Contax G AF adapter mini review
Old 01-20-2014   #1
Fuchs
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Contax G AF adapter mini review

Just one week ago a friend of mine brought me from China a Yeenon branded AF adapter to mount the famous Contax G lenses on Sony Nex mount cameras.
As soon as I got my hands on it, I mounted it on my A7, and proceeded to give my G lenses a try. I have a Biogon 28/2.8, a Planar 45/2, and a Sonnar 90/2.8, whose performance I know very well, as I used them extensively over the years on my Contax G2 body. Sadly, they sat unused next to their mother camera for almost a year, as even if they are stellar performers, I prefer largely the M6 viewfinder to the Contax's.
I will not describe their optical goodnesses, as they are very well known and enough has been written on the web about them.
Anyways, the arrival of the G-to-NEX adapter got me all excited about being able to use them again on a regular basis on the full frame A7 body.

The adapter itself looks to be very well built, it is all metal and very tight in the fitting both to the camera and to the lens side. It inspires confidence, as there is no play once everything is put together.

Autofocus is maintained, and the speed is reasonable, meaning it is at least as fast as the native AF speed when the lenses are mounted on the G2 body. Focus accuracy is excellent, and I have not yet missed a focus point to date. The field where this adapter struggles is focus acquisition in poor lighting conditions, decidedly more than a native Sony lens and more than these lenses on the G2 body. As the aperture is closed, the light that reaches the sensor diminishes and also the lens "hunts" more during focus acquisition. The AF motor drive is in the adapter body, and it is powered by the camera battery, so I suspect this "hunting" back and forward will impact negatively on battery life.

There is always the option of manual focus via a small wheel to the left of the adapter body, with the option of focus assist magnification on the A7, so this is a minor annoyance. This wheel drives a focus-by-wire mechanism, there is no mechanical linkage, so even manual focusing drains battery power.

There are electronic contacts on both ends, and it seems some kind of magic is done here, as the lens names register correctly in the EXIF, which is of great help when editing, to know at least which lens was used when. This has almost always worked, as the Planar 45/2 failed to be recognized in a couple occasions.

So, summarizing (and assuming these are just my initial use impressions):
PROS:
-Finally being able to use Contax G lenses on a Full Frame digital body
-AF speed is acceptably good
-AF precision is excellent
-Manual focus available
-Build quality is excellent
-EXIF data registration

CONS
-Focus acquisition in less than optimal light conditions, subject contrast, or when using small apertures can be difficult
-Manual focusing wheel is maybe too small to be always comfortable to use
-It shortens camera battery life

In any case, the delight of using these lenses on the A7 overcomes for me any inconveniences caused by the adapter.
As soon as possible, I will post some images made with them.

PS: English is not my first (not even third) language, so please let me know if there's anything difficult to be understood in the post.
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Old 01-20-2014   #2
Fuchs
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[IMG]
Untitled by Eduardo Albesi, on Flickr[/IMG]

[IMG]
Untitled by Eduardo Albesi, on Flickr[/IMG]
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Old 01-20-2014   #3
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This (uninspired photo) was shot with the 28/2.8 at full open aperture. There is only a very small amount of vignetting, and minimal, if any, color shift in the extreme corners.


Old TV set by Eduardo Albesi, on Flickr
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Old 01-20-2014   #4
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Sonnar G 90/2.8


Grape leaves by Eduardo Albesi, on Flickr
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Old 01-20-2014   #5
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Planar 45/2.0 wide open


Coffee Table Musik by Eduardo Albesi, on Flickr
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Old 01-21-2014   #6
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so very interesting. thanks for posting this.
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Old 01-21-2014   #7
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What is the cost of this adapter? In USD? Is it available without going to China?
ebay of course.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Yeenon-CONTA...-/161173067949

Thanks!

Wayne
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Old 01-21-2014   #8
sevo
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Is the AF good enough to justify five to ten times the price of a manual focus adapter?
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Old 01-21-2014   #9
lam
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sevo View Post
Is the AF good enough to justify five to ten times the price of a manual focus adapter?
For me, the cost of the adapter is worth it having not to focus peak rough approximate focus, hit magnify twice to reach enough magnification to get critical focus.

Nice review you put up there, I have a Techart MKII adapter coming today (bought used) which i'm anxious to try my G28/45/90 combo on my A7R, likely i'll share my findings on your thread if you don't mind

Lovely photos btw.
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Old 01-21-2014   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by venchka View Post
What is the cost of this adapter? In USD? Is it available without going to China?
ebay of course.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Yeenon-CONTA...-/161173067949

Thanks!

Wayne
My friend paid for it about US $300. I haven't seen this brand advertised anywhere before, but looks almost the same as the ebay one without those nice decorations on the lens side. I choose the chrome one as it matched my titanium lenses.
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Old 01-21-2014   #11
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Thanks for a good and concise review..could image the A7 and the contax lenses are great combo, and itīs good to hear that such great lenses get a second life with the adapter..
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Old 01-21-2014   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lam View Post
For me, the cost of the adapter is worth it having not to focus peak rough approximate focus, hit magnify twice to reach enough magnification to get critical focus.

Nice review you put up there, I have a Techart MKII adapter coming today (bought used) which i'm anxious to try my G28/45/90 combo on my A7R, likely i'll share my findings on your thread if you don't mind

Lovely photos btw.
The AF is fast enough to be very useable. It does not match the AF speed of a native Sony NEX lens (on the Nex 6, I do not have any full frame Sony lenses). It seems to be faster than my Canon EOS M with the latest firmware.

Please, share your findings and pictures with the A7R, opinions on the net are so varied that a first hand experience is welcome. I understand that the AF modules of the A7 and A7R are very different, so it will be really interesting to compare the two beasts.

And thank you for your comment about my photos
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Old 02-08-2014   #13
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Thank you for posting this mini review. I'm encouraged to see that there may be a natural digital successor to the G2 that may maintain autofocus. The G2's autofocus was fast and if you're sensing autofocus is as fast as what the G2 was capable of this is much better than merely adequate autofocus capability.
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