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Will we ever see a digital body for our Manual Focus lenses


Well-Known Member
In my humble opinion, the Contax N system was doomed to fail for many reasons, one is that the appeal of the Contax brand has always been in the Carl Zeiss glass, and Zeiss were never hot for such an idea as AF Zeiss lenses, in similar fashion to Leica.

From what I've seen, Leica has been quite successful with the DMR. The idea to marry the good old manual focus lenses with a digital back or body is excellent.

I believe the vast majority of us here are using the MF mount system. It would be great if that would happen sometime in the future.

We'll just have to convince a camera manufacturer (perhaps Cosina?) to make a FF digital body, not necessarily using Contax name, that would take our Zeiss lenses.

What do you think?
Dream on Edward.

There was nothing wrong with the N lenses, they were (are) optically the equal to, or superior to, the Manual Zeiss glass ... and offered real full manual focus for those that prefer it.

If Kyocerea had any passion for photography, we wouldn't be having this conversation.
Unfortunately true.

I have never personally used the N system but I'm sure the optics must be of high caliber to have the Zeiss name imprinted on them.

However, I do believe most Contax users have the manual lenses, so there should be a larger market for this mount.

Cosina has successfully built the Contax S2 (and probably others that I don't know of), they have also built the Epson RD-1 so they are no strangers to digital.

I do believe it is a viable project if we can find the right ears at Zeiss.

I know Kyocera still owns the brand for a few years to come, but this potential digital body could be branded Zeiss, Cosina, or whatever they feel like calling it.

I do realize it is just a dream, very unlikely to happen though
couple of points:
n lenses represented (on the whole) the best that zeiss had to offer (within real world cost constraints) for the 135 format. they were also designed with real world digital micro-lenses in mind (ie somewhat more telecentric).
as for the contax resurrection....there is quite a lot of misinformation out there. kyocera is not quite the villain they are sometimes made out to be in all of this.
there will be a future, imho. businesses will always prefer to leverage brand equity. cynics may say that the contax brand is diminishing. sure. but it was almost deep frozen by the seventies, and the relaunch then worked well. what's not sure is when the rebirth will be...and whether it will be good enough...and most importantly for those of us who have invested bigtime in zeiss lenses, whether it'll support the n/645 (and even c/y) mounts. btw, i reckon there is , remedial, discussion between cz and kyocera, right now. i know for sure (industry sources) that the true story is not "out" yet.
but...i am an optimist
What misinformation? Please enlighten us.

Facts are: People invested heavily in Kyocera products under the Contax name ... in return they quite suddenly decided to get out, and the customer was left holding the bag ... of very expensive gear.

That company was never responsive to it's loyal customers, as anyone that has followed posts on this forum over the past few years full well knows. It was one of the the forum people here who finally contacted Adobe and got them to include RAW support for the Contax ND ... which made such a huge difference for that camera that it's not even funny. Now how hard would it have been for Kyocera/Contax to do in the first place? Not a peep of support for those who dropped a bundle of cash on the ND. None.

Now a camera company that actually has at least a modicum of passion for photography, like Leica, has at least tried to support it's customers. As mentioned, the DMR is indeed a decent digital solution for those with a bank vault worth of Leica R glass. Now comes the M8.

Zeiss is still in my gear bag, mostly MF Hasselblad lenses that have proven to be versatile and relentless performers.

My once dominate Contax gear is all gone, or soon will be. I need to make photographs today, not off in some far distant fairy tale land of make believe.
I wouldn't hurry to sell my CZ and CZJ glass. From amateur's point of view, these tools are not supposed to deliver any profit, but only beautiful pictures. I hope there are others like me. And everyone probably would agree that there is no 24x36mm alternative so far, except may be ZF series (though, it's not yet clear whether it's done or will be extended), and those spectacularly expensive Leica ones. In MF area IMHO things are even simpler - CZ only. Period.
So, I enjoy my Contax 645 glass, Pentacon-6 CZJ and Hassy lenses adopted to my Contax 645 camera, and also C/Y CZ glass attached to RTS III. My Nikon F100 is waiting for ZF to come. I also stay tuned for Canon DSLR news to come. What else do I need? Nothing. Life is beautiful. Well, at least for an amateur.

You're right, but wouldn't you be happy to use your lenses on an appropriate digital body instead of using them stopped down on a Canon body using poor made adapters? Zeiss manual lenses are that good with digital, just ask the Canon users.

Moreover, while the lenses themselves will probably last forever, I can't say the same about the Contax cameras. I'm concerned that soon we won't be able to find used Contax bodies in good condition, or find a place to repair ours. Here in Bangkok, I am not able to find any qualified technicians let alone spare parts.
Oh, yes. I'd be glad to have such body, but let's be realists. This is almost impossible (but this miracle may happen, like it happened with Minolta mount). Speaking of current film bodies... You know, I have "Zenit-ET" camera (M42 mount) made 25 years ago in Soviet Union. It still works. It even survived after Soviet Army service (as long as myself). If you care about your camera, it may live long. But you also need to be a little bit lucky.
Let's all email Cosina and ask them to make a digital body for C/Y mount :D

They make the Epson RD-1, the Zeiss Ikon and all lenses, all lenses of ZF and ZS mount. Even their name starts with the 2 first correct letters, they only need to change the remaining 4 ;)

I think they will be the next Kyocera.
That would indeed be great
but it would have to be very good indeed and I don't think they could do it
on the evidence of the RD-1 and it would have to be full frame to use our lenses properly which makes it even more unlikely
Looks to me as though we have to stay with film and scan to use our C/Y lenses digitally without buying a Canon full frame digital body. But Nikon and Sony may produce full frame too in the future which will be further options.
I think the way to go is to have an alternative digital system as well as Contax bodies and lenses.
I think that Cosina produce a body with C/Y mount so if all old Contaxes pack up we will still be able to use our lenses if Cosina continue to make it.
I like the idea of Co(si)n(a)tax. After all the Zeiss Icon is a Cosina.Good thought.