Best adapter for Contax G lenses

Started Mar 29, 2013 | Discussions
Astrophotographer 10
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Best adapter for Contax G lenses
Mar 29, 2013

I got an Ebay Chinese Contax G adapter yesterday. I used it last night and it took a while to figure out how to use it to control focus. It didn't at first until fitted the right way.

Using it this morning I see it works to focus but the focus ring is not very smooth and has a few notchy spots.

Using it on the Nex 6 I could immediately see the extra colour and warmth of the lens. I love the rendering it creates. I took a few comparison shoots with an excellent Nikon 105mm F2.5AIS (cheap lens but often highly regarded). It was similar but the Contax lens has a slightly nicer rendition of colour (not a lot in it).

What's a decent adapter for Contax g? Metabones?

Morning scenery using Contax g 90mm F.8 Sonnar (at about F8) and Nex 6

Greg.

nrcole
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Re: Best adapter for Contax G lenses
In reply to Astrophotographer 10, Mar 29, 2013

After a few weeks of use and your adapter should smooth out. It takes time for the lubricant in the barrel to redistribute after long disuse.

People like Metabones for the big focus ring, not so much for the way it takes up room between the lens mount and your hand grip. Due to sample variation some people like Meta, others Kipon, and so on. I've also seen claims that some people think certain adapters work better with certain lenses, but there's no pattern to it.

My advice is to use yours for a few more weeks and see if it smooths out. I have one of the cheapest feeling ones you could imagine but it did smooth out (after it had left me with a not-insubstantial blister). Never locks up now.

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pockets33433
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Re: Best adapter for Contax G lenses
In reply to Astrophotographer 10, Mar 29, 2013

I think the kippon adaptor is fine--smooth enough.  You have to learn how to mount these contax g lenses and how to fiddle with it if you do it wrong.  It is lighter and smaller than the metabones.

But then i got the metabones adaptor and it has less resistance and the effort to focus is noticeably lighter all-around (perhaps attributable to the torque afforded by the larger focus ring diameter).  But it is heavier.  My fingers are long and the grip on the 5N remains comfortable with the adaptor on.  But it is also fiddly to mount in a different way from the kippon and I often have to do it 5 times to get it to work smoothly--if I do it the wrong way, which I can't really figure out, you can tell something is "off" as the resistance varies greatly from smooth to tough as you cycle the focus near to far.   And there is a "lock" toggle which doesn't inspire a lot of confidence--i'm careful to test whether the thing is securely locked on.

IMO metabones is better because once I get it on right it is just has a lighter action.

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uhligfd
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Re: Best adapter for Contax G lenses
In reply to pockets33433, Mar 29, 2013

As for your pic: you need to learn to focus manually with the help of peaking.  The lens is razor sharp and carries multicontrasts exquisitely, but ill focused as this pic is, the lens just sucks.

Any lens would ....

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Astrophotographer 10
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Re: Best adapter for Contax G lenses
In reply to uhligfd, Mar 29, 2013

Thanks for the replies. I'll continue to use this adapter is see if it smoothes out. Luckily the range it needs to do most focus in isn't so bad and the bumps are further away from where I would normall use it.

I did use focus peaking but it was early morning, I probably focused on the furthest hill which was a mistake with closer in objects and it was close or was wide open so a bit of a narrow depth of field. Other images I took seem plenty sharp. A shame as that one had a nice look to it. Shutter speed may've been a tad slow for handheld also.

I find the 90 so far to be a bit warm in colours and I fiddled with white balance to up the blues and reduce the reds and it looked good.

I was thinking of getting the 45mm Contax g next. It got some good posts. Not sure about the 21 or 28mm. Rear clearance of the last lens element may be an issue. Are they worth it? The 21 is quite expensive.

Greg.

