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May 032012
Contax G 90mm F2.8 Lens Review Test Image

Contax G 90mm F2.8 Lens Review Test Image

Sony NEX-7 with Contax G 90mm F2.8 Sonnar

This is the first of 4 Contax G lenses I will be reviewing for the Sony NEX-7 camera. I’ve been a long time user and fan of the Contax G system. I’ve had the system almost since its release and have been waiting for a system that was worthy enough to revive my long-lost loves. For this review here is the list of the equipment I used.


In the image above you can see the full test image that I used for the test. Upon requests from some readers, I’ve cropped the image from edge to edge. This way you can judge for yourself the edge to edge sharpness. I shot at each full stop on the lens, and the ISO was set at 800 with exposure compensation of +0.7. Focusing point was on the closest light.


Contax G 90mm F2.8 Lens Review Results Image

Contax G 90mm F2.8 Lens Review Results Image

I’m very happy with the results. Admittedly, this lens has not gotten as much use as it deserves. I actually got this lens later in my relationship with my Contax G2 system. It was in a time when I was shooting lots of portraits and it served me very well. As you can see in the results the lens is a great performer even on the Sony NEX-7. There is a very nice “bokeh” fall off as you go up in aperture, and the focus is sharp even wide open. Also very little if any “Diffraction” is noticeable at F22. As I’ve stated before the Sony NEX-7 with the manual focus magnification is a real game changer. It makes using “legacy” lenses easy and “real world” usable. After you get used to working with the adapters and the camera you can shoot these older “legacy” lenses just as fast as an older rangefinder system. Having the experience of using these older rangefinder systems you can’t help but be filled with nostalgia, and if this is what will motivate you to go and make some images the Value to Cost ratio is high. Even though I got the bottom of the barrel adapter, It is very usable and something that you get used to quickly. A reader of photohead online stated that the metabones adapter is better made and the focus is smoother than this “el cheapo” adapter and if you were to be using these lenses from the Contax G line a lot you may want to consider the more expensive metabones adapter. A warning though, it is considerably more expensive.


As I’ve stated in other reviews, most of the time my angle to buying equipment is my Value to Cost Ratio. I’ve had many readers disagree with me that Leica glass is not worth buying for most people as well as Zeiss lenses. I don’t expect people who are “enthusiast” in photography to spend a months house payment on a piece of equipment, no matter how good it is, unless they really “need” it. Most of the time, they don’t. There are a lot of Ken Rockwell readers out there that buy into his “in the long run, considering inflation, quality, resale value, etc, etc, you’ll be just renting the lens at 3% per year, what a value!!” No offense to Ken Rockwell, but sounds like a Stock Broker trying to sell me something. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve done it! It’s human nature to talk yourself into things you really want. What I don’t want to do is recommend something that you don’t need or make you feel bad about something you just spent your hard-earned dollars on.

That being said, these Contax G series lenses on the used market are relatively affordable. For a 90mm about $250.00, 28mm, 35mm, 45mm, $300-500 each depending on condition. Not that bad. If you happened to have them already, then you’re set. Get an adapter and start shooting.

Considering everything I feel the Contax G 90mm F2.8 has a HIGH Value to Cost Ratio

You can find used Contax G series cameras lenses and accessories here at Adorama. They have good deals and are conservative with their grading. So you should be happy with what you get.

What type of Legacy Glass do you want to see on the Sony NEX system? Use the comments below and let me know!

Part 2 of 4: Contax G 45mm F2.0 Planar Review

Part 3 of 4: Contax G 35mm F2.0 Planar Review

Part 4 of 4: Contax G 28mm F2.8 Biogon Review

Related article: Contax G lenses for Sony NEX-7: Sneak Peek


  4 Responses to “Sony NEX-7 w/ Contax G 90mm F2.8 Sonnar”


    Great review, looking forward to seeing how the rest of the G lenses fare. Also, since you asked, I would be interested in seeing reviews of other affordable lenses on the used market such as Canon FD, Minolta MD, Olympus OM, Pentax KA, etc. There are so many to choose from, it would be nice to find some good older glass that works well with the NEX series. Thanks again.


    The Contax 90 mm/2.8 has been my favorite lens on my NEX 7 so far. I used so far for two portrait sessions and really enjoy working with this excellent lens.

    Working with manual focus is a welcome change and I must say that I do not regret paying the extra money for the Metabones adapter as it makes focusing this original autofocus lens very user friendly.


      Thanks Jurgen for your comment, More and more people have been singing the praises of the metabones adapter. I may have to investigate this option more. I checked out your page and I like your portraits. Good job!!

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