Top 12 Best Value Contax/Yashica Lenses

First introduced in 1975, Contax/Yashica (or “C/Y”) mount lenses are bayonet-style lenses made for Contax and Yashica film SLR cameras.

Known for their high optical quality, they remain a popular choice for photographers today – and are easily adapted to mirrorless with a cheap adapter.

Many different C/Y lenses exist, and can be broadly categorized into two groups:

  • Carl Zeiss lenses – universally praised, hard to go wrong with any of them. Can get pricy!
  • Yashica lenses – not as good as their Zeiss counterparts, but still excellent if you know what to look for.

TL;DR: for the C/Y mount, look for any Zeiss lenses or any Yashica ML lenses (avoid Yashica “DSB” models).

Some of the best value C/Y lenses available today:

Carl Zeiss Lenses

  • Carl Zeiss Distagon T* 28mm F2.8: Great build quality and handling. Very sharp by f/8. Extreme corners always soft (needs to be at least f/5.6 for good corners). Some vignetting at wide apertures. Great flare resistance.
  • Carl Zeiss Vario-Sonnar T* (C/Y) 35-70mm F3.4: known as a “tube full of primes” back in the day, this zoom lens continues to impress, even with modern digital sensors. Sharp, great build quality. 
  • Carl Zeiss Planar T* 50mm F1.7: it won’t compete in sharpness with modern 50mm lenses, but it could be a great choice for landscape shooters (lens really shines at f/5.6 and f/8).
  • Carl Zeiss Sonnar T* 100mm F3.5: Very sharp across all apertures, with low distortion and great bokeh. Solid build quality. Great value for this focal length.

Yashica ML Lenses

These lenses represent high optical quality (relative to their Zeiss counterparts). Don’t knock them until you try them!

  • Yashica ML 21mm F3.5
  • Yashica ML 24mm F2.8
  • Yashica ML 35mm F2.8
  • Yashica ML 50mm F1.4
  • Yashica ML 50mm F1.7
  • Yashica ML 50mm F1.9
  • Yashica ML 55mm F2.8 Macro
  • Yashica ML 80-200mm F4

Contax/Yashica lens websites:

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