Adapt One of the Sharpest Contax Lenses to Your Camera

The Contax 90mm f2.8 is no slouch at all.

Lenses made for the Contax G series cameras are legendary. Zeiss did a fantastic job with them. When you combine that with the Leica M mount, you get what I’d like to call a unicorn lens. With today’s mirrorless cameras, the Leica M mount is one of the most versatile on the market. For that reason, we’re showcasing this beautiful Contax 90mm f2.8 lens. Made for the Contax G mount, it was converted to Leica M mount. What we can’t totally tell is if it’s rangefinder coupled. But the work was done by MS-Optics, who does a fantastic job. And if it isn’t coupled, then it’s fine for any other system still!

This recent listing from japonicamera has us wondering why it hasn’t been snatched up yet.

The Contax brand was more or less Zeiss. And at times, there are even reports that say that Contax was Cosina by also Zeiss. Regardless of where the glass came from, one thing is for certain: it was good. On the 35mm side of things, Contax made the world’s first full-frame digital camera. On the medium format side of the wall, the Contax 645 was dominant. Wedding photographers still use those lenses on Fujifilm GFX bodies. But on the Contax G side, the company made a major rangefinder system. What made it really stand out is that it boasted autofocus. Some even claim the Contax 45mm f2 lens to be one of the sharpest ever made. Of course, Contax needs no introduction for some of us, though. 

Not too far behind that Contax 45mm f2 is the Contax 90mm f2.8. Do you shoot portraits? Then this lens is the enchanted diamond that your camera named Excalibur needs. 

This lens was refitted by MS-Optics. They make some wonderful lenses, and they have a special affinity for Leica. They’re, in fact, incredibly popular amongst the Leica fan club. To top all that, the lens is super clean. There are almost no signs of use. You might complain about a little bit of dust inside the lens. But the likelihood that it will affect your images is minuscule.

To that end, folks may wonder how this lens will work on their camera. Well, if you’re a Sony a7r II user, then photographer Tommie Hansen has this image above listed under Creative Commons. As you can tell, it’s amazingly sharp. Though, to be fair, I’m not sure how it may perform on something like a Sony a7r IV. My guess? It will most likely do awesome. Zeiss and Contax didn’t exactly mess around with image quality. 

In 2017, Phillip Reeve reviewed the Contax 90mm f2.8 G. He liked it but noticed some purple fringing wide open. It was gone by f4. And realistically, you can eliminate that with a click of a button in post-production. If you’re shooting with it on Fujifilm, you can just embrace the film simulation look. Back then, the lens could’ve been had for under $200. But of course, that’s not the case anymore. It’s highly lusted after.

A specific search on Flickr for portraits done with the Contax 90mmm f2.8 G shows a different story. Reeve calls the bokeh busy. But I think it’s beautiful. The photos are also very sharp. The colors are rich. Quite honestly, it looks like a toned-down Zeiss Milvus lens from a few years ago. And if that’s indeed the case, why would you complain? Those lenses are fantastic.

Go check out the listing and make an offer.

All products are from this recent listing from japonicamera.

Chris Gampat

Chris Gampat is the Editor in Chief, Founder, and Publisher of the Phoblographer. He also likes pizza.