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Author Topic: Zeiss Otus Initial Impressions  (Read 39452 times)

candc

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Re: Zeiss Otus Initial Impressions
« Reply #15 on: November 18, 2013, 07:59:25 PM »
you have to hand it to them. i am not sure what the main factor that makes a lens so sharp, contrasty and punchy is? is it the quality of the glass, coatings, optical formula, super tight tolerances? all of the above is suppose. i have seen some cutaways of zeiss lenses i am not sure even how many of those elements move but they look really complex.

whatever it is you have to give them credit whether it is something that suits your needs or not.
« Last Edit: November 18, 2013, 08:07:08 PM by candc »

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Re: Zeiss Otus Initial Impressions
« Reply #15 on: November 18, 2013, 07:59:25 PM »

ahsanford

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Re: Zeiss Otus Initial Impressions
« Reply #16 on: November 18, 2013, 08:13:13 PM »
Honest question.  I don't get why a well made lens with half dozen machine ground lenses of a particular shape and in one configuration can cost 10-20x what another well made lens with a half dozen machine ground lenses of a similar shape and configuration?  How can the shape of a lens element or the coating cost so much more to produce?  What is special about this lens that Canon, Nikon or Sigma could not reverse engineer (i.e. lens shape) and produce for $400?

I'd imagining much much much tighter component tolerancing than cheaper lenses, and a systematic elimination of assembly float / jiggle / variation (by design) would make this very difficult to reverse engineer for such a low cost.

I'm not remotely drinking the Kool Aid that this costs $4k to build, but it's also not a vanilla EF mount prime design by any stretch.  Zeiss saw an opportunity to build a premium MF prime and sell a performance message that goes hand in hand with the needs of a high MP sensor.  One might argue that a future Canon refresh to the L primes could deliver 95% of what the Otus does at a lower price, much like how Sigma scoops Canon business in some lengths today.

So the value proposition of the Otus will someday be its undoing.  But that someday is when Canon or Sigma makes something that can deliver performance that compares to what Roger and others have experienced (...with AF, weather sealing, etc.) for less -- and that may be a while.  The numbers alone for the Otus are staggeringly good so far.

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Policar

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Re: Zeiss Otus Initial Impressions
« Reply #17 on: November 18, 2013, 08:26:05 PM »
And he didn't even mention how completely free of nasty LoCA/PF it is even wide open where the other fast 50mm are riddle with purple (and green) junk.

So between the res center and corners and the above, yeah pretty impressive as expected from the early Zeiss MTF and samples.

It's funny how no one seems to mention the lens being truly apochromatic, especially when, while the added resolution and contrast might not be immediately apparent in web-sized samples, this is obvious in virtually ever sample anyone has posted. The colors look so pure and vibrant.

This lens looks AMAZING. I have no plans to buy it, but it looks like the type of thing that can set one's work apart almost instantly if used even competently, similar to the 200mm f2 L IS.

takesome1

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Re: Zeiss Otus Initial Impressions
« Reply #18 on: November 18, 2013, 08:26:15 PM »
Honest question.  I don't get why a well made lens with half dozen machine ground lenses of a particular shape and in one configuration can cost 10-20x what another well made lens with a half dozen machine ground lenses of a similar shape and configuration?  How can the shape of a lens element or the coating cost so much more to produce?  What is special about this lens that Canon, Nikon or Sigma could not reverse engineer (i.e. lens shape) and produce for $400?

Seriously Canon produces a 24-70 II for over $2,200 and people go through several copies to find a decent copy.
Do you really think they can approach the Quality Control necessary to produce a lens like this for $400??


Normalnorm

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Re: Zeiss Otus Initial Impressions
« Reply #19 on: November 18, 2013, 08:36:53 PM »
Honest question.  I don't get why a well made lens with half dozen machine ground lenses of a particular shape and in one configuration can cost 10-20x what another well made lens with a half dozen machine ground lenses of a similar shape and configuration?  How can the shape of a lens element or the coating cost so much more to produce?  What is special about this lens that Canon, Nikon or Sigma could not reverse engineer (i.e. lens shape) and produce for $400?

It is only slightly about materials and labor.
This is a prestige brand. It is the Rolex of lenses. They are thoroughly aware that the market for manual focus lenses is small so the ones on sale must either be ultra premium (Zeiss, Leica,Schneider etc) or super cheap (Samyang).
By leaving off AF they obviate the need to license, design, and test a configuration for both Nikon and Canon and the attendant support and repair expenses of all of this.
By imbuing the lens with the last bit of resolution, bokeh quality and superb build, they can maximize their profit over a small production run. By dropping the price they lose the cachet of scarcity and the mythic  legend of its alleged excellence.
Familiarity breeds contempt. Scarcity and urban legend breed awe.

