Previous news story    Next news story

Zeiss announces 'no compromise' Otus 55mm F1.4

By dpreview staff on Oct 7, 2013 at 10:04 GMT

Zeiss has announced the Otus 1.4/55, a premium manual focus 'normal' lens for full frame SLRs. It's the first in a new line of lenses aimed at 'uncompromising professional' photographers, with a price tag to match - €2,940 or US$3,999 (excl. VAT). According to Zeiss it's named Otus after 'a type of owl known for its excellent vision in darkness'. On the technical side, it employs a Distagon design that's unusually complex for this class of lens, with 12 elements in 10 groups to minimise aberrations even when shooting at maximum aperture.

Jump to:


Press Release:

No-compromises image quality with the new ZEISS camera lens

The ZEISS Otus 1.4/55 stands out with technical features ideal for all-around professional photography with 35mm DSLR cameras
 
OBERKOCHEN/Germany, October 7, 2013: With an imaging performance that has hitherto only been seen with medium format systems, the new ZEISS Otus 1.4/55 offers ambitious photographers who do not accept any compromises in image quality the possibility for a more compact gear. DSLR cameras with high resolution 35mm sensors put enormous demands on lenses. The Otus1.4/55 can deal with these demands thanks to its outstanding sharpness, high image contrast and no visible chromatic aberrations. It creates the highest-possible image quality, even with an open aperture. The new ZEISS lens is especially suited for advertising, fashion and studio photography, and professional photographers working in these fields will not need to make any compromises in terms of performance and quality. The Otus 1.4/55 is the first lens in a family of uncompromising professional lenses from ZEISS. Additional focal lengths will follow. Otus is the Latin name for a type of owl known for its excellent vision in darkness — just like this new high-speed lens from ZEISS.

“Our goal was to bring the best standard lens for SLR cameras onto the market. The Otus 1.4/55 delivers outstanding sharpness and contrast rendition all the way into the corners of the image. The only way we could achieve this was through the complex Distagon optical design, which until now has only been found on wide-angle lenses,” explains Christophe Casenave, product manager for ZEISS Camera Lenses. “Thanks to the low level of longitudinal chromatic aberration, there are no visible aberrations. So an illuminated harbor scene by night with many light sources in front of and behind the actual focal plane appears close to reality, without displaying complementary, color contrast edges. The excellent performance delivered by Otus is constant for all shooting distances. Its high performance with an open aperture also makes this lens a good choice for close-ups or portraits. For architectural and landscape photography, the Otus 1.4/55 takes full advantage of modern high-resolution camera sensors, resulting in impressive resolution in the images, even for the smallest detail.”

Other unique features of the Otus 1.4/55 are its high image contrast all the way to the edges (even for low f-numbers) and the consistent high-resolution performance across the entire image field. The lens has a completely new optical and mechanical design, which was developed taking into account the special and increasing requirements of high-resolution DSLR cameras. The Otus 1.4/55 is equipped with a floating elements design with 12 lens elements in 10 groups, including a double-sided aspheric lens and six lenses made of special glass with anomalous partial dispersion. These sophisticated features create image results without color fringing or distortion. Cameras with a lower number of pixels will also benefit from the lens’s unique features.

The performance delivered by the Otus 1.4/55 is especially obvious with night shots. When taking pictures with many image-dominant, open light sources, it is common for correction defects to show up. Because the Otus 1.4/55 is an apochromatic lens, longitudinal chromatic aberrations are corrected by its lens elements of special glass with anomalous partial dispersion. The color defects are therefore significantly lower than the defined limits. Bright/dark transitions in the image, and especially highlights, are rendered with no colorful artifacts. Although it is not a traditional focal length for architectural and landscape photography, here, too, the lens can deliver very good results. The edges of the image can be used for all apertures, giving full rein to the photographer’s creativity. For portraiture, the Otus 1.4/55 render the finest details precisely, and thanks to the maximum aperture of f/1.4, the photographer can consciously play with the depth of field and create a smooth bokeh. The Otus 1.4/55 stands out not only for its highly detailed pictures with no bothersome artifacts, but also for its mechanical quality. The smooth focus operation with the large angle of rotation allows for the finest variations when focusing — qualities that are only possible in a metal barrel. Its design as a manual focus lens allowed the engineers to work with much smaller tolerances during the construction. The lens’s robust metal barrel with the easy to grip focus ring makes it perfect for the demanding everyday situations of professional photographers, and guarantees a long product life. The yellow labels on the scales, which are borrowed from the professional ZEISS cinema lenses, contribute to better visibility. For its innovative product design, the Otus 1.4/55 already won the iF product design award 2013.

The Otus 1.4/55 will be available with F bayonet (ZF.2) and EF bayonet (ZE) starting at the end of October in all global markets. The recommended retail price will be €2,940 or US$3,999 (excl. VAT)*.

More information can be found on www.zeiss.com/photo.

*Status 7 October 2013

Zeiss Otus 1.4/55 specifications

Principal specifications
Lens typePrime lens
Max Format size35mm FF
Focal length55 mm
Image stabilisationNo
Lens mountCanon EF, Nikon F (FX)
Aperture
Maximum apertureF1.4
Minimum apertureF16.0
Aperture ringYes
Aperture notesNikon mount (ZF) version has aperture ring, Canon (ZE) version does not.
Optics
Elements12
Groups10
Special elements / coatings1 double-sided aspheric element, 6 anomalous partial dispersion glass elements
Focus
Minimum focus0.50 m (19.69)
Maximum magnification0.15×
AutofocusNo
Full time manualYes
Focus methodInternal
Distance scaleYes
DoF scaleYes
Physical
Weight970 g (2.14 lb)
Diameter92 mm (3.64)
Length141 mm (5.55)
MaterialsMetal barrel, metal mout
ColourBlack
Filter thread77 mm
Hood suppliedYes

Additional images

Nikon mount version, with lens hood
The ZEISS Otus 1.4/55 uses a complex Distagon lens design with 12 elements on 10 groups
17
I own it
145
I want it
4
I had it
Discuss in the forums

Comments

Total comments: 507
123
misha marinsky4
By misha marinsky4 (6 months ago)

I read diglloyds review: "Observe the fine details within the iris of the cat’s eyes as well as the small hairs"

The image's URL is:
http://diglloyd.com/articles/ZeissZ/images-ZeissZ-Otus-55f1_4/_D8E5727-ap1.jpg

Here's my photograph of my cat:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/ubereye/2582692851/in/set-72157605641599877/lightbox/

I used a Fuji E550.

8 upvotes
chaos215bar2
By chaos215bar2 (6 months ago)

It doesn't exactly take much to produce a completely sharp image at that resolution. I'm fairly certain my cell phone can do that (albeit with much larger depth of field).

0 upvotes
Scorpius1
By Scorpius1 (6 months ago)

This lens offers a state of the art design from Zeiss,but with compromises,very heavy at 1kg,no A.F and very pricey.. It will sell to a small market that has a lot of disposable income and wants to have a "special" lens,for most of us it is just not worth the investment,Nikon's 50mm 1.2 manual focus would be more than sufficient.

0 upvotes
white shadow
By white shadow (6 months ago)

If a Toyota or Nissan owner has never driven a Ferrari or Porche before, he does not know what he is missing.

Try them to find out.

3 upvotes
tkbslc
By tkbslc (6 months ago)

Shocker: Luxury lens maker creates luxury lens.
Shocker #2: People who can't afford luxury items call them pointless.

20 upvotes
mister_roboto
By mister_roboto (6 months ago)

I know right? It's the same people who complain that cinema lenses are over priced.

5 upvotes
Entropius
By Entropius (6 months ago)

It's a 55 f/1.4 with near perfect aberration correction. Most of us don't care and won't buy it; my 50/1.8 AFS is good enough for me. But someone somewhere cares, and that's enough for Zeiss.

