“Do whatever you need to,” was the response given to me by the other editors of the Phoblographer when asking about budget for the review of the Zeiss 55mm f1.4 Otus lens. When we were calling it for review, it was also decided that I’d handle it–afterall, this is probably the single most important lens that anyone has created this year (with Sigma’s 18-35mm f1.8 being a close contender.) Then you add in the fact that we only had this lens for 10 days (we usually test a lens for an entire month before publishing a review) and you’ve got one of the most challenging reviews that we’ve ever done.
When Zeiss created this lens, they decided that it shouldn’t have a single compromise on the image quality. It was also designed for high megapixel DSLRs. The image quality is reflected in the price tag–which is just under $4,000. Indeed, it isn’t a lens that we believe everyone will go out and buy.
And while our thoughts on the lens are overwhelmingly positive, we encountered a couple of situational problems that made the lens’s functionality somewhat tough at times.
Phottix introduced an Octabank earlier this year that is not only collapsible, but also fairly large at 43 inches. In the right situations, you can get some beautiful and soft light, but the overall feeling that you can get is also very punchy. And for the person interested in shooting fashion, this modifier is an invaluable and affordable piece of your kit.
We’re currently in the middle of testing the Zeiss 55mm f1.4 Otus–which can arguably be considered to be the best lens ever made. the lens is on loan to us for only a little over a week and so for the past couple of days, we’ve been booking shoots, planning coverage, and working a lot. In fact, this is the most expensive review that we’ve ever done–considering studio space, MUAs, rentals, etc.
So far–we don’t have a single complaint about the image quality. In fact, we downright love it. Our problem though is with the focusing. Zeiss has always made manual focusing lenses with the exception of their Touit glass. But in our findings so far with the Nikon D800, the focusing is often quite tough to nail at anywhere up to f5.6. Quite often, we’d place a focusing point over a subject’s eye to get it sharp. With others, we wouldn’t quite get it. In a professional workflow situation, this is quite annoying and it begins to make me wonder why Zeiss didn’t make this an autofocus lens.
However, we’ve always found Zeiss glass to focus better with Canon bodies–but at the moment there is no super high megapixel Canon DSLR. More findings will be posted in our full review. But some sample images are after the jump.
If you’re a cinematographer, Zeiss has given you another reason to drool today. While many shooters try to go for primes, they always want at least one zoom lens just in case.
Today, Zeiss has announces their new CZ.2 cinema zoom lenses meant to accompany their compact prime lenses. And so far, they’ve got a 28-80mm T2.9 and 70-200mm T2.9 cinema zoom. They will have interchangeable mounts for Canon EF, Nikon F, PL, Micro Four Thirds and Sony E Mount. Amongst this, Zeiss is also playing up the claims of no focus shift while zooming (which is a major problem) a circular shapes iris, 4K capability, full frame coverage and that they’ll be color matched to their primes.
In a test that ABELCine did though, the color of rendering seems to be different–which means that you’ll need to white balance again in the camera to ensure that your editors don’t want to slaughter you alive.
Not much else has been released on the lenses though, but we’ll be sure to update you when we have something. A sample image video and the ABELCine comparison are after the jump.
Get ready for another super expensive lens to come from Zeiss that you’ll want to drool over. With the company releasing their 55mm f1.4 Otus lens this year (and us getting some playtime already with it), they’re already in the process of creating more. The company announced on Facebook that they’d be creating an 85mm f1.4 Otus next in 2014. With all this in mind, we’re positive that the one after that will either be a 35mm f1.4 or a 24mm f1.4.
If the company is making an 85mm f1.4, then they’re obviously trying to outdo their 135mm f2, which we very much love. Despite the fact that the focal lengths are completely different, the 85mm is bound to be the single portrait lens that every high end portrait photographer may need considering all the research and development that went into the Otus 55mm lens. With all this said though, we can’t imagine photographers buying a whole set of these lenses due to cost. It just isn’t feasible for a studio. Instead, they may invest in just one. Keeping this in mind, we’re interested to see how the marketing is done for these lenses. They’re obviously the ones that everyone is going to be talking about–but no mere mortals will be able to afford.
Additionally, the only version of the lens currently available is just in Nikon mount with Canon’s coming early next year. Could this also mean that Canon may be coming out with a high megapixel body early next year?
This aside: our 55mm f1.4 Otus lens is on its way for review. And we’ve got big plans for our review.