Contax N1 + Nam1 + 120/4 or 140/2.8


Well-Known Member
Hello All,

I was in a dealers shop yesterday and spent a long time drooling over the N-1 and 24-85 kit. Judging just by the way these handle I was very tempted to buy the kit. However, I already a G2 with the 28/45/90 and buying the N1 kit would obviously be duplicating what I already have.

However, I really would like to get my paws on an N-1 and am thinking of getting an N1 with the NAM-1 and either the 120/f4 or the 140/2.8 for portraiture - I like the idea of getting really tight head shots. I have read so many good things about the 120. I do not have any intention of getting the 645 body.

Does anyone have any experience of this setup. Are there any issues I should be aware of.

Thanks in advance,




I have the 120/f4 on my C645 and it is a remarkable lens. Perhaps too remarkable. I use it for portraiture rather than the 140/f2.8 because I was disappointed with the focusing range of the 140. My experience was that I couldn't focus in tight enough for good headshots with the 140. The only problem with the 120 is that it's perhaps too sharp. It will show every detail of the subjects face and often that's not so good. You can see the edges of a person's contacts on a normal headshot! There's always softening filters but I have hated the idea of putting a dulling filter on the end of my Zeiss glass. All in all, I still prefer the 120 over the 140. Compromise, compromise!



Well-Known Member

Thanks for your reply. When you use the 120/4 for portraiture what magification do you usually find yourself using.

Also, can i ask what might appear to be a very silly question. If I mount the 120/f4 on the N1 will the effective focal length still be 120mm?




The focal length stays constant. Namely, the effective focal length on N1 is still 120mm.


Well-Known Member
Stuart, If you buy the C645 lens(es) without planning on the C645 body, you are adding a lot of bulk to your lens kit. You also have to remember that these lenses are designed for MF and not 35mm. Their performance will not be as good as an equivalent quality lens made for the 35mm. Don't get sucked in by "You're using just the centre part of the lens..the best part" dealer talk. It just isn't true. Lpmm on 35mm lenses is superior to lpmm on larger formats (Zeiss vs Zeiss)Using larger format lenses on smaller format camera bodies is a compromise at best. If we all ran around with Zeiss Hasselblad lenses attached to our Nikon/Canon/Pentax bodies, we would be losing quality compared to that attainable with 35mm format lenses from the respective manufacturers. Just go ahead and buy the 100mm Macro Planar designed for the N1


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Dear Colin,

Thanks very much for that advice. It is certainly something I wasn't aware of. The 100MS for the N1 is much cheaper than either of the 645 lens. In fact the price for second hand (or even new if one buys from Hong Kong)N equipment is almost criminally low.

Once again, thanks very much.



I've had the MS a couple months now and find it to be an exceptional performer. The only downsides I'll note are that it does not have an ultrasonic focusing motor and consequently is louder and not as quick to focus as several of the other N lenses. But it's unique capabilities make it an attractive option.

If you're concerned about excessive sharpness in portraits, there are a number of filtering and masking options--some expensive, such as the Zeiss Softars, and some free, such as a section of nylon stocking--that can take the edge off. I've never found that a lens can be too sharp!