The Phoblographer’s Guide to Zeiss Milvus Lenses

If you demand the very best, and you have the money to spend, you should consider looking at Zeiss Milvus lenses.

The Zeiss name is synonymous with quality and excellence and for a good reason. Zeiss has been making some of the best glass you can get your hands on for years, and their Milvus collection of lenses is no exception to this rule. All Zeiss Milvus lenses incorporate weather sealing, amazing metal exteriors, giant rubber focusing rings, and enhanced optics that make you really feel like you’re shooting with a premium, top drawer lens. Some words that come to mind are beautiful, masterpiece, and long-lasting. We’ve reviewed every single Zeiss Milvus lens on the market, and we have put all of our real-world reviews in one easy to read guide so that you can have the information you need at your fingertips. Join us after the break to see all of the reviews.

If you’re a photographer who demands the very best, you’ll probably have the Zeiss name on the tip of your tongue. The Milvus collection boasts some of the sharpest prime lenses we have ever placed our hands-on, and we have always walked away from our review periods with massive smiles on our faces. If you have the cash to splash, it’s hard to go wrong with Zeiss Milvus lenses. This guide will continue to be updated when new Zeiss Milvus lenses that hit the market have been reviewed. Editor’s Note: this guide is not sponsored by Zeiss. With that said, editorial judgment has been left intact.

 

Zeiss Milvus 15mm f2.8

 

In our review, we said:

“The Zeiss 15mm f2.8 Milvus lens is one of the best wide angle lenses that I’ve used. My favorite feature is the color rendition, but you can also just get great image quality from it due to the overall design in most uses. Want bokeh? It’s there! Sharp images? Yup, that’s there too. Plus you’ll get weather sealing, great build quality and a beautiful sight in the viewfinder every time you look through it.”

Buy now Canon EF: ($2,699): Adorama

Buy now Nikon ($2,699): Adorama

 

Zeiss Milvus 18mm f2.8

 

In our review, we said:

“Zeiss has always been well know for the quality of their wide angle lenses and the 18mm f2.8 Milvus is no exception at all here. What’s very surprising is the bokeh and just how nice it can be when focusing very close up on a subject. Then at the other end of the focusing area you can get something that’s very colorful and overall tack sharp.”

Buy now Canon EF ($2,299): Adorama

Buy now Nikon F ($2,299): Adorama

 

Zeiss Milvus 21mm f2.8


Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Zeiss 21mm f2.8 Milvus lens product images (4 of 5)ISO 4001-180 sec at f - 2.8
In our review, we said:

“The Zeiss 21mm f2.8 Milvus lens is what we’ve been waiting for a while. At least, we have a lens designed for a DSLR that has weather sealing, the Zeiss branding, Zeiss build quality and Zeiss image quality. What more could you ask for? At an angle this wide, autofocus isn’t really a problem because you’re shooting objects that are so wide and with such a large depth of field that you shouldn’t worry about it. For what it’s worth, manually focusing also makes you pay more attention to your composition.”

Buy now Canon EF ($1,843): Adorama

Buy now Nikon F ($1,843): Adorama

 

Zeiss 25mm f1.4 Milvus

 

In our review, we said:

“What I really like about the Zeiss 25mm f1.4 Milvus is that, when combined with good white balancing techniques, the colors can be almost film-like. Indeed, it can make the output from an old Canon DSLR sing like it never has. Canon’s own lenses don’t really do that, but Zeiss does. Think medium format film in a 35mm sensor.”

Buy now Canon EF ($2,399): Adorama

Buy now Nikon F ($2,399): Adorama

 

Zeiss Milvus 35mm f1.4

 

In our review, we said:

“It goes without a doubt that the Zeiss 35mm f1.4 Milvus lens receives our Editor’s Choice award. Zeiss was ballsy enough to say that they wanted to create a lens for portraiture at a wide angle. And lo and behold, they did it. The Zeiss Milvus 35mm f1.4 keeps the distortion down a whole lot. That’s great for portraits but even then you still may want to to get uber close to a subject. However, you’ll be very happy with the skin tones that can be delivered when you lock your white balance to either Tungsten or Daylight. In addition to that, you’ll love the sharpness and the token Zeiss micro contrast that gives a 3D look to the images.”