3 upvotes
Yanko Kitanov
By Yanko Kitanov (6 months ago)

Shocker to you: No Pro will buy this for their money, only forum geeks with high income waiting for this lens to "make them better photographers." Actually it will only make their necks and hands a bit stronger and more trained, which is good after all ;)
The most lovely Tomioka 55mm f/1.2 goes for the price of the focusing ring of this 1kg GUN

Comment edited 1 minute after posting
5 upvotes
yabokkie
By yabokkie (6 months ago)

I think at least there will be pros who make money from using this lens, to promote the same lens.

Comment edited 44 seconds after posting
1 upvote
Keith in Calhoun
By Keith in Calhoun (6 months ago)

I can afford it and I still think it's pointless.

0 upvotes
tornwald
By tornwald (6 months ago)

Looks very promising. Although I would like to see this kind of lens for a full frame Pentax/Ricoh camera (yes i know, I know) or a Sigma Foveon full frame camera. The main reason for this I just hate the handeling of the Nikon and Canon camera's. I own a D800E and IQ is great, but the handeling is horrible and so is the viewfinder. If Sigma or Ricoh could make their own full frame camera with great handeling and a big and bright optical finder, then these manual focus lenses realy would shine.

0 upvotes
GatanoII
By GatanoII (6 months ago)

This Zeiss words are ridiculous.

I don't know what they smoke at Zeiss, but this piece of glass has a lot of compromises as an almost perfect 50/55mm lens in 2014 needs to have extremely fast (and silent) USM AF and (at this price) also the best optical IS is a must have, next time add AF and IS and ask more money

The people ready to pay that much for such "normal" piece of glass are few, but a lot fewer are the ones that will accept this price without AF.

Most famous fashion photographers will do just fine with a 24-70F2.8 (and a 70-200F2.8) but if you want to go with primes for faster glass for the similar price of this one you get a 50F1.2 an 85F1.2 and a 135F2, tell me how this 55mm is going to give better fashion photos that this trinity.

BTW just to name one, Annie Leibovitz used(uses) the old version I Canon 24-70mm and got good results (and money from fashion magazines)

0 upvotes
Scorpius1
By Scorpius1 (6 months ago)

Annie Leibovitz uses a Hasselblad with phase back for most of her high end stuff,although she does use Canon a lot too..

4 upvotes
Roland Karlsson
By Roland Karlsson (6 months ago)

IS? In a super high end 55 mm lens? This lens needs a tripod.

IS also compromises image quality as it de-centers the lens when moving the IS lens group.

AF? Can't really see that a 55 mm on a tripod needs AF.

7 upvotes
String
By String (6 months ago)

OMG, the new Mclaren P1 doesn't have a backup camera, cup holders or even a back seat! What an overpriced PoS! I even have all of those things in my Prius!

Unbelievable.

7 upvotes
coreyh
By coreyh (6 months ago)

I'll wait for the Sigma Version which will be just as sharp, autofocus and have dock capability. Sacrifice slight bit of rendering that can be fixed in PP and you save a wack of money. You get what you pay for with a lot of lenses, but not this one imo!

2 upvotes
Keith in Calhoun
By Keith in Calhoun (6 months ago)

I'm sorry, but this lens is nothing more than a status symbol to say, "look at what I can afford!"

2 upvotes
tkbslc
By tkbslc (6 months ago)

Your comment says nothing more than, "look what I cannot afford".

15 upvotes
white shadow
By white shadow (6 months ago)

Using a Zeiss lens is not about status. Its that special quality and result that one can get from it.

I tried Zeiss lenses a few years ago, bought a few and have never look back.

Once you have tried and own a Porche, for example, you would not want a Nissan or Ford again. Obviously, one can still own a Ford to go to the supermarket.

2 upvotes
Stanchung
By Stanchung (6 months ago)

Funny, my friend just traded his Z4 for a Renault van. haha. Priorities my friend!

0 upvotes
white shadow
By white shadow (6 months ago)

Probably time is so bad for him that he need a van for his new night market business. Or he has such a bad time convincing his wife that he is not going out with new girls at night.

You are right. Priority changes.

Cheers, have a few pints of beer!

0 upvotes
Keith in Calhoun
By Keith in Calhoun (6 months ago)

What part of my statement leads you to believe that I can't afford it? I could easily afford it. But that doesn't change the fact that the price is ludicrous. Yes, it's absolutely beautiful and yes it's very sharp, but c'mon... four thousand dollars for a 55mm lens??

0 upvotes
HowaboutRAW
By HowaboutRAW (6 months ago)

Keith:

Whatever about "affording" it.

However, what you're saying is that you don't care too much about colour/light subtlety in your photos.

This is far more than a "status symbol".

0 upvotes
Zerg2905
By Zerg2905 (6 months ago)

"Par Toutatis, Otus?!" Cheers...

0 upvotes
yabokkie
By yabokkie (6 months ago)

touit, otch, ... eggs

0 upvotes
SeeRoy
By SeeRoy (6 months ago)

Now and again, whatever you think about Krockwell, he speaketh the truth.

"Zeiss 55mm f/1.4 ZF2 für Nikon... Normal lenses for the truly crazy.
For $4,000 instead of one-tenth the price or less, you get a much heavier lens with no autofocussing. Wow! Chart shooters will love these giant lenses. Zeiss makes the lenses we use to read newspapers from space, but we don't need that much performance for creating art — but don't let me stop you!
I'll bet you there's no visible differnce between these and the Nikon 55mm f/2.8, which is an extraordinary lens, and autofocuses, for about $175 used..."

It takes all kinds: Lloyd Chambers is swooning with pleasure and breaking out his charts. Just the lens you've always needed for shooting that decaying mountain cabin.

1 upvote
Anastigmat
By Anastigmat (6 months ago)

Yes you can get a Nikon 55mm f/2.8 for a lot less, but can you use it to photograph a dimly lit indoor church wedding in available darkness, when flash photography is not allowed during the exchange of wedding vows? How much would a bride and groom pay for sharp photos taking at these moments. Whom would they hire if two photographers showed them their portfolios? The one that shows grainy or blurry pictures because it was taken with an f/2.8 lens due to high ISO noise and subject motion, or one that is tack sharp because it was taken with a sharp f/1.4 lens wide open? Practically any lens can be acceptably sharp at f/8, even a cheap consumer zoom costing less than 450. If you want a lens that is sharp at f/1.4, then you have to pay what it takes to build such a lens.

Comment edited 3 minutes after posting
3 upvotes
Scorpius1
By Scorpius1 (6 months ago)

@Anastigmat;The Nikon 50mm 1.2 manual focus lens will do what you mention for a hell of a lot less..

2 upvotes
attomole
By attomole (6 months ago)

Great post. What the world needs most is more ways to consume coffee and more 50mm, f1.4 ish lenses.

0 upvotes
Stacey_K
By Stacey_K (6 months ago)

Or the blurry shot from the 55 f1.4 lens wide open because they missed focus with the ultra narrow DOF trying to manual focus it? Zeiss needs put auto focus in these lenses unless they are made for landscape people using live live. You aren't going to reliably manual focus an ultra fast lens wide open with the focus screens used in modern camera bodies.

1 upvote
nelsonal
By nelsonal (6 months ago)

Stacey, does that mean this (and other manual focus) lenses or the focusing screen is the real problem?

0 upvotes
HowaboutRAW
By HowaboutRAW (6 months ago)

Scopius1:

What you and many others fail to appreciate: The higher quality optics of Zeiss make low light, high ISO, shooting with whatever Canikon body much better. The Canikon lenses cause trouble at high ISOs that a good Zeiss simply avoids.

Your point is only sort of valid in bright daylight and then the Zeiss will still produce greater colour subtly than anything from Canikon.

