canon rumors FORUM

Gear Talk => Lenses => Topic started by: Canon Rumors on February 25, 2014, 04:03:08 PM

Title: Review: Zeiss Otus 55mm f/1.4 Distagon T*
Post by: Canon Rumors on February 25, 2014, 04:03:08 PM

Bryan over at The-Digital-Picture has completed his review of the famed Zeiss Otus 55mm f/1.4 Distagon T*. As you can image, and predictably, the lens is phenomenal and possibly the best 50mm (yes, it’s 55mm) lens ever made for an DSLR.


On a side note, I am looking forward to Sigma’s 50mm f/1.4 ART series lens. If the rumors are true, Sigma is gunning for the Zeiss Otus at a fraction of the cost.


Says Bryan

“Fifty-something mm lenses are wildly popular and this field has long been crowded. But finding a truly remarkable wide aperture 50-something mm lens was arguably not possible – until now. Zeiss Otus 55mm f/1.4 Distagon T* Lens is indeed a lens worthy of hype. This is an impeccably well built lens with incredible image quality. Kudos to Zeiss for bringing us the Otus 55mm f/1.4 lens, the first in what promises to be a exceptional line of lenses.”


Zeiss Otus 55mm f/1.4 Distagon T* at B&H Photo | Read the full review


cr


Title: Re: Review: Zeiss Otus 55mm f/1.4 Distagon T*
Post by: ahsanford on February 25, 2014, 04:26:53 PM
I love the TDP site, I go there regularly. 

I'd read the whole review -- Bryan is great at capturing the needs of the photographer in his writing.  He considers handling, build quality, alternatives at that FL, etc.

But if you want the IQ info, his comparisons are quite telling (these are pulled right out of his review):

Otus vs. 50L:
http://www.the-digital-picture.com/Reviews/ISO-12233-Sample-Crops.aspx?Lens=917&Camera=453&Sample=0&FLI=0&API=0&LensComp=403&CameraComp=453&SampleComp=0&FLIComp=0&APIComp=1 (http://www.the-digital-picture.com/Reviews/ISO-12233-Sample-Crops.aspx?Lens=917&Camera=453&Sample=0&FLI=0&API=0&LensComp=403&CameraComp=453&SampleComp=0&FLIComp=0&APIComp=1)

Otus vs. Canon 50 1.4
http://www.the-digital-picture.com/Reviews/ISO-12233-Sample-Crops.aspx?Lens=917&Camera=453&Sample=0&FLI=0&API=0&LensComp=115&CameraComp=0&FLIComp=0&APIComp=0 (http://www.the-digital-picture.com/Reviews/ISO-12233-Sample-Crops.aspx?Lens=917&Camera=453&Sample=0&FLI=0&API=0&LensComp=115&CameraComp=0&FLIComp=0&APIComp=0)

Otus vs. Zeiss 50 1.4
http://www.the-digital-picture.com/Reviews/ISO-12233-Sample-Crops.aspx?Lens=917&Camera=453&Sample=0&FLI=0&API=0&LensComp=709&CameraComp=0&FLIComp=0&APIComp=0 (http://www.the-digital-picture.com/Reviews/ISO-12233-Sample-Crops.aspx?Lens=917&Camera=453&Sample=0&FLI=0&API=0&LensComp=709&CameraComp=0&FLIComp=0&APIComp=0)


Yeah...  Right?!


That said, resolution isn't everything.  For what I shoot at that focal length, no AF = no sale for me.  But happy shooting for those with the coin and the patience for this beast.  The reviews I have read have been consistently excellent.

- A
Title: Re: Review: Zeiss Otus 55mm f/1.4 Distagon T*
Post by: ahsanford on February 25, 2014, 04:28:49 PM

I forgot one pearl from the review -- we all know Zeiss makes metal hoods, but this hood is SO stiff/strong that he uses it as an extension of the barrel for handling and steadying his shot.  That's something else.

- A
Title: Re: Review: Zeiss Otus 55mm f/1.4 Distagon T*
Post by: Upphotoman on February 25, 2014, 05:24:18 PM
I've been told that Zeiss and Leitz lenses are manufactured in Japan now and that these brand names are just licenses leased out by international trading companies that own those names. Is this true? Or, does Zeiss and Leitz still manufacture everything in Germany? Thanks
Title: Re: Review: Zeiss Otus 55mm f/1.4 Distagon T*
Post by: Etienne on February 25, 2014, 05:34:43 PM
There's no amount of good reviews that will get me to part with that much money for a 50mm.
Interested in the Sigma 50 ART reviews though.
Title: Re: Review: Zeiss Otus 55mm f/1.4 Distagon T*
Post by: ahsanford on February 25, 2014, 06:08:47 PM
There's no amount of good reviews that will get me to part with that much money for a 50mm.
Interested in the Sigma 50 ART reviews though.

Agree.  That Sigma Art should do gangbusters business at its rumored price point.  Every good Otus review tents up the upper end of the 50/55 market and makes the Sigma look like a steal.

This is, of course, assuming that the Sigma 50 Art is as good as billed and isn't released at too high of a price.  Time will tell.

- A
Title: Re: Review: Zeiss Otus 55mm f/1.4 Distagon T*
Post by: distant.star on February 25, 2014, 06:23:55 PM
I've been told that Zeiss and Leitz lenses are manufactured in Japan now and that these brand names are just licenses leased out by international trading companies that own those names. Is this true? Or, does Zeiss and Leitz still manufacture everything in Germany? Thanks

What difference would it make?

If Zeiss puts their name on it, I don't care if they had Aunt Mabel make it on Mars.

Title: Re: Review: Zeiss Otus 55mm f/1.4 Distagon T*
Post by: Mr Bean on February 25, 2014, 06:36:11 PM
I've been told that Zeiss and Leitz lenses are manufactured in Japan now and that these brand names are just licenses leased out by international trading companies that own those names. Is this true? Or, does Zeiss and Leitz still manufacture everything in Germany? Thanks

What difference would it make?

If Zeiss puts their name on it, I don't care if they had Aunt Mabel make it on Mars.
+1. Zeiss lenses are for the most part, made in Japan by Cosina. Meaning, you have excellent German lens design, being made by the Japanese who excel at high quality mass production. A perfect match in this era, in my books.
Title: Re: Review: Zeiss Otus 55mm f/1.4 Distagon T*
Post by: neal1029 on February 25, 2014, 08:24:44 PM
Ugly and expensive...... just like the ex wife.
Title: Re: Review: Zeiss Otus 55mm f/1.4 Distagon T*
Post by: dickgrafixstop on February 25, 2014, 08:31:51 PM
It's not automatic - so I think I'd rather have the R summilux with an adapter - and a pocket full of cash.
Title: Re: Review: Zeiss Otus 55mm f/1.4 Distagon T*
Post by: RGomezPhotos on February 25, 2014, 08:36:17 PM
The best review of the Zeiss Otus 55mm f1.4! And he really nails what you can do and watch out for when using a 50mm. This guy knows what he's talking about.

I've been drooling over this lens since it's development announcement from Zeiss and have talked about it on my own blog about a year ago. When you watch the Zeiss video of the prototype, it just blows your mind how good this lens is. Sharpness. Color resolution. AMAZING. Little surprised with the amount of vignetting. But nothing even the simplest photo editing software can't fix with ease.

I use my Zeiss 50mm f1.4 for about 95% of my work and have used it for about 2 years. The sharpness, bokeh and contrasty nature of the lens is something I really love about Zeiss lenses. You either love it or hate it. At f4, it's sharpness is fantastic. Construction is second to none.

While I think the Zeiss Otus 55mm lens will improve any image on any modern DSLR, I don't think you'll fully utilize it's potential until you use it with a high MP camera like the D800. I've seen pics with the Otus and D800 and it's getting VERY close to MF quality. I'd like to see a comparison between the D800/Otus and MF camera system. That would be very interesting.

I've said on this forum on multiple occasions that to move up the image quality ladder, MF would be the next step. The DR on such cameras can't be touched by DSLRs. Though a friend tells me that he prefers his Nikon D800 much more than his PhaseOne IQ180. And there is a $30,000 difference between the two. So that's saying lots. I'm hoping that when Canon gets around to releasing a big MP camera and with the Otus lens, it will get me extremely close if not as good as MF quality. And it could do that for significantly less money :-) Even if costs were not an issue, MF cameras have issues. Mostly, they are slow. The D800 looks like a race horse next to them.

I heard that the next Otus lens Zeiss will be releasing will be the 85mm version. And for pro work, this is what I'd probably get if I had a camera that could fully utilize it. It really is the standard in the fashion/portrait biz.

