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Thread: Contax as first MF for landscape work?

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    Contax as first MF for landscape work?

    Morning!

    I am very close to buying my first MF kit and have read loads about how tough the Contax kit is, it seems to be fairly cheap to pick up on ebay and places like that. I'm looking for a kit primarily for landscape work, so will be wanting nice wide lenses. Do you experienced users have any comments on the suitability of the Contax for what I want to do and also recommendations for lenses? I am looking to put maybe a P30 on the back of it.
    Thanks for any comments or advice.

    Mat.

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    Re: Contax as first MF for landscape work?

    Mat,
    It is a wonderful system; light weight and great optics. It is also among the rare 645 system to have the waist level finder for your landscape work. The Distagon T* 3.5/35 is a great lens to have for your wide angle. The other lens are: 45-90 Zoom, 120 macro Planar, 55 mm, 140mm, and 210mm and the 1.4x Tele-converter.

    Son
    ALPA (MAX, STC, TC) | CAMBO (Actus DB2, WRS-AE) | CONTAX | HASSELBLAD | LEICA | DB (CFV-16, CFV-39, IQ180, IQ360, IQ3100, P45+) | Lens (Canon, Fujinon, Leica, Nikon, Pentax, Rodenstock, Schneider, Zeiss)

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    Re: Contax as first MF for landscape work?

    Hi Son
    Thanks for the reply, I have seen a waist level finder along with a couple of reasonably priced 645 kits which are really tempting me! I'll have a look out for the 3.5/35.
    Thanks for your help!
    Mat

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    Re: Contax as first MF for landscape work?

    Mat,
    I've been using the Contax 645 for years, first with my Aptus 75S and now with my Sinar e75LV. I love the camera and think it's very well suited for Landscape. First off, it's built like a tank which is nice for outdoor work. Second, the glass is as good as anything out there although as Son points out, some lenses within the lineup are better than others. The availability of a WLF is certainly a plus but be aware that there can be some exposure difficulties if it's being used in one of the automatic modes due to light leakage thru the finder. Also you should know that when using the WLF spot metering is the only available option.

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    Re: Contax as first MF for landscape work?

    Mat. Great system. Also be aware that with an adapter, all manual focusing Hasselblad 500 series and 200 series Zeiss lenses can be used. For landscape work this is a real option since it is a more studied, less frenetic method of shooting.

    I highly recommend the Contax 55/3.5 for it's incredible Bokeh, including a rare ability to render front Bokeh as beautifully as rear Bokeh. The 120/4 macro is second to none. The 350/4 is legendary. 80/2, 45/2.8 and 150/2.8 can bark with all the big dogs.

    I personally was never a fan of the 35mm ... its distortion was not my cup of tea ... Didn't favor the 210 either ... the 150/2.8 + 1.4APO Mutar was just as good or better.

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    Re: Contax as first MF for landscape work?

    hi Mat,
    Marc is right about the Hasselblad V lens can be used on the Contax 645 adapter. In fact I have them if you want to get one. The Hasselblad Distagon T* 4.0/40 CFE IF is very sharp lens.

    Marc,
    The Contax 3.5/55 is also my all time favorite lens for all the reason you mentioned but also extremely high in resolution. The mutar 1.4x on the 210 is amazing wide open. Try this combination it is better than without the Mutar on the 210. The Mutar on the 140 wide open yield chromat aberration. The 210 with the Mutar 1.4x wide attenuates CA and sharper more than without it.

    -Son
    ALPA (MAX, STC, TC) | CAMBO (Actus DB2, WRS-AE) | CONTAX | HASSELBLAD | LEICA | DB (CFV-16, CFV-39, IQ180, IQ360, IQ3100, P45+) | Lens (Canon, Fujinon, Leica, Nikon, Pentax, Rodenstock, Schneider, Zeiss)

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    Re: Contax as first MF for landscape work?

    Thanks for all the great info guys! Exactly what I was after.
    David, thanks for the info on the WLF, I like the idea of using one in order to give me a different way of working, the things you mention are obviously areas that add to the whole experience!
    Great info also fotografz, I have access to some manual hasselblad lenses so it could prove to be an ideal platform. I haven't seen a 55/3.5 anywhere yet but will keep an eye out, very much looking forward to moving up to the MF glass!
    I will have a look at your site Son, I presume you wouldn't have a problem with dealing with the Uk?
    Thanks again for all your comments, it's making the decision easier!
    Have a good weekend.
    Mat

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    Re: Contax as first MF for landscape work?

    Mat, the 55/3.5 is a tough lens to find and often sells for a hefty price.

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    Re: Contax as first MF for landscape work?

