Carl Zeiss N Vario-Sonnar T* 70-300mm F/4-5.6

Telephoto zoom lens • Digital era • Discontinued

N (Unofficial acronym) The lens is designed for Contax N series 35mm SLR cameras.
T* The multi-layer coating is applied to the surface of lens elements. It boosts light transmission, ensures sharp and high contrast images, minimizes ghosting and flares.

Sample photos

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Features highlight

USM
MFO

Specification

Production details
Announced:September 2000
Production status:Discontinued
Production type:Mass production
Original name:Carl Zeiss Vario-Sonnar 4-5,6/70-300 T*
Optical design
Focal length range:70mm - 300mm
Speed range:F/4 @ 70mm - F/5.6 @ 300mm
Maximum format:35mm full frame
Mount:Contax N
Diagonal angle of view:34.3° @ 70mm - 8.2° @ 300mm (35mm full frame)
Lens construction:16 elements - 11 groups
Diaphragm mechanism
Number of blades:7
Zooming
Zoom type:Rotary
Zooming method:Extends while zooming
Focusing
Closest focusing distance:1.5m
Maximum magnification ratio:1:4.2 @ 300mm at the closest focusing distance
Focusing method:<No information>
Focusing modes:Autofocus, manual focus
Manual focus control:Focusing ring
Autofocus motor:Ultrasonic motor
Focus mode selector:None; focusing mode is set from the camera
Manual focus override in autofocus mode:Yes
Optical Image Stabilizer (OIS)
Built-in OIS:-
Physical characteristics
Weight:1070g
Maximum diameter x Length:⌀88×129mm
Weather sealing:-
Fluorine coating:-
Accessories
Filters:Screw-type 72mm
Lens hood:Bayonet-type GB-75 (round)

*) Source of data: Manufacturer's technical data.

Manufacturer description

The Vario-Sonnar T* 4.0-5.6/70-300 lens is a compact tele-zoom lens with autofocus and high image quality for the Contax N1 SLR system. The zoom range of the Vario-Sonnar T* 4.0-5.6/70-300 lens covers all focal lengths of 35 mm photography which normally allow good results to be obtained without the use of a tripod. The smallest object size covered corresponds to the size of a postcard, the minimum object distance in front of the lens is 73 cm. The image quality obtained at this setting is remarkably good.

To achieve this high image quality, the Vario-Sonnar T* 4.0-5.6/70-300 lens also uses fluor-crown glass with anomalous partial dispersion. Distortion has also been very well corrected, allowing the Vario-Sonnar T* 4.0-5.6/70-300 lens to be used for product photographs, if necessary, if no macro lens is available or the longer focal lengths provided by the Vario-Sonnar T* 4.0-5.6/70-300 lens are particularly beneficial for picture composition. The optical and mechanical design is such that the lens requires relatively little space in its transport position. The Vario-Sonnar T* 4.0-5.6/70-300 lens is the ideal complement to the more wide-angle oriented Vario-Sonnar T* 3.5-4.5/24-85 lens and forms a lens pair with it, allowing the reliable performance of all tasks of 35 mm SLR photography – from landscape to small animals.

Preferred applications: All-purpose telephoto lens, traveling, landscape detail, snapshots, editorials, portraits, animals.

Typical application

distant subjects, distant landscapes with perspective compression effect, photojournalism, weddings, parties, carnivals, live concerts, sports in good lighting conditions, wild nature

Notes and recommendations

  • If you are into sports photography, consider acquiring a fast telephoto zoom lens.

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35mm full frame

43.27 24 36
  • Dimensions: 36 × 24mm
  • Aspect ratio: 3:2
  • Diagonal: 43.27mm

Travellers' choice

Note

Among autofocus lenses designed for 35mm full-frame mirrorless cameras only. Speed of standard and telephoto lenses is taken into account.

One of the best slow telephoto zooms

According to lens-db.com; among lenses designed for the same maximum format and mount.

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Unique Zeiss Look

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Image stabilizer

A technology used for reducing or even eliminating the effects of camera shake. Gyro sensors inside the lens detect camera shake and pass the data to a microcomputer. Then an image stabilization group of elements controlled by the microcomputer moves inside the lens and compensates camera shake in order to keep the image static on the imaging sensor or film.

