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Zeiss Otus 55mm F1.4 lens test


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#1 dave's clichés

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Posted 19 November 2013 - 10:23 AM

Hi guys,

             The review is out of the new Zeiss Otus 55mm F1.4 APO prime lens, they claim that "the lens is sharp fully open and that  the photographer now can concentrate on depth of field without the constraints and limitations of resolution at large apertures".

   Is it as good as Zeiss claims?  Is it near perfect?

 

http://www.lenstip.c...ens_review.html

 

 

     



#2 Brightcolours

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Posted 19 November 2013 - 11:30 AM

I think what Zeiss mostly claims is nice bokeh and very low optical aberrations. It seems as good as Zeiss says it is.



#3 you2

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Posted 19 November 2013 - 03:19 PM

It wins in just about every category - very solid flare resistance; apo; sharp wide open and stopped down and fantastic bokeh.

-

I wonder if the astro folks will snap this lens up for night photos (low coma). Hum. Sadly it is just too heavy so it is a dud :)



#4 joachim

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Posted 19 November 2013 - 05:50 PM

Oh well - many of their samples have focussing issues.  In particular those of the woman in the black-n-white coat.  Why getting worked up on a few lppm when you loose it all due to out-of-focus ...


enjoy

#5 Brightcolours

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Posted 19 November 2013 - 07:35 PM

Oh well - many of their samples have focussing issues.  In particular those of the woman in the black-n-white coat.  Why getting worked up on a few lppm when you loose it all due to out-of-focus ...

You hardly can blame a lens for a photographer's mistakes!  :blink:



#6 JoJu

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Posted 19 November 2013 - 10:24 PM

If those sample would be a base to decide, not many would buy this lens. Nice bokeh, but so far I haven't seen one picture being in focus. We're used to adjust the AF and then we're done and can set proper focus even out of center. So, what good would be a screen with a center focus help for shooting wide open and/or moving objects? This lens is challenging all AF users or readjusting them to shoot stable immobile objects with tripod and LiveView.

 

Who needs a fast lens? What to do with it in dark conditions? Concerts? Ballets? Theatre? My purse just regained breath  :rolleyes: no danger to buy it.


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#7 thxbb12

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Posted 19 November 2013 - 11:42 PM

Oh well - many of their samples have focussing issues.  In particular those of the woman in the black-n-white coat.  Why getting worked up on a few lppm when you loose it all due to out-of-focus ...

 

Very true. In my DSLR days I kept being frustrated with AF unreliability. What's the point of having high resolution sensors using a f/1.4 or f/1.8 lens if the image is rarely 100% in focus? You may as well throw 50% of the pixels away. This is exactly why I fully switched to MFT and I know that whathever I shoot at will be fully in focus (wide-open or not, regardless of the focal length). I enjoy photography much more since.


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#8 popo

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Posted 20 November 2013 - 12:35 AM

No one said this lens will be everything to everyone.

 

As a playing around exercise, I had some decent MF success (>50% focus hit rate) with 50mm f/1.2 with an ebay split prism focus screen in a 5D2, and it can only improve with practice. Then again, it isn't my need to shoot that way. I'd rather live view which is more accurate than any AF system. I'm more a still life shooter in that respect, and focus time is irrelevant compared to the rest of the shot set up time.

 

you2 mentioned astro, I was also wondering the same. It would be classified as wide field so not the most common use unless you wanted whole constellations in one go (50mm would get the body of Orion on APS-C in one shot). For me, longer focal lengths are where is gets more interesting. If they did a 135 f/2 or 200mm f/2.8 version of this, I'd be much more interested. I wouldn't say no to faster, but the price would be rather astronomical by that point.

 

Hmm... I wonder who's going to be the first to try the Zeiss in IR? On that note, similar money could get you the Coastal Optics 60mm f/4 UV/IR/macro...


dA Canon 7D2, 7D, 5D2, 600D, 450D, 300D IR modified, 1D, EF-S 10-18, 15-85, EF 35/2, 85/1.8, 135/2, 70-300L, 100-400L, MP-E65, Zeiss 2/50, Sigma 150 macro, 120-300/2.8, Samyang 8mm fisheye, Olympus E-P1, Panasonic 20/1.7, Sony HX9V, Fuji X100.


