Contax Vario-Sonnar T* 100-300mm f4.5-5.6 Zoom 35mm Zoom

Vario-Sonnar T* 100-300mm f4.5-5.6 Zoom

This lens uses three elements of ultra-low dispersion glass and exhibits remarkable characteristics, such as excellent color reproduction, rich gradation, and excellent contrast reproduction. At 300mm focal length, it allows taking pictures of subjects at a magnification ratio of 1:4.

User Reviews (7)

Showing 1-7 of 7  
John Romanov   Expert [Oct 17, 2003]
Strength:

Optic nirvana in every aspect of image capture. The note below regarding Canon L lenses is understated. This lens is known to deliver sharpness and color that exceeds FIXED L tele glass, never mind zooms! I don't have direct exerience comparing the end products, but I know that what I get from this Zeiss lens makes me never want to leave the world of traditional color film (Fuji NPC being my favorite). Added value: no compromise macro when used with Canon 500D (I use combo on beanbag atop projector platform on a tripod).

Weakness:

No tripod collar (thus the cumbersome support noted above).

Worth every penny

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
SingLO   Intermediate [Oct 16, 2003]
Strength:

High contrast and sharpness, compact,

Weakness:

Orthodox design with no IF, front barrel rotation makes the use of polariser difficult, most expensive 100-300 zoom in the market, f5.6 at 300 is a bit slow

This lens has very good wide open aperture performance at all focal settings. It is sharper than Tele-tessar 300 f4 at f5.6. But at f8, the TT 300 f4 is as good as the 100-300 VS. It is expensive but it is known to be sharper than the Canon 100-300L and 100-400L glasses!! I also use the new N 70-300 Zeiss zoom and I think both new and old lenses are close to each other in term of optical performance.

Similar Products Used: Zeiss N 70-300 VS Canon 75-300 IS Zeiss 300 f4
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
AlejandroM   Intermediate [Jul 21, 2002]
Strength:

Beautiful lense. The photos are very sharp, full of detail with vivid colors. As far as i know, it is the best Zeiss zoom for 35mm SLR, and that means a lot!

Weakness:

None about image quality!! Perhaps the lack of internal focusing if you are using a polarizer. The push-pull design can add some dust in its interior, so you have to be careful if you use it in “dusty” places.

This lense is great. Sometimes i miss wider apertures but the image quality it delivers, even wide open is superb. You may think that the proyected images in the viewfinder could be dim and muddy due to its slow speed, but it is bright, very clean, contrasty, warm colored and can be focused easily. The built quality is great as is usual with all Contax-Zeiss products. Both focus and aperture rings are smooth and well dumped.

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Andy Piper   Professional [Jun 20, 2000]
Model Reviewed: Vario-Sonnar T* 100-300mm f4.5-5.6 Zoom
Strength:

Ditto to everything in review below. Plus extremely solid construction - just two sliding tubes. Compare this feel to the sticky, scratchy plastic barrels of the other guys. And it collapses at 100m to be smaller than many folks' 80-200's. A very "baggable" 300mm.

Weakness:

Ditto again, but since this lens is obviously an attempt to be as small as possible (a first for Contax/Zeiss) I can forgive the missing tripod mount. Didn't seem to work well with the AX AF camera body.

Had one when I owned Contax before - I was an idiot to let it go. It's the sharpest zoom I've ever seen and the sharpest 300 I've ever seen of any kind - I just finished a shooting comparison with the "Similar Products" above. I thought the ED-Nikkor 300 f/4 was good, but this just killed the Nikkor for pure sharpness and also color/contrast. Pick the prime lens you know is sharpest. (Nikon 105?, Zeiss-G 90? Nikkor 180 ED?) The Zeiss 100-300 will match any of these at any focal length, and certainly anyone else's zooms. The downsides are price (it approaches Leica pricing) and slow apertures (sometimes it shoots like an f/8 at 300mm) If I start saving now I may be able to get a replacement by 2002!

Customer Service

n/a

Similar Products Used: Nikon AF 100-300 4.5-5.6, Nikkor 300mm f.4, Zeiss Tele-Sonnar 300 f/4, Tamron 60-300 MF zoom in Contax mount.
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
4
George K   Expert [Jan 16, 2001]
Strength:

Solid mechanical construction, tack sharp at all focal lenghts

Weakness:

No Tripod Collar

The best Optical lens in this zoom range that I have owned. The only drawback is the lack of a tripod which it deserves.

Similar Products Used: Nikkor 75-300,70-300ED
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Jeff Lorriman   Professional [Mar 19, 2001]
Strength:

Very sharp and very smooth operation. I feel it's much sharper at 300mm than the CZ 300 f4.

Weakness:

Front element rotates when focusing taking longer to set up and shoot with polarizer or graduated filter.

Outstanding.

Customer Service

Always great. Not needed for this lens though.

Similar Products Used: Tamron 70-210 3.5 SP,
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Julio Fernandez   Expert [Nov 28, 1999]
Model Reviewed: Vario-Sonnar T* 100-300mm f4.5-5.6 Zoom
Strength:

extremely sharp at all focal lengths. Very small, compact an light.

Weakness:

no tripod collar. Internal focusing OK but to change focal lengths must extend barrel which on the rather flimsy Contax mount is less than ideal.

An ideal lens for backpacking because of its light weight and compactness. It is an extremely sharp lens corner to corner with outstanding colour rendition. Price new is high, but on the second hand market reasonable.

Similar Products Used: Hasselblad 250, 500 mm (not Zooms though!)
Contax 28-85 and 35-70
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
4
Showing 1-7 of 7  

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