Modern Classic SLR Series
Contax RTS Shared Resources - Macro Photography - Part III

 

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You have probably went through the advantages presented at earlier sections relating to Extension Rings, Auto Bellows etc. but among all possible tools that can "create" such Extension while on the other hand, provides the best flexibility ratio and still able to maintain high image quality is none other than using the dedicated lenses specifically designed to shoot at close-ups. The renowned Zeiss T* Macro-Planar series lenses are specialized optic to perform such task in close up work and these lenses have built -in extension mechanism in its internal Helicoid to achieve extension which translate into not less than 1:2 life-size magnifications on film.

Makroplanar60mmf2.8
There are TWO TYPES of Macro-lenses which may confuse some users especially those who are new to the Contax system. The original CONTAX RTS introduced in 1975 has two S-Makro Planar lenses at focal length of 60mm and 100mm each. The lens at 100mm is in fact, a bellow lens which was only intended to be used with Bellow Unit and it cannot be mounted directly onto camera as normal Zeiss lenses designed for Contax SLRs normally do. The 60mm is more true to its designation as a functional macro lens. Subsequently, Kyocera introduced two additional dedicated true Macro lenses at the two similar focal lengths where both of the lenses have direct meter coupling to the exposure metering system for full aperture metering exposure measurement.

Credit: Carl Zeiss Makro-Planar T* 60mm f/2.8 picture above was downloaded from Contax Camera US website and subsequently retouched to fit for broadcasting in this website.

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The two lenses, Carl Zeiss Makro-Planar T* 60mm f/2.8 and Carl Zeiss Makro-Planar T* 100mm f/4.0 which was joined by another compact Carl Zeiss Makro-Planar T* 60mm C f/2.8 lens at later stage, together with the Contax Auto Bellow PC set form the basis of the Contax Macro photographic system. However, from the information that I can gather, the two S-Panar lenses which saw similar lenses at the same overlapping focal lengths have been phased out in stages.

Copyright ©-free Images collection. 2001, leofoo (51k Jpeg) Malaysian Internet Resources

(An indicative 1985 Contax sales manual has only the S-Makro-Planar T* 60mm f/2.8 in the description but it was also been removed in the 1990's Official System Handbook). Well, as I am not entirely a die-hard Contax follower nor an expert in Zeiss Optics, correct me if I am wrong. detailed below are compilation of some brief information relating to the two S-Makro-Planar lenses:

S-PLANAR T* f/2.8 60mm (Macro lens) This was the world's first macrophoto lens with a double Helicoid systems, permitting object reproduction from infinity up to life-size without use of extensions tubes. A highly useful tool for photographers who change intermittently from overall shots to close-up and detailed photography.

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Lens: S-Planar T* 60mm f/2.8
Produced by: Carl Zeiss
Optical Construction: 6 Elements in 4 Groups
Lens Coating: Multicoated T
*
Focal Length: 60mm
Flange: 61.7mm
Maximum Aperture: f2.8
Aperture scale: f/2.8 ~ f/22
Angular Field : 39"0'
Minimum F-value: f/22
<<<<<< ---- A picture of the original Auto Bellow Unit mounted on a Contax RTS camera, picture scanned from a 1977's Contax RTS brochure

Closest Focusing Distance: 24cm Dimension: 76mm(Dia.) x 74mm (Length) Weight: 570g Filter Size: 67mm Screw-in Diaphragm: TTL Auto

S-PLANAR T* f/4.0 100 mm (Bellows lens) Please take a note at rear section of the lens. The lens permits focusing from infinity to greater than life-size when used with Auto Extensions Bellows PC. Optimized for moderate reductions, It can also be used for long distances when stopped down slightly. Ideal for quick, Successive scaled reproduction of large and small objects. Extremely useful for nature, industrial and commercial photography.

The lens lens has no focusing Helicoid since focusing is performed with the bellows action. Provides magnification ratios of up to 1.4:1 with the bellows. The minimum aperture is f/32 to ensure the greatest possible depth-of-focus.

100f4bellow.jpg
Lens: S-Planar T* 100mm f/4.0
Focal Length: 100mm
Produced by: Carl Zeiss
Optical Construction: 6 Elements in 4 Groups
Lens Coating: Multicoated T
*
Flange: 100mm
Maximum Aperture: f/4.0
Aperture scale: f/4.0 ~ f/32
Angular Field : 24" 50'
Minimum F-value: f/32
Closest Focusing Distance: - Bellow
Dimension: 63mm(Dia.) x 49mm (Length)
Weight: 285g
Filter Size: 55mm Screw-in
Diaphragm: TTL Auto


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Well, if you can afford, there are currently three top rated lenses produced by Zeiss created specifically for the purpose in Micro-photography. Carl Zeiss Makro-Planar T* 60mm f/2.8 (Macro/AE), Carl Zeiss Makro-Planar T* 100mm f/2.8 (Macro/AE) and Carl Zeiss Makro-Planar T* 60mm C f/2.8 (Macro/MM).