#9 JoJu

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Posted 20 November 2013 - 07:45 AM

No one complained " this lens is not everything to everyone" ;) Especially it's not dedicated to IR or Astro or whatever purpose the coastal optics was made for - it's just "normal photographic purposes".

And putting in perspective, Zeiss makes a cinematographic parfocal zoom 70-200/2.9 for nearly 20.000 $ and is able to sell it, I'm sure some photographers will enjoy it, against that zoom it appears to be bargain.

It's also a pretty cool "transform disadvantage to advantage" thing: Being not willing or not able - and hiding it behind marketing blah about superior manual focus and photographers want to decide about focus areas - to make an AF, they avoid customer complaints about "slow AF" or "less precise AF" and can always say: Look at the resolution numbers, this lens is best - if you're pics aren't, that's all your fault. :P

Now, besides LiveView which is nice for immobile objects, which chances a photog has to get all that resolution numbers out of the lens?

  • A special screen?
  • Only centerred subjects will benefit.
  • It's not easy to adjust this screen accurately to this lens - I have such a screen and the AF "does always know better" - and unfortunately is right, because I did the fine adjustment. And can't fine adjust the screen to each lens.
  • Each contemporary AF module is more sensitive than your eye if it comes to operating in dark conditions. That lens would be fast enough for dark conditions - unfortunately my abilities to focus it won't be. Yours?
  • The focus help (that's the term for Nikon, don't know about Canon), which are three tiny lights left lower side in the finder?
  • The AF point could be chosen out of all you see in finder. 39 or 51 focuspoints, isn't that enough?
  • I would have to observe, if the desired object still is covered by the focus points (when not using a tripod or the subject is moving and therefore not cooperating). And my hand is no tripod.
  • At the same time I had to watch the flickering LEDs in the lower left side. All with the same eye... It gives me a headache only thinking about :blink:. Why wasn't it possible to let the focus point itself switch from red to green, because I'm already staring at it?
  • The focus help must be adjusted, like all the other lenses must be fine-tuned. It's comparatively easy to let the AF work and just push the button, then see what happened on a big screen while shooting tethered.
  • The AF is fast setting the focus. I'm not. Turning the focus ring slowly will vary accuracy of the AF-module.
  • I learnt with the Sigma dock, the fine-tuning is valid for just one distance between camera and subject. On another distance, it's possible that another finetune-setting would be better.

So, if one can't or doesn't want to use LiveView for each picture, he/she will have serial serious disappointments with a high price lens. But of course, one can get better pictures than the lenstip-guy. On flickr there are outstanding shots: http://www.flickr.co...in/photostream/ , as well portraits. Of professional models, used to hold an interesting pose until the photog finished focussing. Not much of those to be seen on the streets, though :(

The next question is what would make any other manufacturer with the money his designers are allowed to burn for a "normal" prime lens. Some of them would even offer AF or manual focus B) how cool's that?



#10 Brightcolours

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Posted 20 November 2013 - 10:11 AM

If those sample would be a base to decide, not many would buy this lens.

It is not a lens for many. It is a lens for professional artists who know the value of this lens for their work.

Nice bokeh, but so far I haven't seen one picture being in focus. We're used to adjust the AF

Adjust the AF?

and then we're done and can set proper focus even out of center. So, what good would be a screen with a center focus help for shooting wide open and/or moving objects?

Obviously this lens is not designed to be used as sports lens. Come on. If you can't figure out which kind of photographer this lens is for, then it certainly is not a lens for you. Does not mean that others don't know what it is for.

This lens is challenging all AF users or readjusting them to shoot stable immobile objects with tripod and LiveView.

This lens is NOT for the hobby-ing snap shooter. It is for serious photographers/artists who understand its value. Not a lens for the masses.

Who needs a fast lens? What to do with it in dark conditions?

Aperture is for DOF control. Exposure time and ISO are for exposure duration control.

Concerts? Ballets? Theatre? My purse just regained breath  :rolleyes: no danger to buy it.

If you can't figure out what this lens is good for, it is not a lens for you. As so many lenses are not for you. Does not mean it is not a lens for others.... 



#11 Brightcolours

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Posted 20 November 2013 - 10:12 AM

Very true. In my DSLR days I kept being frustrated with AF unreliability. What's the point of having high resolution sensors using a f/1.4 or f/1.8 lens if the image is rarely 100% in focus? You may as well throw 50% of the pixels away. This is exactly why I fully switched to MFT and I know that whathever I shoot at will be fully in focus (wide-open or not, regardless of the focal length). I enjoy photography much more since.

