Contax Vario-Sonnar 4.5-5.6/100-300 for landscape

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backsidewalkaround Regular Member • Posts: 201
Contax Vario-Sonnar 4.5-5.6/100-300 for landscape

I have the lens for a little more than half a year now. More and more it feels like my arm or leg. I can't imagine going on a photo trip without it :-).

You might not like the lens itself: It's quite big and heavy, especially in combination with a mirrorless camera (in my case a Sony A7R III), but compared to other 300mm options it really isn't big at all. At least for me it works well: I can fit it in my large holster bag on camera with two other lenses. The weight doesn't bother me much.
It generally isn't a trouble free lens. Many owners report lens separation in the rear element. It is supposed to be curable by a japanese guy who offers the service of recementing the rear elements.

Knowing about that problem, I asked the seller of my lenses very specifically about it, so it wasn't one for me. I did have to get a second copy, though, because the first one was decentered. It's really sad, because it delivered noticably more micro contrast than my current copy. Also it didn't have zoom creep like my lens now has. It was a neewer version of the lens with a serial number starting at 84... .
Still for landscape the decentering bothered me too much (for portaiture or close-up work it wouldn't have mattered), so I sold it again for quite a bit less (telling the buyer all about it) and got another copy. It's an older copy starting with a 74... serial number. Its sharpness is distributed uniformly across the frame at all focal lengths. Color and contrast are great, just not as mind blowing as with my first copy. Still excellent.

It is very versatile with its focal range and it never disappoints. I love to do panorama shots using it at 100mm or sometimes even more. If an image is lacking every once in a while it's my fault, because I know that the lens delivers every time (in the second panorama below I messed up focussing (it was extremely cold and windy) - in the panorama you don't notice it unless zooming in).

Besides using it for landscape you can use it quite well for close-ups too, just pack one or two extension tubes und you might not need a macro-ish lens anymore (well true 1:1 macro you'll still need a dedicated lens, but for many close-up scenarios you won't be disappointed.

Recently I've been able to find some extraordinary weather conditions, so I can show you some of my results (if you like to see some more, you'll find them in my non-commercial hobby blog here):

Cintematic Winter

Islands in the sea of fog.

20°C below not counting the wind chill, but worth it.

Sunset. The glowing mountain in the back is Germany's highest peak (Zugspitze). It is 100km away.

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 backsidewalkaround's gear list:backsidewalkaround's gear list
Sony a7R III Sigma 35mm F1.4 DG HSM Art Sony Vario-Tessar T* FE 16-35mm F4 ZA OSS Sony FE 50mm F1.4 ZA Sony FE 200-600 F5.6-6.3 +1 more
Sony a7R
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