0 upvotes
Stacey_K
By Stacey_K (6 months ago)

It means the camera body/viewfinder and focus screen were designed with auto focus lenses in mind. Go use a MF lens on an old MF 35mm film body designed for manual focusing and you will see what I mean. Yet even they can't see the shallow DOF a super fast lens has. After f2.8 or so, you have to use focusing aides like a microprism/split level things to "see" the focus plane. From what I have read, changing the focus screen screws with the metering. So now we are back to using a hand held meter so we can use a focus screen that will make this lens useable? And it's nonsense to think that no AF system can work because this lens is so great. If that is the case, the human eye can't see well enough of the tiny image in the viewfinder to focus it good enough either. I can't even nail the focus with an old MF 85mm lens everytime, if this lens is too special to be able to use AF, my point was no one is good enough to actually focus this thing without using live view zoomed in.

0 upvotes
HowaboutRAW
By HowaboutRAW (6 months ago)

Stacey_K:

Manual focus just isn't particularly difficult.

If if split screens interfere with metering in DSLRs, there are easy compensations for this unlikely event.

0 upvotes
Alec
By Alec (6 months ago)

And by 'uncompromising professional' they mean a wealthy retiree. This is why buys those things. There's nothing wrong with that; on the other hand, any real working pro is value minded and comfortable with the notion of compromise to get the job done. I look at a lot of my colleagues in NYC and they rarely even shoot non-zooms, which get a workout and a beating - never mind a precious manual focus fixed focal.

This is a cool lend and I love the industrial design. I'd love to see f/1.2 and f/1.0 designs that are better than what Canon and Nikon had put out. Looking how far Rokinon and the like have come, both in quality and market penetration, it is conceivable they will start making attractive industrial designs and back them up with solid innovation, quality, service, marketing. Just see what Asys, Samsung, LG are doing to the incumbent companies in their fields. They're having them for lunch! Zeiss does not have long to rest on its laurels.

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
Anastigmat
By Anastigmat (6 months ago)

$4.000 may seem like a lot of money for a lens, but a good wedding photographer can earn that with one assignment.Besides, pros shooting sports and wildlife routinely pay more than that for a super telephoto.

Is this lens going to be good for the wedding photographer shooting in available light? You bet! The reason f/1.0 lenses are unsharp is because of aberrations. Zeiss has gone to great lengths to minimize that so this could be the sharpest lens of its kind at f/1.4. You can bet Nikon will come up with something similar soon.

Comment edited 5 minutes after posting
3 upvotes
Keith in Calhoun
By Keith in Calhoun (6 months ago)

A good wedding photographer will know that a 50mm f/1.4 will do the job just fine in the lighting conditions that you describe for $1000 less. The super telephoto is an apples-and-oranges comparison.

1 upvote
plevyadophy
By plevyadophy (6 months ago)

@Anastigmat

Those sports and wildlife photogs usually rent those super expensive tele lenses.

Today's wedding photography doesn't lend itself very well to manual focus only lenses.

0 upvotes
wlad
By wlad (6 months ago)

also, most wedding photographers (even the best ones) use a 24-70mm lens on one body, and a 70-200mm on another.
Nobody has the time to switch primes back and forth.

1 upvote
Jogger
By Jogger (6 months ago)

The wedding photogs I know use high quality portrait primes for the planned/posed shots of the BG.. the higher end ones use MF digital or film bodies just for this.. for everything else zooms are preferred.

0 upvotes
Alec
By Alec (6 months ago)

80% of the wedding shots that I've both seen as a guest and done myself back when I was shooting weddings, are taken with 24-70/2.8.

Modern wedding clients prefer journalism style shots for most photography. Yes you can shoot the bride's shoes yada yada with a Hassy and a 80MP back, but those shots are accounting for 0% of a wedding pro's competitive advantage. Everyone wants to see how good your people shots are not how sharp your still life and arranged shots are. Not to mention that arranged shots lift the restriction to shoot wide open.

This new Zeiss optic is not a working pro's lens, because other than retirees it caters to the same people who shoot medium format instead.

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
1 upvote
misha marinsky4
By misha marinsky4 (6 months ago)

For those who do not know: A touit is a species of parrot.

"Touit is a genus of Neotropical parrots in the Psittacidae family."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Touit

1 upvote
misha marinsky4
By misha marinsky4 (6 months ago)

I read diglloyd's review.

Here's my request: DPR has a double blind print test, Zeiss vs Sigma. 11x14, four apertures: 1.4, 5.6, 8, 16.

Would the Zeiss do better than 50/50, which is random?

Comments?

0 upvotes
ZhanMInG12
By ZhanMInG12 (6 months ago)

printing at 11x14 is meaning less. Do it at 60*40, then everyone sees the difference.

5 upvotes
Anastigmat
By Anastigmat (6 months ago)

The Sigma uses an aspherical element to reduce spherical aberration in a more or less conventional 50mm lens design, but Zeiss and others had already done that before. The new lens uses a radically different approach in addition to an aspherical element. It uses additional elements, including multiple low dispersion elements. My prediction is that the Zeiss will win hands down in double blind tests.

Comment edited 4 minutes after posting
2 upvotes
SeeRoy
By SeeRoy (6 months ago)

It's certainly not meaningless if that's the size you're printing. 60X40 (inches?)??? And how many people do you imagine print 5ft wide images?

1 upvote
falconeyes
By falconeyes (6 months ago)

I*ve test shot the Zeiss lens at Photokina. In the corners at F/1.4, the difference is shockingly large. The problem actually is to focus at F/1.4 exactly enough to deploy all this sharpness.

I look at this lens as a tool turning a D800E into an MF camera equivalent. OTOH, MF cameras are AF typically ...

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 3 minutes after posting
6 upvotes
plevyadophy
By plevyadophy (6 months ago)

"I look at this lens as a tool turning a D800E into an MF camera equivalent."

Well said; insightful.

That really is the purpose of this lens.

Comment edited 46 seconds after posting
1 upvote
Scorpius1
By Scorpius1 (6 months ago)

@plevyadophy... I have a D800E and its great but medium format has leaf shutters and huge bright viewfinders... not to mention autofocus..

1 upvote
Entropius
By Entropius (6 months ago)

Are there really that many situations where the corners are in focus at f/1.4 on fullframe in a shot that *has* to be at f/1.4? I wouldn't know if my 50/1.8 is soft in the corners wide open.

The place where I think a lot of fast normals have room to improve is transverse chromatic aberration.

0 upvotes
yabokkie
By yabokkie (6 months ago)

f-numbers 1.4, 2.0, 2.8, are good enough. if we can have more I'd like to have them within this range, too.

if we print better print at B0 (about the size of DPReview's test target). it's also the size of a living room TV screen.

I know some Pentax and a bit Mamiya. 120 format has a long way to go to catch up with 135 format so we gave up (except low ISO film and high resolution sensor).

0 upvotes
plevyadophy
By plevyadophy (6 months ago)

@ Scorpius1

Yes, you are quite correct. But what I meant was, in terms of image quality, this lens' purpose is to get the likes of the D800 up to the level of MF (and really surpass it in many respects (judging by the detailed review posted by Lloyd Chambers)). And the dirty little secret is that a great many MF lenses aren't that good.

Many of Hassy's lenses MUST use the software trickery of the Hasselblad Phocus software to produce results as good as this new Zeiss does without software help.

0 upvotes
ryanshoots
By ryanshoots (6 months ago)

In addition the D800 sensor is tiny compared to medium format. There is no amount of resolution that is going to overcome the size difference when it comes to tonality at base ISO.

This is a lens the pixel peepers will love. They can now create even sharper landscapes than their previous sharp enough landscapes. Few people can justify the purchase via increased revenue directly tied to the capabilities of this lens. 9 out of 10 simply want it rather than need it.

1 upvote
JackM
By JackM (6 months ago)

Next.

2 upvotes
Paul Guba
By Paul Guba (6 months ago)

They may or may not sell many of these. From a marketing point its good because they can associate themselves with an achieved greatness. Long term might be more for the 4K video and beyond folks as I am sure they will build a mount for it. They are more likely to pony up 6k for a lens.

0 upvotes
ThomasSwitzerland
By ThomasSwitzerland (6 months ago)

The better is the enemy of the good.

1 upvote
Jonathan F/2
By Jonathan F/2 (6 months ago)

Premium lens for rich doctors and dentists! Saying that, Nikon needs to get on the ball and either replace or release a premium 50mm. The 50mm 1.4 G is quite literally junk.

