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Adapter for Contax II Sonnar 50 mm 1.5?

Discussion in 'Adapted Lenses' started by Keppelj, Jul 26, 2013.

  1. Keppelj

    Keppelj TalkEmount Rookie

    12
    Jul 26, 2013
    New poster here, about to be NEX 6 owner. Among good old lenses I have is a Contax rf Sonnar 1.5 I'd like to use with the 6. Focus for this lens is driven by the camera. I've one adapter I bought which isn't right (no focusing base), and I'm wondering if there is a good good for this lens. There is a Chinese maker which looks like its mount is correct and incorporates the distance/feet scale, but but I've no way of knowing for sure. Anyone know? TIA.
     
  2. Bugleone

    Bugleone TalkEmount Veteran

    210
    Aug 21, 2011
    I don't think this adaptor is readily available.......

    The Contax r/f mount is unusual in that it is actually TWO mounts,...ie, most of the lenses mount onto the outside bayonet and use their own focussing rings.....The 50mm fits INTO teh interior bayonet and can be focussed BOTH by the small focus wheel on the camera body,...I have never seen this smaller bayonet mount mentioned by any of the adaptor makers, and I would imagine that such an adaptor poses problems that are, frankly, not worth solving for the makers since relatively few people will want such a thing, and the mechanism is complicated to make.
     
  3. -et-

    -et- TalkEmount Veteran

    205
    Jan 26, 2013
    Southern California
    Tom
    There are two different types of adapters that are needed to use the older Contax lenses on a NEX. One type - which is quite expensive (~ $150-250, the last time I looked) and made by only a couple of companies - is used for the 50mm lens. The mount on the 50mm lens goes down inside this type of adapter, just as it does on the Contax camera itself.

    The second type of adapter is used with the other old Contax lenses, such as the 85mm and 135mm lenses. With that type of adapter, the mounts on the lenses go around the outside of the adapter, just as they do on the camera. This type of adapter is much less expensive, and is available from many more suppliers.

    I have the second type of adapter, and it works well on my NEX-6 with my 85mm lens. I have not been willing to pay the price of the first type of adapter, so I have no personal knowledge of how well any of them would work with the 50mm lens. I have seen a comment by someone who did purchase one that he was happy with the result, but I do not recall the name of the source from whom he bought that adapter.

    - Tom -
     
  4. Keppelj

    Keppelj TalkEmount Rookie

    12
    Jul 26, 2013
    Thanks, guys, for the nice clear descriptions of the difference between Contax rf lens mountings. I have both the 55 and 135mm. It's the 50 that I'd like to use with the NEX 6. I remember the Sonnar 1.5 to be very clear. I have seen at least two adapters, one Chinese and one Spanish (I think), and I am hoping here to find someone who has experience with them. They are spendy, for sure.
     
  5. Keppelj

    Keppelj TalkEmount Rookie

    12
    Jul 26, 2013
    Thanks, Bugleone. I noticed that one. Spendy, indeed, for the use of one lens. Do you have experience with the Kipon adapter, by chance?
     
  6. stratokaster

    stratokaster TalkEmount Regular

    54
    Aug 27, 2011
    There are less expensive adapters made of parts salvaged from actual Kiev rangefinder cameras (same mount as Contax).
     
  7. Bimjo

    Bimjo Super Moderator

    Oct 28, 2011
    Washington State
    Jim
    Man, that lens would have to be so sharp the pics make your eyes bleed before I'd pay that much for a single use lens adapter. :p
     
  8. -et-

    -et- TalkEmount Veteran

    205
    Jan 26, 2013
    Southern California
    Tom
    Alternatively, if you have already had the lens for years for use on another camera and like it very much, you can argue that your actual "out-of-pocket" cost is much less than the cost of buying a new lens from Sony, Tamron, or some other lens manufacturer that you might not like as much as the Contax Sonnar 50mm f:1.5. This adapter might give you a better lens for less money than those alternatives.

    Now, if I actually believed what I just said, I would have bought one of these adapters for my own NEX - but I have not done so.