    Mat,
    I have no bias when it comes to photography supports.
    Son
    ALPA (MAX, STC, TC) | CAMBO (Actus DB2, WRS-AE) | CONTAX | HASSELBLAD | LEICA | DB (CFV-16, CFV-39, IQ180, IQ360, IQ3100, P45+) | Lens (Canon, Fujinon, Leica, Nikon, Pentax, Rodenstock, Schneider, Zeiss)

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    Re: Contax as first MF for landscape work?

    Hi Mat,


    Welcome to the forum...and potential Contax 645 club. I probably use this system more than any other due to its tremendous flexibility. I can second everything that has already been said above. However, I should also point out that the 45-90 zoom lens is a real winner. The 45/2.8 has a nicer bokeh quality and a better choice for some types of portrait work, but the 45-90 zoom is an ideal all-around lens, and is probably the one lens that is on my Contax 645 the most.

    At the wide end of the zoom, the 45mm length is higher resolving than the 45/2.8 and better for landscape. At around 70mm, there is almost zero distortion, incredible sharpness, color and even illumination. At the long end, the 90mm can shoot at 1:4 macro mode. There is no loss of image quality with this zoom lens as compared to the primes. The only trade-off is speed versus the flexibility of not having to swap lenses between the 45, 55 and 80.

    Good luck in your shooting! Right now, the economics of shooting with such a versatile system may outweigh many of the benefits of much more expensive systems. Unless you have a specific need (like for professional architecture work), the Contax 645 is a great low-cost MF solution.

    The cost of the zoom is a bit higher, but it replaces several lenses and is about convenience. The zoom would be my recommendation for the best all around lens for you, if the price is affordable. Otherwise, the 45/2.8 is the easiest lens to find, and is the lowest cost of the wide lenses, and is a good choice if you want to save some money compared to the 55. The 45/2.8 is second only to the 80/2 in its ability to auto-focus in low light with this system. I have seen some amazing portraits from people like Mark Tucker with this lens and camera system. You can also check out the work of James Russel who also shoots with the Contax 645 system, using a Phase One back, I believe.

    I almost forgot....Marc already mentioned the use of the Hasselblad lenses. For landscape, there are many such lenses that you could use which are high resolving and can be put on the Contax 645 with one of Son's adapters.

    David
    Last edited by David Klepacki; 26th July 2008 at 09:58.

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    Re: Contax as first MF for landscape work?

    Quote Originally Posted by Pham Minh Son View Post
    hi Mat,
    Marc is right about the Hasselblad V lens can be used on the Contax 645 adapter. In fact I have them if you want to get one. The Hasselblad Distagon T* 4.0/40 CFE IF is very sharp lens.

    Marc,
    The Contax 3.5/55 is also my all time favorite lens for all the reason you mentioned but also extremely high in resolution. The mutar 1.4x on the 210 is amazing wide open. Try this combination it is better than without the Mutar on the 210. The Mutar on the 140 wide open yield chromat aberration. The 210 with the Mutar 1.4x wide attenuates CA and sharper more than without it.

    -Son
    210 + 1.4X Mutar being better is very interesting Son.

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    Re: Contax as first MF for landscape work?

    Quote Originally Posted by David K View Post
    Mat, the 55/3.5 is a tough lens to find and often sells for a hefty price.
    Probably because it was late to enter the line up. New, it wasn't that expensive ... back then : -)

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    Re: Contax as first MF for landscape work?

    Some excellent information there guys, really good to know what to go for.
    Son, your web link doesn't seem to go anywhere, where can I find out about your adapters?
    Really good post that David, lots of great stuff, much appreciated. I worked with a guy called Jules Klepacki not long ago, is he a relative? Actually he had Mamiya 645 kit!
    Anyway, thanks to everyone who has chipped in just what I was hoping for.
    Cheers.
    Mat

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    Re: Contax as first MF for landscape work?

    Quote Originally Posted by fotografz View Post
    210 + 1.4X Mutar being better is very interesting Son.
    Marc, when Son first told me this I more or less dismissed it as making no sense. Then, for the heck of it, I tried it out. Can't explain why but the so-so sharpness of the 210 which was my least favorite lens in the lineup (I bought and sold three of them hoping to find a sharp copy) got much better. Maybe someone smarter than I knows why this is the case.

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    Re: Contax as first MF for landscape work?

    Mat,
    I have the 55mm lens and it is truly a great and very portable lens. If you don't find one for a reasonable price (when new, it was the cheapest lens aside from the 80mm standard lens), consider a Hasselblad 60mm Distagon with converter. These come in various price ranges of which the CB is the most interesting. See also http://photo.net/medium-format-photography-forum/00E6Is. The zoom, while very versatile as a landscape lens, is big and heavy. If traveling by car such as in the Southwest USA, the zoom and a tele are a great combination.
    Good luck, -Christopher

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