In the 1990s the Contax G System was a high end rangefinder camera system with quality Zeiss optics that even today hold its own to the mighty Leica M lens series. With the m4/3 system and the success of the G1 and GH1, many have hoped to resurrect the Contax G line for the new m4/3 system. The problem is the Contax G lenses were created with no foresight for the future use of these lenses. They are auto focus lenses with no manual focus ring. For years the sharp and beautiful glass of Contax G lenses were meant only for the rangefinder system until now..
Over the last year or so small company’s in China, Europe, and even the US have been trying to perfect the Contax G to m4/3 lens adapter. Some of the first solutions were not so great. Early versions had a focus gear on the side of the amount which allowed you to focus the lens. It was doable but a bit rough and not as easy to focus as it looked. The newer adapters now have gears that are a little bigger some with a larger focus gear on the side of the mount and others opting to create an actual focus ring around the mount giving you the ability to use the lens with a full sized focal ring. Despite these two different designs there were still issues of smoothness and results varied depending on different focal lengths used. The whole process of trying to find the right mount for these lenses was turning out to be a crap shoot and I was just about ready to give up on the system. But a few weeks ago, I was on getdpi forum, one of the best places to find great information on new mounts for the m4/3 system. One of their members had a good experience using the Metabones Contax G to m4/3 adapter. It seemed to have a much larger focal ring around the mount which was different from the other designs. I contacted one of the sellers of the mount on ebay who has a store called lasjas. He was extremely nice and responsive and said he would send four mounts to me from Hong Kong in four days which was great because everything usually takes about 10-14 days for other mounts I’ve purchased from China in the past.
When the Metabones mounts arrived I quickly put them on my Contax G lenses for some initial testing and here are some of my initial findings:
- The machining is a huge plus its very well made. It’s heavy but I see that as a plus, giving the sturdiness for real world use out in the field.
- I placed the Metabones Contax G on every lens I had (90mm/45mm/35mm/28mm) and each one I was surprised to see how smooth each lens rotated from infinity to close focus. No binding on any lenses!
- The larger width on the focal ring is a definite plus. The ring and mount feel like a natural extension of the lens. It’s about 3/4 of an inch wide allowing you to grip and focus manually. There is a little bit of play depending on the lens used but it’s slight and workable and much easier and smoother to focus than the other adapters I have used.
- Plays very well with indiSYSTEM SNAP! Gears- Pulling focus with follow focus and gears for filmmakers is now a reality!!!
- Without instructions, It took me a few hours to figure out how the locking mechanism worked. There were no instructions in the box. I later e-mailed Lasjas and he sent me instructions. Word of advice, follow the instructions or you’ll be stuck for hours!
- Once you get the mount in place you must apply some pressure to turn the mount to lock it into place.You have to place a little heft to get the lens locked into place.
- The Contax G system is a difficult system to mount when you start off and this is a mount that takes time to take on and off. If you have a lot of lenses it’s best to get an adapter for each lens.
- 28mm lens must have it’s legged chopped to use it. Chop off 5mm of the legs in order to fit the lens and mount on the GH1. I believe that this will hold true for the 21mm lens as well.
- The mounts are not cheap. $129.90 for buy it now or you may be able to offer a lower price. To get one for each lens which is really a must can be a little costly.
- Would be nice to get the focal ring a tiny bit wider, about an inch or ideally and an inch and a quarter that would be just right when using indiSYSTEM SNAP! Gears for those who want to use these lenses with a gear and follow focus.