Contax Vario-Sonnar T* 28-85mm f3.3-4 Zoom 35mm Zoom

Contax Vario-Sonnar T* 28-85mm f3.3-4 Zoom 35mm Zoom 

DESCRIPTION

A high magnification wide angle zoom lens that has been designed to deliver superb color contrast and reproduction throughout all of its focal lengths. Its outstanding photographic versatility and performance make this lens extremely popular.

USER REVIEWS

Showing 1-10 of 13  
[Sep 03, 2009]
mareverde_1
Expert

Strength:

macro contrast, resolution and even distortion are always excellent

Weakness:

heavy (normal)

exellent excellent excellent... it can replace any lens in it's focal range, except for when larger apertures are required

Customer Service

no need

Similar Products Used:

none

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
[Sep 02, 2005]
Rrecker
Expert

Strength:

quite capable of kicking major booty on other manufactures prime lenses everday of the week and twice on Sunday with one of its T* coated lenses tied behind its back.

Weakness:

yeah its heavy, the front element rotates, it requires a huge thin polarizer. What would Arnie think if he heard you whining like that? don't be a girly man (or woman)

The best zoom ever made? lots of us think so. Consider the primes lenses this zoom would replace in your camera bag: 28 f/2.8, 35 f/2.8, 45 f/28, 50 f/1.7 and the 85 f/2.8. The amazing part is, its nearly impossible todistinguish between images made by this zoom and the afore mentioned primes. With enough enlargement, the primes eventually win the day, but not by much. The lens is a chunk, and carrying it around on an RTSIII with a full load of AA batteries is no joy. The front element rotates during focus, its some what quirky in that the zoom is fully extended at 28mm and fully retracted at 85mm. I'm not a fan of zoom lenses, I think they turn people into lazy tourist photographers (no offense meant to the lazy tourist photographers out there) Fixed focal lengths make you move around alot more and you spend more time composing your shot. I make the exception with this lens because the image quality is stunning.

Similar Products Used:

eh I think I may have all of them over the years. give me a good camera body and killer glass I'll do the rest.

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
[Mar 03, 2003]
Jason
Professional

Strength:

SHARP at all focal points. Excellent build quality.

Weakness:

Wish it was a two touch rather than push-pull, but with the results I get, not complaining.

This lens is the real deal! I have five Contax prime lenses and and am extremely happy with all of them. Decided that I neede a zoom in this range and took the financial plunge and bought a new one (searched for several months and could not find a used one anywhere, and now I know why). This lens is extremely well made and tack sharp at all ranges. I'm not going to make comparisons, but if you are just getting into the manual Contax line, let this be your primary lens in the 28-85 range. I will keep my primes that fall in this range, but this zoom stays on one of my bodies ALL the time. Get the Contax lens hood and a thin filter, either Heliopan or B&W. The Contax filter is not made by the Contax company and are not up to par with the companies previously mentioned.

Customer Service

I have never had to send a camera or lens back that was under the Contax/Kyocera warranty. However, I have heard some negative comments in regards to dealing with the company. This from individuals as well as several photo stores.

Similar Products Used:

Used several auto focus zooms from other makers over the years. There are some very good ones, but this one is great.

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
[Jan 01, 2000]
Carl Herold
Expert
Model Reviewed: Vario-Sonnar T* 28-85mm f3.3-4 Zoom

Strength:

The excellent image quality and color reproduction.

Weakness:

The 82mm filter size makes finding filters difficult.

Zeiss lenses have a tradition of being the finest made and most superb photographic lenses in the world and the 28-85 continues that tradition.
This lens provides excellent image clarity and color reproduction. From the moment you pick the lens up and gaze down into the T* coating, it begs you to take pictures. And for those who answer its call to take pictures, it provides distortion free images at the widest setting and wonderful portrait images at the tele setting.
Is it heavy? Yes, but after spending the money required to buy this lens, would you want to hold something that felt like it was made of plastic? I think not!!
The Bottom Line? For those willing to shell out the money for this lens, you will be rewarded with images beyond the words to describe it.

Customer Service

None

Similar Products Used:

None considered.

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
[Dec 18, 1999]
Stan Parry
Intermediate
Model Reviewed: Vario-Sonnar T* 28-85mm f3.3-4 Zoom

Strength:

Wonderful focal length for travel and architecture. Very sharp edge to edge

Weakness:

This is not a huge lens but it is not some lightweight AF 28-205 either.

This is a great lens. The equal of many fixed focal length lenses but slower, of course. I you could only take one lens this would be the one unless you needded a very fast fixed focal lenght lens. Edge to edge sharpness, great presence. Considered by many to be the best zoom lens ever made.

Customer Service

N/A

Similar Products Used:

Leica RF and Fuji 645 and numerous small cameras like Rollei 35, etc.

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
[Dec 17, 1999]
Mike Johnston
Expert
Model Reviewed: Vario-Sonnar T* 28-85mm f3.3-4 Zoom

Strength:

It's got outstanding optical quality for a zoom.

