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I use a 300/4 tele tessar. It is a brilliant lens, quite sharp as well. I was able to publish slides taken with this lens in a Dutch quality nature magazine. So the lens is good enough. But my slides taken with other zeiss lenses are sharper. This is also because the shutter and mirror causes camera vibration which is multiplied by the 300mm lens. Use at least a very sturdy tripod and a fast exposure time. The German Magazine Colorphoto tested several 300mm lenses and it came out quite well, as a good lens (similar in quality as the 300/4 from nikon and canon)
Slides taken with my 300/4 can be found at my website:
I cannot decide on which contax tele lens to go for. I am torn between the 180 f2.8 and the 100-300 variable aperture lens. I find it a little hard to believe but reviews seem to indicate that although the 100-300 lens is a zoom lens it is optically superior to the 180mm f2.8 prime lens. If it weren't for the somewhat better reviews for this lens my preference would lean heavily towards the 180mm lens because it is a much brighter lens. As reference, I am not interested in sports photography. Could someone please give me some good advice? Thanks,
Hi Suk Jung Choo,
Zoom lenses are v.good these days thanks to computer aided design. The deciding factor has now become more of are you going to carry it around, weight? I presume its a lot bigger than the 180 as well.Lastly cost versus usage.
If you don't mind the added weight and size I'd go for the zoom. Personally I rarely need 180 let alone 300.
The 100-300 manual focus zoom is really an outstanding lens and very sharp and contrasty even wide open. Although I like the brighter viewfinder image with the 180/2.8 and with the 300/4, I find I tend to use my 100-300 zoom more. The image quality with the 180/2.8 and 300/4 are very good but the 100-300 is better. Probably a bigger consideration for me however is that it is lighter and more compact than the two fixed lenses combined. I do use a tripod with the 100-300 as often as possible. One drawback of the lens is that it does not have a built in tripod mount. However, I was able to find a Tamron tripod mount designed for use with the Tamron 300/5.6 SP lens. It fits the 100-300 zoom perfectly but you give up a little zoom range in the close end making the lens an approx 115-300mm lens. I also use the Contax lens hood combination recommended. It really makes the lens look a lot larger but is quite effective in reducing flare.
One last comment is that I find the 100-300 zoom easier to focus than I would expect for a lens of its relatively slow speed. I suspect this is because the contrast is quite good wide open.
To be serious. I signed my post "BOC the luddite"
this is because I prefer the "look" of older lenses, especially Zeiss (ahh OK Leica as well...)
I use the 180/2.8 EDAF and the 80-200 EDAF Nikons at work, and I own the 180/2.8 Sonnar and the 100/2 planar. There is no question that the Nikon 180 is sharper than the Zeiss 180. But even so I still prefer to use the Sonnar, or better still try to brain zoom so that I can use the 100/2. If I HAD to try I'd talk rubbish about the 3d effect, or the sharpness all over the field, but it just comes down to the fact that I LIKE it
I put a roll of film through a 159 body with a the 100-300 attached at the store. The 100-300 is great, but it reminds me of the Nikon lenses.
Ahhh I think I'll break out my contax IIa and pretend its the 1930s
I agree with you that despite some negative comments I've read about the 300/4, it really is a very good lens. I've always been happy with the slides taken with this lens. They are very sharp and contrasty with nice color. However, the Zeiss 100-300 zoom is even better with a real "snap" to the images it produces at 300mm. One of the main advantages of the 300/4 is the built in tripod mount. Unfortunately it is a little flimsy. I found that a tripod mount made by Tamron for their old 300/5.6 SP lens fits the 100-300 perfectly and feels much more solid and rigid than the built in tripod mount of the 300/4. It's a pity Contax didn't design a more solid tripod mount for the 300/4. If you don't need the extra speed, I would suggest that the 100-300 may be the better choice. Optically I think it is one of the very best of the Contax line.
No real problems without a tripod. the 80-200 is a relatively small and light lens. So no more weight or shake than a telephoto of 180 or so. It depends on what you are shooting, what film and what kind of light you have.