CONTAX Zeiss 28mm f2.8

Image of CONTAX Zeiss 28mm f2.8 lens.
CONTAX Zeiss 28mm f2.8 lens. AEJ Version.

General Impressions:

I’ve been shooting with this lens for about a month now and absolutely love the results. It’s small size has made it an easy choice for long hikes and street photography when I want the somewhat wide look of 28mm. It’s become my go-to lens for those times when I don’t want to carry around a bag of lenses, nor the heavier weight of a zoom. An impressive MFD means I can get really close to subjects for a tight shot, and yet step back and encompass more of the scene than a nifty 50 or 85mm prime.

Minimum Focus Distance:

I measured MFD to be somewhere between 9 and 10 inches from the sensor plane.

MFD of the CONTAX Zeiss 28mm f2.8 lens.
MFD of the CONTAX Zeiss 28mm f2.8 lens.

Getting this close can give you some unique shots. May not be the look you’re going for if shooting portraits, or it may be.

My little sheep at minimum focus distance. Shot with the CONTAX 28mm f2.8 lens.
My little sheep at minimum focus distance. Shot with the CONTAX 28mm f2.8 lens.

Flare Characteristics

Older lenses tend to flare more than newer lenses. This can be a good thing, or a hinderance, depending on your shooting style. I’ve noticed some flare when pointing directly at the sun. I’ve also noticed that you can chance the angle of the camera and shoot again without flare, so it’s pretty easy to correct for if you have the extra time.

Lens flare of CONTAX Zeiss 28mm f2.8.
Lens flare of CONTAX Zeiss 28mm f2.8

I under exposed the image above to highlight the flare in the 3 o’clock position from the sun. Repositioning the camera and exposing correctly gave me the image below:

Snow scene with the CONTAX Zeiss 28mm f2.8 lens.
Snow scene with the CONTAX Zeiss 28mm f2.8 lens @f11.

Vignette

The lens does show some corner darkening at most apertures. It’s most apparent wide open and does improve stopped down. It’s not as noticeable as the 28-85mm when the zoom is at 28mm.

Underexposed white wall to show vignette characteristics. Shot with CONTAX Zeiss 28mm f2.8
Underexposed white wall to show vignette characteristics. Shot with CONTAX Zeiss 28mm f2.8 @f2.8

Below is a real world example of the vignette at f2.8:

Taken with the CONTAX Zeiss 28mm f2.8 lens at f2.8

Notice the slight darkening in the top left corner. Very easy to correct in post. Also notice the lens flare produced from the sun. The lens did manage to capture the beautiful fall colors of this day.

AEG & AEJ Vs. MM Versions

My version of this lens is AEG. I’d be interested to hear how flare may be different in the MM versions, or if there are any differences at all. My AEG version can experience ninja star bokeh at f4, and only at f4. I’ve never really found that MM versions are worth a higher price but I’d like to know what others have experienced.

Black & White Photography

I have found all CONTAX Zeiss lenses to be outstanding for black and white photography and the 28mm f2.8 is no different. There’s something about that high level of micro contrast that makes images shot with these lenses unique.

Random bridge. Shot with the CONTAX Zeiss 28mm f2.8 @f11.
Random bridge. Shot with the CONTAX Zeiss 28mm f2.8 @f11.

Conclusions:

You really can’t go wrong with this lens. It’s sharp wide open, has beautiful Zeiss color and contrast, all metal construction, and is small enough to walk around with all day.

Check out more images I’ve shot with the CONTAX Zeiss 28mm f2.8 lens.

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