Weakness:

Not the easiest lens to focus; if you have problems focusing it probably isn't for you.

I only used this lens for 3 weeks courtesy of Contax. Optically it's pretty amazing what this lens can do...I swear it looks *better* than some prime (fixed-focal-length) lenses. If you want an all-purpose zoom that shows the best of what Zeiss can do, this is it. But whoa, is it big and heavy!

Customer Service

n/a

Similar Products Used:

Too numerous ot mention

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
3
[Nov 25, 2000]
Gisle Langslet
Intermediate

Strength:

Optical performance

Weakness:

Tendency to flare in backlighting.

Having used the Contax system for 20 years, this is my most used lens, and I have many.
It might be the best normal range zoom ever made, may be rivalled by Canon's 28-70 2,8L zoom, but the contax has a wider range and is lighter, although a bit slower.
I haven't seen data of the new Leica 35-70/2,8 zoom, but weighing about a kilo, having a limited focal range and an astronomical price it isn't a real alternative.
The Zeiss zoom has all the well known characteristics of zeiss lenses. It is exteremely sharp at all focal lengths fully open and closed down, and it has the zeiss color rendition which maybe, when sharpness is equal, distinguishes zeiss lenses from the others, colors are rendered pleasingly neutral and saturated.
I find this zoom very convenient to operate. It is a one touch construction with 28 mm at the long end, it is fairly long when extended, but unlike some others I don't find this to be inconvenient. Fcousing and zooming is very well dampened and with some practice and knowledge of the focusing scale, adjustments can be made very quickly. I have seen comments that the lens is heavy and bulky, but considered the focal range and aperture, I do not agree. It is only 0,5-1 f-stop slower than the Canon L-zoom, extends to 85 mm and the weight at 735 g is 145 g less than the Canon zoom.
If the new 24-85 zeiss zoom for the Contax N1 is on the same level as the old manual 28-85, I must admit it will be a tempting alternative, but even so I doubt I will part with the 28-85.
On a trip to Iceland this summer I brought this lens together with the zeiss 80-200 zoom. Beeing accuostomed to the lens, I didn't really feel the need for autofocus. This time I also used a monopod, which I think contributed substantially to sharpness.

Customer Service

Haven't needed

Similar Products Used:

Canon 28-80 2,8-4,0L
Canon 28-70 2,8L

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
[Dec 07, 2000]
ZACK YU
Intermediate

Strength:

It's very sturdy,with highly reliable mechanical construction.
Quite elegant look.
superb performance especially at tele end where this zoom even reaches the perforance of Planar 85/1.4 at f5.6 (or smaller)!
Fantastic!
Also superb through out the rest focal length range but a little bit weak(fuzzy) at the far corners at 28mm~35mm with apertures set between f3.3 to f5.6.

Weakness:

heavy!
quite significant "Lateral color" at wide angel settings(28mm~35mm) probably due to the lack of use of special optical glass element.
A chain of ghost images(diaphragm shaped) can be seen while shooting into the sun.

This is a zoom that can beat considerable amount of primes except the CONTAX(zeiss) lineup.
It is comparable to Planar 50/1.4 & 85/1.4(the two Planars are still better though by a minor margin)but not the Distagon 28/2.8 or 35/2.8 which are apparently sharper overall.

Customer Service

--

Similar Products Used:

several CANON FD,EF lenses,Nikkors...
Other CONTAX lenses

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
[Jan 08, 2001]
Irakly Shanidze
Expert

Strength:

This is an amazingly sharp lens. I thought my Canon L and Minolta G lenses were sharp, but now...
As well-known German fine toys, this lens gives an impression of something totally indistructable, yet elegant.

Weakness:

Well, now, when I have an AX body, there are none :-)
Actually it would be nice for it to be f/2.8 all the way...

This is a totally amazing lens, all I can say. Sharpness is superb, colour rendition is superb, handling is superb, another words, everything is superb all around.

Customer Service

Did not need for this lens, but Kyocera seems to be quite helpful.

Similar Products Used:

Minolta AF 28-70mm f/2.8 G
Tokina AT-X 28-70mm f/2.8
Minolta Rokkor 58mm f/1.2
Minolta 50mm f/1.4, 80mm f/1.4
Canon 85mm f/1.8 USM
Canon 100mm f/2.8 USM Macro
Zeiss Planar 2/45
Zeiss Planar 1.4/50
Zeiss Biometar 2/58

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
[Jan 08, 2001]
George K
Expert

Strength:

Solid mechanical construction, well dampened zooming,tack sharp at Focal Lenghts

Weakness:

Has a tendency to flare on backlighting, hood is inadequate

One of the best zooms I've ever owned in these ranges.

Customer Service

questionable expertise of some tech reps in NJ

Similar Products Used:

Zeiss28-70;Nikkor's 25-50f4,24-120,and 24-50

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Showing 1-10 of 13  

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