1 upvote
marike6
By marike6 (6 months ago)

The Nikon 50 f/1.4 G is actually one of the better 50s on the market as is the 50 f/1.8G. They aren't metal but their barrels are quite solid, and both are excellent optically.

But if you think the Nikkor 50mm is junk, then you must consider the Zeiss ZF 50 f/1.4 to be complete rubbish as both Nikkors outperform the Zeiss ZF 50 f/1.4 which gets only 2 1/2 stars on the Photozone test.

Metal barrel or not, the Zeiss 50 is just not a lens I would ever spend double the price of the Nikkor for. And if I shot Canon, I would never purchase the EF 50 f/1.2L as it's too narrow a FOV and too expensive. $200-400 is more than to get a great performing normal lens. But if you don't like the Nikon 50 f/1.4G, try the Sigma 50 f/1.4. It's built like a tank and very good optically.

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
3 upvotes
plevyadophy
By plevyadophy (6 months ago)

@marike6

The Canon f1.2 also suffers terribly from focus shift. It's not worth bothering with unless you either (1) use AF Fine Tune to tune the lens at a particular aperture and you shoot at that aperture all the time or (2) you use live view manual focus (at which point the lens becomes excellent).

The Sigma, if you get a good copy, is the best of all the 50 1.4 AF lenses.

0 upvotes
white shadow
By white shadow (6 months ago)

The Zeiss ZF 50mm f/1.4 is not a good example as it is the cheapest of the Zeiss lenses.

This new lens will certainly supercede the 50 f/1.4. Just try the Zeiss 50mm f2.0 Macro and you will see a world of a difference.

0 upvotes
sarit
By sarit (6 months ago)

So, are they trying to tell us that current zeiss lenses which already cost over $1000 each are compromised ?

I guess they are simply aiming for the Leica market as there's not much money to make from normal to short tele range in $1000 price point.

0 upvotes
Roland Karlsson
By Roland Karlsson (6 months ago)

This is a DSLR lens. Not fit for Leica.

0 upvotes
CFynn
By CFynn (6 months ago)

They are aiming this at people who will buy this type of lens and a high megapixel DSLR - instead of a medium format digital camera and lenses which together would be far more expensive.

The cheapest lens you can get for the Leica S2 system is Summarit-S 70mm f/2.5 - $5K

Would be interesting to compare that lens on an S2 to this on a D800E

Once Sony upscale their 24mp APS-C sensor to full frame, we will be seeing 56mp DSLRs at around the same price as a D800. An S2 body costs $22K is only 37mp and the sensor is really not that much bigger than "full frame"

Comment edited 4 times, last edit 15 minutes after posting
4 upvotes
plevyadophy
By plevyadophy (6 months ago)

I am actually an admirer of the Leica S (not S2 which I regard as a pile of junk; a prototype that should never have left the factory for retail sale).

As soon as the Nikon D800 was released I questioned the viability/need for the Leica S camera. The only thing that keeps/kept the Leica S system ahead of the Nikon D800 was/is the quality of the Leica lenses (see Ming Thein's comparison review).

Now, with this lens attached to the Nikon D800 I seriously doubt that there will be much difference between it and the Leica camera, and I have a sneaking suspicion that the Nikon cam kit will be better for image quality.

To compete I think Leica will have to move to a CMOS sensor with at least 50Mpix and provide live view; there will then be some clear blue water between the S System and anything Nikon has to offer (Leica will then have 1/1000 x-sync, superb AUTO focus lenses, greater pixel count etc).

2 upvotes
Scorpius1
By Scorpius1 (6 months ago)

The Summarit has two big advantages,(A)A.F and (B) leaf shutters,and the Color from the Leica S is imho better than from the D800E

1 upvote
Ron A 19
By Ron A 19 (6 months ago)

This lens is clearly aimed at the Leica S 70mm. Except it's also way faster and both should have the same perspective wide open. Any studio that chooses the S will not really care about this announcement, but the average professional or amateur will definitely be using this lens for studio work. Also, I think the MF decision is a smart one - less to break in the lens over time.

2 upvotes
Ferling
By Ferling (6 months ago)

Using distagon vs. planar: "Our most important goal in developing this lens was consistent imaging performance across the entire image field, including at the edges."

This would make sense in a controlled studio environment and with using full frame. One of the biggest reasons I used a crop sensor for product was to keep the edges of the shot within the sharpest part of the lens, (I even have a few vintage pieces that hold up well at F8, iso 100 under quality studio lighting). When shooting something like medical kits and product that extends to an edge, this matters.

A few years ago I hired a second shooter to help out in shooting some 6000 medical hand tools. He only uses Zeiss manuals on his Canons (I use L glass because I also shoot action and events). Anyway, his quality was a match.

Unfortunately, I find the 55mm on a full frame a little short for most product work. I would be more interested in a 100 on crop, or a 135 on full frame.

0 upvotes
CFynn
By CFynn (6 months ago)

The Zeiss 135mm f/2 Apo Sonnar is darn good - and costs much less than this lens.

4 upvotes
yabokkie
By yabokkie (6 months ago)

we are expecting new 50/1.4 from Canon and 50/1.2 from Nikon. I hope this lens can set high standard for new Canon and Nikon lenses, and for Sigma to suppass.

1 upvote
ThomasSwitzerland
By ThomasSwitzerland (6 months ago)

Got some mixed feelings. Having some Zeiss lenses in use by both digital and analog cameras. Zeiss seem to have their own image/body characteristics like Leica lenses. But, here we are speaking about the small increases in final quality only a pro lab might utilize on dense sensor technologies, almost covering MF format expectations by then.

So, it is not for me, making pictures just for fun. But,

Bravo, Zeiss,

for getting a step further and stemming against the “plastic” lenses’ boom. They take innovative risks we need in our uniform world.

13 upvotes
HowaboutRAW
By HowaboutRAW (6 months ago)

The current Zeiss MF 50mm 1.4 is not particularly sharp. So there's a reason for this lens.

Clearly it costs a lot more though.

7 upvotes
ThomasSwitzerland
By ThomasSwitzerland (6 months ago)

Fully agree to HowaboutRaw. The color reproduction by Zeiss is unique. I just cannot spend such a high amount of money for this lens – for some more color and sharpness I only can read in the press about, hmm. Photographic life has so many choices.

5 upvotes
HowaboutRAW
By HowaboutRAW (6 months ago)

Lang:

I'm perfectly happy to look at Toutit testing other than DXO, but also want to see raws. As best I can tell: LensTip did not post raws for me to download, so I'm not going to take their conclusions really seriously.

Why bring up a made up Zeiss 50mm F0.7, Leica makes a 50mm F1.4?

The point about the old Zeiss 50mm F1.4 was that it already has better colour than anything from Canikon or Sigma--though it's not as sharp as the best lenses from those companies.

0 upvotes
Cameron R Hood
By Cameron R Hood (6 months ago)

They will sell about a dozen of these...maybe. Completely ridiculous, pretentious, and delusional.

1 upvote
HowaboutRAW
By HowaboutRAW (6 months ago)

Wrong; Zeiss will sell many of years, and many people will own them a longer that some DSLR body or Canikon lens.

13 upvotes
Stu 5
By Stu 5 (6 months ago)

They will sell more than that just to photographic hire companies.

4 upvotes
Scorpius1
By Scorpius1 (6 months ago)

They'll sell hundreds and they will sell for years to come,I wouldn't buy it but its a great lens..

2 upvotes
Digitall
By Digitall (6 months ago)

no compromise eh? The only compromise is to pay the lens.
55mm 1.4 by €2,940 or US$3,999 (excl. VAT), now I miss the good old days of analog, when a 1.4 lens was quite accessible...

3 upvotes
vFunct
By vFunct (6 months ago)

I guess they compromised on the auto-focus...

27 upvotes
Jogger
By Jogger (6 months ago)

No compromise refers to optical performance.