The lens in question is an MF lens. 



#12 Brightcolours

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Posted 20 November 2013 - 10:17 AM

Popo, last week I put an Eg-S screen in my 6D. Will be trying it out with my 55mm f1.2 (among others).



#13 dave's clichés

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Posted 20 November 2013 - 10:43 AM

Some comments,

                            Yes manual lenses are difficult to focus,especial with moving subjects and Yes AF would be so good for this lens, can Zeiss resist with it's no AF policy?, sooner or later they will have to put it on their lenses!    LV is one answer with focus peaking but it's still a problem with moving subjects. I use MF with peaking and I like it a whole bunch but it's very limiting. 

  LensTip photos always look soft, they proudly announce that they use no sharpning and the net result is they publish soft photos, a little bit of sharpening helps show if a lens is sharp (an almost sharp image will not respond well to sharpening whereas a sharp shot will crackle). Strange policy from Lenstip as all their photos look similar.

    Apart from the corners on FF fully open it seems "the" winner, and the comparisons to the Leica at the same price show how it's in a different league. 

    Finally after seeing some of the responses  it's had  almost as many criticisms as praise, which seems strange as it is the best standard FF F1.4 ever made available to the general public.

 

  PS The bokeh is priceless!



#14 soLong

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Posted 20 November 2013 - 10:55 AM

....well i like the pictures i've seen from it, so there's a plus for this page....and, it's odd they do AF for Sony but for no one else, i wonder if it's a contractual thing....anyway it is too many $$ for me....so, it's a look but don't touch....rent maybe....


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#15 JoJu

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Posted 20 November 2013 - 12:59 PM

Brightcolours, if you don't understand my post, it's because it was not written for you. :P

#16 you2

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Posted 20 November 2013 - 01:40 PM

Manual focus can be tricky (without live view) but some of the newer camers with EVF have nice manual focus assist features. A few have focus peaking (sony) and poor focus peaking (olympus) and even digital split screen (fuji x-e2) and all of them have magnify option in the view finder. While EVF is not for everyone; they do have a few advantages.... (esp in very dark rooms).



#17 felix

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Posted 20 November 2013 - 03:44 PM

You hardly can blame a lens for a photographer's mistakes!  :blink:

 

+1

 

Also, it was stated by Zeiss representatives that this lens, in combination with a high-resolution DSLR like the D800E, is meant to compete with medium format cameras (in terms of resolving power). Thus, it is meant mainly for studio-work and landscape photography where manual focus is less of an issue. 

 

I would really like to see some landscape-images taken with the D800E & Otus vs. some taken with a Hasselblad H5D40 & its 80/2.8.



#18 JoJu

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Posted 20 November 2013 - 06:37 PM

PhaseOne has the better backs. Pros are changing Hasselblad against Phase One for various reasons (not the least is, Phase One offers packages to tempt them). Also, while a D800E is "the only camera" for that Otus and both are together less than 8000$, the medium format plays in a different league - and it's not resolution what matters first.

 

you2, it's nice you list a ll the bodies with focus peaking, EVF and whatever. I hope you realized none of them comes close to a D800E in terms of resolution and dynamic range. Or a Canon, but those have max. 22 MP - that's just about the only mounts the Otus is currently offered.



#19 you2

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Posted 20 November 2013 - 08:13 PM

Actually the sony a7r comes very close to the D800E.....



#20 Brightcolours

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Posted 20 November 2013 - 09:11 PM

PhaseOne has the better backs. Pros are changing Hasselblad against Phase One for various reasons (not the least is, Phase One offers packages to tempt them). Also, while a D800E is "the only camera" for that Otus

That is of course silly to say. The Zeiss 55mm f1.4 will be also a great lens on a 1D-X, a 5D mk II/III, or even a 6D. Or a D600, or a D4.

and both are together less than 8000$, the medium format plays in a different league - and it's not resolution what matters first.

 

you2, it's nice you list a ll the bodies with focus peaking, EVF and whatever. I hope you realized none of them comes close to a D800E in terms of resolution and dynamic range. Or a Canon, but those have max. 22 MP - that's just about the only mounts the Otus is currently offered.






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