Carl Zeiss 45mm 1:2.8 T* Tessar Contax/Yashica – review

Published by Tony on

Carl Zeiss Tessar 45mm 1:2.8 T* Contax/Yashica lens review, aka Carl Zeiss 45mm 1:2.8 C/Y.

Mount – Contax/Yashica (C/Y)

A simple and reliable prime lens, with a very well-known label.

The lens for the test was provided by Egor Nikolaev (Егор Николаев) – many thanks and greetings.

Carl Zeiss 45mm 1:2.8 C/Y look

Carl Zeiss 45mm 1:2.8 C/Y specifications

Name engraved on the lens Carl Zeiss Tessar 45mm 1:2.8 T*
f[mm] 45
A max [1/f] 2.8
A min[1/f] 22
Lens design [el.] 4
Lens design [gr.] 3
Filter thread Ø front(rear)[mm] 49
Lens Shade
closefocus[m] 0.6
Dimension Ø x length [mm] -18
Weight[g] 87gr
Year 1982
Style CY
Notes  

More data

Floating elements NO
Aperture blades number 6
Confidence in the test results of reviewed copies Enough high
Reviewed Lens SN: 7439053

Historical note

 

Carl Zeiss 45mm 1:2.8 C/Y lens exterior

Carl Zeiss 45mm 1:2.8 T* Tessar Contax/Yashica mounted on Contax Aria

Carl Zeiss 45mm 1:2.8 C/Y sharpness

Сlose-distance resolution test, minimal distance

Testing methods description

  • Target: 10-15 cm picture, printed on glossy photo paper
  • Distance: 1.7m
  • Camera: Sony A7II (24mpx, full-frame, tripod, remote control). M-mode, ISO fixed, WB fixed, SteadyShot – OFF.
  • The test was repeated for every F-stop on every focus position with manual focus adjustment for each shot. That is to avoid the effect of field curvature.
  • RAW processing: Capture One, default settings. All quality settings – 100%. Crops – 300×200 px

Original target image (printed in horizontal orientation on 10cm X 15cm glossy photo paper)

Scene preview

Test results

Long-distance resolution test

Testing methods description

  • Target: cityscape
  • Distance: > 200 meters to center focus point
  • Camera: Sony A7II (24mpx, full-frame, tripod, remote control). M-mode, ISO fixed, WB fixed, SteadyShot – OFF. The focus point is on the center only.
  • RAW processing: Capture One, default settings. All quality settings – 100%. Crops – 300×200 px

Scene preview

Test results

Note: yes, I see a little lack of sharpness on F5.6, and it was a surprise because I’ve made three tries and all three show this behavior. Probably it is a focus-shift because I didn’t refocus on F5.6 for this lens because of the risk to move the DOF on corners. So it isn’t a deviation and seems not critical for understanding the lens sharpness and I decided to keep the test result as is.

Carl Zeiss 45mm 1:2.8 C/Y aberrations

Vignetting

Geometric distortion

Coma aberrations

Chromatic aberrations

Long-distance bokeh

Test #1

Test conditions: the lens was focused on minimal distance on the scale (0.6m), buildings are on “infinity”-distance.

Test#2:

Test conditions: lens was focused on 1.0m

Light bubbles bokeh – long distance

Test #1

The lens is on the minimal focusing distance 0.6m, lights are on infinity (cityscape)

Test #2

Test conditions: lens was focused on 1.0m

Carl Zeiss 45mm 1:2.8 C/Y – final conclusion

Usually, pancakes aren’t gems and top-performers, they are about small size and convenience. This type of lenses with optical scheme 4el.3gr and 45mm 1:2.8 is very old, well known, and many companies have created “true pancakes” based on this design. (I mean really thin lenses). What about Tessar at all – it has been introduced by the Carl Zeiss company in 1902, so, if you interested – start to dig from Wiki.

Our reviewed current Zeiss is a typical pancake and has a few nice and a few poor traits:

  • It has an average IQ because of bad corners. They stay bad even at F8.0
  • On the other hand, the middle and center are very good and it makes this lens suitable for cropped-cameras
  • But don’t expect the same “thin”-exterior on mirrorlesses – the flange focal distance of Contax C/Y is 45.5mm it means that the height of an adapter, for example, for Sony-E should be 27.5mm
  • The lens is not very fast, it starts from F2.8 and becomes good at F4
  • Most of the aberrations display some expected behavior for near-fifties. Just the vignetting looks higher than usual, but nothing critical for modern digital cameras
  • Bokeh is a very subjective material and I think that here it is definitely not bad – enough smooth in the center and has elements of “swirly”-type, it looks like a bonus from problems in corners

Obviously, any cheap near-fifty will be better. But, as it was said above – this average IQ is the payment for the small sizes.

The main reason to get this lens – it looks very sexy on a film camera (I don’t have Contax to show it, sorry, Google may help). The second reason – it is really small and able to save a couple of centimeters on your digital set. And it is demanded on cropped-cameras at least because it is still faster than modern collapsible kit-zooms.

Can it be recommended as a near-fifty standard lens? No. Probably, for cropped cameras, but mostly – no. There are better variants. Can it be recommended as a little stylish lens for film-cameras? Yes, 100%.

Have a nice day!

 


The very helpful video If you need to fix something in this Zeiss:


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