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Contax N Lenses vs Canon L Lenses

simonli

Member
I seek the advice of those who have experience with both. How close does Canon's best L lenses come to their T* cousins in terms of color, sharpness and bokeh? What quality(s) will I sacrifice?

Would their 17-40L F4 give better color and sharpness than a FFL 20mm F2.8 & 35mm F2 at respective focal lengths? (for use on their 1.6x crop cameras)

I've read that Canon's quality control is pretty poor. What advice can you give upon purchasing? Would you shoot a few s&les of a lens, note the serial numbers, go home & analyse and come back another day to buy? What kind of variations can I expect?

P.S. Yes I am a loyal, heavily invested, Contax fan. Nevertheless, I am calculating a way out if Contax Kyocera fails to deliver in their next ND.
 

gjames52

Well-Known Member
Simonli:

What is wrong with using film with your fine equipment? It was designed for it.

If you have to go digital with new lenses why not buy those specifically designed for digital?

Regards

Gilbert
 

afranklin

Well-Known Member
Gilbert,

> If you have to go digital with new lenses why not buy those > specifically designed for digital?

What do you think they do that normal lenses don't?

Austin
 

afranklin

Well-Known Member
> Austin: > > Olympus has the answers to your question. > > Regards > Gilbert

Gilbert,

Perhaps you could put the answer in your own words ;-)

Regards,

Austin
 
W

writing4me

Hi Simon, I have a small bit of info but can't answer all your questions. My favorite Canon lens was the 70-200 2.8 L (Not IS version). Combined with my A2 body (no longer in the EOS line up) I could track anything that was moving fast. I tracked galloping horses frequently, moving in all directions, towards me, away from me and across my path. I shot it wide open very often and loved it to bits. It was quiet too. The bokeh was quite pleasing, the colors popped brilliantly (with good film choices and good processing of course) and were contrasty. The images were razor sharp. However, I never honestly looked that corners, my subjects were more central in the image since they were typically horses. I know that my subjects were always razor sharp. I used it for many years very happily.

I used the 24-70 2.8 L as well, although I didn't own it for as long, nor did I use it as much. Still, it was very hand-holdable (as was the 70-200), colors were saturated, sharp as a tack and lovely. Not quite as lovely as the 70-200 if you can even compare them fairly - but then that is no slight to the 24-70, it just says the 70-200 was stellar.

I have heard - but can not confirm, that the 200 2.8 might be EVEN sharper and better than the 70-200. I have heard that the 70-200 f4 L is also a contender with the 70-200 f2.8, smaller of course.

I never liked the non-L glass, but am tempted at present to try their 100 2.8 macro which is said to be L-like, although it uses no fluorite elements. I have been told the 85/1.8 (non-L) is also worth checking out, but not quite as sharp as the 100 macro at similar apertures and that stands to reason in my mind. In general, I didn't like any of the lenses that offered IS - but that might just be me - and no I didn't mount them on a tripod.

I have also been told that the 400 5.6L might under-perform. There are a few others that do as well, like the 100-400.

I have NOT heard that there is a difference between the same lenses in different batches. I think across the board that Canon is pretty consistent. Meaning, a 70-200 f2.8 is excellent as a general rule, while most 100-400 L live down to the reputation of not deserving L-class (if L stands for luxury in anything other than price).

Hope this helps? This was based on my opinions of my experience, plus additional hearsay. If anyone loves the lenses that I don't - please don't flame me, it is my opinion.

If you can shoot some of the gear - give it a try for a weekend rental. That's a really good way to know how it performs. I shot it strictly with negs and slides, not digital.

Good luck, -Lynn
 

fotografz

Well-Known Member
Hello Simon, You worry to much. Planning way ahead is very difficult with digital equipment. Your Contax gear is second to none, and in some cases better than most (depending on your criteria). Use it with film, and if you wish get a nice 4000dpi scanner for digital printing.

I am currently using both Contax and Canon (N1, ND, EOS 1Ds and a 10D). I have all the glass for both systems: from 16-35 to 70-200/2.8 Canon L zooms, all the fast primes from 24/1.4L to 135/2L (sold my 200/1.8 and 400/2.8 ) plus the 50/1.4 , 100/2.8 Macro non Ls; Zeiss 17-35/2.8 to 70-300/4.5 zooms plus 50/1.4 and 85/1.4. I do not have the N Macro or big 400/4 because I use my Contax 645 Macro and 350/4 on the N cameras. I shoot a lot with both systems. The Canon for weddings because of range of fast prime lenses, AF speed, ability to shoot RAW and process the files in PS with the Adobe RAW processor and full sized digital sensor. The ND and N1 for the Zeiss look, especially the Zeiss color and how the files convert to B&W (which are better than the mighty Canon 1Ds IMO).

