November 26, 2014, 01:33:21 AM

Author Topic: Review: Zeiss Otus 55mm f/1.4 Distagon T*  (Read 9347 times)

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Review: Zeiss Otus 55mm f/1.4 Distagon T*
« 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


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Review: Zeiss Otus 55mm f/1.4 Distagon T*
« on: February 25, 2014, 04:03:08 PM »

ahsanford

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Re: Review: Zeiss Otus 55mm f/1.4 Distagon T*
« Reply #1 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

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

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


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

ahsanford

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Re: Review: Zeiss Otus 55mm f/1.4 Distagon T*
« Reply #2 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.

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Re: Review: Zeiss Otus 55mm f/1.4 Distagon T*
« Reply #3 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

Etienne

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Re: Review: Zeiss Otus 55mm f/1.4 Distagon T*
« Reply #4 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.

ahsanford

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Re: Review: Zeiss Otus 55mm f/1.4 Distagon T*
« Reply #5 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

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Re: Review: Zeiss Otus 55mm f/1.4 Distagon T*
« Reply #6 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.

Walter: Were you listening to The Dude's story? Donny: I was bowling. Walter: So you have no frame of reference here, Donny. You're like a child who wanders into the middle of a movie and wants to know...

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Re: Review: Zeiss Otus 55mm f/1.4 Distagon T*
« Reply #6 on: February 25, 2014, 06:23:55 PM »

Mr Bean

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Re: Review: Zeiss Otus 55mm f/1.4 Distagon T*
« Reply #7 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.
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neal1029

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Re: Review: Zeiss Otus 55mm f/1.4 Distagon T*
« Reply #8 on: February 25, 2014, 08:24:44 PM »
Ugly and expensive...... just like the ex wife.

dickgrafixstop

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Re: Review: Zeiss Otus 55mm f/1.4 Distagon T*
« Reply #9 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.

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Re: Review: Zeiss Otus 55mm f/1.4 Distagon T*
« Reply #10 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!
« Last Edit: February 25, 2014, 08:51:02 PM by RGomezPhotos »
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Re: Review: Zeiss Otus 55mm f/1.4 Distagon T*
« Reply #11 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.
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Lee Jay

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Re: Review: Zeiss Otus 55mm f/1.4 Distagon T*
« Reply #12 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.

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Re: Review: Zeiss Otus 55mm f/1.4 Distagon T*
« Reply #12 on: February 25, 2014, 09:22:54 PM »

takesome1

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Re: Review: Zeiss Otus 55mm f/1.4 Distagon T*
« Reply #13 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?

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Re: Review: Zeiss Otus 55mm f/1.4 Distagon T*
« Reply #14 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.

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Re: Review: Zeiss Otus 55mm f/1.4 Distagon T*
« Reply #14 on: February 25, 2014, 09:42:49 PM »