8 upvotes
Suntan
By Suntan (6 months ago)

Seems they compromised on the manual focus too. Smooth surface focus ring for pretty looks... SMH.

-Suntan

2 upvotes
Antony John
By Antony John (6 months ago)

Actually the autofocus of cameras will not be up to the standards set by this lens.
When the cameras do catch up this lens will still be functional whilst the current AF lens will long have fallen apart.

4 upvotes
Scorpius1
By Scorpius1 (6 months ago)

LoL

1 upvote
CFynn
By CFynn (6 months ago)

Quite a beast. This thing is the same weight (970g) as the Nikon AF-S 14-24mm f/2.8G ED - 9 mm longer but less diameter.

I've read some speculation that this lens is actually designed to cover larger than FX image and the real aperture is faster than 1.4. That way you are only using the centre of the image circle (eliminating bad corners and most vignetting) - and the lens is already stopped down a little at the fastest available aperture - to ensure good "wide open" performance. I don't know if these things are true - but they might be a factor in the physical size of the lens.

1 upvote
plevyadophy
By plevyadophy (6 months ago)

Review of this lens
===========

For those who wish to read a review of this super lens, go here: http://diglloyd.com/articles/ZeissZ/ZeissZ-Otus-55f1_4.html

It seems that at last, there is a lens that can match the super high pixel count densities of the latest generation of of DSLRs; and reading the review, it seems that with this lens mated to the Nikon D800 there is even less need for entry level medium format (and begs the question "what purpose does the Leica S serve?"). I guess now, medium format doesn't make much sense unless you start from the 50Mpix systems.

1 upvote
Scorpius1
By Scorpius1 (6 months ago)

Leica S lenses are as good or better than this and have Autofocus and leaf shutters with a huge bright viewfinder... so in my opinion the question is why spend this much on a 35mm format manual focus 55mm lens .. and the Leica S sensor with D800 size pixels is over 70MP and with D7100 pixels is over 100MP.. big sensor is always better

0 upvotes
HowaboutRAW
By HowaboutRAW (6 months ago)

Scorpius1:

"Full frame" DSLR bodies now use CMOS sensors and those sensors are much better at high ISO shooting than basic CCD sensors. And right now the Leica S2 uses a CCD sensor, which can't really be used above ISO 640.

So that ISO thing is a big reason for excellent glass on a 35mm DSLR body.

0 upvotes
plevyadophy
By plevyadophy (6 months ago)

@Scorpius1

Yes in the long run if .................. Leica, with it's dinasour mindset, bothers to modernise fast enough then the larger sensor of the S series cams will win out.

However, and I admit to not making that very clear, at present it makes very little sense for purely technical and/or image quality reasons to opt for the Leica S system.

Leica needs to put clear blue water between it's S System and anything Canon/Nikon have to offer by updating the S cam to 50Mpix, with a CMOS sensor and live view.

Also, the point you raised about the cost of this lens is good because it ties in with the strong rumours we are hearing about Canon and Nikon looking at making their own MF cams (or in Canon's case buying one of the existing MF cam companies), because they jolly well have to!!! Canikon DSLRs can't go on upping the pixel count because you end up spending big bucks on the lenses to utilize those juicy pixels, at which point, for the money, you may as well buy MF.

0 upvotes
Scorpius1
By Scorpius1 (6 months ago)

@plevyadophy,I agree Leica needs to keep up with the game,but they have been working hard to develop glass for the S system and have just released the new 45mm,I would bet my Bottom dollar that cmosis will make the cmos sensor for the next S,they already manufacture a 70mp F.F sensor
(http://www.cmosis.com/products/standard_products/chr70m ).. I have a lot of experience with the S system and also shoot Nikon,I really like my D800E but the S system has amazing glass and the CCD sensor produces beautiful colour,the ability to flash sync at 1/1000 sec is also extremely useful for controlling ambient light,and the lenses are fast by medium format standards,and the glass is superb wide open ...

0 upvotes
Scorpius1
By Scorpius1 (6 months ago)

@ HowaboutRAW.. I never even go above base ISO on medium format ,but when you have already shelled out big bucks for a Medium format kit the extra money for a D800 or something simliar for low light/high ISO seems reasonable,All the Medium format shooters I know have 35 mmDSLR's,I think that we will see CMOS based medium format camera's very soon,but at the moment I still think the CCD sensor's at base ISO produce better colour ..

0 upvotes
HowaboutRAW
By HowaboutRAW (6 months ago)

Scorupius1:

Didn't ask about the colour quality of base ISO on a CCD. I believe your claim, but in the case of the Leica S2 system, people do take that out of the studio and use it.

And I'll repeat this point from above because you've missed:

"So that ISO thing is a big reason for excellent glass on a 35mm DSLR body."

And that means there's a big reason for this new Zeiss lens on a 35mm system.

Comment edited 1 minute after posting
0 upvotes
plevyadophy
By plevyadophy (6 months ago)

@Scorpius1
@HowaboutRAW

Scorpius, I think you kinda read my mind when you mentioned CMOSIS because that was in the back of my mind when I said that the S system needs to have CMOS; I think it definitely will. And in any event, there is an interview on The Luminous Landscape with a Phase One exec and he pretty much says that yes, all MF cams will go CMOS eventually.

As for HowaboutRAW's claim that the Leica S system is taken out and about: he is correct, 100% And therein is the problem with the S System. Leica can't make up their mind what the hell it is. Look at the publicity literature or when their executives are interviewed. When peeps say for example, and I am one of them, that the LCD of the S2 is a pile of sh!t for the money, the Leica execs get defensive and say "oh well it's no worse than OTHER medium format cams" and then when it suits them they keep pointing out that it's highly portable and not much bigger than a Canon 1D. Contd below ....

0 upvotes
plevyadophy
By plevyadophy (6 months ago)

The damn camera is, in medium format terms, akin to the Canon 1D i.e. a crop sensor, so not full frame at all. Additionally, it looks like and handles like a 35mm DSLR.

So Leica should cut the bull, and do what Panasonic do with their GH series cams, that is, accept it's a hybrid and glory in the fact and be more precise and open about it's place in the market.

And given that Leica themselves have put up 35mm cams as a benchmark it is only right that some folks compare the Leica S System's high ISO ability with 35mm.

Syncing flash at 1/1000 is great but, like I said before, Leica need to create some clear blue water between the S System and 35mm in areas that will be immediately compared and match those areas where as a hybrid camera it should match; so that means beating 35mm on pixel count, as that is where one would expect medium format to win, and matching 35 in terms of ISO performance (at least to 3200) and live view (not the Mickey Mouse variety of other MF cams)

0 upvotes
JimWongyyz
By JimWongyyz (6 months ago)

Canon,Leica, Rokinon, Olypmus, Nikon, Voigtlander all use different color for metric and imperial distance scale.

Is Zeiss cutting corner by using one color on both metric and imperial distance scale ?

0 upvotes
M Jesper
By M Jesper (6 months ago)

Don't know if anyone posted it already but here is the official video (also shows some samples): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CNj7B4mH4aM

0 upvotes
AshMills
By AshMills (6 months ago)

Id like to see results comparing a kit lens at 55mm with IS at 1/15s at F8 with this lens handheld at 1/15sec at F8. Then lets see who is compromising.

1 upvote
JimWongyyz
By JimWongyyz (6 months ago)

The press release says "The new ZEISS lens is especially suited for advertising, fashion and studio photography". Most likely it will be used with a tripod, and you have plenty of time for manual focus.

Intended purpose of this lens is different from kit lens.

6 upvotes
AshMills
By AshMills (6 months ago)

My point was more one of practical application- I have no doubt under strict control the zeiss will blow the kit lens away.

1 upvote
ZhanMInG12
By ZhanMInG12 (6 months ago)

IS is useless in practice and detrimental to IQ for a 50mm prime. Super-teles need it, not lenses made for the studio in the first place

1 upvote
Joseph
By Joseph (6 months ago)

If you think you can get excellent results hand-holding a kit lens "at 1/15s at F8" w/ IS/VR/OS/IBIS/etc. you are the one who is compromising. Not to mention this Zeiss is not meant to be used this way.