The technology allows to increase the shutter speed by several stops and shoot handheld in such lighting conditions and at such focal lengths where without image stabilizer you have to use tripod, decrease the shutter speed and/or increase the ISO setting which can lead to blurry and noisy images.

Ultrasonic motor

Sorry, no additional information is available.

Original name

Lens name as indicated on the lens barrel (usually on the front ring). With lenses from film era, may vary slightly from batch to batch.

Format

Format refers to the shape and size of film or image sensor.

35mm is the common name of the 36x24mm film format or image sensor format. It has an aspect ratio of 3:2, and a diagonal measurement of approximately 43mm. The name originates with the total width of the 135 film which was the primary medium of the format prior to the invention of the full frame digital SLR. Historically the 35mm format was sometimes called small format to distinguish it from the medium and large formats.

APS-C is an image sensor format approximately equivalent in size to the film negatives of 25.1x16.7mm with an aspect ratio of 3:2.

Medium format is a film format or image sensor format larger than 36x24mm (35mm) but smaller than 4x5in (large format).

Angle of view

Angle of view describes the angular extent of a given scene that is imaged by a camera. It is used interchangeably with the more general term field of view.

As the focal length changes, the angle of view also changes. The shorter the focal length (eg 18mm), the wider the angle of view. Conversely, the longer the focal length (eg 55mm), the smaller the angle of view.

A camera's angle of view depends not only on the lens, but also on the sensor. Imaging sensors are sometimes smaller than 35mm film frame, and this causes the lens to have a narrower angle of view than with 35mm film, by a certain factor for each sensor (called the crop factor).

This website does not use the angles of view provided by lens manufacturers, but calculates them automatically by the following formula: 114.6 * arctan (21.622 / CF * FL),

where:

CF – crop-factor of a sensor,
FL – focal length of a lens.

Mount

A lens mount is an interface — mechanical and often also electrical — between a camera body and a lens.

A lens mount may be a screw-threaded type, a bayonet-type, or a breech-lock type. Modern camera lens mounts are of the bayonet type, because the bayonet mechanism precisely aligns mechanical and electrical features between lens and body, unlike screw-threaded mounts.

Lens mounts of competing manufacturers (Canon, Nikon, Pentax, Sony etc.) are always incompatible. In addition to the mechanical and electrical interface variations, the flange focal distance from the lens mount to the film or sensor can also be different.

Lens construction

Lens construction – a specific arrangement of elements and groups that make up the optical design, including type and size of elements, type of used materials etc.

Element - an individual piece of glass which makes up one component of a photographic lens. Photographic lenses are nearly always built up of multiple such elements.

Group – a cemented together pieces of glass which form a single unit or an individual piece of glass. The advantage is that there is no glass-air surfaces between cemented together pieces of glass, which reduces reflections.

Flange focal distance

The flange focal distance (FFD), sometimes called the "flange back", is the distance from the mechanical rear end surface of the lens mount to the focal plane.

Focal length

The focal length is the factor that determines the size of the image reproduced on the focal plane, picture angle which covers the area of the subject to be photographed, depth of field, etc.

Speed

The largest opening or stop at which a lens can be used is referred to as the speed of the lens. The larger the maximum aperture is, the faster the lens is considered to be. Lenses that offer a large maximum aperture are commonly referred to as fast lenses, and lenses with smaller maximum aperture are regarded as slow.

In low-light situations, having a wider maximum aperture means that you can shoot at a faster shutter speed or work at a lower ISO, or both.

Closest focusing distance

The minimum distance from the focal plane (film or sensor) to the subject where the lens is still able to focus.

Closest working distance

The distance from the front edge of the lens to the subject at the maximum magnification.

Magnification ratio

Determines how large the subject will appear in the final image. For example, a magnification ratio of 1:1 means that the image of the subject formed on the film or sensor will be the same size as the subject in real life. For this reason, a 1:1 ratio is often called "life-size".

Manual focus override in autofocus mode

Allows to perform final focusing manually after the camera has locked the focus automatically. Note that you don't have to switch camera and/or lens to manual focus mode.

Manual focus override in autofocus mode

Allows to perform final focusing manually after the camera has locked the focus automatically. Note that you don't have to switch camera and/or lens to manual focus mode.

