aptus (with a top ISO of 200 ;-( is $25,000. ... well, ...


Well-Known Member
Marc, you are one of the most hard working shooters, so I would assume you would use all kind of gears on hands.

Thanks for the tips on the 110/2F and 150/2.8F, I will keep an eye on them.

I got my 140mm last night, made some quick shots around the house. It appears to me that is lens is more contrasty than the rest. I have a hard time controlling the hi-light. I guess I need to shoot under better (or controlled) lighting.

Here is a quick test shot from this morning. Just a fun snap.



Well-Known Member
Methinks you are being too modest. It is a lovely shot and I like the ragged edges too.


I have been using the 140mm for the past year and I find it to be an excellent lens in the tradition of Zeiss optics. As Marc said, with the 1.4x Mutar, you get another focal length out of it, still sharp. I am also thinking of getting a MAM adapter to add more Hassy Zeiss lenses to the collection. Another lens I had bought out of curiosity was a Zeiss Jena 180mm and I have been very impressed with it's performance, especially for the $500 price tag. It is no less in image quality than all the other Contax Zeiss I have and I have all of them but for the 350mm. Anyway, you should have successful images with the 140mm as your posted picture proves.


I have to agree with John here (sorry, Albert
). The edgy look as well as the ragged edges are nice in this shot.


I agree with the comments above.
I've used the 140mm because of the Mutar capability when you dont want to also carry the 210mm in a simple 3-lens travel kit., and the light weight. Everyone says the 120mm is the gold standard. Some well known landscape and nature photogs use it. I haven't printed enought of my chromes (or big enough?) to see much difference.

I like my Hassy 50mm CF, 80mm CFE, and 160mm CB, but for some reason my Fuji 670, 690and GA645 lenses/cameras seem to have more contrast and richer color than some of the C645 lenses. Might be just personal preference. The C645 is my "do everything" medium format system, however, no complaints.


Albert, that is a very nice image. Like Marc I love the Hasselblad FE 110mm F2.0 and it is my favorite portrait lens in the medium format. However, I also used it quite often for other occassions since it is such a sharp lens. I on the other hand do not like the FE 150mm F2.8 but love the CF 180mm F4.0.


Well-Known Member
Well friends, I have jumped ship. All my beloved C645 gear is either gone or on the auction block. It was a tough, 4 month long decision process. My commercial needs finally won out. A new H2D with integrated 22 meg Imacon back is in route as a result. It is now a totally portable, self powered unit allowing capture to CF cards, the Image Bank, or now even any portable hard drive.

Total integration, self powered, versatile system with much surer and faster AF was the collective reasons in the end.

I will be keeping the Fujiblad lenses to a minimum, perhaps 4 maximum for AF event and wedding work (50/3.5, 80/2.8, 100/2.2, 150/3.5) ... all the remaining needs will be fulfilled with my wide range of Zeiss CFE and CFi glass via the new CF adapter. I will continue to use 500 and 200 series Hasselblad cameras for film work.

Here's one of the last shots with the C645 system using a 140/2.8 and 1.4X APO extender .... It is titled "Casual Observer"



Active Member
Marc, congrats on your new system. I know it must have been a tough decision, especially since you will no longer be able to use the FE 110/2. Good luck, and let us see some pics from your new H2D!



Well-Known Member
Lovely shot Marc. Good luck with the new system- looking forward to seeing the results.


Hmm, the picture doesn't load in my browser ... but I'm sure it's very nice
. New toys are always fun! I'm sure it'll get great images from Marc. The 1DsII and the host of CZ & Leica lenses I got this year will be keeping me busy for a while. Overequipped has been redefined