Contax G2 28mm f/2.8 vs. 35mm f/2 lenses?

Discussion in 'Leica and Rangefinders' started by timlayton, Sep 10, 2011.

  1. I wanted to reach out to the group here and see if anyone owns or has used the 28mm and 35mm lenses for the Contact G2? I just piked up a G2 body in excellent condition and need to get a lens. For my style of photography I like wide angle the best so I thought I would start here first. Any input or comments on your experience between the two lenses would be appreciated.
  2. I have 2 G2s and a G1 plus the 21mm, 28mm. 35mm, 45mm and 90mm lenses. I am also a big wide angle fan and like both these lenses. Of the two I probably use the 35mm more often although this is partly because I use the 21mm and 28mm as my wide angles lenses and prefer the 21mm. The 35mm is probably slightly sharper but both are so good it does not really matter. It really depends on what angle of view you like best. I have always been a big 35mm shooter (it is my favourite Leica lens and I use my old Canon 35 F2 a lot) and tend to use 35mm a lot more than 50mm. Thus when I go wide I tend to go wider than 28mm and use the 21mm (which is a great lens but uses an accessory viewfinder). What do you normally shoot?
  3. Phillip I normally shoot my Mamiya 7 with the 43mm which is the equivalent of about 21mm if I remember correctly. I needed something smaller than the M7 and the autofocus of the G2 should be great for those quick shots I am missing right now. For my fine art work I shoot large format almost exclusively because much of what i do is closeup/macro type work and I need the large negatives because I make very large prints for my clients. I personally love my photos from the M7 the best from any camera and I am really looking forward to using the G2 and taking advantage of the smaller system and high quality glass. I sort of see the G2 as a smaller version of the M7 with some nice feature enhancements. I am excited about getting a lens for it next week. I plan on using the G2 on hikes, street photography, urban shots, etc.
  4. The 35 is no slouch, but the 28 is brilliant. Try using an auxiliary finder on the G2 (especially if you have Leitz 28 finder) to see if you prefer it over the G2 finder.
  5. I obtained a G2 a couple of months ago with a 35mm. I haven't used a 28mm but they are said to be fantastic. I am very happy with the 35 and the camera and find it equally as good as my 35 Summicron with a little less distortion actually and that is saying a lot.
  6. It sounds like the 28 and 35 are both equally great and it is just a matter of what focal length I want. The only differences I can tell are the max aperture f/2.8 vs f/2 and min at f/22 vs f/16 and whatever other technical differences there may be, it sounds like they are both fine lenses. I just need to think though the focal length difference for what I want to do first and I am sure there are no bad choices it would seem.
  7. Tim - all of the G2 lenses (I am not sure about the zoom as I have not used it) are very good. The 28 and the 21 both get very close to the film and need to be handled more carefully than the other lenses (if you buy them used make sure you get the rear lens cap as it is very deep - not the flat rear lens cap of the 35,45 or 90). You should look at the 21mm sometime as it is a great lens (but still expensive used). Here are a couple of shots showing the Contax lenses 21mm on LHS then 28,35,45,90. As you can see the 35 is the smallest lens - although on the camera the 28mm is the same size.
  8. Here you can see the rear ends
  9. I have a G2 with the 45,35, and 28, and 90mm lenses .. the 28mm is my favorite; I also use the Contax lens shades for each lens when shooting to increase contrast. When using the G2 I prefer chrome films, but print film has been quite impressive. These little lenses perform very well; the kit is indeed light weight and unobtrusive. Only thing that offers me a little concern is field-changing lenses. The mount is machined in a manner to require discipline in unmounting/mounting lenses .. practice a few times and you'll notice the tight feel .. to me different from Nikon mounts and Canon FD mounts. Perhaps the G2 red dot is just more difficult for my eye to catch alignment .. and since the rear lens elements are more exposed by design .. I am careful in lens changing .. this is great glass and I intend to keep it that way.
    I have also used it for studio photography and portrait shots ... although that use tends to push the limits of design, but you use what's in the bag at the time. The lenses, to my eye, tend to resolve a little too sharp for portraits close up .. but if you're into the details of color and contrast .. the lenses are capable. I have more fun with this camera when I go out with just the 28mm & 45mm lenses for landscapes/cityscapes and people shots. A fairly impressive kit in 35mm class. For my purposes, I experimented with lens diffraction differences at smallest aperture on each of the lenses vs. opening up an f-stop shy of f22 or f16 (depending on the lens) .. and the results were not significant to worry about .. in other words, to my eye .. I saw no difference under a variety of lighting conditions. I also studied the MTF charts, but found I got a better feel for the glass just shooting the camera. Point-and-shoot simplicity (old-school menu settings) - pro results.
  10. I have never used a Contax G, but I seem to remember that the 35/2 was reviewed as being not quite up to the standard of the other G lenses such as the 21/28 and 45mm. No doubt I will be corrected if I am totally off the mark!
  11. A couple reviews have said that, but they didn't really say why or if they had actually used the lens and it seemed as if the review was based on another review or some test. I'm skeptical that its not quite up to the standards. However I have heard that the 45mm lens is really amazing if you like that more "normal of a lens.
  12. Robin
    The UK magazine Amateur Photographer tested the lenses it two batches as they came out. The first test was 28, 45, 90 and all did very well. The 28mm was described as the worst of them for it's low contrast performance at the edges. Mind you the 90mm was reported as being one of the best low contrast performers they had ever tested (120lp/mm - Low contrast - better than the Leica Sumilux 35 F1.4!!! which was their benchmark). this test was Nov 26th 1994. The other three lenses 16, 21 and 35 were tested Jan 4th 1997 and the methodology had changed slightly. Again all three lenses tested well with the 35 F2 being the best (although they were very impressed with the 21 F2.8. While the two systems of testing were slightly different they gace the lenses three subjective ratings that used the same system in both test - Low Contrast IQ, High Contrast IQ and Overall. Excellent was the best score. All six lenses scored excellent on all three ratings with the exception of the 28 F2.8 which scored very good for Low contrast IQ. I am not sure who reviewed the 35 F2 to be off the mark but I find it an optically great lens.
    While the test charts show the 28 F2.8 as being 2weaker than the 35 F2 ( and slightly below the 21 F2.8) in the real world you cannot see any difference between these three lenses in IQ. No distortion, colour shift, vignetting (well almost imperceptible) or softness.
    You really cannot go wrong with any of these lenses.
  13. I'm very familiar with the; 28, 45, 90, lenses on my G2. The 28mm focused properly, meaning; watch your foreground hyper-focus technique at F11, is stunning. This is what all the hollering is about. Its hard to believe this camera isn't made anymore. The lenses are awesome. The camera is intuitive. You can wear this camera. Just use the focus reticle wisely, and it will get you there. Never problems with the G2. Sorry I don't know the 35mm. I do know, I appreciate having the depth of field by default with a shorter lens. The Biogon by design is a beautiful thing. The rear element is placed so close to the film plane. It works. Distortion is controlled to a minimum. Spend time with a G2, like the M-Leica's, and it presents itself, or you'll find Photographic opportunities in the same way. Good stuff ! What the heck happened? How they abandoned this camera, I'll never know. Well I do know, but I love the tonal gradation of film.

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