Pi

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Re: Zeiss Otus Initial Impressions
« Reply #20 on: November 18, 2013, 08:38:27 PM »
Really? It is hard to make general conclusions of 4 shots, but ... (BTW, who takes a shot of dead leafs at 1/1000 sec. and ISO 800? The lowest ISO shot is at ISO 200. )

I do say impressive sharpness wide open but ... only when I pixelpeep. Without pixelpeeping, I see dull colors and contrast (well, better processing might change that), and circular bokeh. Here



you can see faint concentric circles in the bokeh - not actual circles but ones formed by the oval shaped highlights. Well, any lens cuts the highlights this way but the only examples I have seen where this is apparent is from an older Leica f/1.0 lens. The shot above is just plain ugly, sorry Roger.
« Last Edit: November 18, 2013, 08:42:52 PM by Pi »

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Re: Zeiss Otus Initial Impressions
« Reply #21 on: November 18, 2013, 09:06:22 PM »
Honest question.  I don't get why a well made lens with half dozen machine ground lenses of a particular shape and in one configuration can cost 10-20x what another well made lens with a half dozen machine ground lenses of a similar shape and configuration?  How can the shape of a lens element or the coating cost so much more to produce?  What is special about this lens that Canon, Nikon or Sigma could not reverse engineer (i.e. lens shape) and produce for $400?
What makes you think they are machine ground?  Sure, the initial blank is machine ground, but I really expect that its finished by hand.  The technicians that can do this are very few, and can only finish a few lens elements a day.  That's why they are hard to find and expensive.  The high end Canon lenses are also hand finished.  The tolerances are so tight that the lens cannot be measured directly, and uses indirect measurement to get those few millionths of a inch tolerances.
 
If they were easy to make, the Chinese would be cranking them out by the zillions, but they are extremely difficult to make.
Yes, Zeiss doubles the price just for their name, but so does Canon and Nikon. 

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Re: Zeiss Otus Initial Impressions
« Reply #21 on: November 18, 2013, 09:06:22 PM »

eml58

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Re: Zeiss Otus Initial Impressions
« Reply #22 on: November 18, 2013, 10:20:06 PM »
Honest question.  I don't get why a well made lens with half dozen machine ground lenses of a particular shape and in one configuration can cost 10-20x what another well made lens with a half dozen machine ground lenses of a similar shape and configuration?  How can the shape of a lens element or the coating cost so much more to produce?  What is special about this lens that Canon, Nikon or Sigma could not reverse engineer (i.e. lens shape) and produce for $400?

You perhaps need to compare Apples with Apples, sort of.

Canon/Nikon/Sony Lenses are comparable, some within the group are slightly better than others, all made for the mass market, with a few exceptions, Large Whites (and Nikons similar range), 50f/1.2 etc.

Zeiss lenses you might need to compare with Leica, not made for the mass market more for the Pro/serious amateur that will appreciate that 10% extra all round, IQ etc etc, and the engineered for a life time Lens.

In the Otus 55f/1.4 Category you should be perhaps trying to compare it to the Leica Summilux 50f/1.4, both are manual focus, both are engineered to last 50 years, both are USD$4K Lenses.

A couple years back I tried the Leica M9 system, the Summilux 50f/1.4 Aspherical I waited a little over a year on back order to finally get a copy, Leica sell, mostly on Back Order, every Lens they make, Zeiss have a similar problem (joking), Canon/Nikon/Sony would just love top have the same issue.

I feel this is one area where you do probably get what you pay for, I hope so, I have the Otus 55f/1.4 on order.
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anthonyd

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Re: Zeiss Otus Initial Impressions
« Reply #23 on: November 18, 2013, 11:40:40 PM »
Honest question.  I don't get why a well made lens with half dozen machine ground lenses of a particular shape and in one configuration can cost 10-20x what another well made lens with a half dozen machine ground lenses of a similar shape and configuration?  How can the shape of a lens element or the coating cost so much more to produce?  What is special about this lens that Canon, Nikon or Sigma could not reverse engineer (i.e. lens shape) and produce for $400?

What makes you think they are machine ground?  Sure, the initial blank is machine ground, but I really expect that its finished by hand.  The technicians that can do this are very few, and can only finish a few lens elements a day.  That's why they are hard to find and expensive.  The high end Canon lenses are also hand finished.  The tolerances are so tight that the lens cannot be measured directly, and uses indirect measurement to get those few millionths of a inch tolerances.


Sure, the human hand can feel tiny anomalies, or wrong curvature, beyond what a typical machine can produce.  But for a product that costs $4K and competes against products that cost $340 (canon 50mm f/1.4) I suppose they built machines and manufacturing processes that are not typical.  When it comes to millionths of an inch I would trust a (very well made and tuned) machine more than an expert technician.  You don't have hand made scramjet engines, or VLSI circuits, or MEMS. Try producing this by hand:
http://www.memx.com/
Also, there is no such thing as "the lens cannot be measured directly". We can measure down to nanometers with scanning electron microscopes and that's about 200 times finer than the smallest wavelength of visible light.

I will agree with your overall view though, that we won't see Canon/Nikon/etc making a similar lens for $400 any time soon, or the Chinese mass producing them.

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Re: Zeiss Otus Initial Impressions
« Reply #24 on: November 18, 2013, 11:49:59 PM »
Honest question.  I don't get why a well made lens with half dozen machine ground lenses of a particular shape and in one configuration can cost 10-20x what another well made lens with a half dozen machine ground lenses of a similar shape and configuration?  How can the shape of a lens element or the coating cost so much more to produce?  What is special about this lens that Canon, Nikon or Sigma could not reverse engineer (i.e. lens shape) and produce for $400?

