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Author Topic: Review: Zeiss Otus 55mm f/1.4 Distagon T*  (Read 29933 times)

Eldar

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Re: Review: Zeiss Otus 55mm f/1.4 Distagon T*
« Reply #45 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??
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Re: Review: Zeiss Otus 55mm f/1.4 Distagon T*
« Reply #45 on: February 27, 2014, 07:10:12 AM »

roby17269

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Re: Review: Zeiss Otus 55mm f/1.4 Distagon T*
« Reply #46 on: February 27, 2014, 08:05:44 AM »
I want one  :D
Too expensive though  :'(
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Eldar

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Re: Review: Zeiss Otus 55mm f/1.4 Distagon T*
« Reply #47 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 ...
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neuroanatomist

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Re: Review: Zeiss Otus 55mm f/1.4 Distagon T*
« Reply #48 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).
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Eldar

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Re: Review: Zeiss Otus 55mm f/1.4 Distagon T*
« Reply #49 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.
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mackguyver

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Re: Review: Zeiss Otus 55mm f/1.4 Distagon T*
« Reply #50 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
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Radiating

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Re: Review: Zeiss Otus 55mm f/1.4 Distagon T*
« Reply #51 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.
« Last Edit: February 27, 2014, 12:09:06 PM by Radiating »

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Re: Review: Zeiss Otus 55mm f/1.4 Distagon T*
« Reply #51 on: February 27, 2014, 12:03:33 PM »

mackguyver

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Re: Review: Zeiss Otus 55mm f/1.4 Distagon T*
« Reply #52 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.
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Sporgon

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Re: Review: Zeiss Otus 55mm f/1.4 Distagon T*
« Reply #53 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

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.

Sporgon

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Re: Review: Zeiss Otus 55mm f/1.4 Distagon T*
« Reply #54 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

mackguyver

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

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.
CPS Score: 111 points, those 0 and 1 point items really add up

Eldar

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Re: Review: Zeiss Otus 55mm f/1.4 Distagon T*
« Reply #56 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.
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Sporgon

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Re: Review: Zeiss Otus 55mm f/1.4 Distagon T*
« Reply #57 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.

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Re: Review: Zeiss Otus 55mm f/1.4 Distagon T*
« Reply #57 on: February 27, 2014, 01:34:23 PM »

Rick

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Re: Review: Zeiss Otus 55mm f/1.4 Distagon T*
« Reply #58 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).

Rudeofus

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Re: Review: Zeiss Otus 55mm f/1.4 Distagon T*
« Reply #59 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.

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Re: Review: Zeiss Otus 55mm f/1.4 Distagon T*
« Reply #59 on: February 27, 2014, 04:37:37 PM »