    Or, at least I have not done so - yet . . . ;)

    - Tom -
     
  9. stratokaster

    stratokaster TalkEmount Regular

    54
    Aug 27, 2011
    This lens is not very sharp by today's standards, but it has beautiful rendering and stunning bokeh. In fact, its rendering is so good that Carl Zeiss even makes the modern version with very similar optical formula and improved coatings. This modern version costs about $1200, so it's probably worth it to pay for an adapter for the old version.
     
  10. Bimjo

    Bimjo Super Moderator

    Oct 28, 2011
    Washington State
    Jim
    Hey, I said I wouldn't spend that much on an adapter for one lens, not that you shouldn't. ;)
     
  11. Keppelj

    Keppelj TalkEmount Rookie

    12
    Jul 26, 2013
    Well, I'm following the threads here just fine and am especially moved by the idea that it's a good deal cheaper to use a good lens I have than buy it equivalent. I hadn't guessed this would be so entertaining! But I need some help with photo vocabulary. What exactly is meant by "rendering" and "bokeh"? Is this like clarity (crisp resolution) vs out of focus gradient? And is it pronounced like "bouquet"?
     
  12. Bimjo

    Bimjo Super Moderator

    Oct 28, 2011
    Washington State
    Jim
    Render refers to how the lens "sees" the scene. Some lenses are very sharp, with a lot of micro-contrast; some lenses are softer and produce a sort of "glow" at the edges of the subject and the entire scene has a dreamy, hazy look many prefer for portraits. Those who are old enough will remember vaseline on a piece of glass held in front of the lens or a white nylon stoking stretched over the lens to try and replicate the effect.

    Bokeh is a Japanese word, commonly mispronounced by anyone not Japanese. Bokeh is the quality of the out-of-focus area of the picture. It's very subjective- one photographers dream bokeh is another photographers jarring nightmare.
     
  13. Keppelj

    Keppelj TalkEmount Rookie

    12
    Jul 26, 2013
    Thanks, Bimjo, that's very helpful. You're suggesting some ways to think about lens resolution don't know. Any place I might look for a general discussion, online or print? TIA
     
  14. Bimjo

    Bimjo Super Moderator

    Oct 28, 2011
    Washington State
    Jim
    Ummm… there might be something here that helps. Almost everything I know about this I've picked up on various photo forums over the years.
     
  15. -et-

    -et- TalkEmount Veteran

    205
    Jan 26, 2013
    Southern California
    Tom
    If you do make the decision to buy an adapter for the Contax Rangefinder 50mm f:1.5 lens, please report back here how well it seems to work - and if you are satisfied with the results. I am tempted to get one of the adapters for that lens, but have not done so because I am a bit hesitant to spend that much without any idea of how satisfied I might be with the results.

    Of course, if you post that you are very, very happy with the results, my bank account will probably curse you while my GAS (Gear Acquisition Syndrome) addiction is thanking you.

    ;)

    With best wishes,
    - Tom -
     
  16. Keppelj

    Keppelj TalkEmount Rookie

    12
    Jul 26, 2013
    Bimjo, thanks for the tutorials link above. That is an excellent resource and quite an eye opener. I'm going to enjoy it. The NEX 6 arrived in the interim and I've been preoccupied figuring it out.
     
  17. Eddie_C96

    Eddie_C96 New to TalkEmount

    7
    Jul 22, 2013
    France
    Hi Keppelj,

    Before going for an expensive adaptor, I suggest you have a look at this post:
    DIY Adapter for Contax RF inner mount

    Another solution is to find a cheap (non-RF coupled) adaptor for Nikon/Contax to Leica L39 or M-mounts and a Leica/Nex adaptor.
     
  18. Keppelj

    Keppelj TalkEmount Rookie

    12
    Jul 26, 2013
    With the arrival today of a small package from Kipon in Hong Kong I thought I should update this thread. I found the Contax RF to Nex E-mount adaptor in an "Integrated Version" on Amazon for $150 from Turtleback Ltd, quite a bit less than (and maybe different from) a commoner Kipon version which doesn't have the "integrated" descriptor. Looking at both online I couldn't see a difference. It fits both my Contax lens and the Nex, incorporates the focusing function not provided in the lens and allows nice clear photos, focuses to infinity, etc. Seems fine to me. Thanks all for your encouragement.