Discovering old lenses for new techniques

Contax was in business for 30 years (1975-2005) and released almost 40 lenses, some of which remain world-class. Many of these affordable, full-frame lenses can be easily modified for use on a cinema camera.

Tools of storytelling

At Reelmedia Film, we’re always looking for ways to enhance our storytelling and deliver the best documentary film, multimedia or behaviour change campaign to our clients in the Third Sector. Whether you are an NGO, charity, UN agency and work in a Third Sector Organisation (TSO), we want to make sure you get the best possible impact and engagement. Lens choice is a vital part of the storytelling toolkit. Here’s the glass we use at Reelmedia Film.

The Contax line-up

21mm, f2.8

The 21mm is a gem. It is arguably one of the best designed and all-round lenses in the Contax line-up. The lens is tack-sharp wide open and edge to edge. Perfect on a gimbal, it is also blessed with superb close focus.

35mm, f1.4

The 35 1.4 is a must have for me. I never leave without the office without it and at 1.4 gives tremendous lowlight ability. Perfect focus throw and great close focus.

50mm, f1.4

The 50 1.4 is a classic and complements the 35 and 85 perfectly. The lens is pin-sharp stopped down. A perfect, nifty 50 for our set.

60mm, f 2.8

Macro The 60 2.8 is my favourite macro. This phenomenal lens is capable of 1:1 macro and is incredibly sharp wide open, and with almost zero distortion. This is another world class lens.

85mm, f1.4

The 85 1.4 is a classic. Capable of timeless imagery, this lens has minimal to no distortion, making it ideal for portraits and landscape. At 1.4, the lens gives incredible lowlight ability, and focal separation.

135mm, f2.0

At f2 this 135 delivers powerful imagery. The lens has a twinkle and a magic that means it is a must-have when a little more reach than the 85mm is required.

Leading lenses for visual storytelling

Contax lenses offer a fantastic way to purchase world-class-glass. See for yourself how these lenses look on our recent project for the European Environmental Bureau. However, as prime lenses designed for photography, they might not immediately be suitable for video work.

To adapt our Contax lenses for film and video use, we used the following services:

Cordvision – for gears, cine rings and lens caps.

Leitax – for conversion from Contax to Sony E or Canon EF mount.

Optical Support for lens de-clicking.

Also highly recommended: Bright Tangerine – for the super lightweight misfit Atom matte box.

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