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SQLGuy
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Re: Best adapter for Contax G lenses
In reply to Astrophotographer 10, Mar 29, 2013

The other thing to check is how well centered the screw is over the driving bit in the adapter. Generally there will be a bit of slop where you can wiggle the lens back and forth in its locked position. You want it centered between the two stops that will block it from rotating further or back. If it's all the way against one stop, the driver bit will tend to bind, which is what makes the focus less smooth.

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walnorth
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Re: Best adapter for Contax G lenses
In reply to Astrophotographer 10, Mar 30, 2013

Astrophotographer 10 wrote

I was thinking of getting the 45mm Contax g next. It got some good posts. Not sure about the 21 or 28mm. Rear clearance of the last lens element may be an issue. Are they worth it? The 21 is quite expensive.

Greg.

I loved the Contax G. When I moved to digital, I bought Canon DSLRs and thought they were plasticy and the lenses lacked the "pop" of the Zeiss Contax lenses. When I bought a Nex 7, I was excited that my Contax lenses could be used again.

The 45 mm planar is possibly the best lens I've used in my 50 years as a photographer. Buy it. If the rumors of the full frame Nex are true, the price will go through the roof.

The problem is that the adapters are dogmeat. Contax G lenses are usable, but the focusing is rough. I hope the DEO adapter will work. I will post a review when I get one.

I'm an old guy. I appreciate OSS. I have the SEL 1018, SEL18200, and SEL 50, and think very highly of them all, but the image quality of the Contax G Zeiss lenses haunts me.

(yes, I sold my Leica glass without looking back. Buy the Contax 45, if only as an investment.)

Don

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iceccream
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Re: Best adapter for Contax G lenses
In reply to walnorth, Mar 30, 2013

walnorth wrote:

I loved the Contax G. When I moved to digital, I bought Canon DSLRs and thought they were plasticy and the lenses lacked the "pop" of the Zeiss Contax lenses. When I bought a Nex 7, I was excited that my Contax lenses could be used again.

The 45 mm planar is possibly the best lens I've used in my 50 years as a photographer. Buy it. If the rumors of the full frame Nex are true, the price will go through the roof.

The problem is that the adapters are dogmeat. Contax G lenses are usable, but the focusing is rough. I hope the DEO adapter will work. I will post a review when I get one.

I'm an old guy. I appreciate OSS. I have the SEL 1018, SEL18200, and SEL 50, and think very highly of them all, but the image quality of the Contax G Zeiss lenses haunts me.

(yes, I sold my Leica glass without looking back. Buy the Contax 45, if only as an investment.)

Don

yep, pretty much what don said.  they are excellent lenses.  i've used the 90, 45, 28 & 21, and love them all.  there are colour banding issues with the 21mm in particular however (and a tiny bit with the 28).  they can be largely fixed in post, but i believe you still lose detail there.

for adaptors, my preference is the metabones.  i had a cheap kipon copy, but it never really got better, and has the same symptoms you report.  the metabones is big and ugly, but it works well.

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djp58
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Re: Best adapter for Contax G lenses
In reply to walnorth, Mar 30, 2013

Agree that the Contax G lenses are amazing - I've used the 28, 45 & 90mm on NEX 3, 5N & 7.  The 45 & 90 are two of my favorites on the NEX 7 and the 28 stays glued on the 5N (some fringing and corner issues on the 7); agree that the 45 is probably the best lens I've ever used.  I prefer the Metabones adapter, though have gotten one of my 2 fotodiox adapters to work smoothly (its on the 28mm/5N combo).  Will post a review of the new DEO-Tech AF adapter as soon as it arrives - email says it should ship around 20 Apr.

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Vu Dang
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Re: Best adapter for Contax G lenses
In reply to Astrophotographer 10, Mar 30, 2013

Metabones or Shogun adapter = best Contaxt G to Nex/m43/Fuji. But of course, they are expensive. If you have 2-3 Contax G lens + love them, choose one.

I also tried noname China adapter: it is not bad. After test 2 ( or maybe 3 ) I chose 1 and I think it is ok for very cheap price, about 20$.