I think we've been living in a golden age of photography for the last two years and this will continue for another 3 or 4 before things settle down again. It's an exciting time to be a photographer!
Title: Re: Review: Zeiss Otus 55mm f/1.4 Distagon T*
Post by: eml58 on February 25, 2014, 08:40:52 PM
I've been told that Zeiss and Leitz lenses are manufactured in Japan now and that these brand names are just licenses leased out by international trading companies that own those names. Is this true? Or, does Zeiss and Leitz still manufacture everything in Germany? Thanks

What difference would it make?

If Zeiss puts their name on it, I don't care if they had Aunt Mabel make it on Mars.

I tend to agree, especially when you consider Canon Cameras are made in Thailand, hasn't seemed to hurt Canon's ability to sell a few units.

Nike shoes are made in Indonesia, personally I don't where Nike, but there's a few people that do, I don't think they care much where they were made.

We used to make Fords in Australia, not any more but that decision was based on economics, not Quality, well, if you can consider using the words quality & Ford in the same sentence.

Today it's very much about competing in the Market place, Zeiss want the best balance between Quality Standards and Manufacturing Cost, Japan sounds about right. As said, if it's stamped "Zeiss" I think you can take it to the Bank.
Title: Re: Review: Zeiss Otus 55mm f/1.4 Distagon T*
Post by: Lee Jay on February 25, 2014, 09:22:54 PM
There's no amount of good reviews that will get me to part with that much money for a 50mm.

Agreed.  A manual-focus 50/1.4 with perfect optics would be worth, perhaps $69 to me.
Title: Re: Review: Zeiss Otus 55mm f/1.4 Distagon T*
Post by: takesome1 on February 25, 2014, 09:30:31 PM
Toyota pickups are assembled in Texas.
Chevy Silverado's are assembled in Mexico.

Now Zeiss is assembled in Japan?

What next?
Title: Re: Review: Zeiss Otus 55mm f/1.4 Distagon T*
Post by: emag on February 25, 2014, 09:42:49 PM
We really don't need any more reviews of this lens.  If you want the best normal range lens ever made and can justify the expense, just get it and enjoy; end of story.
Title: Re: Review: Zeiss Otus 55mm f/1.4 Distagon T*
Post by: iMagic on February 25, 2014, 11:17:44 PM
With a manual focus-only lens, focus accuracy is 100% your responsibility. When using a tripod with 10x Live View manual focusing, my hit rate is nearly 100% even at f/1.4 with a close subject. With a stock DSLR focusing screen, my f/1.4 hit rate is significantly lower.

Without focus, resolution is less meaningful. I wouldnt use this on a tripod.
Title: Re: Review: Zeiss Otus 55mm f/1.4 Distagon T*
Post by: adhocphotographer on February 25, 2014, 11:36:28 PM
The IQ comparison makes every over 50(ish) lens look like c**p! wow, would love to have it, but i don't use 50mm all that often! :/

Jealous of those who have it...  I hope you enjoy it! :)
Title: Re: Review: Zeiss Otus 55mm f/1.4 Distagon T*
Post by: infared on February 26, 2014, 12:03:40 AM
Ugly and expensive...... just like the ex wife.

Well...perhaps you could buy (or rent) the Zeiss, photograph the ex wife with it and then post some high Rez pics here so that we could see her in all of her super-sharp, tight-micro-contrast, color-resolved GLORY? Just a thought.  8)
Title: Re: Review: Zeiss Otus 55mm f/1.4 Distagon T*
Post by: Upphotoman on February 26, 2014, 12:36:27 AM
I've been told that Zeiss and Leitz lenses are manufactured in Japan now and that these brand names are just licenses leased out by international trading companies that own those names. Is this true? Or, does Zeiss and Leitz still manufacture everything in Germany? Thanks

What difference would it make?

If Zeiss puts their name on it, I don't care if they had Aunt Mabel make it on Mars.
+1. Zeiss lenses are for the most part, made in Japan by Cosina. Meaning, you have excellent German lens design, being made by the Japanese who excel at high quality mass production. A perfect match in this era, in my books.

That's just my point. If Zeiss only exists in a leased name only then what's the hype all about. It's just another company trying to cash in on a former good name. My guess is we're all looking for the nostalgia in a new digital world. Reminds me of all the products being marketed today with names such as Polaroid and Bell & Howell.
Title: Re: Review: Zeiss Otus 55mm f/1.4 Distagon T*
Post by: Maximilian on February 26, 2014, 02:25:06 AM
As you can image, and predictably, the lens is phenomenal and possibly the best 50mm (yes, it’s 55mm) lens ever made for an DSLR.
Here in Germany the "fotomagazin" jounal has made a test and review where they say that the Sony/Zeiss Sonnar T* FE 55 mm F1,8 ZA has a better IQ at 1/4 of the price.
I don't get 100% through their test methods to see if they did something wrong but the results are hard to believe as the optics are comming from the same source.
Title: Re: Review: Zeiss Otus 55mm f/1.4 Distagon T*
Post by: Eldar on February 26, 2014, 03:09:08 AM
... If Zeiss only exists in a leased name only then what's the hype all about. It's just another company trying to cash in on a former good name. My guess is we're all looking for the nostalgia in a new digital world. Reminds me of all the products being marketed today with names such as Polaroid and Bell & Howell.
I think you should read a bit of what Zeiss is. It is clearly not ".. a leased name". To begin with, they have 24.000 employees, of which 10.000 sits in Germany. I doubt they are all counting money and printing brochures ...

The hype is that Zeiss has produced world leading optical products for decades and they continue to do so. The Otus receives all its praise, because it is That good.
Title: Re: Review: Zeiss Otus 55mm f/1.4 Distagon T*
Post by: leGreve on February 26, 2014, 04:06:40 AM
I don't regret one second buying it…. it really is that good. I did a test against some other lenses we had lying around and while some of them were ok in the center at 2.8 Most of them were crap in the corners.

The so-called great value for money 50 1.8 looks terrible compared to the Otus… really down right terrible, and it feels equally as terrible operating. I never understood why people were so hyped over this Canon 50 1.8, but I guess that is needed when all you can afford is that.

I'll be picking up every Otus lens as they come out… as simple as that. But I fully acknowledge that some people are depending on AF to get the job done. I'm not… and if I am I'd still choose expensive L lenses over cheap non-L.

The thing is…. I shoot a lot of video. Actually video has become my main business by now. So I need something that operates well for video and even L lenses dont do that. The throw is too short and the sharpness fall off looks ugly, often the bokeh as well.

There's a reason that most major cinema releases, heck even Sundance and Cannes short films are shot on Arri Master / Ultra Primes or Cooke lenses. Because even though they are completely manual, the operate better, they are consistent in look and light transmission and that nice long throw for pulling focus.

Yummy.
Title: Re: Review: Zeiss Otus 55mm f/1.4 Distagon T*
Post by: Sporgon on February 26, 2014, 05:20:48 AM
I looked at the review - very impressive at 1.4. It is the contrast between sharpness of focus plane that sets off the bokeh - aka EF 85 1.2.

However in the comparisons I looked up TDP crops of the Nikkor 58 1.4G. What's going on there !? Have you seen the price of this lens ? Nikon is currently like a child's spinning top just as it loses it's momentum; it wobbles all over the place.

Lucky for us Canon users that Zeiss are pushing the boundaries   - 'cos Nikon certainly aren't.

Incidentally I believe the Otus is made in Germany; it's the other dslr 'Zeiss' lenses that are made by Cosina in Japan. 
Title: Re: Review: Zeiss Otus 55mm f/1.4 Distagon T*
Post by: baervan on February 26, 2014, 06:48:41 AM
your move Sigma, make me believe! :D
Title: Re: Review: Zeiss Otus 55mm f/1.4 Distagon T*
Post by: traveller on February 26, 2014, 07:33:54 AM
I don't regret one second buying it…. it really is that good. I did a test against some other lenses we had lying around and while some of them were ok in the center at 2.8 Most of them were crap in the corners.

The so-called great value for money 50 1.8 looks terrible compared to the Otus… really down right terrible, and it feels equally as terrible operating. I never understood why people were so hyped over this Canon 50 1.8, but I guess that is needed when all you can afford is that.

I'll be picking up every Otus lens as they come out… as simple as that. But I fully acknowledge that some people are depending on AF to get the job done. I'm not… and if I am I'd still choose expensive L lenses over cheap non-L.

The thing is…. I shoot a lot of video. Actually video has become my main business by now. So I need something that operates well for video and even L lenses dont do that. The throw is too short and the sharpness fall off looks ugly, often the bokeh as well.

There's a reason that most major cinema releases, heck even Sundance and Cannes short films are shot on Arri Master / Ultra Primes or Cooke lenses. Because even though they are completely manual, the operate better, they are consistent in look and light transmission and that nice long throw for pulling focus.

Yummy.

Quite.