All the Canon lenses are quite good and a few are stellar. The 35/1.4, 85/1.2 and 135/2 are astounding performers. The 135/2 may be the best I've ever used.
Yet there is a look, a signiture if you will that I can detect in Canon glass that can't quite compare to the Zeiss look or signature. But it is a subjective opinion based on preferences only.

I will say that the Canon non L 50/1.4 has a nicer Bokeh than the N 50/1.4. And there is no counterpart to the 70-200/2.8L IS for the N. IS makes that lens far more versatile than the non IS version, at least for my work.
 

albert4321

Well-Known Member
I agree 100% with Marc. For now, shooting films and scan is the best solution (for me at least). I understand that there are a lot that a dSLR can offer. And I am, too, frustrated that Contax does not seem to have any promise in that market, and wanted to get a 10D for the transition period.

At time I even consider dumping my whole N1 and C645 system to get a 1Ds and some L glasses. However, every time when I pick up my film and look at the quality of my prints or slides, I change my mind. The zeiss lenses are hard to beat. Eventually, I end up getting more and more zeiss lenses. My new favorite is the N17-35. It is a killer lens. My satisfaction/fun level has reached to a different level. I have even purchased the 45-90 zoom few days ago. It is so cool (to be able to zoom in medium format for ex&le) that I don¡¯t want to put it down. I have not had a chance to shoot with it but when I do, I will keep you guys posted.

I have played with the Olympus E1 in their promo event. It appears to be a pretty good system. The lens seems to be nice and crisp judging from the viewfinder. I offer no opinion on it since I have not really used it nor learn the system enough. I understand that there are new optical challege and technology for the digital capture devices (CCD or CMOS, etc). However, for the new E1 lenses, I think they just make it smaller to take advantage of the smaller 0†6 sensor.

Back to wedding as Marc mentioned. I shot one two weeks ago. I was frustrated as the N glasses are so slow (both in AF and aperture). Having said that, the result was amazing. The bride and broom are so happy with the prints. Considering the wedding was on the beach 3pm in a sunny California day. The sun was shining at my lens most of the time and my subjects were mostly against the sun. The fill flash with the TLA 360 was right on the dot in 100% of my shoot. Lens flare? What lens flare!
 

afranklin

Well-Known Member
Gilbert,

> Why did Carl Zeiss produce Digiprimes for cinematography?

I can answer that question (and there is a paper on the Zeiss web site that discusses this), but the answer is not really applicable to this discussion...as cinematography has different requirements than our still images does.

Regards,

Austin
 

fotografz

Well-Known Member
Gilbert, could it be that Olympus has to do something in the digital arena or be in trouble in the market place?

IMO, a lot of this is marketing hype because the digital onslaught has put pressure on the manufacturers. Can't come up with a full frame sensor? Downsize everything around the sensor and say it is a special solution.

So, then the consumer has to buy a whole new system with lenses you can't use on a film camera. Baloney to that.

Quite frankly, Canon has everyone by the short hairs. A 6 meg digital @ $1,500 that uses all my EOS lenses without any optical handicap that I can detect. I predict Canon will have a full frame 8 meg or so DSLR for under $2,000. within 2 years. So why on earth would I sell all my expensive full frame glass to buy a pipsqueak camera and it's "special lenses"? A good lens collection costs a small fortune.

Digital is like the weather...if you don't like it, just wait a bit and it'll change.
 

afranklin

Well-Known Member
Hi Marc,

> Quite frankly, Canon has everyone by the short hairs. A 6 meg digital > @ $1,500 that uses all my EOS lenses without any optical handicap that > I can detect.

Not full frame...my only complaint.

Regards,

Austin
 

afranklin

Well-Known Member
Gilbert,

> Obviously Olympus disagrees.

Disagrees with what?

There is absolutely NO need to design a special lense for use with a digital still frame sensor except to dumb it down to reduce aliasing (decrease MTF), which is done for P&S cameras, but NOT for 35mm-esque DSLRs. Any difference in a lense is simply to change the image circle/focal length/DOF scales to accommodate the reduced size sensors. This change has not a thing to do with the media being a digital sensor, but the physical size of the media. If they were using film the same size as the digital sensor, they would do the same thing.

