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CONTAX CY lenses on Canon EOS Bodies




I have waited and waited for so long but unfortunatley CONTAX has not come up with a decent digital camera, so I eventually bought a EOS MkII last week to fulfill my digital desire, thinking that I can use my C/Y lenses on it.

I have tried with some of my lenses and to my disappointment, some lenses cannot be mounted. Here is what I found:

Can Use:
D18, D28/2, T45, PC35, P50/1.4, VS28-85, VS70-210, VS100-300

Cannot Use:
P55/1.2, MP60/2.8, P85/1.2, P100/2, P135/2

The problem is due to the piece of metal sticking out at the back of the lens is too long and will hit the side of the mirror box inside the camera when mounting the lens and therefore preventing you to lock the lens securely on the camera.

Naturally, I am disappointed since I cannot couple my anniversary lenses to one of the best digital cameras available. Also, I don't have a fixed focal length lens covering the short/medium-tele range.

I really want to stick with Zeiss glass and try to avoid buying Canon, as I think the Zeiss optics are much superior. Yes, I can get a 85/1.4 but since I already have the 85/1.2, I will preferred to use the 85/1.2 instead if I can find a way to get around the problem.

Has anyone tried to have the metal piece filed (trimmed) down (probably by 1mm) so that it can fit the mount?

Has anyone ever tried using the C/Y lenses on Canon EOS body? If so, can you please share which lens can/cannot be used? I also have heard that the compatability varies with different EOS bodies.

Appreciate your advise! Cheers



Active Member
Do a search on "Jorge" in the buy and sell forum of . He's currently selling 500mm and 1000mm Zeiss mirotar lenses LOL !!

He makes various C/Y to Canon Eos adapters and should have the answers for you.

You have problems with P55/1.2, MP60/2.8, P85/1.2, P100/2, P135/2 !!

What adapter were you trying it with.

I have a lot of the lenses you say work, and they do.

What is this P 55 1.2? I'd love to know more about it. love bright lenses for manual focusing! some of these were on my "want" list and it never crossed my mind that there might be a prtoblem with posterior protrusions into the mirror area.

I'd be surprised if you couldn't use these lenses.




I am using an adpator bought in a Hong Kong which I beleive is made in China with no brand name. To my surpirse, the quality is very good with secure and tight mounting onto the lens and body. Also, when removing the adaptor from the lens, the operation is very easy and smooth. This one costs about US$85. The other thing I like about this adaptor is that after the lens is mounted, the aperture index is aligned properly to the centre of the pentaprism just like how you use it on an CONTAX body. I have seen other adaptors will have the aperture index shifted to one side on the lens mount. It's more a cosmetic issue really but it's nice to have the aperture index properly positioned. I am also waiting for one that is made in Japan with shipment in early March. I would expect the Japanese version will be even better built.

The P55/1.2 is one of my beloved collection item. This was produced in 1996 in limited edition (only 1000 pieces produced as I read somewhere) to celebrate the Planar 100 years, which is engraved on the lens barrel. This lens is made in Germany, of MM type, quite heavy and with a filter size of 77mm and comes with its dedictaed hood. For some reason, this lens is so much more difficult to find than the other special edition lenses (P85/1.2 CONTAX 50 Years, P85/1.2 CONTAX 60 Years and the P135/2 CONTAX 60 Years). Over the past 5 years, I have only seen one for sale and I bought it. The price of this lens is quite high due to its scarcity, the superb build quality and the image quality that this lens produces. I think a minty condition one can fetch for over US$3.5k.

The performace (sharpness and contrast) of this lens is extraordninary and with an aperture value of f2 already exceeds that of a P85/1.4 at f5.6. Slight softness with extremely narrow depth of field at f1.2 but the effect are very pleasing (if you can get the subject in focus). It gives you have different feels with each aperture setting used, which I guess is a character of Zeiss lenses, but very well demonstrated with this lens.

I was thinking I was able to couple these Zeiss lenses with the 1D MkII thereby give me what to me a perfect combo.

Thanks for directing me to the website which I will take a look to see if there is anything interesting.



