Focal Lenght: 50mm (5cm)
Max Apeture: 2 – 22
Lens Mount: Contax rangefinder
Min. Focus: 0.9 mm (due to the lens mount)
Filter Size: 40.5
Aperture Blades: 15
Weight: 140 g
Year made– 1962
I picked up this lens for a measly 25 euro. It took some haggling and the Contax Rangefinder mount helped. It was in one of the antique store I try to visit once a month.
I was keen to get my hands on a copy ever since I found one of my all time favourite lenses was the Carl Zeiss 5cm 1.5 Sonnar. This lens is a copy of the Zeiss, made in the Soviet Union.
All Contax rangefinder lenses that attach to the inner bayonet handle in a similar way. Focus distance is limited and the focusing action depends completely on the mount itself.
I expected more of this lens, perhaps due to my experience with the Sonnar.
The lens flares really easily, so a hood is a must if you don’t like flare.
I’m not that happy with the sharpness of this lens, even at f8 it leaves something to be desired. The image centre gets really sharp, but corners always seem to lag behind. I don’t ever recall using this much post-editing as I did with this lens’s detail and contrast sliders. (It could be my copy is bad.)
If you want bokeh tho… you get smooth defocus areas and nice circular bokeh balls, compliments by the many bladed aperture.
Wide open, due to spherical aberation, you get a haze, smokey and dreamy, which coupled with heavy vignetting makes your subject (if centred) stand out from behind a frosted glass.
The last two bits I’ll mention here is that the lens exhibits pincushion distortion as well as strong field curvature. A tad surprising for a 50mm lens, but not so much for a 68 year old one.
The colors this lenses produces are nice, but not really my cup of tea, a tad too dull out of camera.
The Contax rangefinder mount is a bit of a pain to use and since you can’t shoot a lens that uses it’s inner bayonet without one, I am taking that into consideration when I say: This lens is not worth it on digital. The fast aperture usually means they are a bit overpriced.
If you decide to shoot with it on a Nikon rangefinder or a Contax (or even a Kiev?) it might be worth the investment.