DxOMark States that the Zeiss 85mm f1.4 Otus is the Best Portrait Lens Yet

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Zeiss 85mm f1.4 Otus product images review (2 of 7)ISO 4001-125 sec at f - 2.0

DxOMark recently finished their evaluation of the Zeiss 85mm f1.4 Otus lens in the labs. And according to them, it’s the best performing 85mm lens that they’ve tested. Indeed, with a $4,490 price tag we would expect the same thing. According to them, the two Otus lenses perform just as well as the company’s 135mm f2 on Canon DSLRs. But when it comes to Nikon DSLRs, the 55mm Otus slightly edged out the 85mm. Additionally, it outperforms any other 85mm lens out there–which only makes sense given the high end audience that this lens was designed for.

The company’s finding reaffirm ours in our real world test of the Zeiss 85mm f1.4 Otus. We found the 55mm to be slightly sharper and also found the bokeh on the 135mm f2 to be better. Granted that’s a longer focal length.

Head on over to our full review of the Otus for more.

Review: Zeiss 55mm f1.4 Otus (Nikon F)

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Zeiss 55mm f1.4 Otus product photos (5 of 5)ISO 4001-40 sec at f - 2.8

“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.

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Sample Images from the Nikon D800 and Zeiss 55mm f1.4 Otus

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Lulu's Shoot Zeiss 55mm f1.4 Otus lens photos (3 of 9)ISO 1001-60 sec at f - 5.0

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.

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Zeiss Will Release an 85mm f1.4 Otus Lens Next Year


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.

Via the Digital Picture

Zeiss Goes Official With Their Super Pricey New 55mm f1.4


Zeiss has been talking about the development of their 55mm f1.4 lens for quite a while. This lens was designed to work with high megapixel full frame DSLR cameras. However, it is also designed to be the absolute best lens ever created. Last year at Photo Plus, we got a personal demo of the lens. And from what we took away, this lens is supposed to perform wide open like other lenses at f4 or 5.6–meaning that the sharpness and more will be absolutely top notch.

When the lens was first announced, it turned a lot of heads due to just to big the claims were.

And for that, you’re paying quite the price. B&H Photo has the lens already available for pre-order at $3,999 for both Canon and Nikon mounts.

The whole story behind the lens is in a video after the jump.

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Zeiss’s New 55mm f1.4 Receives Some Serious Hype


Zeiss has been known to deliver some serious optical performance. We reported on their lens chart results a while back from DXOMark and now it seems like they’re trying to push the performance even more. When they announced their 55mm f1.4, they stated that it was designed for Full Frame DSLR with extremely high megapixel counts.

We had the chance to play with the lens a while ago at Photo Plus, and it is very much something that the company would produce. Zeiss has produced a creative marketing video talking with the lens’s designer about the optic. The charts he mentions and showcases are the exact same results that we saw in our meeting with Zeiss.

But in terms of optical performance, they’re absolutely correct. As an owner of Sigma’s 50mm f1.4 (one of the latest and best) I can attest to the fact that this new lens from Zeiss nearly destroys anything else out there. I’ve also been a user of Leica, Canon, Nikon, and more. Nothing comes close.

Want more? Check out our lens reviews in the Reviews Database.

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