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Author Topic: Nikon, Contax or Leica?  (Read 1501 times)

Chairman Bill

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Nikon, Contax or Leica?
« on: May 28, 2020, 01:07:43 pm »

I'm after a 135mm for my Z7. Manual focus, f2.8 ... question is, which is the better lens? Having none of them at hand to try, I'm hoping you good people will have some idea.

Thanks beforehand for your advice.

Chairman Bill

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Re: Nikon, Contax or Leica?
« Reply #1 on: May 28, 2020, 04:43:32 pm »

Just to add ... or should I save my pennies for something like a used autofocus Canon 135 f2?

mcbroomf

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Re: Nikon, Contax or Leica?
« Reply #2 on: May 29, 2020, 05:07:51 am »

I tested the Contax against the Canon many years ago and returned the Contax.  It also had a long MFD which I thought would restrict me in some cases.  I used the Canon for many years, only replacing it with a 135mm Batis relatively recently.  I think there's a Sony-Z adapter.
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Chairman Bill

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Re: Nikon, Contax or Leica?
« Reply #3 on: May 29, 2020, 06:29:59 am »

Thanks, Mike

Rob C

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Re: Nikon, Contax or Leica?
« Reply #4 on: May 29, 2020, 08:24:31 am »

Thanks, Mike

I bought a new 2.8/135mm Nikkor AIS some years ago; it's a wonderful lens. I used to have the f3.5 version many years earlier, but flogged the entire Nikon outfit whan seduced to 6x7. That didn't last, hence the reconstruction of the Nikon armoury.

Manual, but on a tripod, easy to focus.

Rob

kers

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    • Pieter Kers
Re: Nikon, Contax or Leica?
« Reply #5 on: May 29, 2020, 08:30:33 am »

If you see how much the lensdesign has improved over the last decade, maybe it is better to choose a more recent designed lens.
But of course i don't know exactly what you search in a lens... Quality is also a personal thing.
here a review of the sigma 1.8 135mm
https://www.lenstip.com/501.4-Lens_review-Sigma_A_135_mm_f_1.8_DG_HSM_Image_resolution.html
and
the older Canon 135mm f2
https://www.lenstip.com/320.4-Lens_review-Canon_EF_135_mm_f_2L_USM_Image_resolution.html
although not perfect comparable it shows a clear difference in quality
or see here even better
https://www.the-digital-picture.com/Reviews/ISO-12233-Sample-Crops.aspx?Lens=108&Camera=979&Sample=0&FLI=0&API=0&LensComp=1122&CameraComp=0&FLIComp=0&APIComp=0
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BernardLanguillier

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Re: Nikon, Contax or Leica?
« Reply #6 on: May 29, 2020, 08:38:08 am »

The Sony FE 135mm f1.8 is good. It works on the Z with tech art adapter.

I find itís rendering a bit boring but technically itís excellent.

But my favorite lens in this range is the Voigtlander 125mm f2.5 APO.

Cheers,
Bernard

JeffSD

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Re: Nikon, Contax or Leica?
« Reply #7 on: May 29, 2020, 01:57:43 pm »

Hi, Bill.

Since you're willing to consider an f2 lens that will require an adapter to mate with your Z7, another 135mm lens you might want to look at is the Zeiss APO-Sonnar.

I don't have a Z7, but I use the 135mm Zeiss all the time on my D850. I find it to be an outstanding lens and reasonably priced in the used market.

Roger Cicala had an interesting comparison of the Zeiss and Canon f2 lenses on the Lens Rentals blog. You might find it useful. https://wordpress.lensrentals.com/blog/2013/04/zeiss-ze-135mm-f2-vs-canon-135mm-f2l/

Best,
Jeff

Chairman Bill

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Re: Nikon, Contax or Leica?
« Reply #8 on: May 29, 2020, 02:03:37 pm »

Thanks all, for the advice - much appreciated. I fear my budget won't stretch to some of the more esoteric suggestions (i.e. anything over £500). I'm very much looking at used lenses with no more than £200-300 to spend right now, maybe managing £500 for something really, really good.