Regards,

Austin
 

benwang

Well-Known Member
forgive my ignorance, but if the size of the sensor is smaller then the normal frame size yet can be produce as much details as the film, why is there a problems? one good thing about it is that they can now produce much smaller lenses and we can carry lighter thing around.
IMO, since the two thing (film/sensor) are different, the design of SLR is for film, and if the sensor have a different size compare to film, may be it a good time for the manufacturer to come out with a design that is very different to the SLR. I think recently, sony did it, they use a CZ T* zoom lens and if that zoom lens is design for the N1, it will be a massive lens! and will definatly cost more then the 400mm F4 lens for N1!
 
K

kaisern

>=20 >=20 >=20 > Perhaps the next move from Canon will be using the 1D platform and size o= f CCD > to up it to 8MB resolution, physically or thru software interpolation. > Regards, Kaisern >=20 >=20 >=20 >=20
 

paulcontax

Well-Known Member
Hi Austin,

there is a paper from a european university (austria ?) on the net saying that normal slr-lenses often are constructed thet the light is not going stright thru the rear lens element. That doesn't matter with film 'cause for film there is noc difference from which angle the ray of light is hitting it's surface.

With CCD/CMOS it is different. The element itself is lying like in a "case" surrounding it. If light is not coming straight to the CCD some parts of the light will only hit the "case" but not touch the CCD/CMOS itself. So every lens for film slr that doesn't fit these points is not so good for dslr - and that are esp. wide angle lenses (as far as I know). This doesn't effect very much with dslr which have this "crop factor" because the edges of the film are wider than those of the CCD/CMOS with the exception of the D1S (and maybe the Kodak) and of course the CONTAX (which is constructed as a full frame dslr).

Maybe this helps .... (pardon my problems with my english...)

Paul
 

afranklin

Well-Known Member
Hi Paul,

> there is a paper from a european university (austria ?) on the net > saying that normal slr-lenses often are constructed thet the light is > not going stright thru the rear lens element. That doesn't matter with > film 'cause for film there is noc difference from which angle the ray > of light is hitting it's surface. > > With CCD/CMOS it is different. The element itself is lying like in a > "case" surrounding it. If light is not coming straight to the CCD some > parts of the light will only hit the "case" but not touch the CCD/CMOS > itself. So every lens for film slr that doesn't fit these points is > not so good for dslr - and that are esp. wide angle lenses (as far as > I know). This doesn't effect very much with dslr which have this "crop > factor" because the edges of the film are wider than those of the > CCD/CMOS with the exception of the D1S (and maybe the Kodak) and of > course the CONTAX (which is constructed as a full frame dslr).

That is correct, but ONLY for wide angle lenses below around 28mm or so, depending on the original lense design in the first place, and the sensor used.

The original comment by Gilbert was "If you have to go digital with new lenses why not buy those specifically designed for digital?", which as a generic statement is simply wrong, and what I was commenting on.

Canon (nor Contax) does not have any new lenses "specifically for digital" for use with any of their digital SLRs that I am aware of. Nikon is the only one to do this, and it wasn't for the issue with wide angle lenses, it was simply to offer a line of lenses that takes into account the frame size factor...and for marketing reasons I'd believe as well.

Regards,

Austin
 

benwang

Well-Known Member
Austin:
The angle of incident for light ray in wide angle lenses for DSLR is a technical problems that is not solved. I think contax did try to solve this issue by introduce the bigger diameter lenses, hence the N. However, there were coment in this discussion group the even for the ND, for the N 17-35 lens, the edges were darker compare to the rest of the photo. there si no such problem in manufacturer using small sensor. If you think about it, those manufacturer simplly disregard the light ray on the edges from the lenses. I think people can conclude that building a digital camera with comparible features with respect to film camera is a waste of time and with respect to the "details" of digital photography, I agree with Gilbert:"If you have to go digital with new lenses why not buy those specifically designed for digital?",

Ben
 

fotografz

Well-Known Member
Ben, most super wide angles have light fall off on the edges even when shooting film. That's why there are center filters for many of them. Not necessary as much when shooting neg film, but it shows up in transparency work.

BTW, I've shot 14mm and 16mm with a Canon 1Ds, and the light fall off isn't any more apparent than with transparency shots on an EOS 1V.
 
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