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Thread: Contax (Zeiss) on Hasselblad ?

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    Member grappa's Avatar
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    Contax (Zeiss) on Hasselblad ?

    Is it possible to adapt a Contax 645 lens to a Hasselblad V or H series ?
    What will and won't work ?
    In other words what to do with my collection of lenses for my 645 Contax ?
    I rather like the camera but I fear it's at the end of it's life so should I put a digital back on it ? It seems that it would make more sense to use my lenses on another body.

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    Re: Contax (Zeiss) on Hasselblad ?

    Hi Grappa:

    Simple answer is no. (Sorry.)

    Longer answer is the C645 lens has first an electronic aperture, second a shorter flange focal than the Hassy CF/F/FE lenses so could never achieve infinity focus, and third no internal shutter for use on the V body.

    So the best thing to do with your C645 lenses is to either use them with another Contax 645 body or sell them to somebody else that has a Contax 645 body...

    Cheers,
    Jack
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    Re: Contax (Zeiss) on Hasselblad ?

    I think grappa is saying he has a Contax body too. Is that correct, grappa?

    If so, you could consider a digital back for a C645. Phase One offers backs in the Contax mount and I believe that Sinar does. I don't recall if Leaf does, but I think so... or at least they did.

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    Re: Contax (Zeiss) on Hasselblad ?

    The neat thing about the Sinar system is that the backs use adapters for the various cameras, but unlike Phase, you can change the adapter yourself in a few minutes. They are also about a third the cost of changing adapters on a Phase. I don't know what Leaf does.
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    Re: Contax (Zeiss) on Hasselblad ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dale Allyn View Post
    I think grappa is saying he has a Contax body too. Is that correct, grappa?

    If so, you could consider a digital back for a C645. Phase One offers backs in the Contax mount and I believe that Sinar does. I don't recall if Leaf does, but I think so... or at least they did.
    I guess I was not clear. Yes,I have a body and more and I luv that camera and the lenses.
    Any advice on Sinar ?
    Last edited by grappa; 18th December 2008 at 04:35.

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    Re: Contax (Zeiss) on Hasselblad ?

    If you really are interested in a digital back, I recommend one of the current systems. I know it is a drag to change systems, but in the grand scheme of things, you will likely get a better deal buying a packaged camera, lens and back from one of the back makers "preferred" companies. You also get the ability to get new parts, easier repair and lenses that have been made with the higher resolution sensors in mind. While certain Contax lenses will have no problems with the higher megapixel backs (like the 120mm), some of the others might (some of the wide angles).

    Overall, my advice would be that if you want to get a good deal, you should be flexible about what system you want to use. Unfortunately, the investment you have in Contax gear will be very small in comparison to the cost of the back, so it is best to find a good deal on a back and then find the lenses to use on it.

    And as a Sinar user, I will say that while the adapter system is a great thing, it is not something that you would want to change on a regular basis. It is a little harrowing to be working with a screwdriver millimeters away from a 645 sized sensor. One false move and you have lost 10,000 dollars. They are designed well, so there is little chance of making a mistake, but it is still not something you would ever want to do in the field, or even on a regular basis. The real utility of it is that you can change yourself fairly easily if you decide to change systems.
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    Re: Contax (Zeiss) on Hasselblad ?

    Why not just buy a back for the Contax?

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    Re: Contax (Zeiss) on Hasselblad ?

    Quote Originally Posted by grappa View Post
    I guess I was not clear. Yes,I have a body and more and I luv that camera and the lenses.
    Any advice on Sinar ?
    grappa, I don't have any advice regarding Sinar as I currently own a Phase One back and I'm not staying abreast of what Sinar is offering in terms of pricing, etc.

    As Stuart mentions, some of the best values available now are full packages which often include a "free" camera body and normal lens, etc. However, if one isn't looking for a completely new system or a year-end tax write-off, but just a way to use previously enjoyed analogue gear for digital photography then there are other ways to get good value. Used or refurbished backs are available and the prices have come down a lot in the last year. Actually, the prices have really dropped since about June of 2008.

    Once you define your goals, i.e. what kind of photography you plan to pursue with your digitally equipped Contax it would be easier for others to make some recommendations as to which backs to take a look at. I own a Phase One P25+ back which is "only" a 22 mega pixel back. This is now well behind the leading edge of resolution options, but produces wonderful images for what I wish to do (for now). I'd love to have a P45+ back, but I can't justify it right now and for my current printing requirements I'm not likely to see a difference in the finished prints. My point is that you might find similar satisfaction by first working with a back that does not represent the "latest and greatest" and get great value (relatively speaking) for your Contax kit.

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    Re: Contax (Zeiss) on Hasselblad ?

    Quote Originally Posted by grappa View Post
    I guess I was not clear. Yes,I have a body and more and I luv that camera and the lenses.
    Any advice on Sinar ?
    It sounded to me like you thought your body had problems and was not a good candidate for a digital back -- sorry I misunderstood.

    If you like the body and lenses, then by all means I would get a digital back to mount to it.

    One thing to keep in mind with DB's, is the back spacing is uber-critical for optimal performance. Some manufacturers seem to have no issues while others need to shim or adjust their backs to a specific camera body for optimal focus. I have no idea how the Sinar backs perform in this scenario with their intermediate adapter plate. (I can tell you I have used my Phase back on at least 4 different Mamiya bodies and focus was dead-on with all of them.)

    All of that said, a DB is a large investment and IMO it is advised to test-drive any of them before buying. One thing often overlooked is the raw file conversion and tethering software, so my recommendation is to play with those a bit too before making your final decision. In the end, *ANY* of the current backs are capable of producing outstanding files, and the biggest differences will probably be in the UI and associated workflow.

    Cheers,
    Jack
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    Re: Contax (Zeiss) on Hasselblad ?

    Do you have specific questions regarding the Sinar-backs?
    Prices at least here in Europe are quite competitive.
    I read that some forum members were not convinced by the service in the US - however I have to say that the contacts and help I get from Sinar people in Swizerland and Germany, and also from Franke-Heidecke is very good. Whenever I have a question, need help, drop a message I get feedback very fast and reliable.
    The Sinar software is ok for my taste but its not as advanced as c1.
    It works though. And once the raw files are converted to DNG you also can continue in Photoshop if you want. (I am not sure yet which converter produces the better results)
    I would think that the 54 Sinar back which I own is more comparable to the non plus Phase backs (P25)? The display is not really big.
    Since I also needed a new camera and liked the concept of the Hy6 the decision was easier compared to a Contax user.
    One thing I liked about the Sinar was that if I might want to change the camera system it would be possible to do so without high expense.
    I also like the rotating adapter a lot but this is limited to the Hy6 I think (maybe it also works on a Hassy V??)
    Cheers, Tom

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