For many years, Sigma has had an 85mm f1.4 lens for DSLRs that has been very tough to beat. Sony, Canon and Nikon all have great options–but when you consider the affordability of Sigma’s lens combined with just how well it performs, it’s hard to justify anything else. For years, we haven’t had very many third party options to compare to with the exception of the Zeiss Otus and Rokinon. For what it’s worth, the Zeiss Otus 85mm f1.4 has dominated when it comes to image quality–at least when shooting wide open. To be fair, it’s also very costly.
When a camera system and lens system are released, I tend to put the highest emphasis of the judging process on the quality of two specific lenses: the 35mm and the 85mm equivalents. So when Zeiss recently announced their 35mm f2 Milvus and their 85mm f1.4 Milvus I was already a bit skeptical about the 35mm. Perhaps it could be that not many people can beat Sigma when it comes to their award-winning 35mm f1.4; but that still leaves a very strong possibility for Zeiss with the 85mm. For years, the company’s 85mm lenses have matched or outdone everyone else’s. And so the 85mm f1.4 Milvus gave me lots of hope.
The Zeiss 85mm f1.4 Milvus lens lives below the 85mm f1.4 Otus and above the standard 85mm f1.4 in the company’s lineup of DSLR lenses. Considering how excellent its Batis lens is, I had lots of faith that Zeiss wouldn’t deliver anything less than the absolute best here.