Actually, I can never understand all this hype around mere 35mm cameras in any case, everyone who truly appreciates quality is already using medium format. I don't understand these people that rely on manual focus either; everyone that's anybody simply employs a man to do that for them! Next, these plebs will be suggesting that it is acceptable to carry ones own kit, instead of employing a Nepalese Sherpa.

What is the world coming to? Ra, ra, what, what!  :P
Title: Re: Review: Zeiss Otus 55mm f/1.4 Distagon T*
Post by: infared on February 26, 2014, 08:32:57 AM
I've been told that Zeiss and Leitz lenses are manufactured in Japan now and that these brand names are just licenses leased out by international trading companies that own those names. Is this true? Or, does Zeiss and Leitz still manufacture everything in Germany? Thanks

What difference would it make?

If Zeiss puts their name on it, I don't care if they had Aunt Mabel make it on Mars.
+1. Zeiss lenses are for the most part, made in Japan by Cosina. Meaning, you have excellent German lens design, being made by the Japanese who excel at high quality mass production. A perfect match in this era, in my books.

That's just my point. If Zeiss only exists in a leased name only then what's the hype all about. It's just another company trying to cash in on a former good name. My guess is we're all looking for the nostalgia in a new digital world. Reminds me of all the products being marketed today with names such as Polaroid and Bell & Howell.

...and Kodak......?
Title: Re: Review: Zeiss Otus 55mm f/1.4 Distagon T*
Post by: infared on February 26, 2014, 09:37:07 AM
I looked at the review - very impressive at 1.4. It is the contrast between sharpness of focus plane that sets off the bokeh - aka EF 85 1.2.

However in the comparisons I looked up TDP crops of the Nikkor 58 1.4G. What's going on there !? Have you seen the price of this lens ? Nikon is currently like a child's spinning top just as it loses it's momentum; it wobbles all over the place.

Lucky for us Canon users that Zeiss are pushing the boundaries   - 'cos Nikon certainly aren't.

Incidentally I believe the Otus is made in Germany; it's the other dslr 'Zeiss' lenses that are made by Cosina in Japan.

Well...I own the Zeiss 21mm f/2.8 ZE...that would be one of " the other dslr 'Zeiss' lenses that are made by Cosina in Japan",  I know it is not at the level of the new Otus...but it beats any 21mm (or there-abouts, zoom or otherwise), that Canon has produced, hands down...so, I really didn't care where it was made.
Title: Re: Review: Zeiss Otus 55mm f/1.4 Distagon T*
Post by: Artifex on February 26, 2014, 09:53:53 AM
I looked at the review - very impressive at 1.4. It is the contrast between sharpness of focus plane that sets off the bokeh - aka EF 85 1.2.

However in the comparisons I looked up TDP crops of the Nikkor 58 1.4G. What's going on there !? Have you seen the price of this lens ? Nikon is currently like a child's spinning top just as it loses it's momentum; it wobbles all over the place.

Lucky for us Canon users that Zeiss are pushing the boundaries   - 'cos Nikon certainly aren't.

Incidentally I believe the Otus is made in Germany; it's the other dslr 'Zeiss' lenses that are made by Cosina in Japan.

If you want a good laugh, check this review of the 58 1.4G : http://www.lenstip.com/397.4-Lens_review-Nikon_Nikkor_AF-S_58_mm_f_1.4G_Image_resolution.html (http://www.lenstip.com/397.4-Lens_review-Nikon_Nikkor_AF-S_58_mm_f_1.4G_Image_resolution.html)

The new 58 1.4G actually performs noticeably worst than the old 58 1.2 film lens, which dates, I think, from the 70's.
Title: Re: Review: Zeiss Otus 55mm f/1.4 Distagon T*
Post by: zlatko on February 26, 2014, 10:58:27 AM
I've been told that Zeiss and Leitz lenses are manufactured in Japan now and that these brand names are just licenses leased out by international trading companies that own those names. Is this true? Or, does Zeiss and Leitz still manufacture everything in Germany? Thanks

What difference would it make?

If Zeiss puts their name on it, I don't care if they had Aunt Mabel make it on Mars.
+1. Zeiss lenses are for the most part, made in Japan by Cosina. Meaning, you have excellent German lens design, being made by the Japanese who excel at high quality mass production. A perfect match in this era, in my books.

That's just my point. If Zeiss only exists in a leased name only then what's the hype all about. It's just another company trying to cash in on a former good name. My guess is we're all looking for the nostalgia in a new digital world. Reminds me of all the products being marketed today with names such as Polaroid and Bell & Howell.

Going to the extraordinary effort to make the best standard lens for a DSLR is hardly "just another company trying to cash in on a former good name."  It takes great engineering and manufacturing, not nostalgia, to make a lens like this one.
Title: Re: Review: Zeiss Otus 55mm f/1.4 Distagon T*
Post by: Eldar on February 26, 2014, 11:07:33 AM
If you want a good laugh, check this review of the 58 1.4G : http://www.lenstip.com/397.4-Lens_review-Nikon_Nikkor_AF-S_58_mm_f_1.4G_Image_resolution.html (http://www.lenstip.com/397.4-Lens_review-Nikon_Nikkor_AF-S_58_mm_f_1.4G_Image_resolution.html)

The new 58 1.4G actually performs noticeably worst than the old 58 1.2 film lens, which dates, I think, from the 70's.
It is almost difficult to believe they tested a fully functional and regular quality lens. How can Nikon risk their reputation on something like this?
Title: Re: Review: Zeiss Otus 55mm f/1.4 Distagon T*
Post by: sdsr on February 26, 2014, 01:31:14 PM
As you can image, and predictably, the lens is phenomenal and possibly the best 50mm (yes, it’s 55mm) lens ever made for an DSLR.
Here in Germany the "fotomagazin" jounal has made a test and review where they say that the Sony/Zeiss Sonnar T* FE 55 mm F1,8 ZA has a better IQ at 1/4 of the price.
I don't get 100% through their test methods to see if they did something wrong but the results are hard to believe as the optics are comming from the same source.

The Sony/Zeiss certainly can make remarkably images when attached to an A7r, as I've been discovering over the past week or so, though unless I rent one I doubt I'll ever be in a position to compare it to the Otus first hand.  Can that review be read on-line?  I tried finding it on their site, but without success - maybe I'm looking in the wrong places, or my German isn't good enough....  People complain that the Sony/Zeiss is overpriced, but given how good it is I'm not so sure (it helps that I was able to get mine through a Sony promotion that resulted in a $200 discount).
Title: Re: Review: Zeiss Otus 55mm f/1.4 Distagon T*
Post by: Radiating on February 26, 2014, 02:53:25 PM
As you can image, and predictably, the lens is phenomenal and possibly the best 50mm (yes, it’s 55mm) lens ever made for an DSLR.
Here in Germany the "fotomagazin" jounal has made a test and review where they say that the Sony/Zeiss Sonnar T* FE 55 mm F1,8 ZA has a better IQ at 1/4 of the price.
I don't get 100% through their test methods to see if they did something wrong but the results are hard to believe as the optics are comming from the same source.


I think everyone is missing the entire point of this lens and all of the information about it.

50mm lenses have been completely dominated by the the double gauss (planar) design for the last 70+ years, which severely limits image quality at fast apertures. It's a very poor archaic design that results in around 4 times worse performance in every image clarity measurement, with the only upside being a slightly more compact design. There is literally no planar lens that performs even passably well wide open. The Zeiss Otus was the first retrofocal normal lens for full frame cameras and it showed there was a night and day difference compared to the double gauss design. The Sigma 50mm ART will be the second. The 55mm f/1.8 ZA I'll address later.

Planar lenses have extremely poor performance wide open, lets use the lens rentals 50mm comparison as an example ( http://www.lensrentals.com/blog/2012...-50mm-shootout (http://www.lensrentals.com/blog/2012...-50mm-shootout) ), which tested 23 planar normal lenses. At f/1.4 planar lenses achieved scores in the 300s and 400s in that test for average MTF50 resolution. For comparison the Zeiss Otus delivers average resolution of 800. That's just under 5 times more spacial resolution than the lens it supersedes, the Zeiss 1.4 Planar, @ f/1.4. (remember we have to square linear resolution data to get normal resolution)

If you look at other points of comparison you can see that planar 50mm lenses scored poorly in haziness/glowiness and purple fringing, and often scored poorly in chromatic aberration, usually by a factor of 3-5.

Zeiss decided that it was impossible to make a good standard prime using the double gauss design, after all the design forces a lens to be short and leaves little room to correct aberrations.  So to make more room for corrective lens elements, Zeiss switched to a retrofocal design, which means that the lens is actually longer than it's focal length. They more than doubled the number of elements which allowed them to finally make a good 50mm prime, for SLR. Previously this had been an impossible achievement with the majority of standard primes having camera phone resolution wide open.

