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Introduction

Carl Zeiss Planar T* 100mm f/2 was one of 6 (not counting the macro version of the 100mm prime) medium telephoto lenses that the company used to manufacture for the now discontinued Contax/Yashica mount.  The company initially offered the lens as an AE version, and later replaced it with an MM variant, but as far as the archives go, it does not look like the optical formula changed from AE to MM versions. The lens remained quite popular among photographers and was often considered one of the best medium telephotos on the market. Carl Zeiss recently resurrected the SLR lens lineup, but instead of releasing a dedicated fast telephoto and a separate macro, the company chose to release a fast telephoto macro lens - Carl Zeiss Makro-Planar T* 100mm f/2 (initially available in Nikon and Pentax mounts, and most recently in Canon EF mount as well). Still, even with the release of the new generation lens, the old Contax version is still going strong and fetches ~US$1,000 on used markets.

The optical construction of the lens consists of 6 elements in 5 groups. The build quality of the lens is identical to other Contax lenses of that era - metal barrel and mount, broad rubberized focusing ring and narrow rubberized aperture ring. The lens supports only manual focusing and manual aperture setting - original Contax cameras had mechanical coupling with the lens, which allowed the camera to capture the aperture setting, but this coupling is lost when the lens is used with an adapter. The minimum aperture setting is f/22, and the ring moves in one full f-stop increments. The lens is relatively (for a medium telephoto) compact and light, measuring 70 x 84mm (2.75 x 3.4in) and weighing 670g (1.4lb). The lens does extend a little bit when focused towards the closeup distances. The minimum focusing distance is 1m (3.5ft). The lens accepts 67mm screw-in type filters.


 

The Contax Planar T* 100mm f/2 is a traditional 35mm prime, so when used on digital bodies with APS-C sized sensors, the field of view of the lens will resemble that of a 160mm telephoto on a full frame body. The lens can be easily adapted to a number of alternative mounts, including Canon and Four Thirds systems using readily available adapters. Within the scope of this review, the lens was tested on a FF and APS-C type Canon bodies.

 

Summary
Lens Composition 6 elements in 5 groups
Angular Field 24.3 degrees
Minimum Focus 1m/3.5ft
Focusing Action MF
stop Scale f/2-f/22, manual
Filter Size 67mm
Lens Hood No.4 metal
Weight 670g/1.48lb
Dimensions 70x84mm/2.75x3.4"
Lens Case No.2 (included)