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Subjective Question G2 vs Contax SLR

keoj

Active Member
I realize that this is an illogical question but I was wondering if those that own both the G2 and a Contax with Zeiss primes could comment on whether what camera gives them the better resolution/sharpness/contrast? Is it the G2 with say the 45 (or 90) or is it an SLR body with the 50/1.4 or 85/1.4? I know that the cameras are two different animals with different uses and orientations. Again, I recognize the subjective nature of the question, just looking for some comments.
 

finnegans

Member
My 50/1.4s (had an MM and an AE) were not as sharp or able to resolve as much fine detail wide open as my G-series 45/2, and that's why I don't tend to use them as much. The 85/1.4 is sui generis, and sort of a different beast from the G90/2.8. That lens and the 60mm macro are enough of a reason for me to keep the Aria.
 
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mike_nunan

Not exactly answering your question, but I've just done a comparison between my 50/1.4 AE and a borrowed Leica 50/2 Summicron M, both lenses in great condition. I've been a bit disappointed with the performance of my Planars at apertures wider than f/2.8, so I've been considering Leica M as a possible alternative for low-light work (I can't get on with the G series in terms of handling).

The tests shots were of a "real" subject (my back garden) using TMax 100 and careful focus bracketing was used. At the widest common aperture of the two lenses, f/2, they have a very different look. The Summicron kicks out a lot more contrast, and marginally more detail, but nothing to get up a real head of steam about. The bokeh difference is very surprising, and is where the Zeiss scores IMO. It almost seems to have a narrower plane of focus than the Leica, with objects in the far background being very fuzzily blurred out. The Leica lens renders these objects more recognisibly. Overall, the Zeiss lens has a very gentle character, low in contrast with some noticeable haloing around sharp features which in combination with the bokeh gives the image a dreamlike quality.

In conclusion, it's not the open-and-shut case I was half expecting for the Leica. I'm still mulling over the decision, but in the end it may be the lack of mirror slap which swings it for the M-series, rather than the optics.
 
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rickd

There are familial similarities among the lenses, call it their "Zeissness." However, in a lens-to-lens showdown for the better performance (using the qualities you cite) the G lenses have the edge. They're that good.

I'll also state the obvious by noting sometimes the extra stop available with the SLR lenses can be the difference between getting the shot and not.

I have all the G lenses and these C/Y lenses: 25/2.8, 50/1.4, 85/1.4, 135/2.8, 500/8.

--Rick
 

colorado_jeff

Well-Known Member
Joe asked:if those that own both the G2 and a Contax with Zeiss primes could comment on whether what camera gives them the better resolution/sharpness/contrast? Is it the G2 with say the 45 (or 90) or is it an SLR body with the 50/1.4 or 85/1.4<<

Joe,
In my non professional experience, my N1 with the 24-85 lens (or the 300 for that matter) gives sharper images than my G2.
Just my opinion.
Jeff Roberts
 

smartrav

Well-Known Member
When someone designs an lens for a SLR they need to leave room for the mirror to move out of the way. This limits the ability of lens designers to build a sharp lens. Rangefinders have always been better for sharpness.
 

colorado_jeff

Well-Known Member
When someone designs an lens for a SLR they need to leave room for the mirror to move out of the way. This limits the ability of lens designers to build a sharp lens. Rangefinders have always been better for sharpness--

My Leica M6 is sharper than my N1, which is sharper than my G2. Just my experience.
Jeff in Texas
 
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rickd

As a postscript to the note about rangefinder versus SLR lens design, the intrusion issue applies primarily to wide angle lenses. In the G system, the Hologon (16), the Biogons (21 and 28), and the Vario Sonnar all intrude into the body in a way that renders them unusable in SLRs. The Planars and Sonnars do not and both designs, of course, are well represented in Contax's SLR ranges as well as the G.

The Biogons, by the way, are fantastic lenses. The 21 may be my favorite lens of all (including my Contax SLR and Hasselblad lenses).

A suggestion for anybody having trouble achieving laser-sharp images with their G: try some controlled tests using the most massive tripod you can find, manual focus mode and a very fine-grained film such as Velvia 50. If you don't get extremely sharp photos (especially using the 45) you may need to have the camera serviced.

--Rick
 
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mike_nunan

Hi Joe,

Just to add, I have now done a back-to-back test between my C/Y 35mm f/1.4 and a Leica 35mm f/1.4 ASPH. I've always known the Zeiss lens was great, but it stands shoulder to shoulder with the Leica in terms of outright sharpness at wide apertures (maybe the Leica is just a hair sharper but it's very marginal indeed) and actually betters it for contrast. As before, the bokeh was more to my taste with the Zeiss lens, but that's very much a personal thing. I guess this shows it's wise to consider lenses on an individual basis, instead of relying exclusively on any notion of "family character". That said, the three Zeiss lenses are fairly consistent in terms of Bokeh.

Interestingly, regarding Jeff and Rick's comments above, maybe the mirror clearance is a serious compromise at 28mm, 24mm or wider but it doesn't appear to be at 35mm.

TTFN

-= mike =-
 
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