The 55mm Otus is a very special lens too because it's Apochromatic, which means it has no purple fringing all other primes in this range have a ton of purple fringing that looks very ugly, and most publications won't allow you to submit photos with any hint of purple fringing.

(http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_j5HxxKviOoQ/TEmkpRktpWI/AAAAAAAAMzM/4C07rrF7X2g/s1600/20100721-BEU_3445-2.jpg)

There is no prime that exists that's f/2 or faster below 150mm besides the Otus that doesn't have ridiculous amounts of purple fringing. As a professional image editor for magazines purple fringing was my mortal enemy so this is a huge deal. This is a feature that isn't found on any lens below the $2000 price point,  (Exception being the Sigma 150mm APO which is slightly less, and when certain lenses go on sale). And this is a feature isn't found on any wide, normal or telephoto lens that has a fast aperture.

So the 55mm Otus is special because it breaks the mould for standard focal length SLR optical design, it's the first and currently only available retrofocal standard fast SLR lens and it's the only non super-telephoto fast APO lens in the world.

The Sony 55mm f/1.8 ZA is not an SLR lens, it's a mirroless lens. Making the Zeiss Otus was an endeavor much like getting a man to walk on the moon. It's an incredibly achievement to overcome the limitations of standard fast SLR lenes. The mirror box is what prevents standard lenses from being good, and it took 70+ years to solve the problem. The Sony 55mm f/1.8 ZA is an endeavor as complex as getting a man to walk on the sidewalk, it's one of the most basic lens you can make, and it's not APO. It's as special as McChicken sandwich.

Hopefully that puts everything into perspective. This is a very special lens, which more than doubles anything in it's class. The Sigma 50mm f/1.4 ART is going to be equally special with 89% the performance, although lacking APO, but also doubling the performance of anything else like it.
Title: Re: Review: Zeiss Otus 55mm f/1.4 Distagon T*
Post by: Lee Jay on February 26, 2014, 03:48:13 PM
The Zeiss Otus was the first retrofocal normal lens for full frame cameras and it showed there was a night and day difference compared to the double gauss design.

(snip)

There is no prime that exists that's f/2 or faster below 150mm besides the Otus that doesn't have ridiculous amounts of purple fringing.

If the whole way it got so good is that it's retrofocus, shouldn't the 35/1.4 and 24/1.4 also have those same benefits, since they have to be retrofocus?
Title: Re: Review: Zeiss Otus 55mm f/1.4 Distagon T*
Post by: traveller on February 26, 2014, 03:54:55 PM
For me, the elephant in the room with fast primes is focus. It's easy to get you're point of focus wrong with these lenses and that's assuming that the phase detect AF system in your camera is up to the job. If the AF misses, it's difficult to see in the viewfinder, because they're all optimised for slower zoom lenses and don't show the full depth of field below f/2.8. This also makes manual focus tough, especially as even the replacement (courser grained) screens available for some cameras (but not mine :( ) don't often have micro-prism or split image focus aids (unless you go for a third party design and accept your meter being disrupted).

To be honest, most people can't achieve as accurate focus as AF systems even with in-viewfinder aids , which is why AF cameras now dominate the market. This is the huge advantage of mirrorless cameras with EVFs, you can easily toggle a variety of manual focusing aids depending upon the situation.

I can't help agreeing with Lloyd Chambers [http://diglloyd.com/blog/2013/20130306_2-why-electronic-viewfinder-matters.html (http://diglloyd.com/blog/2013/20130306_2-why-electronic-viewfinder-matters.html)] that the next development in DSLRs should be hybrid OVF/EVFs (like the X-Pro 1). Imagine that on your 1D Xs or 5D Mk4: a nice bright OVF for when you want to track moving targets with the PDAF system, which can be swapped over to a high resolution EVF at the flick of a switch when critical focus on slow moving or static subjects is required....
Title: Re: Review: Zeiss Otus 55mm f/1.4 Distagon T*
Post by: mackguyver on February 26, 2014, 03:59:09 PM
There is no prime that exists that's f/2 or faster below 150mm besides the Otus that doesn't have ridiculous amounts of purple fringing.
That is one ugly example of purple fringing!  I would agree with your statement on LoCA the exception of the word ridiculous - and I think the 85 f/1.2 II suffers very little from fringing.  From my use of Canon's fast primes, I'd say:

24 f/1.4 II - pretty bad purple/green fringing until f/2 or so
35 f/1.4 - purple fringing until f/2.8 or even f/4
50 f/1.2 - guilty as charged - bad red fringing until f/2.8
85 f/1.2 II - minimal red fringing at f/1.2, mostly gone by f/1.6
135 f/2 - some red fringing at f/2, mostly gone by f/2.8

This isn't taking away from the Otus and like you, I'm surprised that they didn't market this quality.

For me, the elephant in the room with fast primes is focus.
Yep, though you have to wonder how much that would have added to the Otus price!  I have the EF-S screen for my 5DII (the primary reason I keep this body) and it really helps, but even then, only to about f/1.8, which doesn't help much on the 50 or 85 f/1.2s...
Title: Re: Review: Zeiss Otus 55mm f/1.4 Distagon T*
Post by: max on February 26, 2014, 06:04:09 PM
3 stops of vignette in the corner seems like a bit too much...
Title: Re: Review: Zeiss Otus 55mm f/1.4 Distagon T*
Post by: eml58 on February 26, 2014, 07:20:06 PM
I think everyone is missing the entire point of this lens and all of the information about it.

Perhaps not everyone, I'm reasonably sure the owners of this Lens appreciate the finer points of design & end product, and a lot of people that may never own the Lens probably do as well.

I think the "emotion" that this Lens generates is mostly around the Cost, people do tend to leave a certain common sense behind when confronted with a price that's generally twice any other 50 on the Market, excluding the Leica Noctilux f/0.95 which sells for around $11k, I'm just thankful Leica don't produce this Lens with a Canon Mount, it would likely drive some CR members to Self Immolation.

Having said that, I think you've explained exceptionally well why the Lens exists, why it's as good as it clearly is, and why some of us have opted to own it.
Title: Re: Review: Zeiss Otus 55mm f/1.4 Distagon T*
Post by: NancyP on February 26, 2014, 07:41:30 PM
Retrofocal "Distagon" design, rather than classic "Planar" design - that is the innovation. A lot of those planars are quite good from f/2.8 or f/4 to f/11. I use old manual-everything planar lenses. There's no question that there is a trade-off at f/2 and a big trade-off at f/1.4.
Title: Re: Review: Zeiss Otus 55mm f/1.4 Distagon T*
Post by: jrista on February 26, 2014, 11:45:35 PM
The thing that really caught my eye in this review was it's wide-open focal plane performance. Not only is it much sharper center frame than any other 50mm, but the corner performance!! HOLY HELL! That truly blows my mind.
Title: Re: Review: Zeiss Otus 55mm f/1.4 Distagon T*
Post by: Radiating on February 27, 2014, 02:58:31 AM
The Zeiss Otus was the first retrofocal normal lens for full frame cameras and it showed there was a night and day difference compared to the double gauss design.

(snip)

There is no prime that exists that's f/2 or faster below 150mm besides the Otus that doesn't have ridiculous amounts of purple fringing.

If the whole way it got so good is that it's retrofocus, shouldn't the 35/1.4 and 24/1.4 also have those same benefits, since they have to be retrofocus?

The purpose of going retrofocal in a standard prime is so you have more room to put corrective lens elements into the optical path.

The reason why 35mm and 24mm lenses are retrofocal is because there is no other way to do them. You need the focal length to be longer than 35mm when the distance from your sensor to the last optical element is 35mm+.

With a 35mm lens going retrofocal is just barley necessary (Canon can make a 40mm pancake after all for EF with a standard lens design). So you gain a ton of room for aberration correction. The Sigma, Zeiss and Nikon 35mm primes are crazy good for that reason. There is mountains of room to correct everything you can imagine. The Canon 35mm prime is so-so because Canon is lazy and complacent and they didn't feel like updating their 16 year old lens to a modern highly computer corrected design because it was good enough.

With a 24mm lens you don't get the same benefits, as a 35 or 50. Going retrofocal barley gets you enough room to put the basic corrective elements in, which is the same problem as you get with a planar 50mm lens, and because of the wide angles the elements have to be a bit larger so everything is ridiculously scrunched up, which leads to poor performance. To get around this issue Zeiss only makes a 25mm f/2 prime. Going to a slower aperture and 1mm longer focal length gave them just a little more room to correct everything properly, which is why they have the best wide angle prime. Compromising a little on the focal length and aperture was the only way to get the image quality they require.


That's also why telephoto lenses are so incredibly good. There is a ample room within the optical path to add elements to correct for anything and everything.

