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As good as Contax G2 + 28mm?

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I'm selling my 21mm Super Angulon f/4 M mount in favor of something a little more "practical". While in Cuba earlier this year, I found myself using the Zeiss 28mm f/2.8 on my Contax G2 quite a bit but for my next few trips, I'll bring only a couple of M bodies (M7 & Typ 246). I really love the results that I got out of my Zeiss and am wondering if I should go with another Zeiss (25mm f/2.8 or 28mm f/2.8) OR a new-ish 28mm Elmarit ASPH. So my two questions are "is the Elmarit ASPH quality worth more than double the price of a used Zeiss 25mm or 28mm?" and "In order to keep my work consistent, should I just stick with the Zeiss 28mm f/2.8 for the way it renders colors?" Examples of my work in Cuba with the 28mm f/2.8 on the Contax G2 below. Both photos with Portra 400. 
 

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Why not just stick with the winning combo you have, take the G2/28mm?

I must admit to being tempted by the G series, and the 21/28/35/45/90 selection.

Gary

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I sold my G2 and the three G lenses that I had for it several months ago for a couple of M mount lenses and a bunch of film. I honestly loved that camera and do regret that decision but what’s done is done and my trusty M7 is a great piece of kit.

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If you are really hooked on the Zeiss colors, Leica will be a bit different. Not a lot, but less pink and a bit less contrast.

 

I switched from Zeiss/G to Leica exactly for the different color of Leica's 1980s lenses. However, Leica lenses have been getting pinker over the past couple of decades, so you may find the Elmarit ASPH close enough.

 

I haven't tried the Zeiss ZM lenses in Leica mount - they may or may not track exactly with the Contax/Zeiss AF lenses, since they are redesigns from scratch, not the same optical formula.

Edited by adan

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The G2 and the 28 lens (as well as 21 and 45mm) was (still is) fantastic. The lenses were better than their zm counterparts and in some aspects also better than Leica M lenses in the 90s.

 

If you want to replicate the look of the G2 and 28mm and your favorite film with a digital M camera, quite a bit of post processing will be required no matter what lens you choose.

 

All current Leica offerings at 28mm surpass the 28mm zm lenses on a digital M camera.

Edited by anickpick

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If you want to replicate the look of the G2 and 28mm and your favorite film with a digital M camera, quite a bit of post processing will be required no matter what lens you choose.

 

 

 

The OP now has an M7 (and a typ 246 which obviously doesn't do colour at all).

 

I don't have anything useful to say about the colour of Leica lenses v. Zeiss Contax lenses but if money isn't a big factor I'd personally take the Leica Elmarit ASPH over the ZM 28mm for its significantly smaller size.

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Correct. I did not read carefully enough.

 

On the M7 I’d still go for Elmarit as it blocks the viewfinder slightly less. Optically the Biogon zm is close to the (older) G lens. The Elmarit is better in the outer third of the frame wide open, but this would not have been relevant in the above posted photos. In the central half of the frame the Biogon is as good as the Elmarit wide open. Stopped down to f5.6 or f8, both lenses are without fault.

 

So the Biogon might be the better choice if money matters (and it still is a rather small lens).

 

But no matter which 28mm lens you choose for the m7, you still will not surpass the results you get with the Contax G2;)

Edited by anickpick

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I haven't tried the Zeiss ZM lenses in Leica mount - they may or may not track exactly with the Contax/Zeiss AF lenses, since they are redesigns from scratch, not the same optical formula.

I always thought that the "Planar" "Sonnar" etc. names also carried over their same optical formula but then again, I've also never looked at the old v. new side by side. Something I should definitely consider. Thanks! 

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The G2 and the 28 lens (as well as 21 and 45mm) was (still is) fantastic. The lenses were better than their zm counterparts and in some aspects also better than Leica M lenses in the 90s.

 

If you want to replicate the look of the G2 and 28mm and your favorite film with a digital M camera, quite a bit of post processing will be required no matter what lens you choose.

 

All current Leica offerings at 28mm surpass the 28mm zm lenses on a digital M camera.

The only digital M that I own is the Typ 246. My color worries remain based in 35mm film. 

