Sonnar 1:5 experiences

Discussion in 'Rangefinder Forum' started by hblad120, Dec 28, 2004.

  1. hblad120

    hblad120 Member

    Feb 5, 2004
    Denver, Colo
    I just purchased a Contax IIIa with a Sonnar 1:5 lens at a very good price from an Internet auction site which shall remain nameless. lol The camera's comsmetics are excellent, but the shutter is hung up so I took it to a local camera shop to have it serviced. Doesn't seem to be a big deal to them

    The lens is clear as a bell even when examined with a flashlight - no haze or signs of fogging.

    Has anyone out there had experience shooting with this lens before? If so, what have been your experiences shooting wide open, close up, high contrast, infinity, etc.?

    Thanks in advance.
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 28, 2004
  2. elekm

    elekm Member

    Sep 12, 2004
    New Jersey (
    35mm RF
    If you have the postwar lens (either the Zeiss-Opton T, Carl Zeiss T or East German Carl Zeiss Jena T), then you have a very fine lens.

    The postwar f/1.5 Sonnar is single coated, so you still need to take care when shooting backlit subjects.

    There are a number of us who shoot with the lens and really like it a lot. I'm not sure how many use it wide open -- I tend not to want to always shoot wide open, though I have used it in this manner.

    In general, it's a very sharp lens with good contrast and very good resolving power.

    The lens is limited in its ability to shoot close-up. Without any adapters, I think minimum focusing distance is just under 1 meter or 3 feet. That's typical for a rangefinder. Even at that distance, you run into parallax issues because of the offset viewfinder window.

    The f/1.5 Sonnar is a good all-purpose lens. I've probably shot maybe 50 or 60 rolls, mostly b/w with some color transparency and the occasional roll of color print. I've had very few complaints with the performance of the lens.

    You can see a handful of shots on my own Contax IIa mini-site.