Well-Known Member
Planar 55 1.2 is the only lens of Zeiss without a proper MTF graph. Are you really sure that the performance of 55 1.2 at 2 exceeds 85 1.4 at 5.6 ?
Take the comparison of 85 1.4 and 85 1.2 for ex&le. 85 1.2 at 2 and almost as good as 85 1.4 at 2.8. These two lenses come up to performance matching each other at 4. At 5.6, they are the same. Ref:
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Take Leica asp M 50 1.4, its performance at 1.4 is better than M50 2 at 2 but not 2.8.
I really doubt that Zeiss would allow such a big performance difference that one lens at 2 is better than another at 5.6.
No matter what,you are the lucky guy who have tried the 55 1.2,how is it compared to Zeiss 60 2.8 or 50 1.4/1.7 ?


Well, I bit the bullet and ordered the MM 85/1.4 and VS 35-135, as well as three DSLR Exchange CY/EOS adapters (and get another free!) for my 1DsII. I'll dump the 17-40/4 and 100/2 Canon lenses, and snatch 21/2.8 and 28/2.8 Distagons as soon as I can. I'll keep the 24-70 and 200 L lenses for now.

Yeah, that's the same 35-135 I traded in with the RTS-III when I got my ND almost three years ago, knowing full well I could trust Contax with my digital future - DOH! ... well, hopefully not the very same one


Well-Known Member
Hi DJ,
Good luck with those, sounds pretty good. Where did you get the adapters as a matter of interest?


Well-Known Member
Chi, take Ken's word for it. The 55/1.2 is in a league of it's own. That lens and the Zeiss 85/1.2 are among the finest fast aperture lenses ever made by anyone, ever. I owned the 85/1.2 and worked with a pro that used the 55/1.2. That lens is unsurpassed IMHO. If I recall correctly, Zeiss lost bundles of money on both those lenses due to cost of production and quality control being beyond what anyone would ever pay ( a labor of love?)

DJ, best of luck with your Contax on Canon choices. And good luck finding the 21/2.8. It's become a rare bird these days. The 35-135 is quite a beast, but very good for such a long throw zoom ... focuses pretty close also if I remember correctly. Do order up the split focusing screens for the 1DsMKII. I have mine coming next week for both 1D series cameras ... along with a Hasselblad to Canon EOS adapter, which will allow me to use my Zeiss F 110/2 as well as all the V lenses like the 100/3.5 & 180/4. The real blessing is that giant Canon EOS mount.


John, I ordered from
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. And now Adaorama tells me that even though they weren't indicated as out of stock, the two lenses are indeed out of stock, so I cancelled that order. Back to looking and waiting for something to fill my new mounts, which of course were in stock
. Nothing worse than the itch you can't scratch
Oh, well. Let's see what happens.


Well-Known Member
Thanks DJ. I have had a quick look at that site and see the adapters. I shall read up on them. The new 350D looks interesting and might be good to put them on.
Bad luck about the lenses; how fustrating.
I hope you find them again soon.


Well-Known Member
Hey DJ, I've got one for you. A real Zeiss must have for your 1DsMkII.

For the first time I got my mits on a Zeiss/German 70-210/3.5 zoom and shot with it this weekend. Un-friging-believable !!!

I had heard about this lens before, but never shot with one. Well, it's like no other long zoom I've ever used. A true Zeiss masterpiece, (but unfortunately at a masterpiece price).

So, before shelling out those prices, I ran a test against my Canon 70-200/2.8L IS. Obviously, the Canon is easier to use, faster focusing and has Image Stabilization, but that was it. The Zeiss Zoom was superior in every way concerning the image itself. Richer color, better bokeh (which is very good on the Canon BTW), and because the Zeiss has a Macro mode, it focuses a lot closer ( like down to a couple inches away) I can fill the frame with an eyeball. Which will be great for head shots and closer.


Well, much water under the bridge since my last post in this particular thread, as you well know. After the several discusions here and in FM, one dumb fubb on ebay trying to get a reasonably priced CZ super-wide, i.e. the 18, and contemplating the Leica 21-35, I bid on an 18 from Italy. Just then a mint Leica 19, reputed to be in the same zone as the CZ 21, goes on sale for $2200.

