Eric L. Woods

This Old Lens: Contax G Zeiss Biogon 28mm f/2.8

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Preface

Film or digital, no matter the camera, if the lens is no good none of those other things will matter. There will be no spoilers as I will like all of these lenses.

Contax G1

Asking Price

Current asking price seems planted in the mid $300 range. If memory serves I paid a bit less for mine and it seems some silver copies can still be found for that price on ebay, but as usual the black version costs more.

Value

Less than $400 Zeiss 28mm f/2.8 is a good deal. Either a spanking brand new manual focus f/2.4 or autofocus f/2 28mm Zeiss lens in Sony mount will set you back $1,104.

Why I Bought It

I first bought this lens on a Contax G bender when I fell in love with the system.

Contax G1 and G2

I had sold this system to fund another purchase but later wanted back in. When I jumped back in I decided to only buy my favorite bits. Even though I had used the 45mm f/2 more upon review of my prior images it was the 28mm that created my favorite images. Add to that the fact that the 28mm G costs quite a bit less than the 45mm G it was a no brainer. I had the TECHART AF G adapter with Sony before..

TECHART G Master

But I did not go that route this time and instead picked up a manual focus adapter. Weird when you think about. AF on film and MF on digital.

Image Quality

<ahem> It is a Zeiss lens.

As I said with the Contax Zeiss 50mm it ticks off every single positive lens attribute box. Brief comments below but I will largely let the samples talk below, but again it hits it out of the park.

  • Flare
    • Well controlled and the flare that does exist is very pleasing, especially with film.
  • Sharpness
    • It is the Zeiss-eist. Wonderfully sharp with film and digital.
  • Colors
    • Zeiss scores again. Wonderfully color rendering. Looks better than the actual scene without looking artificial.
  • Bokeh
    • Another win. Not only in the amount of bokeh available but in the quality. No squirrely distractions like some other lenses. Just creamy backgrounds and foregrounds.

Samples With Film (Contax 137 MA Quartz)

Contax G1
Film - 20200101 Durham Photo Walk - Lomography 400
Lomography 400
Film - 20200101 Durham Photo Walk
Lomography 400
Film - 20200101 Durham Photo Walk
Lomography 400
Film - 20200101 Durham Photo Walk
Lomography 400
Film - 20200101 Durham Photo Walk
Lomography 400
Film - 20200101 Durham Photo Walk
Lomography 400
Film - 20200101 Durham Photo Walk
Lomography 400
Cinestill Df96 / Rollei RPX 400
Rollei PPX 400
Fujifilm X-Tra w/ Contax G1
Fujifilm Superia X-Tra 800
Fujifilm X-Tra w/ Contax G1
Fujifilm Superia X-Tra 800

With Digital

Contax G Biogon 28mm f/2.8
Contax G Biogon 28mm f/2.8
Contax G Biogon 28mm f/2.8
Contax G Biogon 28mm f/2.8
Contax G Biogon 28mm f/2.8
Contax G Biogon 28mm f/2.8
Contax G Biogon 28mm f/2.8
Contax G Biogon 28mm f/2.8
Contax G Biogon 28mm f/2.8
Contax G Biogon 28mm f/2.8
Contax G Biogon 28mm f/2.8
Contax G Biogon 28mm f/2.8

Conclusion

A bit more than I would normally like to spend, but that AF with the Contax G1 is too much to pass on by. You could easily spend so much more for a MF only lens that would not perform any better. Purchased at a fair price this is still a stellar lens bargain. I highly recommend it for film and digital.

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