Buy now Canon EF ($1,999): Adorama

Buy now Nikon F ($1,999): Adorama

 

Zeiss Milvus 35mm f2

 

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Zeiss 35mm f2 Milvus lens product images (4 of 4)ISO 4001-180 sec at f - 2.8

In our review, we said:

“Considering that this lens is weather sealed internally and around the base where the bayonet meets the camera, you can be very well assured that the Zeiss Milvus 35mm f2 is a solid lens.”

Buy now Canon EF ($1,117): Adorama

Buy now Nikon F ($1,117): Adorama

 

Zeiss Milvus 50mm f1.4

 

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Zeiss 50mm f1.4 Milvus lens review product images (8 of 8)ISO 4001-200 sec at f - 4.0

In our review, we said:

“The Zeiss 50mm f1.4 Milvus lens is highly capable–there should be absolutely no doubt in your mind. What I’m most in love with about this lens is the bokeh. Of any 50mm lens that I’ve tested, I’m very inclined to say that the best bokeh comes from this lens. I wouldn’t really expect any less considering that this is a Zeiss lens. Then there is the sharpness that is absolutely purely incredible. Mix in the fact that we couldn’t find any color fringing and you’re all set.”

Buy now Canon EF ($1,199): Adorama

Buy now Nikon F ($1,199): Adorama

 

Zeiss Milvus 50mm f2

 

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Zeiss Milvus 50mm f2 Macro product images (5 of 7)ISO 4001-125 sec at f - 2.0

In our review, we said:

“Man, oh man…It’s beautiful. Everything about the image quality will make you happy. This lens is incredibly sharp, delivers excellent color, has great bokeh, and performs to the quality that you come to expect when you pay for a Zeiss lens. The photographers that I truly believe will really appreciate this lens though as studio shooters, portrait shooters, landscape shooters, and those who photograph very stagnant subjects.”

Buy now Canon EF ($1,283): Adorama

Buy now Nikon F ($1,283): Adorama

 

Milvus 85mm f1.4

 

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Zeiss 85mm f1.4 Milvus lens product images (3 of 7)ISO 4001-125 sec at f - 2.0

In our review, we said:

“Zeiss has always done incredible portrait lenses and this one is no exception. It’s super sharp wide open and you may never even need to stop it down. It renders beautiful image quality with solid color performance, no fringing and it even features weather sealing. To be fair, you’re paying quite the price for that. But when you consider weather sealing, image quality like this and almost Otus levels of sharpness, then anything like the Canon 85mm f1.2 L or Nikon’s 85mm f1.4 look inferior.”

Buy now Canon EF ($1,799): Adorama

Buy now Nikon ($1,799): Adorama

 

Milvus 100mm f2

 

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Zeiss 100mm f2 Milvus lens product images (5 of 8)ISO 4001-200 sec at f - 4.0

In our review, we said:

“The bokeh from this lens is beautiful and nothing less should be expected from a 100mm f2 lens. In no way is it distracting or hazy. Instead, it’s very creamy and characteristic of the results from many other portrait lenses. Arguably, this lens has the best bokeh of any 100mm lens that we’ve tested.”

Buy now Canon EF ($1,843): Adorama

Buy now Nikon ($1,843): Adorama

 

Milvus 135mm f2

 

In our review, we said:

“The Zeiss 135mm F2 Milvus lens is one that offers class leading image quality, weather sealing, durable build quality, and clearly defines itself as a lens intended for the professional headshot photographer. It’s tough to make anyone look bad with this lens. Optically speaking, it offers lots of great sharpness, beautiful bokeh, and fantastic colors. Further, while delivering contrast to the output it doesn’t do it as much as Sigma’s and so therefore relies on nothing else but pure absolute sharpness in the scene vs using the way that the human eye looks at black levels to discern sharpness.”

Buy now Canon EF($2,199): Adorama

Buy now Nikon F ($2,199): Adorama