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Thread: CONTAX 645 with 210mm or Zeiss 250 SuperAchromat lens

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    martin
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    CONTAX 645 with 210mm or Zeiss 250 SuperAchromat lens

    Has anyone actually compared decently enlarged prints made with both these lenses (never mind the theoretics) and come to any surprising conclusions? I would be interested in landscape/distance views primarily, and think I have a couple of good reasons for asking, despite there being obvious mtf curve differences: 1) consider the case of Zeiss' 120mm and 100mm lenses for Hasselblad, with mtf varying markedly. I've found it extremely hard to pick any quality differences in my comparison of actual images at infinity no less,(granted I did not use a microscope, only a 10x loupe on lightbox) and many others have echoed this view; 2) if there really is not much visible quality differential, I may consider selling my SA, as it would likely finance most of a Contax 645 system alone...I know there's still a few die-hard C645ers here, perhaps they could shed some light. Thanks for helpful experience.

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    Re: CONTAX 645 with 210mm or Zeiss 250 SuperAchromat lens

    Quote Originally Posted by martin View Post
    Has anyone actually compared decently enlarged prints made with both these lenses (never mind the theoretics) and come to any surprising conclusions? I would be interested in landscape/distance views primarily, and think I have a couple of good reasons for asking, despite there being obvious mtf curve differences: 1) consider the case of Zeiss' 120mm and 100mm lenses for Hasselblad, with mtf varying markedly. I've found it extremely hard to pick any quality differences in my comparison of actual images at infinity no less,(granted I did not use a microscope, only a 10x loupe on lightbox) and many others have echoed this view; 2) if there really is not much visible quality differential, I may consider selling my SA, as it would likely finance most of a Contax 645 system alone...I know there's still a few die-hard C645ers here, perhaps they could shed some light. Thanks for helpful experience.
    Comparing the Zeiss 120 and 100 at infinity is less than ideal. The 120 is optimized for close up work.

    I had the 210 and the 250SA with the Contax to V adapter at the same time for a while (for my Contax 645). The 250SA edged out the 210 IQ, but I sold the 250SA because AF was more important for my work.

    -Marc

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    Re: CONTAX 645 with 210mm or Zeiss 250 SuperAchromat lens

    I've had both lenses which I used with my Sinar e75LV back. The 250SA is the better lens by far IMHO. I've never been fond of the Contax 210 and went through three or four copies to get a good one. Having said that... I sold the 250SA and kept the 210 for financial reasons and because I don't shoot that focal length very much. You will get a bunch more $$ for the SA than you will for the 210.

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    Re: CONTAX 645 with 210mm or Zeiss 250 SuperAchromat lens

    I have owned both lenses at the same time and used them both with the Contax 645 along with the Aptus 65, Phase One P30+ and Sinar 75LV backs.

    Technically, the 250SA is superior in image quality, especially at long distances with noticeably higher sharpness and contrast, richer colors and no fringing or CA. However, it had two serious shortcomings for us, which is why we also needed the 210 lens. The first shortcoming is the slowness of the lens, since its widest aperture is only F5.6. This makes it harder to confirm focus in dim lighting situations, whether with the camera electronics or your own eyes. The Contax 645 focusing sensor seems limited to about F4 for reliable focus confirmation in dimmer light, beyond which it works but makes more errors.

    The second shortcoming of the 250SA is its poor close focusing distance of about 8.5 feet. This is much too far a lot of portrait work that we prefer to do at this focal length, which the Contax 210 lens allowed us to do since it can focus down to roughly 4.5 feet. The 210 gave us much softer bokeh and tonality that is desirable in a lot of portrait work. Furthermore, the 210 combined with the Contax 1.4X Mutar creates a close focusing 300mm lens with effective aperture of F5.6 that produces stunning image quality, and reason enough to keep this lens.

    So, bottom line is that the 210 excels at close range shooting, whereas the 250SA excels at anything farther away.

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    Re: CONTAX 645 with 210mm or Zeiss 250 SuperAchromat lens

    I too have both lenses, and David I think has their character right. The 210 was a bit disappointing 'at infinity' for reach in wildlife, but with the mutar it actually IMPROVES; go figure! :-)

    Anyway the 250 is better and I've used for wildlife and it is tack sharp, and it is surprisingly small feeling on the Contax.
    However, I also have the 350 achromat and it make the 250 look like a holga!

    given the AF with the 210, the 1.4 reach and close focus, the 210 seems a better deal You can likely get the 210 and 1.4x for less than the 250mm.

    regards
    Victor

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