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Joachim Wulfers
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Re: Best adapter for Contax G lenses
In reply to Astrophotographer 10, Mar 30, 2013

Astrophotographer 10 wrote:

I got an Ebay Chinese Contax G adapter yesterday. I used it last night and it took a while to figure out how to use it to control focus. It didn't at first until fitted the right way.

Using it this morning I see it works to focus but the focus ring is not very smooth and has a few notchy spots.

Using it on the Nex 6 I could immediately see the extra colour and warmth of the lens. I love the rendering it creates. I took a few comparison shoots with an excellent Nikon 105mm F2.5AIS (cheap lens but often highly regarded). It was similar but the Contax lens has a slightly nicer rendition of colour (not a lot in it).

What's a decent adapter for Contax g? Metabones?

Greg.

Hi Greg,

I recently got three Contax G lenses and purchased a Kipon and a Fotodiox adapter. Both my samples are very smooth and focus to infinity. So, since the Fotodiox costs about 60% of the Kipon and I don't see any difference in the finish quality, I will purchase another Fotodiox for my third lens.

There are two previous posts (just search for Zeiss lenses in this forum) with photographs from the NEX with Zeiss Contax G lenses.

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Joachim Wulfers
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Re: Best adapter for Contax G lenses
In reply to nrcole, Mar 30, 2013

nrcole wrote:

After a few weeks of use and your adapter should smooth out. It takes time for the lubricant in the barrel to redistribute after long disuse.

People like Metabones for the big focus ring, not so much for the way it takes up room between the lens mount and your hand grip. Due to sample variation some people like Meta, others Kipon, and so on. I've also seen claims that some people think certain adapters work better with certain lenses, but there's no pattern to it.

My advice is to use yours for a few more weeks and see if it smooths out. I have one of the cheapest feeling ones you could imagine but it did smooth out (after it had left me with a not-insubstantial blister). Never locks up now.

The nochiness does not come from "dried out lubricant". It comes from a poorly sized flat pin and poor fit between the focus ring and the small sprocket driving the pin. The flat pin driving the lens has too much play. You can feel it when you move the focus ring back and forth. It moves about 2 - 3 degrees before the lens barrel starts to move.

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Joachim Wulfers
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Re: Best adapter for Contax G lenses
In reply to Astrophotographer 10, Mar 30, 2013

Astrophotographer 10 wrote:

I was thinking of getting the 45mm Contax g next. It got some good posts. Not sure about the 21 or 28mm. Rear clearance of the last lens element may be an issue. Are they worth it? The 21 is quite expensive.

Greg.

I use the 28 and 45 most of the time and like them for their colours. If sharpness is all you want, the Sigma 30 gives you that at less than half the price.

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Annex
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Re: Best adapter for Contax G lenses
In reply to Astrophotographer 10, Mar 30, 2013

The Chinese fake Kipons are FAR rougher from my experience than the real kipons. I have 3 adapters for my contax gs (and the AF one to come too):

Fake Kipon - Very rough feeling and not that fun to use. Does focus infinity though and a good place to start as v cheap.

Real Kipon - Nice and smooth but ring is a little uncomfortable, pretty expensive

Metabones - Very smooth and make the lens feel like a "normal MF" lens. Very bulky though and not ideal for pocketing, also very expensive.

The AF one looks to be an ideal compromise assuming the MF works ok as it's pretty small, has AF/MF and looks solid build quality.

Personally I'd wait to see what people say when these start landing before investing in a real Kipon or Metabones.

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Astrophotographer 10
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Re: Best adapter for Contax G lenses
In reply to Joachim Wulfers, Mar 30, 2013

Thanks Joachim. I read your other posts before and they are very informative - thanks.

Why do you need several Fotodiox adapters Are they hard to remove from the lens or do you want to have an adapter on each lens?

I took some more shots this morning with the Contax g 90mm Sonnar and it is an exquisite lens. I love the colours, Very rich. It is also very very sharp and 10X magnification is really needed to get it just right.