2 upvotes
Infared
By Infared (6 months ago)

Otus? Whoooooooooooooooooooooooooooo?

2 upvotes
MiLei
By MiLei (6 months ago)

4000$ for a manual focus lens?

It can't be worth it. Atleast photos taken with it can't be this good.

0 upvotes
huyzer
By huyzer (6 months ago)

I would like to see samples (with no software defringing) in these two situations:

1) Backlight objects that are dark, against a bright sky, to see if there's purple/blue fringing.
2) Bright shimmering ripples gleaming with the Sun's light in front of the camera (like the backlit scenario), to also test the above.

1 upvote
AshMills
By AshMills (6 months ago)

Id like to see results comparing a kit lens at 55mm with IS at 1/15s at F8 with this lens handheld at 1/15sec at F8. Then lets see who is compromising.

1 upvote
hiepphotog
By hiepphotog (6 months ago)

Well, Lloyd Chambers tested both. It's pretty much better than the Leica 50 Cron APO.

1 upvote
Scorpius1
By Scorpius1 (6 months ago)

@Hiepphotog: Yeah maybe just a little better at handling flare but it's 3x the weight of the Cron APO... too heavy to carry around I think

0 upvotes
wepwawet
By wepwawet (6 months ago)

From the blog:
">Many photographers are used to taking pictures with autofocus these days. Why does the new lens only have manual focusing?
We want the user to have the freedom to employ the focusing position as an artistic means, since we are dealing here with one of the most important tools that a photographer has at his disposal."

And this is prevented by autofocus, how... ?

6 upvotes
Mescalamba
By Mescalamba (6 months ago)

It isnt I think. Tho with AF it would have more build tolerances and it would be considerably bigger. Thats one of reasons. Another is that Zeiss isnt allowed to reverse engineer AF for Nikon or Canon.

Sure they could do it like Sigma, but you probably know that Sigma lens arent famous for AF accuracy (which is cause its reverse engineered AF).

But, as I do have and like my manual focus lens (coincidence its 50/1.4 Zeiss) I must say it does have certain advantage over AF. Unfortunately, apart from Sony A99, its not much fun to focus by hand, cause dSLRs simply arent made for it (you can modify dSLR to be bit more friendly, but its never level of lets say Leica R9).

2 upvotes
qwertyasdf
By qwertyasdf (6 months ago)

Because all AF/MF switches have broken off my lens

0 upvotes
photogeek
By photogeek (6 months ago)

It's not so much that it's "prevented", but after shooting with a Leica for a bit, I have to say there's a grain of truth in that. MF _forces_ you to think about where your focus point is. You quite literally won't be able to take a sharp picture otherwise. AF lets you just shoot, which for many people removes a significant chunk of the thought process. Now you could say that you could switch AF lens to MF, but you really can't, because of its shitty distance scale, and viewfinders not typically optimized for MF. It's not for everyone, and not for every situation. I would hate to shoot anything quick moving with an MF lens.

0 upvotes
JimWongyyz
By JimWongyyz (6 months ago)

This is one ugly lens. Do you guys agree ?

12 upvotes
tarakanchik
By tarakanchik (6 months ago)

I personally think it has a sleek minimalist design but it's hard to argue taste.

4 upvotes
paulski66
By paulski66 (6 months ago)

My first thoughts exactly...

2 upvotes
Mescalamba
By Mescalamba (6 months ago)

I wrote that on their blog when they announced. Its ugly as hell.

2 upvotes
pfzt
By pfzt (6 months ago)

actually it's not that hard to argue taste, this lens looks superb, especially with the hood, period. i have different problems with this lens and they all have been already mentioned ;)

0 upvotes
Infared
By Infared (6 months ago)

It is $4000-worth of cool-ass German engineering and design.
It's beautiful.

4 upvotes
Mark Alan Thomas
By Mark Alan Thomas (6 months ago)

Keep telling yourself that, because then you can rule it out on aesthetic grounds and never have to admit that it’s out of your price range.

0 upvotes
Scorpius1
By Scorpius1 (6 months ago)

It looks very professional.

0 upvotes
Battersea
By Battersea (6 months ago)

I like it, looks sleek. The looks of a camrea matter to me some, not a lot, the looks of a lens? Not so much.

0 upvotes
Joseph S Wisniewski
By Joseph S Wisniewski (6 months ago)

You would think that a company with Zeiss's history would actually have a sense of history.

Back in the early days of 35mm SLRs, all the camera makers tried their hands at 55-58mm f1.4 lenses. It's a focal length that lends itself to better optical design at f1.4 than a "true" 43mm normal. Photographers around the world rejected them, and pushed for a less "flat" normal, something closer to 43mm.

The end result was a "meet you half way" compromise, the 50mm that ruled for decades.

I think Zeiss is about to relearn history, as compromising the focal length to get "uncompromised" optical quality isn't going to work any better now than it did 50 years ago.

4 upvotes
JimWongyyz
By JimWongyyz (6 months ago)

Are you try to say Zeiss should make this lens 50 mm instead of 55 mm ?

0 upvotes
Mescalamba
By Mescalamba (6 months ago)

Actually if it was 58mm it would be about perfect. 50mm designs are usually (always?) shortened 58mm designs.

0 upvotes
Joesiv
By Joesiv (6 months ago)

I think the market is different these days. Not only being bigger, but there is a market out there for non-compromise optics at big bucks. It's a niche market, but it offers some great bragging rights, and is perfect for a company like zeiss.

It's not going to burn up the sales charts, but at that price, I don't think it's suppose to. If the tests are amazing, then it's done it's job.

4 upvotes
joejack951
By joejack951 (6 months ago)

What to buy: Nikon 58mm f/1.2 Noct or this new Zeiss? I wonder how many threads we'll see about this now that there are two extraordinary lenses selling for about the same price.

0 upvotes
Mescalamba
By Mescalamba (6 months ago)

Noct. will hold value much better and its rather nice lens, with pretty unique draw.

Sure this new Zeiss has image quality of new Leica M 50/2 AA, but it sorta lacks character.. To much perfection you could say.

Tho, best normal 58/1.2 is without doubt Minolta. :)

0 upvotes
joejack951
By joejack951 (6 months ago)

No comment on the Minolta lens, but otherwise I'd have to agree. There's a new-in-box Noct on Ebay right now for $7000!

0 upvotes
hiepphotog
By hiepphotog (6 months ago)

Well, if we're talking about holding value, we might as well look at the Contax Jahre 55/1.2 or the Hexanon 60/1.2 (can't be mounted on Nikon). If I have to buy one right now, I would go with the new Zeiss. Why do you need compromised performance at this price unless you're after the historical value? The Noct's only merit is the good coma control for astrophotography. It neither has the sharpness nor bokeh advantage over many other fast fifties.

2 upvotes
mpgxsvcd
By mpgxsvcd (6 months ago)

I think it is funny how most Pro’s scoff at m4/3s for its not fast enough AF and its overpriced lenses. I will put the 25mm F1.4 Leica lens on the GH3 up against this any day. That combo is about $1400 now. With the extra money left over I could probably get the 35-100mm F2.8, 42.5mm F1.2, and the 12mm F2.0.

This lens is simply for people who want to have something that no one else wants to buy.

2 upvotes
Jogger
By Jogger (6 months ago)

Its over priced because its a "Leica" designed and made by Panasonic.. the 5 letters add $500 to the lens. And, FYI, its the equiv. of a 50/2.8.. so, nothing special.

6 upvotes
Mike99999
By Mike99999 (6 months ago)

@Jogger. Nothing wrong with a damned good and tack-sharp 50mm f/2.8 equivalent lens such as the Panasonic Leica. $500 is not a bad deal if the optics are excellent. I'd rather pay $500 for a great lens like this, than $200 for a mediocre lenses like the Nikon 35mm f/1.8 or Sigma 30mm f/1.4.

