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Contax - any digital options?

Descartes

Member
May someone help me to find some link in this forum, where threads how to switch in Digital from Contax? many thanks.
 

dirk

CI-Founder
May someone help me to find some link in this forum, where threads how to switch in Digital from Contax? many thanks.

do you mean you want to use contax as a digital camera or do you mean selling your contax and buying a digitalncamrra from another brand?
 

dirk

CI-Founder
the first you wrote dirk, use Contax body or Zeiss MM T* lenses, or both, in a digital domain.

In this case your options a limited. You can use Contax-Zeiss lenses with C/Y mount on Canon DSLRs with an adapter. Manual focus and only aperture priority.

Another option is adapting them on mirrorless cameras. Same functionality like above. You can use Fuji X, MFT, Nikon 1, probably also Canon M.

You get these adapters cheap at ebay. But do not expect wonders. Time goes by and modern lens design catched up compared to 20-30 year old Zeiss designs.

If you have Contax-Zeiss N lenses (AF), then there are less options. I know only one with Canon DSLRs. You have to change the mount though, which you can not do yourself. This is expensive.

There are companies who offer the change of the lens mount. Leitax is one of them.

The only Contax DSLR was the Contax ND. This was the first fullframe DSLR in the world. Even before Canon introduced its first fullframe DSLR.

I would not recommend the Contax ND. Images above ISO 250 are not looking good and it eats batteries...

I will move these postings into the Contax Forum.
 

Descartes

Member
I own only T*MM lenses. I just tried to adapt Canon EOS 1 with bad results. I would try on Fuji X or MFT...or Canon M.
 

dirk

CI-Founder
I just tried to adapt Canon EOS 1 with bad results

What was bad about the results?

I tried it years ago with a Canon 450D and Canon 5D MkI with good results. I know others (i.e. Marc /username fotografz) who used to have that also with good results.

Which adapter did you use? Which lens?
 

Descartes

Member
No focus, neither in manual. Tested with 21mm, 50mm f1.7, 80mm f.2. Ring adapter was japaneese, don't remember brand, it was red.
 

dirk

CI-Founder
No focus, neither in manual. Tested with 21mm, 50mm f1.7, 80mm f.2. Ring adapter was japaneese, don't remember brand, it was red.

o.k., then there is definitely something wrong with your adapter. You should be able to fokus tack sharp with all those lenses. I assume you meant the Zeiss 85/2.8? Because there is no 80/2.0 with C/Y mount...

With those adapter for the RTS system, you will never have AF by the way. Only manual focus is possible. And only aperture priority. You need to make the right settings in the Canon camera so that it accepts the use of manual lenses. I think the option is somehow called "release without lens attached.." or something similar...
 

dirk

CI-Founder
Which Contax body do you have? Phase One makes digital backs for Contax 645.

He wrote in his introduction that he is using a Contax 159. So no medium format. I had the same thought when I read Zeiss 80/2.0, which is the lens for the Contax 645. This is why I checked the introduction again ;)
 

Descartes

Member
I would it be some similiar for slr camera, as mine 159 (I own also a glorious AX, very special for the time).

Pardon for mistakes, I own 80 mm f.2,8 no 2,0, but for celebration of 60th year Zeiss made very special lenses, probably also a rare 1,8 or 2,0 too.
 

biggles3

CI-Supporter
There is no doubt that the fault lies with your adapter - I am not familiar with any red-coloured make.

I use Fotodiox, Kindai and Novoflex adapters on Fuji-X, Olympus 4/3 and m4/3 and Canon EOS (full frame) as well as occasionally using a Leitax conversion on some of the MM lenses. I have used every lens from the 15mm to the 500 f4.5, including the three 1.2 Planars, as well as the 600 f4 Tele ApoTessar with no issues other than needing to use magnification and/or focus peaking to ensure accurate manual focus. There are also several C/Y adapters for use with Canon cameras that are chipped to show when focus is achieved. If you can get to a shop that sells Contax-Canon adapters, try using it with your Canon and one of your lenses and see how well it works before committing to buy it - I would suggest the 50mm Planar as it's the easiest to focus. If it works with that lens, it should work with most BUT do be mindful of any lenses (like the 1.2 Planars) that have a protruding rear element as several lenses have problems with different Canon cameras where the mirror catches on the glass. And don't forget that you can also get adapters for the G-series lenses....

Good luck with finding a new adapter and keep using that lovely glass. Dirk is correct in saying that some of the old Contax Zeiss glass is showing its age; with some sensors, they can create artefacts such as chroma problems but these are correctable in post-processing. It is still worth persevering with some of the Zeiss (and Yashica ML) lenses as in good hands, they can produce stunning images with that classic Zeiss '3D' pop that set them apart...
 