This lens adapter didn't seem too bad this morning. Perhaps I am just getting used to it. Luckily its not that notchy in the most used part of the manual focus.

I plan on getting the 45 and 28 now as I like this type of rendition and may end up being a Zeiss fan for my other cameras.

With the 28mm though, I know its less than half the price of the Zeiss 24mm F1.8 but I am wondering if it would be better to get that for the widefield and the 45mm Contax G as that gets rave review. That way I also get AF on the Zeiss 24. Is it worth the extra $700?

Greg.

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Astrophotographer 10
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Re: Best adapter for Contax G lenses
In reply to Annex, Mar 30, 2013

Thanks very much for all the informative replies - very helpful. This is a good forum.

Greg.

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Harry Lew
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Re: Best adapter for Contax G lenses
In reply to Annex, Mar 31, 2013

How do you tell the real Kipons from the fake ones? Can you recommend a legitimate sales outlet? Thank you.

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Joachim Wulfers
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Re: Best adapter for Contax G lenses
In reply to Astrophotographer 10, Mar 31, 2013

Astrophotographer 10 wrote:

Thanks Joachim. I read your other posts before and they are very informative - thanks.

Why do you need several Fotodiox adapters Are they hard to remove from the lens or do you want to have an adapter on each lens?

I took some more shots this morning with the Contax g 90mm Sonnar and it is an exquisite lens. I love the colours, Very rich. It is also very very sharp and 10X magnification is really needed to get it just right.

This lens adapter didn't seem too bad this morning. Perhaps I am just getting used to it. Luckily its not that notchy in the most used part of the manual focus.

I plan on getting the 45 and 28 now as I like this type of rendition and may end up being a Zeiss fan for my other cameras.

With the 28mm though, I know its less than half the price of the Zeiss 24mm F1.8 but I am wondering if it would be better to get that for the widefield and the 45mm Contax G as that gets rave review. That way I also get AF on the Zeiss 24. Is it worth the extra $700?

Greg.

Hi Greg,

I like to have one adapter for each lens. I feel this reduces the danger of dropping a lens during a change in the field and has the added advantage that all rear lens caps are the same. That way I don't have to carry the "native" rear lens caps. the 90mm and 45mm have the same cap, but the 28mm cap is deeper.

For the wider than 28mm I use a Voigtlaender Color Skopar 4/21. I know the 24mm Zeiss is a nice lens to have, but I have not been able to convince me to spend $1,000 on that lens. AF is not that important on a wide angle lens. The Skopar is easy to zone focus. You set it at f8, for instance, and everything between 0.9m and infinity is in focus. I posted a series of photos from the Toronto Auto Show with that lens. I believe if you search for Voigtlaender Color Skopar you should find that thread.

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Joachim

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Joachim Wulfers
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Re: Best adapter for Contax G lenses
In reply to Annex, Mar 31, 2013

Annex wrote:

The Chinese fake Kipons are FAR rougher from my experience than the real kipons. I have 3 adapters for my contax gs (and the AF one to come too):

Fake Kipon - Very rough feeling and not that fun to use. Does focus infinity though and a good place to start as v cheap.

Real Kipon - Nice and smooth but ring is a little uncomfortable, pretty expensive

Metabones - Very smooth and make the lens feel like a "normal MF" lens. Very bulky though and not ideal for pocketing, also very expensive.

The AF one looks to be an ideal compromise assuming the MF works ok as it's pretty small, has AF/MF and looks solid build quality.

Personally I'd wait to see what people say when these start landing before investing in a real Kipon or Metabones.

I agree that the real Kipon has a smooth focusing ring. But I found that mine has some play at the adapter/body interface. My Fotodiox does not have that play. I don't have any experience with the Metabones. The focusing ring just looked way to big.

As far as cost, my Kipon was $132.00 and the Fotodiox was $80.00. I think the Metabones is at the Kipon level.

Personally I am not interested in the AF unit. The chart with the AF times at different apertures does not look too good.

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Joachim

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