September 02, 2014, 06:25:00 PM

Author Topic: Review: Zeiss Otus 55mm f/1.4 Distagon T*  (Read 8135 times)

Radiating

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Re: Review: Zeiss Otus 55mm f/1.4 Distagon T*
« Reply #60 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=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.

 

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.
« Last Edit: February 27, 2014, 09:46:26 PM by Radiating »

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Re: Review: Zeiss Otus 55mm f/1.4 Distagon T*
« Reply #60 on: February 27, 2014, 07:51:08 PM »

justaCanonuser

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Re: Review: Zeiss Otus 55mm f/1.4 Distagon T*
« Reply #61 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?
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Eldar

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Re: Review: Zeiss Otus 55mm f/1.4 Distagon T*
« Reply #62 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 ;))
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Eldar

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Re: Review: Zeiss Otus 55mm f/1.4 Distagon T*
« Reply #63 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
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Eldar

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Re: Review: Zeiss Otus 55mm f/1.4 Distagon T*
« Reply #64 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?
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Rudeofus

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Re: Review: Zeiss Otus 55mm f/1.4 Distagon T*
« Reply #65 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.

 

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.

Mr Bean

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Re: Review: Zeiss Otus 55mm f/1.4 Distagon T*
« Reply #66 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  :)
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Re: Review: Zeiss Otus 55mm f/1.4 Distagon T*
« Reply #66 on: March 01, 2014, 05:31:08 PM »

eml58

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Re: Review: Zeiss Otus 55mm f/1.4 Distagon T*
« Reply #67 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"
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eml58

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Re: Review: Zeiss Otus 55mm f/1.4 Distagon T*
« Reply #68 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.
« Last Edit: March 02, 2014, 02:21:21 AM by eml58 »
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eml58

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Re: Review: Zeiss Otus 55mm f/1.4 Distagon T*
« Reply #69 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
« Last Edit: March 02, 2014, 02:50:53 AM by eml58 »
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leGreve

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Re: Review: Zeiss Otus 55mm f/1.4 Distagon T*
« Reply #70 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

5D III -  Zeiss Otus 55mm 1.4 ~ 24-70 2.8L II ~ 70-200 2.8L II IS USM ~ 100 2.8L IS USM Macro ~ 16-35 2.8L II ~ Canon Extender 2x III

Eldar

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Re: Review: Zeiss Otus 55mm f/1.4 Distagon T*
« Reply #71 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.
5DIII, 1DX, 8-15/4L, 16-35 f4L IS, 24-70/2.8L II, 70-200/2.8L IS II, 70-300/4-5.6L IS, 200-400/4L IS 1.4x, Zeiss 15/2.8, 17/4L TS-E, Zeiss 21/2.8, 24/3.5L TS-E II, Sigma 35/1.4 Art, Zeiss Otus 55/1.4, 85/1.2L II, 100/2.8L IS Macro, Zeiss 135/2, 600/4L IS II

eml58

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Re: Review: Zeiss Otus 55mm f/1.4 Distagon T*
« Reply #72 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.
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Re: Review: Zeiss Otus 55mm f/1.4 Distagon T*
« Reply #72 on: March 02, 2014, 04:09:49 AM »