Descartes

Member
many thanks biggles3, protrusion with Eos1 and 5 was real. 4/3 is not my cup of tea. I'm afraid to remain with film.
 

biggles3

CI-Supporter
Hello Descartes - are you as philosophical as your name suggests?

Here in the UK, I'm happy to report that there is currently an increase in the use of film thanks largely to a growing number of colleges running photography courses in which students have to master film as a way to understand the basics of the craft. I don't use 35mm film very often (perhaps 20 rolls a year) but I do still shoot a lot of 120 (and 220 when I can find it) film, mostly in my Contax 645. My deepest regret is the impending loss (at least for now) of the Polaroid film that can be used in my Contax Preview as well as the RTS, RTS2 and RTSIII cameras via the NPC Forscher backs; I also use it in the Contax 645 as well as Mamiya and Fuji MF film cameras. I often shoot film and digital in the Contax 645 - sometimes identical shots - and when the film's developed, check the resulting scan against the pure digital version shot with Hasselblad's Ixpress 384C or 132C backs; sometimes the film/scan outperforms the digital back and sometimes vice versa - so much depends on the quality of light. I've added a piccie of the Contax 645 with its digital back attached to Mamiya's superb Auto Bellows N and a 110mm f2.8 Sekor lens (via a Zork adapter) - it mimics the Contax 645 Auto Bellows swing/tilt/shift movements but cost me £380 instead of £1600 for a second hand Contax bellows - if you can even find one! C645-M645 Bellows N 110.JPG

A working 159 is a lovely camera to use and it would be a pity to stop taking photos with it; I hope you can find the time to use it alongside your Canon and check the like-for-like images taken with the same Zeiss glass. You might just decide to carry on with film a little longer when you compare the photos....
 

Descartes

Member
Hi biggles3. Many thanks for your lovely post. I agree to all your words. That's incouraging for me but Polaroids film male me stopping to take pictures so frequently as yesterday.
 

biggles3

CI-Supporter
Well my friend, even if you are a professional photographer, above all else, photography should be enjoyable, so, however you decide to take photos, slowly or fast, have fun with them.

I agree with you that taking a Polaroid-type shot slows you down a little but it is rather like shooting with MF or large format film; it makes you think more about the photo before you shoot as you don't want to waste the film or, more importantly, the moment. Do you remember Polaroid's 35mm film? They had 1 colour and 1 mono option and after the roll was finished, you had simply to place it in the processor, wind it through and out came the completed slides/negatives; I think it was the only time Polaroid allowed you to keep up with the action. Sadly, it only lasted for a few years but prior to digital, I loved the freedom it gave people.

I think you are a lucky man as you have your feet in both the analogue and digital worlds unlike most of today's youngsters; each has something special to offer and with that lovely 159 and 3 superb Zeiss lenses (that 21mm is outstanding and proves that Zeiss, Japan is every bit as good as Zeiss, Oberkochen!) as well as your great Canon cameras you have all the options to have fun for years to come... Just keep on enjoying...

All the best.
 

Descartes

Member
What you wrote is the eternal dispute between point and shoot and reasoned action. I can only say that I am very sorry to think about the extinction of Contax Zeiss gear by the advent of digital world. Probably a good product as an interchangeble digital back by Kyocera, could be a great and dignitous cignus chant. All the best, even to you.
 

dirk

CI-Founder
I do think Kyocery made a mistake to quit the photomarket. The reason was that they always believed they have to offer the best fullframe sensor with the best resolution, if they want to continue with digital. At teh same time the internal fight whether all productss hould be labled Kyocera or not etc.

They should have kept it simple, offer solutions with APS-C sensors to be more competitive in price and performance at the beginning like everyone else and upgrade later to fullframe as soon as technolgy advanced.

Instead they kept the Contax ND fullframe with a Philips sensor inside which was designed for medium format cameras. It heated up very fast in that small 35mm body and images above ISO 250 were not theat good anymore... Additionally majority of lenses for the ND systenm only zooms. This is not the Contax/Zeiss target group. Zooms are good, but the majority of these customers want to have 3-5 FFL at least in addition to zoom options...

What Fuji did with its Fuji X system (lens selection, APS-C sensor for the start and marketing), Kyocera should have done with the Contax N system 14 years ago....
 

afshalders

Active Member
I would give a try for a good mirrorless system with focus peaking. I'm using Mamiya 645 lenses and others with very good results on my Fuji X-T1. With dSLRs I never got a really good focus with my Canon 5D until the day I changed the original focus screen to one with microprism and split image.
 
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