Having room to correct aberrations has a large effect on image quality, that's why wide angle lenses on mirrorless cameras (which have more room because they have no mirror) are so insanely good. Sony's 10-18mm and Canon's 11-22mm cheap consumer mirroless wide angle zooms are sharper wide open on crop than any pro wide angle zoom available for any Canon camera at any aperture, full frame or crop.

Title: Re: Review: Zeiss Otus 55mm f/1.4 Distagon T*
Post by: Maximilian on February 27, 2014, 03:46:16 AM
As you can image, and predictably, the lens is phenomenal and possibly the best 50mm (yes, it’s 55mm) lens ever made for an DSLR.
Here in Germany the "fotomagazin" jounal has made a test and review where they say that the Sony/Zeiss Sonnar T* FE 55 mm F1,8 ZA has a better IQ at 1/4 of the price.
I don't get 100% through their test methods to see if they did something wrong but the results are hard to believe as the optics are comming from the same source.


I think everyone is missing the entire point of this lens and all of the information about it.
Hi Radiating!
And thank you for your detailed summary of lens design and optics for this topic.
I can see clearer now (although not having the Otus ;) )

Quote
The Sony 55mm f/1.8 ZA is not an SLR lens, it's a mirroless lens. .
I didn't take this into account. But I understand, that this allows a different optical design as for DSLR cameras.

Quote
Hopefully that puts everything into perspective. This is a very special lens, which more than doubles anything in it's class. The Sigma 50mm f/1.4 ART is going to be equally special with 89% the performance, although lacking APO, but also doubling the performance of anything else like it.
Yes it does - at least for me. Thanks again.
Title: Re: Review: Zeiss Otus 55mm f/1.4 Distagon T*
Post by: justaCanonuser on February 27, 2014, 04:29:51 AM

I think everyone is missing the entire point of this lens and all of the information about it.

The 55mm Otus is a very special lens too because it's Apochromatic, which means it has no purple fringing all other primes in this range have a ton of purple fringing that looks very ugly, and most publications won't allow you to submit photos with any hint of purple fringing.


Now that's an important aspect IMHO, Radiating! Superfast lenses in the standard/ short tele range nearly always come with heavy fringing. I use e.g. a Canon 85/1.2 II quite often, I love it but it produces a hell of strong purple fringing if there are edges with a lot of contrast in the image. Fortunately, in digital photography you can correct this by carefully post-processing RAW images (LR e.g. supports that quite nicely). But, of course, it is always better to have a lens that delivers clean images right to the sensor.

Radiating, your posts look like your a much immersed in lens design, it is really worth reading them. From this is a thread I really learned something, thx a lot!
Title: Re: Review: Zeiss Otus 55mm f/1.4 Distagon T*
Post by: jrista on February 27, 2014, 04:40:11 AM
The Zeiss Otus was the first retrofocal normal lens for full frame cameras and it showed there was a night and day difference compared to the double gauss design.

(snip)

There is no prime that exists that's f/2 or faster below 150mm besides the Otus that doesn't have ridiculous amounts of purple fringing.

If the whole way it got so good is that it's retrofocus, shouldn't the 35/1.4 and 24/1.4 also have those same benefits, since they have to be retrofocus?

The purpose of going retrofocal in a standard prime is so you have more room to put corrective lens elements into the optical path.

The reason why 35mm and 24mm lenses are retrofocal is because there is no other way to do them. You need the focal length to be longer than 35mm when the distance from your sensor to the last optical element is 35mm+.

With a 35mm lens going retrofocal is just barley necessary (Canon can make a 40mm pancake after all for EF with a standard lens design). So you gain a ton of room for aberration correction. The Sigma, Zeiss and Nikon 35mm primes are crazy good for that reason. There is mountains of room to correct everything you can imagine. The Canon 35mm prime is so-so because Canon is lazy and complacent and they didn't feel like updating their 16 year old lens to a modern highly computer corrected design because it was good enough.

With a 24mm lens you don't get the same benefits, as a 35 or 50. Going retrofocal barley gets you enough room to put the basic corrective elements in, which is the same problem as you get with a planar 50mm lens, and because of the wide angles the elements have to be a bit larger so everything is ridiculously scrunched up, which leads to poor performance. To get around this issue Zeiss only makes a 25mm f/2 prime. Going to a slower aperture and 1mm longer focal length gave them just a little more room to correct everything properly, which is why they have the best wide angle prime. Compromising a little on the focal length and aperture was the only way to get the image quality they require.


That's also why telephoto lenses are so incredibly good. There is a ample room within the optical path to add elements to correct for anything and everything.

Having room to correct aberrations has a large effect on image quality, that's why wide angle lenses on mirrorless cameras (which have more room because they have no mirror) are so insanely good. Sony's 10-18mm and Canon's 11-22mm cheap consumer mirroless wide angle zooms are sharper wide open on crop than any pro wide angle zoom available for any Canon camera at any aperture, full frame or crop.

+1000

Excellent stuff! Spot on!
Title: Re: Review: Zeiss Otus 55mm f/1.4 Distagon T*
Post by: Musicjohn on February 27, 2014, 06:23:24 AM
I'm not impressed. A lot of vignetting at large appertures, and the very first sample shot (lady standing) is not even sharp where it should be (face). At this level of money I think it's over-priced. My old Sigma 50mm f/1.4 did nearly just as good a job. at nearly a 10th of the costs.
Title: Re: Review: Zeiss Otus 55mm f/1.4 Distagon T*
Post by: Mark D5 TEAM II on February 27, 2014, 06:58:39 AM
At that price, I would have expected a better looking lens :P. The focus ring looks like it's covered with cheap black electrical tape, and the rest of the barrel looks like it's painted with what ricers use in their Hondas: flat matte black paint for that "prototype-model" look. And yet you still have to "row the gears" yourself!  ;D
Title: Re: Review: Zeiss Otus 55mm f/1.4 Distagon T*
Post by: Eldar on February 27, 2014, 07:10:12 AM
At that price, I would have expected a better looking lens :P. The focus ring looks like it's covered with cheap black electrical tape, and the rest of the barrel looks like it's painted with what ricers use in their Hondas: flat matte black paint for that "prototype-model" look. And yet you still have to "row the gears" yourself!  ;D
Have we seen, held and used the same lens??
Title: Re: Review: Zeiss Otus 55mm f/1.4 Distagon T*
Post by: roby17269 on February 27, 2014, 08:05:44 AM
I want one  :D
Too expensive though  :'(
Title: Re: Review: Zeiss Otus 55mm f/1.4 Distagon T*
Post by: Eldar on February 27, 2014, 11:24:07 AM
An interesting question is why Zeiss apparently have such problems with ramping up their volume. Every online site I have visited, in the US and Europe, have the lens on unconfirmed backorder. I got mine 2 months ago and I would have thought they had the pre-orders covered by now. The alternative is that they are making tons of money on this lens ...
Title: Re: Review: Zeiss Otus 55mm f/1.4 Distagon T*
Post by: neuroanatomist on February 27, 2014, 11:30:32 AM
An interesting question is why Zeiss apparently have such problems with ramping up their volume.

Is the lens made in Germany, or Japan as some Zeiss camera lenses are?  I know that when I order Zeiss microscopes, the lead time is 2-3 months – I always picture some guy named Hans, wearing his horn-rimmed glasses and painstakingly assembling them somewhere in the Black Forest (even though their factory in Jena is several hours' drive away from that region).
Title: Re: Review: Zeiss Otus 55mm f/1.4 Distagon T*
Post by: Eldar on February 27, 2014, 11:39:47 AM
An interesting question is why Zeiss apparently have such problems with ramping up their volume.

Is the lens made in Germany, or Japan as some Zeiss camera lenses are?  I know that when I order Zeiss microscopes, the lead time is 2-3 months – I always picture some guy named Hans, wearing his horn-rimmed glasses and painstakingly assembling them somewhere in the Black Forest (even though their factory in Jena is several hours' drive away from that region).
He he, I can picture him clearly :)
I have sent a question to Zeiss about the production location, since there is some confusion around that. I suspect the answer will be Germany, if they disclose it.
Title: Re: Review: Zeiss Otus 55mm f/1.4 Distagon T*
Post by: mackguyver on February 27, 2014, 11:58:30 AM
An interesting question is why Zeiss apparently have such problems with ramping up their volume.

Is the lens made in Germany, or Japan as some Zeiss camera lenses are?  I know that when I order Zeiss microscopes, the lead time is 2-3 months – I always picture some guy named Hans, wearing his horn-rimmed glasses and painstakingly assembling them somewhere in the Black Forest (even though their factory in Jena is several hours' drive away from that region).
He he, I can picture him clearly :)
I have sent a question to Zeiss about the production location, since there is some confusion around that. I suspect the answer will be Germany, if they disclose it.
I knew I had seen this somewhere - here's the answer:

Quote
Where will the lenses be made?