Now I'm hoping somebody else goes and outbids me on the CZ 18 and I'm out of there, except the one time I hope somebody else wins, I'm the only bidder! So, I have what I hope is an excellent condition 18 on its way from the shores of Italy ... even if not in the same league as the CZ 21 & L 19, it can't possibly be worse than the 17-40L I got rid of. I hope!

Marc, my problem with the 70-210 is that I have the 85, 135 & 180, (not to mention the EOS 200 which I'll get rid of eventually) and I don't shoot that often above 85. I'd probably get the 100/2 before that, but I doubt it since I have the 85 & 135 ...

BTW, I used the 35-70 macro mode yesterday for the first time - very nice! I need to post some stuff

OK, how do you keep track of which lens / which shot, since there's no lens EXIF info with the CZ lenses? Here's what I started doing with my 1DsII.

Every time I change the lens I use the audio recording feature on the last image stating the new lens. It's fairly painless. I don't annotate every shot's f-stop, though.

At first I thought I would only be able to hear it off the Canon Viewer, but it actually creates a separate WAV file with the same file name, different extension. However, the EOS Viewer has proved the easiest way to transcribe it so far - you can click the audio icon to hear it, then enter an EXIF user comment quickly right into the CR2 file using a text box at the bottom right corner of the window. Thank you, Canon! This is the only way I've found to get it on the actual raw file. I wish ACR / Bridge would do that.

The WAV files I've created are between 15KB-40KB, nothing to even take into consideration unless you plan to recite a poem with each image ... the audio is very clear and you can speak fairly quietly. I was surprised at the quality.


DJ - There is another L19 for sale on ebay in the US... currently at $687.00 (reserve not met) with 2 days left if you are interested. I'm not sure if im supposed to post links to eBay on here or not, so I suggest doing a search for "LEICA ELMARIT-R 19MM F/2.8 LENS. MINT W/BOX" its being sold by "Icfrey".



Well-Known Member
Marc, I hope you're not exaggerating on that 70-210mm f3.5...

I've been looking out for one for a long time now, and by bizarre coincidence after reading your post today, one came up on eprey on a buy it now: so I did!

I'm really looking forward to trying it now; I've also got the Canon 70-200 f2.8L IS and that is one superb lens, so if this beats it I'll be totally stoked.
If you don't mind me asking, how much did you pay?



Well-Known Member
$2,000. I tracked this lens for a long time and it's kinda rare, so most sold for more than that (usually around $2,500). Maybe you'll get lucky and snag it for a lot less.

Whatever, it's worth it.


Well-Known Member
Well, this one was slightly less but it has a small ding in the filter ring, so the price seems about right.
Should hopefully be easier to focus than the f5.6 darkness of the 100-300mm.



Antony, thanks for the heads-up but the Gods of Light and Shadow have declared through various events and circumstances that I get this CZ 18 from Italy.

Me being the only bidder I was not able to be outbidded, so for the time being I'm done searching for a super-wide and will need to run this dude through its paces when it gets here, hoping it will out-do the 17-40L I so did not like. Let's see how this ends ...



Good luck with it. I have an 18 and I love it, although I don't have the 21mm Distagon that everyone raves about. I use it more than any other of my C/Y lenses. I got it from California about 18 months ago for $750.



Well-Known Member
DJ, you shouldn't limit yourself to just a mathematical progression of lenses my friend. While quite logical, it eliminates those special things Zeiss has put out over the years that produce images unequalled by anything produced today.

My mentor in NYC, has pointed out special glass that few if any manufacturer could afford to produce now. The Contax 28/2 is his current recommendation if you can even find one. He told me that no one could make this lens today.

My dealer in NY is trying to get a Leica 28-90/2.8-4.5 ASPH Zoom for me to try on the 1DsMKII. This lens is very expensive, so I want to try it before committing so much capital. I would be testing it against the Zeiss 28-85/3.3-4 zoom I already have.

If the lens performs better than the Contax, I may even consider the R9 and new Leica Module and sell off my Canon 1DMKII.

I am very curious about this lens, as I would like to buy one for my 1Ds2 as well. Would you mind letting me know how it works out.