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Thread: Contax 645 lenses-Need adapter

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    Member grappa's Avatar
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    Contax 645 lenses-Need adapter

    I have several Contax 645 lenses that I have been using on my Kodak medium format camera. I love these lenses but the camera finally quit working.
    Does anyone know of a way to adapt these lenses to any other camera such as Hasselblad,Mamiya, Sony,Nikon etc.
    It would sure be a waste to retire these lenses, several of which were hardly used.
    I sure wish that Contax would rise again.

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    Re: Contax 645 lenses-Need adapter

    maybe a stupid question... why don't you just buy a Contax 645 body?

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    Re: Contax 645 lenses-Need adapter

    OK, Let me be clear. I have a Contax 645 body with a Kodak Pro back. The Kodak Pro back is failing and I am afraid to buy a new back for a camera that's not in production anymore. It would be nice to make use of my lenses.

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    Re: Contax 645 lenses-Need adapter

    Sadly, *most* camera lines that were popular in medium format aren't in production anymore. The good news is that the Contax is one of the better-supported cameras out there. If your body dies, it's pretty easy (and cheap) to replace it. There is a generous selection of lenses, and those can also be readily found.

    I'd recommend going with another back (used) with your Contax. It's a great system, and still has a large following, and many unique lenses (AF 35mm Distagon, AF 80mm f/2, Zeiss' most advanced 120mm macro, AF 350 f/4 Tele-Apotessar...) not found anywhere else.

    To actually answer your question, though, the simple answer is 'no'. Flange distance (distance the lens is designed to be held from the sensor) is too short for any 6x6 camera (Hasselblad V).

    There is no way to electronically couple for the Contax lenses to stop down during exposure, and no way to even stop them down manually, as the lenses have a fully electronic interface. This takes care of the others (Hasselblad H, Mamiya, Sony, Nikon, etc.). Also remember that the Hasselblad 500-series V and H are leaf shutter systems, so a Contax lens (with no built-in shutter) wouldn't work there, even if it could be coupled.

    So, without a lot of clever engineering, possibly custom optics, electronics, precision manufacturing and a lot of money and patience, the Contax optics are really only for use on the Contax camera. Not that this is a bad thing--as I say, it really is a great system with plenty of life left in it.

    HTH,

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    Re: Contax 645 lenses-Need adapter

    Get a used Phase One back ... even a 22 meg one will outperform the Kodak Pro Back because the sensor size is larger. Makes better use of the lenses you have also.

    The Contax 645 is still supported, and if you have any worries about the body itself buy 2 of them.

    -Marc

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    Re: Contax 645 lenses-Need adapter

    Quote Originally Posted by grappa View Post
    Does anyone know of a way to adapt these lenses to any other camera such as Hasselblad,Mamiya, Sony,Nikon etc.
    Conurus can modify a NAM-1 adapter so your Contax 645 lenses will work on a Canon EOS body: http://en.conurus.com/faq.html

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    Re: Contax 645 lenses-Need adapter

    Quote Originally Posted by BradleyGibson View Post
    There is no way to electronically couple for the Contax lenses to stop down during exposure, and no way to even stop them down manually, as the lenses have a fully electronic interface.
    Actually, if you press the DoF button so the aperture stops down and then hold it in while you remove the lens from the body, the aperture will remain stopped down, so this isn't an insurmountable issue if you don't mind a clunky workaround. A bigger issue is that the Contax lens register is shorter than that of most other MF bodies, so if you're successful in adapting the lenses to mechanically mount on another body (which will almost certainly require some machine work/custom fabrication), you'll lose infinity focus...

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    Re: Contax 645 lenses-Need adapter

    I thought of that, but seriously, can you imagine carrying two bodies, one just to set a new aperture, and swapping bodies back and forth just to change the setting? *shudder*

    I was unaware of the modified NAM-1 adapter -> Canon option; in my opinion this might be useful in the wide-angle department (despite improvements, Canon's IQ is still weak there). Once above 50mm, though, I'd recommend going native. Some of Canon's latest prime tele glass is a match for medium format; particularly as one goes longer.

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    Re: Contax 645 lenses-Need adapter

    Quote Originally Posted by BradleyGibson View Post
    I thought of that, but seriously, can you imagine carrying two bodies, one just to set a new aperture, and swapping bodies back and forth just to change the setting? *shudder*
    LOL ... not only can I imagine it, but I have done it (using the 35mm, 45mm, and 55mm lenses on my modified Toyo 23G view camera to correct perspective during my long-exposure nighttime photography), so I know firsthand how clunky this workaround really is in practice.

    It's not something that I would either recommend nor go out of my way to use, but I already owned all the pieces and in a pinch, it does work, at least for my B&W work where color shifts aren't an insurmountable issue and the exposures are long enough that a shutter isn't necessary.

    It'll probably work for flat-stitching, too, although I haven't tried this yet and the small image circle will likely limit me to fairly modest shifts...

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    Re: Contax 645 lenses-Need adapter


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    Re: Contax 645 lenses-Need adapter

    Quote Originally Posted by BradleyGibson View Post
    For some reason, I seem to get that reaction a lot these days...

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    Re: Contax 645 lenses-Need adapter

    Quote Originally Posted by BradleyGibson View Post
    I thought of that, but seriously, can you imagine carrying two bodies, one just to set a new aperture, and swapping bodies back and forth just to change the setting? *shudder*
    Or you can go the innovative way like PK did with the Polifemo

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    Re: Contax 645 lenses-Need adapter

    Quote Originally Posted by Audii-Dudii View Post
    For some reason, I seem to get that reaction a lot these days...
    Audii, that's because you are *hard core*, buddy!
    Last edited by BradleyGibson; 27th December 2010 at 21:00.

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