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Zeiss Otus 55mm f1.4 - official thread - reviewed!

PostPosted: Mon Nov 04, 2013 9:33 pm
by Thomas
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Update: My complete review is now up here!
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Could you imagine buying a brand new 55mm f1.4 lens that does not AF? For over 3000€??
Well: brace yourself for the onslaught of Zeiss' first lens from their new Otus (=owl) series. They claim it's the very best "standard" lens available for full-frame DSLRs. At that price the lens better delivers.
Announcement has been made at Photokina 2012 but now the lens should almost be available.
Let's have a look at some product-data:
optical design: 12 elements in 10 groups. It's a quite complicated design totally unlike most other "normal" lenses. Zeiss called it a "Distagon" design that they also used at some of their wide-angles.
size/weight: 92mm x 125mm, 970g. This is a true monster of a 55mm lens!
Max. magnification: 1:6.8 at 0.5m distance
Filter-thread: 77mm

Image

Image
The MTF curves are for f1.4 at 10, 20 and 40 cycles/mm. They all look extremely impressive.

Links:
official web site
testshots, most are available at full resolution shot with a D800E

Once you have a had a close look at the shots you can only be pretty impressed at what Zeiss has achieved here. Only the Bokeh does not look to promising. Plus the light fall-off is pretty steep wide open at 1 stop around the DX-corners and over 2 stops at the FX-corners. This is much more than the "natural" fall-off and suggests some heavy optical vignetting probably with the normally associated cat's-eye effect that also limits the quality of Bokeh in the corners.

Oh, and btw.: I'm currently testing how good I am at manually focusing my Nikon AF-S 50/1.4. Maybe that is not such a tough task ;-)

Re: Zeiss Otus 55mm f1.4: coming soon

PostPosted: Tue Nov 05, 2013 11:13 am
by oldCarlos
I guess the issue of `manually` focussing a lens, is something that comes with practice. We ALL used to do it 30+ years ago! :lol:

Having the split prism focussing screens made a big difference though, so not sure how easy it is in comparison these days. (my ageing eyes might not be so good with MF these days either :( )

Re: Zeiss Otus 55mm f1.4: coming soon

PostPosted: Tue Nov 05, 2013 12:43 pm
by popo
I've been following this lens since they first mentioned it. The lack of colour artefacts is impressive, and would be the main selling point for me. Still, I don't think I can justify such a lens either. Their much cheaper 2/50 makro will suffice. I am curious what else they may do in this series, as a fast 135mm would be much more interesting to me.

Re: Zeiss Otus 55mm f1.4: coming soon

PostPosted: Thu Nov 07, 2013 5:39 am
by dubaiphil
The current 2/135's no slouch!!!!

Re: Zeiss Otus 55mm f1.4: coming soon

PostPosted: Thu Nov 07, 2013 12:39 pm
by popo
The recent Zeiss 135 isn't good enough over the Canon 135L for the cost to make me consider replacing it.

Re: Zeiss Otus 55mm f1.4: coming soon

PostPosted: Thu Nov 07, 2013 6:28 pm
by Thomas
You start becoming a bit OT, guys!

Re: Zeiss Otus 55mm f1.4 - official thread - incoming!

PostPosted: Fri Nov 15, 2013 6:33 pm
by Thomas
My German dealer says that Zeiss is testing each and every copy of the Otus before it is delivered and they expect the first batch of the lens to not to arrive before end of November.

Re: Zeiss Otus 55mm f1.4 - official thread - incoming!

PostPosted: Sat Nov 23, 2013 10:38 pm
by Thomas
Got my mitts on the new lens at a dealer's event. Whoa, what a lens to hold: Focus ring running super-smooth, barrel made of metal, heft and size just nice.
Learned an interesting thing today: the lens does not have an aspheric element but an element with an aspheric surface that - according to the guy from Zeiss - is made by applying some sort of aspheric coating to a spheric lens. At least that was what I understood...

Re: Zeiss Otus 55mm f1.4 - official thread - arrived!

PostPosted: Fri Nov 29, 2013 10:00 pm
by Thomas
Lens arrived. Will fetch it tomorrow :mrgreen:
Weather seems to play along, even some sun was promised :D

Re: Zeiss Otus 55mm f1.4 - official thread - arrived!

PostPosted: Sat Nov 30, 2013 6:42 pm
by Thomas
Whoa, first tests show that this lens is in a league of its own. Never seen such high resolution and contrast at f1.4 from center to the full-frame corners with no discernible field curvature in the near-field (2.3m distance).
Incredible!

Re: Zeiss Otus 55mm f1.4 - official thread - testing!

PostPosted: Sun Dec 01, 2013 10:34 am
by Bob Andersson
Hi Thomas,

I'm suitably envious! It sounds as though Canon and Nikon shooters now have an equivalent to the Leica SUMMILUX-M 50mm f/1.4 ASPH, albeit one that is a lot heavier and larger. Overkill for me with my E-M1 but it must be a joy fitted to your D800. 8)

Bob.

Re: Zeiss Otus 55mm f1.4 - official thread - testing!

PostPosted: Sun Dec 01, 2013 7:03 pm
by Thomas
Balances well with a larger DSLR body. But I've seen people mount it on the new Sony A7/R. That doesn't look like a well balanced combo.
My preview should be out soon. And I can promise some very interesting results.

Re: Zeiss Otus 55mm f1.4 - official thread - testing!

PostPosted: Mon Dec 02, 2013 5:50 am
by SteveSFO
Initially my thoughts on the Otus was that it would be a good lens. But $4000US? It can't be that good. A couple of weeks ago, I was able to shoot with this lens and today I am waiting for my order to arrive.

This lens is just amazing. Clarity, color rendering, sharpness, bokeh, etc...

I've been lucky to have been able to try, use and own a whole slew of different cameras and lenses. The only other lens that have sent me over the edge has been the Leica Noctilux.

I was about to give up on my Nikon D800 just because as good as the results are, it's nothing over the top versus a D4 or D610. Mounting the Otus on the D800 now has me thinking of a lot of projects to work on with this set up.

It's an outstanding lens and can't wait for the next focal length that Zeiss will create in the Otus line.

Re: Zeiss Otus 55mm f1.4 - official thread - previewed!

PostPosted: Mon Dec 02, 2013 7:42 am
by Thomas
Hello SteveSFO, and welcome to the friendly Camera Labs forum!
To enjoy your stay here please have a look at the house-rules!
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Yes, the Otus is an absolutely amazing lens. And the combination with a Nikon D800 certainly one of the most powerful combinations regarding image quality out there. So enjoy your new combo! And post some images back here.

My review-in-progress is up here!

Re: Zeiss Otus 55mm f1.4 - official thread - previewed!

PostPosted: Mon Dec 02, 2013 4:46 pm
by RexGig
Thanks for your review and images! :)