The lenses will be manufactured in Japan. They will be developed in close consultation with our longstanding global production network of trusted partners in the optical industry to ensure that the lenses’ actual performance corresponds to their theoretical optical design performance.
Source: http://blogs.zeiss.com/photo/en/?p=2860 (http://blogs.zeiss.com/photo/en/?p=2860)
Title: Re: Review: Zeiss Otus 55mm f/1.4 Distagon T*
Post by: Radiating on February 27, 2014, 12:03:33 PM
I'm not impressed. A lot of vignetting at large appertures, and the very first sample shot (lady standing) is not even sharp where it should be (face). At this level of money I think it's over-priced. My old Sigma 50mm f/1.4 did nearly just as good a job. at nearly a 10th of the costs.

The Zeiss has 3 times more resolution on average than the old Sigma 50mm f/1.4, and in the corners 5 times more, so I don't think you'd be "just as good". More like "not even close".  The model is leaning back, and outside the focus plane. I think you're wishing that the Zeiss had operator error correction. :)

Vignette is the easiest image quality aberration to correct there is. I've looked at a ton of images from this lens and this hasn't seemed to be a limitation for the work of any photographer who's used it. Complaining about this is like complaining about a cure for diabetes because it bleaches your hair. The problems it fixes (first non-purple fringing fast prime wider than supertelephoto, first high resolution standard SLR fast prime) are far more trouble than the problems it causes, and the problems it causes are trivial to fix.
Title: Re: Review: Zeiss Otus 55mm f/1.4 Distagon T*
Post by: mackguyver on February 27, 2014, 12:32:16 PM
I'm not impressed. A lot of vignetting at large appertures, and the very first sample shot (lady standing) is not even sharp where it should be (face). At this level of money I think it's over-priced. My old Sigma 50mm f/1.4 did nearly just as good a job. at nearly a 10th of the costs.

The Zeiss has 3 times more resolution on average than the old Sigma 50mm f/1.4, and in the corners 5 times more, so I don't think you'd be "just as good". More like "not even close".  The model is leaning back, and outside the focus plane. I think you're wishing that the Zeiss had operator error correction. :)

Vignette is the easiest image quality aberration to correct there is. I've looked at a ton of images from this lens and this hasn't seemed to be a limitation for the work of any photographer who's used it. Complaining about this is like complaining about a cure for diabetes because it bleaches your hair. The problems it fixes (first non-purple fringing fast prime wider than supertelephoto, first high resolution standard SLR fast prime) are far more trouble than the problems it causes, and the problems it causes are trivial to fix.
+1 and I really need to stop reading this thread...I'm getting too tempted...must shutdown computer...hide all credit cards...and convince myself that the 50L has absolutely no flaws ;) 

Actually, for my ~50mm prime needs, which are almost exclusively portraits, I can live with my Canon lens, but when LensTip can't find anything wrong with a lens (other than vignetting), that really says something.
Title: Re: Review: Zeiss Otus 55mm f/1.4 Distagon T*
Post by: Sporgon on February 27, 2014, 12:43:12 PM
I knew I had seen this somewhere - here's the answer:

Quote
Where will the lenses be made?

The lenses will be manufactured in Japan. They will be developed in close consultation with our longstanding global production network of trusted partners in the optical industry to ensure that the lenses’ actual performance corresponds to their theoretical optical design performance.
Source: http://blogs.zeiss.com/photo/en/?p=2860 (http://blogs.zeiss.com/photo/en/?p=2860)

That's interesting because I had a look at your link and it was dated 19th Sept 2012. I'm sure that in the interview Zeiss gave late in 2013 they stated the lens was being made in Germany / assumed by just a couple of people. Maybe someone can find the interview.
Title: Re: Review: Zeiss Otus 55mm f/1.4 Distagon T*
Post by: Sporgon on February 27, 2014, 12:48:22 PM
Won't it state on the lens where it is made ?

Ask Eldar or Edward or Winnie the Pooh to look
Title: Re: Review: Zeiss Otus 55mm f/1.4 Distagon T*
Post by: mackguyver on February 27, 2014, 12:52:04 PM
I knew I had seen this somewhere - here's the answer:

Quote
Where will the lenses be made?

The lenses will be manufactured in Japan. They will be developed in close consultation with our longstanding global production network of trusted partners in the optical industry to ensure that the lenses’ actual performance corresponds to their theoretical optical design performance.
Source: http://blogs.zeiss.com/photo/en/?p=2860 (http://blogs.zeiss.com/photo/en/?p=2860)

That's interesting because I had a look at your link and it was dated 19th Sept 2012. I'm sure that in the interview Zeiss gave late in 2013 they stated the lens was being made in Germany / assumed by just a couple of people. Maybe someone can find the interview.
It wouldn't surprise me if they are made in Japan and assembled in Germany.
Title: Re: Review: Zeiss Otus 55mm f/1.4 Distagon T*
Post by: Eldar on February 27, 2014, 01:05:15 PM
Won't it state on the lens where it is made ?

Ask Eldar or Edward or Winnie the Pooh to look
Good point. It says Made in Japan.
Title: Re: Review: Zeiss Otus 55mm f/1.4 Distagon T*
Post by: Sporgon on February 27, 2014, 01:34:23 PM
Won't it state on the lens where it is made ?

Ask Eldar or Edward or Winnie the Pooh to look
Good point. It says Made in Japan.

That probably means it's made by Cosina to Zeiss standards. Not that it makes any difference. I'm more than happy with the quality of items made in Japan.
Title: Re: Review: Zeiss Otus 55mm f/1.4 Distagon T*
Post by: Rick on February 27, 2014, 02:07:46 PM
I haven't purchased this lens since I am not interested in this FL, but, when Zeiss releases the Otus 21 or 25mm, I'll be all over it if it stacks up to the 55.

From the perspective of someone who is interested in the Otus concept but doesn't have the personal experience with one yet (and I'll defer to those who actually own one), the main draw to the product is its sharpness across the frame @f1.4. I see no reason why an Otus (assuming identical optical goals for all future FLs in this series) can't be used at f1.4 on a landscape with infinity distance across the frame and get acceptably sharp corners (judging from samples distributed by Zeiss). Even if one had to stop all the way down to f2  :), this will keep diffraction well at bay.

OTOH, @f5.6, if one wants to save $1k, an A7r with an FE 55mm ($3k), appears sharper than the Otus/D800 according to a comparison tool over at DPR (I think they got the raw numbers from DxO).
Title: Re: Review: Zeiss Otus 55mm f/1.4 Distagon T*
Post by: Rudeofus on February 27, 2014, 04:37:37 PM
The Otus shows impressive numbers, and thanks to Radiating's explanation we can now understand why. Apparently this comes not just from improved manufacturing, but from a revolutionary new design that allows lots of extra optimizations. It does make me wonder, though, what Zeiss might have up their sleeve with future Otus lenses at shorter focal lengths. Most/all other 24s and 35s are already retro focal design, so Zeiss can't pull that trick here any more. And an Otus 35 that does not beat all other lenses in that range by a margin would rather tarnish the name that has just been so carefully built up by this new 55.
Title: Re: Review: Zeiss Otus 55mm f/1.4 Distagon T*
Post by: mackguyver on February 27, 2014, 04:43:52 PM
The Otus shows impressive numbers, and thanks to Radiating's explanation we can now understand why. Apparently this comes not just from improved manufacturing, but from a revolutionary new design that allows lots of extra optimizations. It does make me wonder, though, what Zeiss might have up their sleeve with future Otus lenses at shorter focal lengths. Most/all other 24s and 35s are already retro focal design, so Zeiss can't pull that trick here any more. And an Otus 35 that does not beat all other lenses in that range by a margin would rather tarnish the name that has just been so carefully built up by this new 55.
Take a look at the wide open performance of the 35 1.4L or the 24 1.4L II and you'll notice lots of halation (softness) and some purple fringing. While both lenses are excellent, especially stopped down, compare that the Otus 55, and you'll see that there's plenty of room for improvement.

