Contax G lens and Leica R lens

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Dear All

I have been using Contax G system (G2 with 28, 45, 90) and Leica R (R6.2 with 21/4, 35/2, and 50/20) for about two years.

The tiny, dim viewfinder and focusing noise of the G2 make me crazy, but it is a pleasant surprise to see slides when they are processed (accurate focusing and all those beautiful color !). On the other hand, it is really fun to use R6.2 with all those beautifully constructed R lenses, but somehow I am not able to produce such sharp images and saturated color. Especially, it seems that I have problems to generate sharp images with R lenses.

So my question is: Should I simply admit that G2 lenses are superior to my R lenses ? Or a range finder system is better than SLR for focusing because of the lack of mirror slaps ? Or should I spend some time to improve focusing accuracy with my R6.2 ? If it is possible, how ? Using a tripod is hardly an option for me since most of photographs are taken during tight field trips in developing countries.

I appreciate your comments.

-- S.Park (catena_park@yahoo.com), December 12, 2001

Answers

I too have a G2 (with 21mm and 45mm) and a R6 (28mm/2.8, 50mm/2.0 and APO 100mm/2.8) and I think they compliment each other. I feel that the colour of the Carl Zeiss lens are more vivid and sharper but yet the Leica APO 100 is yet more natural and has a more realistic feel to it but still very sharp. After a while, I actually feel that the pictures taken with R6 is more true to life than the G2. But mind you, both are very good. I like the G2 as a travel camera as it has autofocus and other people can take a few photos for you (ie you can be in the photos) and it is much lighter than the R6 outfit. I like both system but I think they each have their good points.

-- David Ho (dchho@hotmail.com), December 12, 2001.

Try using the R6.2 on a good tripod and then compare results. It is very common to try and handhold speeds that are too slow to get really sharp results; especially with reflex cameras. For sharp results with a 50mm lens use AT LEAST 1/250, higher if possible. Rangefinder cameras spoil us and make us think we can get acceptable results with any camera at 1/15.

-- John Collier (jbcollier@powersurfr.com), December 12, 2001.

Well, my .02 here.

Using a R7 with 24mm, 35mm, 50mm since a few years and it gives a lot of satisfaction.

Sharpness and Contrast? Yes, even in situations where I get a 1/10sec to focus and trip the shutter.

Here is an example with the 35mm/f2, low light and 100ASA film: http://xavierf.b.free.fr/Leica-Reflex/img3-014.jpg

I'm a google wearer and focusing is sometimes tricky however, I always try to prepare or pre-focus, depending on the subject. DOF is also a very important factor, the couple dof/speed needs to be adjusted to some acceptable value (experimentation, of course)

One other thing is a sure hand as the R7 is really heavy.

Practice or keep the Contax, after all, if it gives you satisfaction, carry on. Regards. X.

-- Xavier d'Alfort (hot_billexf@hotmail.com), December 12, 2001.


The 21/4 R is not the sharpest of lenses. It needs to be stopped down to at least f6.3 to get the corners sharp. Even then it will not compete with the 28mm/35mm and 45/50's that you have. Your should really compare the current 28mm-R or the 19mm-R if you want to see first rank Leica R wideangle performance. Still the 35mm and the 50mm R should be absolutely fine. They are wonderful lenses. I agree with the above - you need to ensure that you are setting at least 1/250th sec shutter speed - 1/125th I don't think will really cut it for the 35 and 50mm for critical sharpness, although you might get away with it. The 21mm-R will never look the same as a 28mm, neither will the 21mm Biogon in my estimation. You can use lower than 1/250th on the R6.2, but you have to take extra care. I use a chest pod very frequently with my Rs.

Also remember you are not comparing like with like with the exception of the 50 and 45mm. As to color saturation differences, I don't really believe they exist - the lenses might produce (G to R) slightly different color palettes, but both will be equally good.

-- Robin Smith (smith_robin@hotmail.com), December 12, 2001.


I second John's response. On and off throughout the years I go through periods where all of a sudden I start getting unsharp images. My first thought always seems to be to have the camera checked for a bump or some such thing that has thrown out the alignment of - whatever. Invariably I put the camera on a tripod, focus carefully and await the result - which are always tack sharp. Then for another year or so I'll remember to breath properly, squeeeeze the release and brace myself (or use a tripod) when going below 1/30 (or 1/125 with the R)....

-- Bob Todrick (bobtodrick@@yahoo.com), December 12, 2001.


Hi, I had this problem some years ago and nearly gave up photography. Then I discovered that it was not my Leica R5 but my eyesight. A prescription diopter lens cured the problem and I am still into photography.

-- David Seaman (david@leicam.freeserve.co.uk), December 13, 2001.

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