@mpgxsvcd. Those comparisons make no sense. Apples and oranges.

1 upvote
Mescalamba
By Mescalamba (6 months ago)

I would prefer Voigtlaender 25/0.95. By those 1.4 is which is Leica starting point its incredibly sharp. And gets only better..

Thanks to GH3/GX7 manual focus aids, which are best there is, its rather easy to focus by hand. Especially compared to regular dSLR where its pain in the rear part..

1 upvote
plevyadophy
By plevyadophy (6 months ago)

@Jogger

It's only equiv to 50mm f2.8 if you are talking about depth of field, otherwise it is still an f1.4 lens.

And whilst yes the mFT Leica lenses are built buy Panny, there is a lot more involvement from Leica than you suggest.

0 upvotes
Revenant
By Revenant (6 months ago)

@plevyadophy

I think there is a lot less involvement from Leica than you suggest. On the global Panasonic Lumix site, there's a footnote informing us that "the LEICA DG lenses and LEICA D lenses are manufactured using measurement instruments and quality assurance systems that have been certified by Leica Camera AG based on the company's quality standards."

In other words, the lenses could be designed and manufactured by anyone. As long as they're made using Leica-certified instruments and QA systems, then they may bear the Leica name.

1 upvote
plevyadophy
By plevyadophy (6 months ago)

@Revenant

If you have been following the development of mFT from "day dot" then you would also recall the whining from Panny that Leica were too fussy about quality. They also went as far as having a wee bit of a temper tantrum by announcing that the 45mm Leica DG Macro would be the last (and only) Leica branded lens. It was the clamour from users that made them give in and make the 25mm f1.4, and I reckon now that they have seen that folks want and are willing to pay for premium lenses they are now happy to make the recently announced 42.5mm f1.2 Leica DG lens.

I got the distinct impression that their "premium" X range of lenses (which I don't think are good enough for the premium tag) came about as a direct result of them not wanting to stick to the stringent quality control demanded by Leica (in essence, Leica weren't happy with the idea of sloppy lens design that required software fixes for something as basic as distortion and with their name on it)

0 upvotes
white shadow
By white shadow (6 months ago)

@ pleveadophy

You are right. The Lumix "premium X" range of lens is good but not excellent. For example, the 12-35mm f2.8 is sharp in the centre but is soft in the edges. Unlike a real Leica lens, it is made of plastic.

An excellent lens is one which is optically excellent by itself without the reliance on software.

0 upvotes
mpgxsvcd
By mpgxsvcd (6 months ago)

Hasselbad thinks this is a good deal. They might want to re-badge one with an all wood finish.

7 upvotes
Mescalamba
By Mescalamba (6 months ago)

Most likely not, since Blad and Zeiss parted ways long time ago and they really dont want to go back.

2 upvotes
CFynn
By CFynn (6 months ago)

Except Hasselblad are selling Zeiss Touit lenses with the Lunar - and there is a "Zeiss" lens on the Stellar. :-)

Comment edited 33 seconds after posting
2 upvotes
Scorpius1
By Scorpius1 (6 months ago)

Hasselblad offer a superb 50mm HC lens with Autofocus and leaf shutters which is only 650bucks more than this at B&H photo.. unless I really needed 1.4 I would buy the hasselblad lens every time over this..

0 upvotes
mpetersson
By mpetersson (6 months ago)

I actually thought that this lens would be AF. It's styled similarly to the Touit, and I thought that would indicate a break from the regular ZF (or whatever they are called) MF-lenses. I wouldn't buy an MF-lens at that price in 2013 even if I had the money. I'm sure it will be a great performer, but for flexibility I would want AF. There are probably thousands of pro's out there who are really fast with MF, but for me it's OK in the older legacy glass that I use, but not for a brand new lens at that huge cost.

3 upvotes
Plastek
By Plastek (6 months ago)

It's styled similarly to Zeiss cinema lenses. They're re-designing whole line-up to fit one theme.

2 upvotes
Zigadiboom
By Zigadiboom (6 months ago)

Zeiss Otus = 'Uncompromising optical and build quality' at an 'uncompromising price' with 'compromised styling'.

Latest Sigma offerings = 'Uncompromising optical and build quality' at a 'compromised price' with 'uncompromised styling'.

Comment edited 5 minutes after posting
18 upvotes
Antony John
By Antony John (6 months ago)

and might actually work - if you can get a good copy - for almost one whole year?

3 upvotes
wlad
By wlad (6 months ago)

...and when the Sigma AF motor breaks down, you'll end up with a "Zeiss" version of the lens :D

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
16 upvotes
audijam
By audijam (6 months ago)

i'd rather buy a $450 once-was-"AF" MF Sigma than a $4000 "MF Zeiss.

1 upvote
Mescalamba
By Mescalamba (6 months ago)

Actually styling of latest Sigma lens is very appealing to me. I mean, they really look like "pro" lens. And some of them actually beat competition in optical performance aswell.

2 upvotes
CFynn
By CFynn (6 months ago)

With the weight of this thing you might injure your wrist - which could make make manual focus difficult.

1 upvote
luxor2
By luxor2 (6 months ago)

Not a great choice for solo portraiture, will need a Softar to dial back resolution to
appropriate level as in the Hasseblad Zeiss lens era.

0 upvotes
cgarrard
By cgarrard (6 months ago)

A lens for well paid professional photographers with money to spare.

Personally the new Touit and Otus designs really baffle me- the names especially. I don't care what they mean, just the impression they give.

The styling too, not my cup of tea at all. This lens in particular if you stand it up, looks like a new age coffee mug. The finish looks frail (easily scratched), and the rubber focus ring looks quite cheap and is quite possibly a scratch and dirt magnet (much prefer a good textured rubber finish myself).

A minimum f/16 setting too seems a bit underwhelming. For full frame I think a minimum f/stop should at least be f/32 or greater.

These new designs give me the impression that they are trying to be different for difference sake. Almost give me the impression of being a bit desperate in that regard.

Carl

Comment edited 3 minutes after posting
2 upvotes
Plastek
By Plastek (6 months ago)

Yep. Totally agreed. I laughed when heard "Touit" for the first time. I laughed again when I heard it's suppose to sound like "do it" - kinda like "I'm a n00b" in Zeiss language.
Otus on the other hand reminds me of Octopus - and in did this lens looks a little bit like octopus sucker.
I have no slightest idea why they want to change stuff so much. An "old" Carl Zeiss lenses got timeless, beautiful design. They looked equally amazing at the date of release as they do now. This "thing" though looks like an example of disappointing, boring industrial design.

Thank god lens design is nowhere near top of the list of "desired features" in lens, cause otherwise this lens would bomb badly.

0 upvotes
Mescalamba
By Mescalamba (6 months ago)

f/16 is same for a lot of 50mm lens..

Naming convetions are surely questionable. I think it sounds strange. What I really cant get over is that unlike ZF/ZE lines which is pretty much Contarex styling (and very very nice in real life), this is styled like some third-party Chinese manufacturer (tho is third-part Japanese manufacturer, true that :D).

But yea, its ugly and with stupid name. So its good that its incredibly good 55mm lens. :) But, I wont buy it.. I prefer old C/Y colors and draw, sorry..

0 upvotes
plevyadophy
By plevyadophy (6 months ago)

@cgarrad

f22 and f32 will be pretty pointless I think (someone may correct me if I am wrong) for future high pixel count (40Mp+) DSLRs if the purpose of this lens is extremely highly quality because at such high pixel counts diffraction will kill the image quality long before f22 or f32.

So I think Zeiss were correct to leave the lens at f16.

0 upvotes
Jogger
By Jogger (6 months ago)

Most people are missing the long-term picture. Today's FF optics are not even resolving the 36mp of the Nikon D800... in 10 years, we will have 80mp FF DSLRs; there will definitely a need for these types of lens in the long run.

With Otus, Zeiss is setting themselves up to be the premium choice once 36+ mp become the norm (sooner, than later).