<<<< ----- All thee Zeiss Macro-Planar lenses can also be used as an all round optical lens as best demonstrated by our die-hard AF friend, Mr Philip with a manual focus RTS II and a fast Zeiss Planar 85mm f/1.4. Copyright © 2001, Philip Chong for Malaysian Internet Resources (100k Jpeg)

These lenses are all specialized lenses, highly corrected for flatness of field, which is very important at high magnifications and they are characterized by optimum correction of other aberrations apt to occur in photography at close distances. However, other than using them for the specific task shooting at high magnifications, they can also be used for other general photographic requirements. Unfortunately, those days have inadequate of product knowledge channel to consumers which usually saw new SLR owners being lead investing into standard lenses instead of getting a more universal lens which can handle from high magnifications from at least half life size magnification at close range to infinity.

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Well, that is a price paid for being raw and inexperience where the one has to begin the cycle of learning to see how photographic journal begin and mature. I had it before and naturally I hope I can inspire a wiser thinking for such investment to evade the "painful path" that I have taken those days.


Credit: Images of Carl Zeiss Makro-Planar T* 60mm f/2.8, Carl Zeiss Makro-Planar T* 60mm C f/2.8 & Carl Zeiss Makro-Planar T* 100mm f/4.0 below were downloaded from Contax Camera US website and subsequently retouched, scaled them to fit for broadcasting in this website.

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A special lens characterized by optimum correction of aberrations apt to occur in photography at close distances. Can also be used for portraiture and other general photographic requirements.

Provides up to a 1:1 magnification ratio without extension tubes.
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Lens Composition 6 elements, 4 groups; Angular Field 39 degrees; Minimum Focus 0.24m (10 in); Diaphragm action AE fully automatic; F-stop scale f2.8-4-5.6-8-11-16-22; Filter Size 67mm screw-in type; Lens hood 67mm G-13 soft hood, screw-in type; No 3 metal hood (with 67/86 ring), screw in type; Weight 570 grams (1.26 lbs); Lens size 75.5x74mm (3x2-15/16 in); Lens pouch No 2; Lens cap 67mm K-61, snap type




This extremely compact, lightweight lens is for macro-photographic applications. It provides a magnification ratio of 1:2 with unmatched image clarity & resolution of even the finest detail. The Makro-Planar also makes an effective optic for portraiture and other general photographic requirements.

USmakro60mmcf2.8.gif
Lens Composition 6 elements, 4 groups; Angular Field 39 degrees; Minimum Focus; 0.27m (10.7 in); Diaphragm action MM fully automatic; F-stop scale f2.8-4-5.6-8-11-16-22; Filter Size 55mm screw-in type; Lens hood 55mm G-11 soft hood, screw in type; No 4 metal hood (with 55/86 ring), screw-in type; Weight 260 grams (9.2 oz); Lens size 65.5x51 mm (2-5/8x2-1/16 in); Lens pouch No 1; Lens cap 55mm K-5l, snap type



A high performance telephoto macro lens developed especially for close-up photography. Large magnification ratios (up to life size) can be obtained without an Auto Extension Tube while maintaining distance from the subject.
USmakro100mmf2.8.gif
Lens Composition 7 elements, 7 groups Correction of aberration at close range with floating elements; Angular Field 24 degrees; Minimum Focus 0.41m (16 in) (1:1); Diaphragm action MM fully automatic; F-stop scale f2.8-4-5.6-8-11-16-22; Filter Size 67mm screw-in type; Lens hood 67mm G-13 soft hood, screw-in type No. 5 metal hood (with 67/86 ring), screw-in type; Weight 740 grams (1.63 lbs); Lens size 76x86.5mm(3x3-3/8 in); Lens pouch No 2; Lens cap 67mm K-61, snap type


As compared to other 35mm photographic system I still find the Olympus was by far had the most comprehensive setup. The Contax may not has such completeness of equipment and devices but the most profound element, no doubt is still surrounding the Zeiss T
* optical system.

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The Macro-Planar T* 100mm f/2.8 , in particular has been rated as one of the best performer in the business. The Auto Bellow and rest of other accessories found in the system also are very well designed and extremely well made to show its quality feel.

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My quick summary on the impression on Contax Macro Photographic system: Contax owners are a lucky bunch, they have one of the the best lenses in the world to work with.



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1975: RTS
1979: 139Q
1980: 137MD
1982: 137MA
1982: RTS II
1985: 159MM
1987: 167MT
1990: RTS III
1992: S2
1992: S2b
1992: ST
1994: RX
1996: AX
1998: Aria
2000~
 List of Carl Zeiss T* lenses for Contax SLR cameras  

About this photographic site.

MIR Home Home - Photography in Malaysia

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Credit: MClau, joint maintainer of the Contax RTS MB. Some of the content are extracts from: Cees De Groot, who maintains a Contax FAQ site and Tim Roger website on Contax SLR cameras, A few of the images on Zeiss lenses were downloaded from Contax US website. My buddy, Yeak & Rizal Yahya, for their cool programming with Contax RTS's Message Board, Note:certain contents and images appeared in this site were either scanned from official marketing leaflets, brochures, sales manuals or publications published by Kyocera over the years and/or contributions from surfers who claimed originality of their own work solely for educational purposes. The creator of the site will not be responsible for any discrepancies that may arise from such possible disputes except rectifying them after verification."Kyocera", "Yashica", "Contax" & "Carl Zeiss T*" are registered trade names of Kyocera Corporation Inc., Japan. A site made with an Apple IMac, dedicated to all fans of Contax cameras and Zeiss Optics.