EinstStein

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Re: Nikon, Contax or Leica?
« Reply #9 on: May 30, 2020, 01:45:38 am »

I have Leica M Elmar 135mm f4 that can be used on modern mirrorless digital cameras. You should be able to find one in excellent condition for less US$200, and it is super sweet. This is a very surprising lens in both quality, convenience, and price. You can find a lot of review on this lens. It's not F2, but I found with modern digital camera ISO, it really does not matter.

I also have Contax Zeiss 135mm f2.8. It's the second best 135mm I like.  Zeiss normally has shallower DOF compared to Leica (with same focal length and same aperture), this one is no exception. It's DOF is more creamy than Leica 135mm Elmar when they both set to f4~f5.6.

Not 135mm, but Leica M 90mm F4 is superb too.

Be aware that sharpness is not the same as the resolution. It's like a music player. A clear and beautiful sound does not imply highest frequency response. It's about the signal to noise ratio and the transfer function.



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Rob C

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Re: Nikon, Contax or Leica?
« Reply #10 on: May 30, 2020, 09:15:52 am »

I have Leica M Elmar 135mm f4 that can be used on modern mirrorless digital cameras. You should be able to find one in excellent condition for less US$200, and it is super sweet. This is a very surprising lens in both quality, convenience, and price. You can find a lot of review on this lens. It's not F2, but I found with modern digital camera ISO, it really does not matter.

I also have Contax Zeiss 135mm f2.8. It's the second best 135mm I like.  Zeiss normally has shallower DOF compared to Leica (with same focal length and same aperture), this one is no exception. It's DOF is more creamy than Leica 135mm Elmar when they both set to f4~f5.6.

Not 135mm, but Leica M 90mm F4 is superb too.

Be aware that sharpness is not the same as the resolution. It's like a music player. A clear and beautiful sound does not imply highest frequency response. It's about the signal to noise ratio and the transfer function.


Contrast: it's a big reason why Nikon displaced Leica during the Korean war and thereabouts. Press shooters discovered the Japanese optics reproduced better in the newspapers and magazines.

Practical reasons instead of the amateur's fanboyism.

EinstStein

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Re: Nikon, Contax or Leica?
« Reply #11 on: May 30, 2020, 12:16:55 pm »


Contrast: it's a big reason why Nikon displaced Leica during the Korean war and thereabouts. Press shooters discovered the Japanese optics reproduced better in the newspapers and magazines.

Practical reasons instead of the amateur's fanboyism.

I don't know about that, never heard of this from any (other) trustworthy source.

It is generally understood that Japan has very strong industry mass production. Its costs and economy scale far exceeds many other countries that makes such as Leica hard to compete in as long as Japan's quality is accepted.

The other factor in the Leica's low market sharing in the journalist market and consumer market is the story of SLR vs. RF in the history. SLR is much versatile, for example, RF has limited range of focal length and does jot offer what you see is what you get. Another important factor is the extent of electronics. Auto exposure, auto focus, etc., are Japan's strength.

Purely optical quality, Leica and Zeiss still stand in their special position.

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Chairman Bill

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Re: Nikon, Contax or Leica?
« Reply #12 on: May 31, 2020, 04:39:32 am »

I've bitten the bullet and now have a Contax 135 f2.8 and CY-Z mount adapter on their way, all for less than £200.

Thanks, everyone, for the advice. Much appreciated.

Petrus

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Re: Nikon, Contax or Leica?
« Reply #13 on: June 16, 2020, 12:06:16 pm »

The other factor in the Leica's low market sharing in the journalist market and consumer market is the story of SLR vs. RF in the history. SLR is much versatile, for example, RF has limited range of focal length and does jot offer what you see is what you get.

I worked as a press professional for 40 years and never owned or used a Leica. Practically nobody used them in real professional life. It was only Nikon and Canon for newspaper and agency shooters. One or two "artists" might have used Leica sometimes, I newer saw it with my own eyes in news situations.
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