http://www.the-digital-picture.com/Reviews/ISO-12233-Sample-Crops.aspx?Lens=121&Sample=0&FLI=0&API=0&LensComp=917&CameraComp=453&SampleComp=0&FLIComp=0&APIComp=0 (http://www.the-digital-picture.com/Reviews/ISO-12233-Sample-Crops.aspx?Lens=121&Sample=0&FLI=0&API=0&LensComp=917&CameraComp=453&SampleComp=0&FLIComp=0&APIComp=0)

http://www.the-digital-picture.com/Reviews/ISO-12233-Sample-Crops.aspx?Lens=480&Camera=453&Sample=0&FLI=0&API=5&LensComp=917&CameraComp=453&SampleComp=0&FLIComp=0&APIComp=0 (http://www.the-digital-picture.com/Reviews/ISO-12233-Sample-Crops.aspx?Lens=480&Camera=453&Sample=0&FLI=0&API=5&LensComp=917&CameraComp=453&SampleComp=0&FLIComp=0&APIComp=0)
Title: Re: Review: Zeiss Otus 55mm f/1.4 Distagon T*
Post by: Radiating on February 27, 2014, 07:51:08 PM
The Otus shows impressive numbers, and thanks to Radiating's explanation we can now understand why. Apparently this comes not just from improved manufacturing, but from a revolutionary new design that allows lots of extra optimizations. It does make me wonder, though, what Zeiss might have up their sleeve with future Otus lenses at shorter focal lengths. Most/all other 24s and 35s are already retro focal design, so Zeiss can't pull that trick here any more. And an Otus 35 that does not beat all other lenses in that range by a margin would rather tarnish the name that has just been so carefully built up by this new 55.
Take a look at the wide open performance of the 35 1.4L or the 24 1.4L II and you'll notice lots of halation (softness) and some purple fringing. While both lenses are excellent, especially stopped down, compare that the Otus 55, and you'll see that there's plenty of room for improvement.

http://www.the-digital-picture.com/Reviews/ISO-12233-Sample-Crops.aspx?Lens=121&Sample=0&FLI=0&API=0&LensComp=917&CameraComp=453&SampleComp=0&FLIComp=0&APIComp=0 (http://www.the-digital-picture.com/Reviews/ISO-12233-Sample-Crops.aspx?Lens=121&Sample=0&FLI=0&API=0&LensComp=917&CameraComp=453&SampleComp=0&FLIComp=0&APIComp=0)

http://www.the-digital-picture.com/Reviews/ISO-12233-Sample-Crops.aspx?Lens=480&Camera=453&Sample=0&FLI=0&API=5&LensComp=917&CameraComp=453&SampleComp=0&FLIComp=0&APIComp=0 (http://www.the-digital-picture.com/Reviews/ISO-12233-Sample-Crops.aspx?Lens=480&Camera=453&Sample=0&FLI=0&API=5&LensComp=917&CameraComp=453&SampleComp=0&FLIComp=0&APIComp=0)

The Otus shows impressive numbers, and thanks to Radiating's explanation we can now understand why. Apparently this comes not just from improved manufacturing, but from a revolutionary new design that allows lots of extra optimizations. It does make me wonder, though, what Zeiss might have up their sleeve with future Otus lenses at shorter focal lengths. Most/all other 24s and 35s are already retro focal design, so Zeiss can't pull that trick here any more. And an Otus 35 that does not beat all other lenses in that range by a margin would rather tarnish the name that has just been so carefully built up by this new 55.

With regard to lenses like an Otus 35mm there is little room for significant improvement compared to say the best in class Sigma 35mm. Zeiss could easily push resolution 15% higher, but the main flaws in the Sigma are purple fringing and distortion, so I can see a very attractive 35mm 1.4 Otus, with 15% better resolution APO and low distortion. Zeiss has stated their intent to make a 35mm &. 85mm Otus. The Nikon and Sigma 85's are the best right now and their resolution could easily be pushed 20%. Purple fringing is a huge issue with then too so you can expect that fixed along with a resolution bump.

I don't see a 24mm Otus coming along though.

 (http://www.canon.com/camera-museum/camera/lens/ef/data/wide/diagram/ef24_14lii_usm_bd.gif)

There's basically enough room in most 24mm 1.4 designs for the focusing group to move and that's it. You'd be hard pressed to slide a sheet of paper through the optical path.
Title: Re: Review: Zeiss Otus 55mm f/1.4 Distagon T*
Post by: justaCanonuser on February 28, 2014, 03:08:40 AM
Won't it state on the lens where it is made ?

Ask Eldar or Edward or Winnie the Pooh to look
Good point. It says Made in Japan.

Typical Zeiss nowadays, design here in Germany, production in Japan (Cosina). My Zeiss glass (not an Otus) is "Made in Japan", too. Well, "Made in Japan" isn't really bad, isn't it?
Title: Re: Review: Zeiss Otus 55mm f/1.4 Distagon T*
Post by: Eldar on February 28, 2014, 03:16:45 AM
Won't it state on the lens where it is made ?

Ask Eldar or Edward or Winnie the Pooh to look
Good point. It says Made in Japan.

Typical Zeiss nowadays, design here in Germany, production in Japan (Cosina). My Zeiss glass (not an Otus) is "Made in Japan", too. Well, "Made in Japan" isn't really bad, isn't it?
Made in Japan is excellent! (Especially the 1972 Deep Purple live album ;))
Title: Re: Review: Zeiss Otus 55mm f/1.4 Distagon T*
Post by: Eldar on February 28, 2014, 04:16:23 AM
To my question to Zeiss regarding the production location, I have received the following answer:

Dear Eldar,

Thank you for your inquiry and interest in our products. We are very happy to hear that you are impressed with our Otus.

It is made in Japan but in the globalised world of today it is practically insignificant where a product has been manufactured. A manufacturer is always weighing up various factors like production capacities, supplier situation, main markets and cost structures before he chooses the production location.

No matter where a lens has been manufactured: Every customer can be sure that it was manufactured according to the exact same specifications, quality and materials as if the same products was manufactured here in our factory in Germany.
All ZEISS lenses are surveyed and calibrated to 100% with our own measuring devices during the production and manufactured according to the determined tollerances which are exact and very strict.

Please come back to us should you have further questions. Always glad to help.

Best regards,
Filomena

Carl Zeiss AG
Camera Lens Division
Kundencenter / Customer Care Center / PHO-VC
Kundensupport / Customer Support
Title: Re: Review: Zeiss Otus 55mm f/1.4 Distagon T*
Post by: Eldar on February 28, 2014, 04:52:27 AM
A couple of questions to those of you with the Sony A7R:
- How happy are you with the EVF and how does it work with manual focus lenses?
- Is it better, worse or same-same as an OVF?
- Are you sufficiently happy with it to recommend it as a special purpose body for the Otus?
Title: Re: Review: Zeiss Otus 55mm f/1.4 Distagon T*
Post by: Rudeofus on February 28, 2014, 11:50:59 AM
With regard to lenses like an Otus 35mm there is little room for significant improvement compared to say the best in class Sigma 35mm. Zeiss could easily push resolution 15% higher, but the main flaws in the Sigma are purple fringing and distortion, so I can see a very attractive 35mm 1.4 Otus, with 15% better resolution APO and low distortion. Zeiss has stated their intent to make a 35mm &. 85mm Otus. The Nikon and Sigma 85's are the best right now and their resolution could easily be pushed 20%. Purple fringing is a huge issue with then too so you can expect that fixed along with a resolution bump.

I don't see a 24mm Otus coming along though.

 (http://www.canon.com/camera-museum/camera/lens/ef/data/wide/diagram/ef24_14lii_usm_bd.gif)

There's basically enough room in most 24mm 1.4 designs for the focusing group to move and that's it. You'd be hard pressed to slide a sheet of paper through the optical path.


Thanks, Radiating, that confirms my (uneducated) opinion: Otus 35 and 85 will be better than currently offered 35&85 lenses, but not game changers like Otus 50.
Title: Re: Review: Zeiss Otus 55mm f/1.4 Distagon T*
Post by: Mr Bean on March 01, 2014, 05:31:08 PM
Won't it state on the lens where it is made ?

Ask Eldar or Edward or Winnie the Pooh to look
Good point. It says Made in Japan.

Typical Zeiss nowadays, design here in Germany, production in Japan (Cosina). My Zeiss glass (not an Otus) is "Made in Japan", too. Well, "Made in Japan" isn't really bad, isn't it?
Made in Japan is excellent! (Especially the 1972 Deep Purple live album ;))
LOL  +100  :)
Title: Re: Review: Zeiss Otus 55mm f/1.4 Distagon T*
Post by: eml58 on March 01, 2014, 08:16:27 PM
Won't it state on the lens where it is made ?

Ask Eldar or Edward or Winnie the Pooh to look

What a smart wee chap you are Sporgon, hadn't thought to look at mine, but there it is.

The "Made in Germany" is the B + W Pro clear filter.

The rest is "Made in Japan"
Title: Re: Review: Zeiss Otus 55mm f/1.4 Distagon T*
Post by: eml58 on March 01, 2014, 08:37:07 PM
A couple of questions to those of you with the Sony A7R:
- How happy are you with the EVF and how does it work with manual focus lenses?
- Is it better, worse or same-same as an OVF?
- Are you sufficiently happy with it to recommend it as a special purpose body for the Otus?

Mmmm, it's a slightly mixed bag to date, but in fairness to the a7r I've not had the conditions to put it fully to a test, my comments to date would be.

