Contax Rangefinder lenses

Contax 135mm f/4 Sonnar for Contax rangefinder cameras

A 135mm mm Sonnar from 1951 for the Contax rangefinder cameras.

A 135mm mm Sonnar from 1951 for the Contax rangefinder cameras.

Manufactured in 1951, this Carl Zeiss 135mm f/4 Sonnar was produced for the Contax IIa and IIIa rangefinder cameras. With a lens adapter for the external bayonet, the lens becomes usable on a Micro Four Thirds digital camera.

Contax with Carl Zeiss 135mm f/4 Sonnar mounted on the external bayonet.

Contax with Carl Zeiss 135mm f/4 Sonnar mounted on the external bayonet.

 

The 135mm f/4 Carl Zeiss Sonnar has a focusing helical in the lens and mounts on the outer bayonet.

 

 

 

 

 

Contax outer bayonet

Contax outer bayonet

 

The inner bayonet mount is used for the 50mm Sonnar which does not have a built in helical.

 

 

 

 

The Olympus E-PL2 used to make this video.

The Olympus E-PL2 used to make this video.

The Nikon S rangefinder lens mount was virtually the same as the Contax mount except that Nikon lenses did not focus accurately on the Contax bodies. Nikon S and Contax lenses can be used with this adpater because the focusing is done on the LCD screen.

The Nikon S rangefinder lens mount was virtually the same as the Contax mount except that Nikon lenses did not focus accurately on the Contax bodies. Nikon S and Contax lenses can be used with this adapter because the focusing is done on the LCD screen.

Jupiter 9: A Soviet copy of the Contax 85mm f/2 Sonnar

Anyone familiar with the early Contax rangefinder cameras knows about the Soviet copies sold as Kiev cameras. The lenses are inexpensive and depending upon whom you ask, they are either decent or terrible. Those who rate the cameras and lenses as terrible blame it on poor quality control. The video above was made with this lens’ aperture set at f/2.8.

A 1962 edition of the Jupiter 9 in Contax rangefinder mount. The first 2 numbers of the serial number indicate the year of manufacture.

A 1962 edition of the Jupiter 9 in Contax rangefinder mount. The first 2 numbers of the serial number indicate the year of manufacture.

This particular lens is beautifully finished and operates smoothly for a 54 year old lens.

Stachys byzantina photographed with this Jupiter 9 set at at f/2 on an Olympus E-PL2. RAW file processed in Adobe Camera RAW.

Stachys byzantina photographed with this Jupiter 9 set at at f/2 on an Olympus E-PL2. RAW file processed in Adobe Camera RAW.

"Jupiter 9" in Russian is "Юпитер 9"

“Jupiter 9” in Russian is “Юпитер 9”

Jupiter 12: A Soviet copy of the Contax pre-war Carl Zeiss 35mm f/2.8 Biogon

The Jupiter 12 in Contax rangefinder mount is another lens that mounts on the outer bayonet and does not require the focusing helical in the Contax body. An extension tube between the adapter and the MFT camera body is necessary due to the protruding rear element of the Jupiter 12. The lens then becomes functional only as a macro lens equivalent to a 70mm lens on a full frame sensor camera.

The rear element on the Jupiter 12 extends too far into the camera. An extension tube (top) has to be used.

The rear element on the Jupiter 12 extends too far into the camera. An extension tube (top) has to be used.

A micro four thirds extension tube between the adapter and camera.

A micro four thirds extension tube between the adapter and camera.

With the extension tube, the Jupiter 12 becomes a macro lens. 1/25 second at f/8 handheld with an Olympus PEN E-PL2.

With the extension tube, the Jupiter 12 becomes a macro lens. 1/25 second at f/8 handheld with an Olympus PEN E-PL2. RAW file processed in Adobe Camera RAW.