Electronic manual focus override is performed in the following way: half-press the shutter button, wait until the camera has finished the autofocusing and then focus manually without releasing the shutter button using the focusing ring.

Electromagnetic diaphragm control system

Provides highly accurate diaphragm control and stable auto exposure performance during continuous shooting.

Convex protruding front element

The convex front element protrudes from the lens barrel, making it impossible to use filters.

Number of blades

As a general rule, the more blades that are used to create the aperture opening in the lens, the rounder the out-of-focus highlights will be.

Some lenses are designed with curved diaphragm blades, so the roundness of the aperture comes not from the number of blades, but from their shape. However, the fewer blades the diaphragm has, the more difficult it is to form a circle, regardless of rounded edges.

At maximum aperture, the opening will be circular regardless of the number of blades.

Weight

Excluding case or pouch, caps and other detachable accessories (lens hood, close-up adapter, tripod adapter etc.).

Maximum diameter x Length

Excluding case or pouch, caps and other detachable accessories (lens hood, close-up adapter, tripod adapter etc.).

For lenses with collapsible design, the length is indicated for the working (retracted) state.

Weather sealing

A rubber material which is inserted in between each externally exposed part (manual focus and zoom rings, buttons, switch panels etc.) to ensure it is properly sealed against dust and moisture.

Lenses that accept front mounted filters typically do not have gaskets behind the filter mount. It is recommended to use a filter for complete weather resistance when desired.

Fluorine coating

Helps keep lenses clean by reducing the possibility of dust and dirt adhering to the lens and by facilitating cleaning should the need arise. Applied to the outer surface of the front and/or rear lens elements over multi-coatings.

Filters

Lens filters are accessories that can protect lenses from dirt and damage, enhance colors, minimize glare and reflections, and add creative effects to images.

Lens hood

A lens hood or lens shade is a device used on the end of a lens to block the sun or other light source in order to prevent glare and lens flare. Flare occurs when stray light strikes the front element of a lens and then bounces around within the lens. This stray light often comes from very bright light sources, such as the sun, bright studio lights, or a bright white background.

The geometry of the lens hood can vary from a plain cylindrical or conical section to a more complex shape, sometimes called a petal, tulip, or flower hood. This allows the lens hood to block stray light with the higher portions of the lens hood, while allowing more light into the corners of the image through the lowered portions of the hood.

Lens hoods are more prominent in long focus lenses because they have a smaller viewing angle than that of wide-angle lenses. For wide angle lenses, the length of the hood cannot be as long as those for telephoto lenses, as a longer hood would enter the wider field of view of the lens.

Lens hoods are often designed to fit onto the matching lens facing either forward, for normal use, or backwards, so that the hood may be stored with the lens without occupying much additional space. In addition, lens hoods can offer some degree of physical protection for the lens due to the hood extending farther than the lens itself.

Rotary zoom

The change of focal length is achieved by turning the zoom ring and the manual focusing - by turning the separate focusing ring.

Push/pull zooming allows for faster change of focal length, however conventional method based on the rotation of the zoom ring provides more accurate and smooth zooming.

Push/pull zoom

The change of focal length and the manual focusing is achieved by one and the same ring. The change of focal length happens when the photographer moves the ring towards the mount or backwards and the rotation of the ring leads to change of focus.

Push/pull zooming allows for faster change of focal length, however conventional method based on the rotation of the zoom ring provides more accurate and smooth zooming.

Zoom lock

The lens features a zoom lock to keep the zoom ring fixed. This function is convenient for carrying a camera with the lens on a strap because it prevents the lens from extending.

Power Zoom

The lens features electronically driven zoom mechanism. It provides smoother, more natural zoom movements than you could accomplish by hand.

The Holy Trinity of lenses

The Holy Trinity of lenses refers to a three-lens set that covers a focal length range from the ultra-wide focal length of 14-16mm all the way long to the telephoto focal length of 200mm. The set typically consists of a 16-35mm ultra-wide angle zoom lens, a 24-70mm standard zoom lens and a 70-200mm telephoto zoom lens and usually represents the best constant-aperture zoom lenses in a manufacturer's lineup. The set is designed to cover almost every genre of photography, be it landscapes, architecture, portraits, weddings, sports, travel or even wildlife (with teleconverter). However, it is also expensive, large and heavy.