Completely brilliant size/weight/look & layout (none of which count when it comes to IQ, but helps the general feel).

I'm not so keen on the EVF arrangement, but as I use the a7r more I'm beginning to like it more, it's the very first EVF camera I've used.

I like the EVF for it's quite clear rendition of what your shooting, but it's not as good as say the 1Dx OVF.

I like very much the EVF ability to zoom without having to go to the back LCD and live view.

I like the "focus peaking".

(these last couple of points absolutely help with manual Focus)

I don't like the "Lag" you get between shutter actuations, there's a definite point after tripping the shutter where the view in the EVF Stalls for a second, before you once again get your live image back, that's a huge PIA and in itself makes the Camera almost useless for Fast Action Imaging.

The Sensor is what should have been in the 5DMK III, this is a superb sensor, 36MP of brilliance, I won't go into the DR question I'll likely get burned, enough to say side by side with the 5DMK III on IQ, just IQ, the sensor in the a7r outshines the 5DMK III (I'm sorry Guys, but it's just one man's humble opinion, this doesn't make the a7r better than the 5DMK III, it isn't, but the a7r has a better sensor, unfortunately it's also a large part of why your limited to 4 fps, Oh to have your cake and be able to eat it as well).

4 fps, is fine for most things except fast action, wildlife, sports etc, for Portraits, street photography, landscape, the a7r is in it's element.

On lenses, I have the metabones Canon Mount adaptor to use my Canon Lenses.

To date I've tried both the 17 & 24 TSE Lenses, both work exceptionally well, detail is excellent.

I've of course tried the Otus on the a7r, again works flawlessly.

I bought the a7r with the Zeiss 35, great combo for general Photography, I did order the Zeiss 55 but cancelled until I had some time to read reports on it, seems it also is a very good lens.

If there's a single serious failure here it's Sony's lacklustre ability to have serious set of lenses available at launch, it's somewhat off set by the ability to use pretty well any other Lens ever made, but there will be a slight loss I'm sure when using an adaptor, I haven't really seen it yet, but I imagine if you look close enough it'll be there.

So, not an in depth review of course, more a list of my impressions to date, I like the Camera, I'll certainly continue to use it, and I seem to be reaching more for the a7r now than I do for the 5DMK III, I have an underwater housing ordered for the a7r and once Zeiss release a Macro lens  & 15mm WA for this Body this will become my go to UW rig, currently it's the 5DMK III.

I'm heading next week to Sumatra for the Bull Run at Pacu Jawa, the a7r will not be coming (4fps won't cut it), that will be a 1Dx + 200-400 event, with the 5DMK III as a back up (1/2 my gear is in Australia as I'm moving back to Aus permanently in June this year after 28 years living in Jakarta & Singapore).

I bought the a7r primarily because of the Sensor, and the small footprint, and I'm very happy to date. I'm not sure I'de buy it for use with a single lens.

Once Canon bring in their High MP Body (this Century I hope) then with the exception of UW Photography (where the a7r has a size advantage), I hazard a guess I'll opt for the Canon Body & hope it comes in a 1D body rather than the D800 style of body.
Title: Re: Review: Zeiss Otus 55mm f/1.4 Distagon T*
Post by: eml58 on March 02, 2014, 02:40:33 AM
Worth a Look, Couple of very well done Videos shot with the Otus & 1Dc
4k Blackmagic Production Camera - Brighton on Vimeo (http://vimeo.com/86848769)
Title: Re: Review: Zeiss Otus 55mm f/1.4 Distagon T*
Post by: leGreve on March 02, 2014, 03:28:21 AM
You might as well check out the group I made with Otus videos and will continue to add to as people upload videos with otus lenses

https://vimeo.com/groups/229279

Title: Re: Review: Zeiss Otus 55mm f/1.4 Distagon T*
Post by: Eldar on March 02, 2014, 03:41:58 AM
A couple of questions to those of you with the Sony A7R:
- How happy are you with the EVF and how does it work with manual focus lenses?
- Is it better, worse or same-same as an OVF?
- Are you sufficiently happy with it to recommend it as a special purpose body for the Otus?

Mmmm, it's a slightly mixed bag to date, but in fairness to the a7r I've not had the conditions to put it fully to a test, my comments to date would be.

Completely brilliant size/weight/look & layout (none of which count when it comes to IQ, but helps the general feel).

I'm not so keen on the EVF arrangement, but as I use the a7r more I'm beginning to like it more, it's the very first EVF camera I've used.

I like the EVF for it's quite clear rendition of what your shooting, but it's not as good as say the 1Dx OVF.

I like very much the EVF ability to zoom without having to go to the back LCD and live view.

I like the "focus peaking".

(these last couple of points absolutely help with manual Focus)

I don't like the "Lag" you get between shutter actuations, there's a definite point after tripping the shutter where the view in the EVF Stalls for a second, before you once again get your live image back, that's a huge PIA and in itself makes the Camera almost useless for Fast Action Imaging.

The Sensor is what should have been in the 5DMK III, this is a superb sensor, 36MP of brilliance, I won't go into the DR question I'll likely get burned, enough to say side by side with the 5DMK III on IQ, just IQ, the sensor in the a7r outshines the 5DMK III (I'm sorry Guys, but it's just one man's humble opinion, this doesn't make the a7r better than the 5DMK III, it isn't, but the a7r has a better sensor, unfortunately it's also a large part of why your limited to 4 fps, Oh to have your cake and be able to eat it as well).

4 fps, is fine for most things except fast action, wildlife, sports etc, for Portraits, street photography, landscape, the a7r is in it's element.

On lenses, I have the metabones Canon Mount adaptor to use my Canon Lenses.

To date I've tried both the 17 & 24 TSE Lenses, both work exceptionally well, detail is excellent.

I've of course tried the Otus on the a7r, again works flawlessly.

I bought the a7r with the Zeiss 35, great combo for general Photography, I did order the Zeiss 55 but cancelled until I had some time to read reports on it, seems it also is a very good lens.

If there's a single serious failure here it's Sony's lacklustre ability to have serious set of lenses available at launch, it's somewhat off set by the ability to use pretty well any other Lens ever made, but there will be a slight loss I'm sure when using an adaptor, I haven't really seen it yet, but I imagine if you look close enough it'll be there.

So, not an in depth review of course, more a list of my impressions to date, I like the Camera, I'll certainly continue to use it, and I seem to be reaching more for the a7r now than I do for the 5DMK III, I have an underwater housing ordered for the a7r and once Zeiss release a Macro lens  & 15mm WA for this Body this will become my go to UW rig, currently it's the 5DMK III.

I'm heading next week to Sumatra for the Bull Run at Pacu Jawa, the a7r will not be coming (4fps won't cut it), that will be a 1Dx + 200-400 event, with the 5DMK III as a back up (1/2 my gear is in Australia as I'm moving back to Aus permanently in June this year after 28 years living in Jakarta & Singapore).

I bought the a7r primarily because of the Sensor, and the small footprint, and I'm very happy to date. I'm not sure I'de buy it for use with a single lens.

Once Canon bring in their High MP Body (this Century I hope) then with the exception of UW Photography (where the a7r has a size advantage), I hazard a guess I'll opt for the Canon Body & hope it comes in a 1D body rather than the D800 style of body.
Thanks Edward. If we don´t have more solid info of a high MP Canon body before this summer, I think I have to get one and try. It seems to me it will make manual focus a bit easier and it is also a bit tempting to try out the sensor. My use will be slow and non-action photography with the TS-E lenses and the two Zeiss lenses I have, so some of the speed issues you have will not bother me much. I am a bit puzzled over the lack of lenses for this body though and I am not overly enthusiastic over the need for the adaptor.
Title: Re: Review: Zeiss Otus 55mm f/1.4 Distagon T*
Post by: eml58 on March 02, 2014, 04:09:49 AM
Thanks Edward. If we don´t have more solid info of a high MP Canon body before this summer, I think I have to get one and try. It seems to me it will make manual focus a bit easier and it is also a bit tempting to try out the sensor. My use will be slow and non-action photography with the TS-E lenses and the two Zeiss lenses I have, so some of the speed issues you have will not bother me much. I am a bit puzzled over the lack of lenses for this body though and I am not overly enthusiastic over the need for the adaptor.

Hi Eldar, the Metabones adaptor I have is the EF-E Mount Version III, make sure if you get the Metabobes you get the version 3.

It's actually not much of a problem, as I only have Canon Mount lenses the Metabones can stay on the a7r except when I'm using the Zeiss EF 35, I have not noticed any degradation of IQ using the Metabones, but I have to assume there is a small amount.

And your right, if you keep your Imaging to slow/static action the a7r is a pretty reasonable Camera with a very good sensor, plus the cost of the a7r has made it attractive, especially now, I think the a7r can be purchased for a lot less now than when I purchased it in Late December 2013.