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But no matter which 28mm lens you choose for the m7, you still will not surpass the results you get with the Contax G2;)

That G2 is certainly a great camera. Honestly, I shouldn't have sold it and may end up buying another sometime soon but having a fully electronic camera scares me. Hell, even moving from my old M6 to an M7 made me consider quite a few factors and I still flirt with the idea of buying an old M4 just to have a fully analogue M. Finding proper glass for the M system seems to be a tough choice for many people. Contax made it pretty easy with offering a limited choice in lenses, all with superb optics. 

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Honestly, I shouldn't have sold it and may end up buying another sometime soon but having a fully electronic camera scares me. Hell, even moving from my old M6 to an M7 made me consider quite a few factors and I still flirt with the idea of buying an old M4 just to have a fully analogue M.

Kyocera stopped supporting the G2 a few years back, IIRC. I recently had to send in an M6 because the meter suddenly died. Lord knows how much that will cost to repair or if it’s repairable at all. But at least it will work without batteries.

The existential quandary for all electronic-dependent devices as they age.

Edited by james.liam

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Go to Erwin Puts site imx.nl and click on the Zeiss tab for info on the ZM lens performance.  

I find his evaluations honest.

I have used the 25mm f2.8 Biogon, two different lenses in black and chrome.

Both excellent performers and much more affordable than the any of the Elmarits, especially of you like the Zeiss 'look'.

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I was just looking at 28mm lenses to have something more "serious"

 and faster instead or in addition to my Orion-17 28mm f6 (Zeiss Topogon schema), but still keep it in small size. I didn't went for charts and tests, but looked at many real users pictures taken with Biogon 28 2.8 ZM and  28mm Elmarit ASPH. 

I was not impressed with Biogon's distortions and corners performance, but pictures have less clinical look than Elmarit ASPH rendering. 

Personally, I can't say if one is better than another. They are different. If OP is after "look" and wants it consistent, I say, the Biogon. 

 

But I also think that  specific look is irrelevant in good photography shown by OP. One of the best 28mm on M Leica example is Winogrand's work over decades.  I knew which lenses he used over years, I knew how they rendered, I sometimes knew which prints were made with which lens and I have seen those prints for real. It varies greatly from next to dull and very soft in the corners to nice and sharp in the middle and just OK for entire print. But content on this pictures is taking over technicalities and seeing all of these prints at once doesn't really put me off despite different look lenses gives.

 

I also think what for consistency in colors the same film is mostly important. 

Edited by Ko.Fe.

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Kyocera stopped supporting the G2 a few years back, IIRC. I recently had to send in an M6 because the meter suddenly died. Lord knows how much that will cost to repair or if it’s repairable at all. But at least it will work without batteries.

The existential quandary for all electronic-dependent devices as they age.

I work at a camera store and the number of broken Contax cameras that come in and cant be repaired is honestly kind of depressing. Thats one reason I never went for the Contax 645 but that glass is just so amazing. Batteries died in my M6 during a recent trip to Boston just as soon as I exited the plane. I spent the rest of my time there shooting happily with that camera and eyeballing the exposures. 

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But I also think that  specific look is irrelevant in good photography shown by OP. One of the best 28mm on M Leica example is Winogrand's work over decades.  I knew which lenses he used over years, I knew how they rendered, I sometimes knew which prints were made with which lens and I have seen those prints for real. It varies greatly from next to dull and very soft in the corners to nice and sharp in the middle and just OK for entire print. But content on this pictures is taking over technicalities and seeing all of these prints at once doesn't really put me off despite different look lenses gives.

 

I also think what for consistency in colors the same film is mostly important. 

You do bring up a great point; content is key.

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Get your 28mm G Contax lens converted to M-mount. I don't know thew cost but you can ask. 

It would have to be a fraction of the cost of any new Leica 28mm lens.

 

Problem solved?

 

https://www.japancamerahunter.com/services/lens-conversion/

I looked at that option. Costs more than buying the Elmarit ASPH 

 

http://www.japanexposures.com/shop/services/contax-g-biogon-28-2.8-for-leica-m.html

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That lens, already converted, is well less that half the price of a new 28 Elmarit.

You already have the lens in G mount.

Have you asked Bellamy for a conversion quote

Edited by MarkP

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That lens, already converted, is well less that half the price of a new 28 Elmarit.

You already have the lens in G mount.

Have you asked Bellamy for a conversion quote

I sold all of my G lenses this past spring. 

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