4 upvotes
Joseph S Wisniewski
By Joseph S Wisniewski (6 months ago)

Some of today's optics. There are a lot of lenses, today, that resolve at 100mp levels, without the insane prices, compromised focal lengths, hideous styling, or silly names.

2 upvotes
Mescalamba
By Mescalamba (6 months ago)

Even some yesterday optics could do that.. just Zeiss wants us to believe them. Marketing. :D

0 upvotes
HowaboutRAW
By HowaboutRAW (6 months ago)

Joseph:

"resolve" yes, but match the colour subtlety of Zeiss or Leica, no.

1 upvote
rrccad
By rrccad (6 months ago)

still not really required, since the format (35mm) and DOF constraints with your final output will limit what effective Mp's you get out of your image anyways. more Mp's will simply make your images look better, you won't get 80Mp's out of a 80Mps sensor, and nor would most humans struggle under that. which is why in real life you rarely see much difference between a 22mp 5d and a 36mp d800.

if this was a 21mm re-do of the infamous distagon - then it would be worth needing a box of kleenex for - but a 55/1.4 lens?

also if you are that concerned about resolving down to a 80Mp sensor - manual focus and the plane of focus at 1.4 becomes mere fractions of a inch - not that suitable to manual focus. Manual focus worked well when the DOF and circle of confusion was a more relaxed measure to what looked in focus on a 8x12 final print. certainly not at the per pixel level of a high demanding sensor and digital workflow

Comment edited 6 minutes after posting
1 upvote
Iskender
By Iskender (6 months ago)

'Otus' = not very formal Finnish for 'creature'.

It's not weird enough to count as a branding failure per se. However, I suspect potential Finnish buyers are likely to take it a tiny bit less seriously. Think: Zeiss Creature 55/1.4. =)

2 upvotes
wlad
By wlad (6 months ago)

I just learned a second word in Finnish. The first one was perkele.

0 upvotes
TheDman
By TheDman (6 months ago)

Third for me, after kuva (of course) and kiitos.

0 upvotes
Iskender
By Iskender (6 months ago)

You should add 'sauna' to your lists, assuming you know what that is. =)

0 upvotes
JimWongyyz
By JimWongyyz (6 months ago)

This is my suggestion to Zeiss:

1. To market a lens at this price, you need to put lens builder's name somewhere on the lens, similar to what Swiss watch maker and Aston Martin car engine builder do. That will make the lens more collectable.

2. The finish of the lens does not look expensive. Any minor scratch on the barrel would be very visible, that would diminish it's re-sale value. If I buy this lens, I would be very worry about of scratching the barrel.

3. You need a more distinct name, a name associate with luxury, exclusiveness. Who cares if Otus is an owl, it doesn't sound expensive to me.

4. I can accept $4K price, I believe it would have a very good re-sale value compare to my Armani suite and Gucci shoes. In your marketing material, you should mention something like after 5 years of use, most Zeiss lens retain x% of their original value and Otus should have even better re-sale value.

3 upvotes
Jogger
By Jogger (6 months ago)

Im not sure if Zeiss is even equated with luxury.. its more about high performing optics.. much more so than Leica, which is 95% about the perception of luxury.

In terms of resale value, in the market that this is targeting, the owner will make up the cost in 2-3 jobs.

1 upvote
HowaboutRAW
By HowaboutRAW (6 months ago)

Jogger--

Clearly you've never used a Leica M lens.

Jim--

Zeiss SLR lenses have plenty good resale value, and this one will be so good you'd hold on to it as long as you shoot with a DSLR.

5 upvotes
peevee1
By peevee1 (6 months ago)

"In terms of resale value, in the market that this is targeting, the owner will make up the cost in 2-3 jobs."

But will it make up the cost difference over a Sigma 50/1.4? Especially given the time wasted by not having AF on a job.

0 upvotes
plevyadophy
By plevyadophy (6 months ago)

@HowaboutRAW

Leica M lenses are great, especially the recent updates, given their tiny size. However, Jogger is right, a lot of the Leica "thing" is just fashion akin to some Z-list celeb deciding that she can't be seen anything else but [pick your brand]

I would say that Zeiss is almost entirely about the photography, whilst being seen with a Leica is often about being seen with the brand (and the fact that the vast majority of celebrities we hear about who claim to be keen photogs end up with a Leica (rather than anything Zeiss) says it all really).

0 upvotes
HowaboutRAW
By HowaboutRAW (6 months ago)

plevyadophy:

If you're talking about the M bodies, particularly the M8 then yes, but there's a big reason to mount M lenses on other mirrorless systems.

0 upvotes
plevyadophy
By plevyadophy (6 months ago)

@HowaboutRAW

Yes indeed. An M lens on microFT is yummie! :-)

0 upvotes
masticina
By masticina (6 months ago)

I don't worry that they sell enough but yes this requires quite a specialist photographer.

It will get sold and it will get used, by a very few..

For most of us it isn't just out of reach it is about 4x out of reach. Still even specialist lenses like these will be bought. Lets hope by people who really use it well :)

1 upvote
zdechlypes
By zdechlypes (6 months ago)

I cannot imagine how some can manually focus below f2 on a distance up to 2 meters on my 5dm2.... Still have one old (a bit radioactive) 50mm @1.4 manual lens, where the rate of sharp pictures was below 10%.

0 upvotes
Antony John
By Antony John (6 months ago)

Because you relied on autofocus?

0 upvotes
nelsonal
By nelsonal (6 months ago)

Most of us get a split prism/microprism for our body. The rest use live view. There's one user who claims to use neither, I have no idea how he does it.

3 upvotes
Mescalamba
By Mescalamba (6 months ago)

Different focusing screen is a must. But 5DMK2 has LiveView so, both hands left syndrme? :D

Apart from that, you can replace mirror for fully silvered which gives in return no AF and brighter OVF.

1 upvote
theRose
By theRose (6 months ago)

Very nice lens indeed!
Just a comment to those who think it is expensive: Well yes it is, and probably not ten times better than e.g. the sigma 1.4 However the price/quality isn't linnear, if you want the best and something you can rely on every time you use it, you are probably willing to pay quite much for it, especially as a proffessional. Just compare the price of the proffesional lines of canikon with the consumer line
Manual focus is surely more reliable(I still use 30 year old lenses flawlessly) and contributes to the overall experience of using the lens
For that reason i don't like that the Zeiss canon lenses doesn't have an apperture ring, and if i buy one i might as well buy a nikon version with adapter

Comment edited 3 minutes after posting
1 upvote
jimi1127
By jimi1127 (6 months ago)

Mini review from Lloyd Chambers (with 1.4 samples)
http://diglloyd.com/articles/ZeissZ/ZeissZ-Otus-55f1_4.html

4 upvotes
Gediminas 8
By Gediminas 8 (6 months ago)

The guy is another self-proclaimed expert who uses provocative statements to get traffic to his site - why aid him?

3 upvotes
Henry M. Hertz
By Henry M. Hertz (6 months ago)

you mean another KR who prey on the dumb?

3 upvotes
CFynn
By CFynn (6 months ago)

KR's review of this will be more entertaining.

0 upvotes
plevyadophy
By plevyadophy (6 months ago)

@ Gediminas 8
@ Henry M. Hertz

I think you are little harsh on the guy, well actually way too harsh.

My assessment of Lloyd Chambers is (and I say this as someone who is a regular reader and subscriber to his site) that he is extremely fussy, over fussy at times, has strong opinions about certain things and isn't afraid to express them, speaks his mind (which often offends some folks e.g. Fuji X camera fanboys), and is a pretty honest guy (whether one agrees with him or not is another matter).

Something else that MUST be taken into account when reading his reviews and commentary is that his style of shooting is very technical, slow and considered; I doubt the vast majority of people shoot with a tripod as much as he seems to.

Yes the guy is a bit anal but we, as do motor sports, construction and other industries, need people like him so as to raise the bar. I am sure this wonderful Zeiss lens is also the result of the workings of the over fussy anal persona of some lens designer.

1 upvote
Total comments: 507
123