CI Photocommunity

Register a free account now!

If you are registered, you get access to the members only section, can participate in the buy & sell second hand forum and last but not least you can reserve your preferred username before someone else takes it.

Using Filters



I am just about to buy a new G2 kit with 28, 45, & 90mm. I shoot mostly Black and White and for landscapes often use a polariser and red filter together to get a really dark sky and bright whites. This is fine of a manual SLR. I would be interested to hear how other G2'ers use filters and how the camera copes with polarisers. Also, the system being auto focus, is it best to use a circular polariser? Does contax produce these filters and if not, which make do people recommend to compliment the Zeiss lenses?


With my G1, I use the polarizer in one of two ways, depending on how fine I want to control the effect. For precise control, I remove the filter and observe the effect and note the position of the markings on the filter. I then attached the filter and use the same orientation.

For maximum effect, which I presume you are after, I set the camera on auto exposure, and then rotate the polarizer until I achieve the lowest shutter speed readout in the view finder.
This works ok for both color and B&W.

If you like B&W, see my site at

Please, Log in or Register to view URLs content!


> I just retired from Kodak where I was responsible for designing many of the new B&W papers Kodak is selling today. In retirement, I am shooting more B&W than I did while I was working (makes sence.... more time to do what I want.). In my Kodak career, I used every size format camera there is and I elected to go with Contax 35mm. Why? because I'm tired of carrying all the junk with a 4 x 5 and I don't like loading and hand processing it. Now a lot of experts will tell you that's the best way for B&W because then each negative can be processed according to it's own exposure. But those conditions are rare. I prefer the ability to shoot multiple shots when the 4 x 5 guy waits and waits and waits for just the right moment which may never come or just passed. I toyed with Voitlander and Leica but decided on Contax because I'm getting older and so are my eyes and I need a good autofocus. Autofocus...if you can trust very valuable. I had a G-1 but I couldn't trust the autofocus. I now have a G-2 and it tells me in the viewfinder, the distance. If I agree with the viewfinder, I shoot, if I don't, I move the lens slightly and re-focus then shoot. By the way, one of my favorite 120 cameras was the Fuji 6x9 but it doesn't match up to the Contax for sharpness.

The range of Contax lenses I have are the 21mm, 35 mm and 90mm. This is a much better choice for B&W since you can crop easily on the enlarger. A circular polarizer can be used but is not necessary for the Contax system. Reason is that the lens does not rotate when it focuses but moves straight out. I use a linear polarizer. I like to see what is is going to do. Then I visually check it for alignment then put it on the lens at the same position. Seems to work. I also use a red filter a lot. I use mostly Tmax 100 and also T400CN.

I use my 35mm Contax like a 4 x 5. Each shot is composed similarly to 4x 5. I use a heavy tripod and for B&W. I overexpose each image. I use a Leica enlarger.

People tell me they can't tell the difference between Contax 35mm and medium format in my prints. That's what I like to hear.



"I had a G-1 but I couldn't trust the autofocus."

David, I have a G1. What problems did you have with autofocus that = were solved by a G2. Is it just the low light auto-assist beam, or = something else?


> Michael, My G-1 camera started out with a bad focus chip. Fortunately I had a USA warranty and Contax fixed it but only after a lot of testing on my part. After that experience, I was very alert to focus. On the G-1, I wasn't sure the auto focus was focusing on what I wanted to focus on. Sometimes it would focus on an object behind what I was thinking I was focusing on. So I began to use it only in manual. Still I got about 5% out of focus shots. I think because the manual focus control is so smooth and so close to the shutter that I would accidentally move it. Anyhow I think the G-2 has solved that problem. Guess I need the assurance. I just got it yesterday and so far practicing with it seems to solve my problem. I need to run about 10 rolls of film through it before I know for sure. I like this G-2 autofocus so far. They put so many checks in the system I don't it's possible to go wrong. We'll see.



Having now got my G2 with 28, 45, and 90mm and been wow'ed by the optical quality of these lenses, I am wondering whether to put filters on them. With SLR's in the past I always uesed at least a UV or IA to protect the lens and cut out UV rays. I would like to know what people think of the contax filters or whether they favour B&W filters. Also do these filters have any effect on the optical quality of the lenses I have just paid so much money for?


Christopher, this is a great question that I went through recently myself. I, too, got a G2 with the 28, 45 and 90 about 6 weeks ago. I then dutifully ordered three Contax UV filters from B&H. I'd always used UVs on my Nikon glass. When I got them, though, I found that I couldn't make myself put anything over those incredible Zeiss lenses.

Rational? Maybe not, but there is no doubt that any glass/air interface in front of your lens reduces quality - even if it's not perceptible to 99.9% of people. And I'm NOT saying I'm in that .1% that can see a difference. I just know that I feel better not having anything between these lenses and my subject.




Regarding the use of a polarizing filter on the G2: Since the rangefinder does not "look" through the lens/filter during the focusing process, it is not necessary to use a circular polarizer. Rather, a linear polarizing filter works fine and is less expensive to boot.

The tricks to using a polarizer on the Gs have been covered by Gene in his post. I have also found that it is sometimes helpful (but not always necessary) to open the lens aperture fully in order to get the meter to sense the fall in light entering the camera as the filter is rotated to maximum polarization. Just remember to set the aperture back to the desired f-stop prior to taking the picture.

Whether or not to use protective UV filters on your lenses is a matter of personal preference. I do not use them unless I am shooting in a nasty environment, such as blowing desert sand or salt water spray. However, I have hoods mounted on all of my lenses at all times. They protect the front element quite adequately and also reduce flare.
I would like to buy a protective UV filter for my G45 lens. B+W offers both a multicoated filter and a filter that is not designated MC. Please advise which one would be better.(I also would like to buy one for my N1 24-85 lens and have the same consideration.)
Thanks in advance for your help.


Well-Known Member

Which is better not coated or MC.

Most manufactures recommend using Multi Coatings to reduce reflected light, loss of light, and improve contrast.

I believe that T* coatings are one of the significant reasons for purchasing Zeiss lenses . Since I purchase high quality multi coated lenses I only use filters with high quality coatings.

Most filter manufactures provide booklets with information and graphs explaining the reasons for coatings.

Good Luck



One additional question about using a polarizer filter on the G2. The previous string suggested a couple of very useful ways for estimating when a circular polarizer was achieving its maximum effect. Can a regular polarizer be used? I understand that they hinder focus and exposure accuracy with auto focus cameras.



Yes, you can use a regular (linear) polarizer with a G because the autofocus system is not TTL; it uses external sensors on the body itself so is not affected by any filter you may have mounted to the lens.

One small area where the G can save the user money!