What is so special about a $2,000,000 Bugatti Veyron that any car company could not reverse engineer and produce for $20,000?  It's just another well-made shape on 4 wheels, right?

It should seem obvious that every bit of extra performance costs something to engineer and build, from the 6 elements of special glass to every other part in the lens.  Those $400 lenses aren't built anything like this Otus lens.

mrsfotografie

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Re: Zeiss Otus Initial Impressions
« Reply #25 on: November 19, 2013, 12:45:55 AM »
Honest question.  I don't get why a well made lens with half dozen machine ground lenses of a particular shape and in one configuration can cost 10-20x what another well made lens with a half dozen machine ground lenses of a similar shape and configuration?  How can the shape of a lens element or the coating cost so much more to produce?  What is special about this lens that Canon, Nikon or Sigma could not reverse engineer (i.e. lens shape) and produce for $400?

What is so special about a $2,000,000 Bugatti Veyron that any car company could not reverse engineer and produce for $20,000?  It's just another well-made shape on 4 wheels, right?

It should seem obvious that every bit of extra performance costs something to engineer and build, from the 6 elements of special glass to every other part in the lens.  Those $400 lenses aren't built anything like this Otus lens.

Actually, it costs Bugatti’s parent company Volkswagen AG nearly $5 million to make one, but the company sells a Veyron for around $2.7 million. That’s a $2.3 million loss on each car, which doesn’t even consider the millions the company spent in car development.

I'd say that 's pretty special (IMHO this car is a showcase of the engineering power of VW).

Btw I'm willing to bet the Zeiss 55 isn't a 'Veyron' lens.
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RGF

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Re: Zeiss Otus Initial Impressions
« Reply #26 on: November 19, 2013, 01:04:16 AM »
Honest question.  I don't get why a well made lens with half dozen machine ground lenses of a particular shape and in one configuration can cost 10-20x what another well made lens with a half dozen machine ground lenses of a similar shape and configuration?  How can the shape of a lens element or the coating cost so much more to produce?  What is special about this lens that Canon, Nikon or Sigma could not reverse engineer (i.e. lens shape) and produce for $400?

Issue is not cost, but why would someone pay for it.  What does it deliver that than "regular" lens does not - beside the ego boast of having the best and most expensive lens (based upon focal length)

Viggo

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Re: Zeiss Otus Initial Impressions
« Reply #27 on: November 19, 2013, 03:28:25 AM »
Sorry but the world's best DSLR lens would have AF....

Although I love my AF more than anyone, I have never experienced a MF lens jump to background or hunt.

Sure, but you can turn AF off whenever you want to. But not having the option for AF is a negative. Remember that their "world's best" claim was bold, and broad, and kind of outrageous.  But the WORLD'S BEST DSLR LENS would be able to do something as simple as autofocus.  When people discutss Bower or Samyang lenses or other cheap-o brands, no one bends over backwards to dismiss the shortcoming, unless it is to say that is forgivable "for the cheap price", which does not apply here with the Zeiss.  So a great lens?  Sure.  The world's best?  That is really bold.

I don't think it's as simple as to "just put AF in there" and keep that IQ, or else Canon would have done that already, and do you think the Otus would be 4k with AF? Well, the 200 f2.0 is pretty close to a perfect lens (optically) but it's not small light and inexpensive now is it..
« Last Edit: November 19, 2013, 03:31:10 AM by Viggo »
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Re: Zeiss Otus Initial Impressions
« Reply #27 on: November 19, 2013, 03:28:25 AM »

Blackout

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Re: Zeiss Otus Initial Impressions
« Reply #28 on: November 19, 2013, 04:53:32 AM »
Honest question.  I don't get why a well made lens with half dozen machine ground lenses of a particular shape and in one configuration can cost 10-20x what another well made lens with a half dozen machine ground lenses of a similar shape and configuration?  How can the shape of a lens element or the coating cost so much more to produce?  What is special about this lens that Canon, Nikon or Sigma could not reverse engineer (i.e. lens shape) and produce for $400?


An interesting read from Lloyd Chambers here.

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Re: Zeiss Otus Initial Impressions
« Reply #29 on: November 19, 2013, 05:26:38 AM »
He won't say whether it is worth $4000 to me, but I will.

..No.
Me, neither, but if they release a 24mm, as is rumored, then I might consider it.  It would have to blow away the TS-E 24mm, though.

If you shoot 55mm all day long (think fashion or advertising pros) and do huge enlargements (think fashion or advertising pros again), I think this lens would probably be worthwhile.  For the rest of us, no.

I think the target market is not pros (who would be better served by the Canon 50L as it has AF, or a medium format system if they really need the resolution), but enthusiasts with lots of money who really need the 'best lens in the world' for their holiday snaps.
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Re: Zeiss Otus Initial Impressions
« Reply #29 on: November 19, 2013, 05:26:38 AM »