Jump to content

Contax Zeiss vs Leica R?


Recommended Posts

Hey all: long time lurker, first time poster. I'm a grad student working on a cyberpunk short in which we're going for a look somewhere between Beyond the Black Rainbow (a low-con, 70s/80s sci fi vibe) and Blade Runner (low-key, noir lighting).
 
We're shooting on a BMPCC 6K so we can shoot BRAW and tweak in post, but we're also limited to EF-mount lenses (the PL adapter is out of our price range for this project). After doing a ton of research I've zeroed in on renting a 70's set of either Contax Zeiss or Leica R still lenses (I'm aware of the crop issue with the Super 35 sensor). I can't find a full set of LOMOs in the LA area that are EF mount - that would have been my first choice.
 
Anyway, I've been watching a bunch of videos to gauge differences between the Rs and the Contax lenses, but it's hard as this piece is gonna be fairly dark with a lot of LEDs and most of the review videos are the standard "someone in front of the camera shining a flashlight into the lens to show you the flares" thing, which is great, but I'm not at the point where I can extrapolate that information into my use case.
 
Kinda at a standstill with this decision and wanted to reach out and get your impressions on how they compare.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Both sets of lenses are very capable and very sharp. Leica R are extremely popular as rehoused sets, Contax Zeiss less so, but that may be because Zeiss Superspeeds offer an affordable alternative. The issues that you'll find are common to just about all cine-modded lenses: the lack of a uniform maximum aperture, and a short focus throw. If you're shooting at f2.8 or above, the aperture won't be a problem, and using a remote focus unit where the focus scale can be mapped over the full 360º of the wheel will mitigate the shortness of the throw.

You say that Lomos would be your first choice. To me, that says you're looking for slightly softer, lower contrast lenses, so you may want to look at older, single coated glass like Nikon Autos or Super Takumars, if you can find a set in LA. Canon FL, or older FD would be another good alternative, but you'd need to find a set that had had the mounts converted to EF. There's also a plethora of old Russian glass that's available in M42 mount. You won't be able to find a matched set of anything, but there some great lenses out there. Even the Helios 44-2 is capable of much more than just 'swirly bokeh'.

As an aside, it's probably helpful to stop thinking about "Crop Factors". A 50mm lens is a 50mm lens. It doesn't change. It's much simpler just to learn what each focal length looks like on s35, rather than have to do math every time you swing a lens.

 

EDIT: Old Fast Glass in Sun Valley have cine-modded sets of Canon FD and Nikon Ai. Lovely lenses dating back to the mid '70s - early '80s

  • Upvote 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Sustaining Member
10 hours ago, Stuart Brereton said:

You say that Lomos would be your first choice. To me, that says you're looking for slightly softer, lower contrast glass, so you may want to look at older, single coated glass like Nikon Autos or Super Takumars, if you can find a set in LA. Canon FL, or older FD would be another good alternative, but you'd need to find a set that had had the mounts converted to EF. There's also a plethora of old Russian glass that's available in M42 mount. You won't be able to find a matched set of anything, but there some great lenses out there. Even the Helios 44-2 is capable of much more than just 'swirly bokeh'.

Yes, I agree. I can only speak for MMJ Contax Zeiss, but they are quite a bit more modern looking than Lomos, with more contrast and sharpness. Very similar to Zeiss Super Speeds.

I only have two Pentax lenses, the newer SMC 50mm f/1.4 M and SMC 35mm f/2 M. They are not as low contrast as Stuart’s Super Takumars, but even the SMCs look closer to Cooke Speed Panchros and Lomos than the Contax Zeiss.

From reputation, the Leica R (depending on vintage) are supposed to be warmer and more contrasty than their Contax Zeiss counterparts. Can’t confirm that though, have only shot with them a few times. 

  • Upvote 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

Forum Sponsors

CineLab

FJS International

Abel Cine

Tai Audio

Wooden Camera

Metropolis Post

New Pro Video - New and Used Equipment

Gamma Ray Digital Inc

Broadcast Solutions Inc

Film Gears

VidGear.com - Broadcast Video Warehouse

Serious Gear

Visual Products

Cinematography Books and Gear



×
×
  • Create New...