Thoughts on the Zeiss 90mm f/2.8 Sonnar in Contax G mount

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celloandrew
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Thoughts on the Zeiss 90mm f/2.8 Sonnar in Contax G mount
11 months ago

To anyone interested in a medium-long fast telephoto who doesn't mind manual focusing:

I recently purchased a Carl Zeiss 90mm f2.8 Sonnar for the Contax G series to help stifle my lust for the M.zuiko 75/1.8.  I'll be attending a number of weddings this summer and I think that a LONG portrait lens will come in useful.  After 1 week with the lens, here are a few thoughts.

1. This thing looks good!  Admittedly, it has sort of a "Frankenstein" look on my e-pm1, but it's not offensive to my eyes and the lens itself is minimalist and beautiful.

Carl Zeiss Sonnar 2.8/90 for Contax G series.  Kipon Contax G to mft adapter.  Forgive the iPhone pic.

2. Focusing with the adapter (I sprung for a Kipon rather than a cheap knockoff) is not bad.  There are a few "catch" points, but I have not had any problem achieving focus, especially using the vf-3.  It isn't nearly as smooth as focusing on the OM-series lenses I also have adapted, but I actually find it easier to find critical focus.

3. Sharpness is excellent.  Wide open, there is a bit of CA, but there is really no need to stop down for sharpness.  Here are some 100% crops taken at minimum focus distance of an ink cartridge box.

Zeiss 90mm, 100% crop at f2.8

Zeiss 90mm, 100% crop at 5.6.  Tack sharp.

Zeiss 90, 100% at 2.8 with CA removed and minimal contrast added in Lightroom.

OM 100/2.8, 100% at 2.8.  This is generally considered a sharp legacy lens, but it's clearly not in the same league as the Zeiss wide open.

4. Bokeh is pleasing.

Wide open.  Shot raw and saturation at +7 in Lightroom to mimic jpeg.

This might be f/4.  It was overcast, but the shutter speed (1/320) has me thinking it was not wide open.

Conclusion:

I think I'm really going to enjoy this lens.  I'm anxious to get out and see what it is capable in a landscape setting.  The famed "3D pop" of Zeiss should make for some nice stitched panoramas.

Happy shooting!

Andrew

Olympus PEN E-PM1
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