by Tim Fok | 8th September 2014
The Zeiss Otus 55mm f/1.4 is considered as one, if not the best performing lens in its respective category. Now, Zeiss has released it’s second in the line up, the Otus 85mm f/1.4. Lens manufacturing is usually hindered by many factors – weight, cost, size. Zeiss gave their technicians no boundaries when making the Otus; make the best lens you possibly can. And for those whom have experienced the Otus 55mm first hand I’m sure will agree, it’s a stunning piece of technology; edge to edge sharpness is second to none. At the time of release Zeiss stated that the Otus line would expand in the near future; the Zeiss Otus 85mm f/1.4 is the second lens in their stills flagship line. In regards to specification, it’s very similar to its shorter focal length brother. Weighing nearly the same at 2.65 lb (1.2 kg) and a little longer at 3.98 x 4.88″ (101 x 124 mm) in dimension. The Otus line are certainly not small or light, quality comes at a price. It sports 11 elements in 9 groups, has a 9-blade aperture diaphragm and a magnification ratio of 1.7.7. Like the Otus 55mm it has an aperture range of 1.4-16, and a larger front element of 86mm (versus 77mm on the 55mm). Minimum focus distance is never a strong point for an 85mm, but the Otus 85mm performs better than average at 80cm. At a cost and weight that will over shadow most filmmakers cameras bodies, this lens has an acute target audience. Many I’m sure will rent over purchase. If you prefer your shorter focus throws (compared to cine primes) and are looking to rent a high quality lens, the Otus line could just be the one for you. The Zeiss Otus 85mm f/1.4 is available pre-order now in both Nikon and Canon mount.Read more
by Tim Fok | 1st May 2014
Since the launch of Sigmas Global Vision Line, we’ve seen some fantastic lenses come out of the revamped outfit. The 18-35mm f/1.8 is the fastest stills zoom lens in production, and the 35mm f/1.4 and 24-105mm f/4 OS both offer fantastic image quality and price tags in two very competitive focal ranges.Read more
by Tim Fok | 11th October 2013
Back in April at NAB, Zeiss displayed their new 55mm f/1.4 lens. A $4000 manual focus only lens designed for DSLRs. At the time it seemed a little.. expensive. At this price tag it’s in the same region as Zeiss compact/Canon cine primes, minus the features and ergonomics of a conventional cine lens (T-stopped, 300° focus rotation, geared, conventional cine size etc). It was therefore clear that this lens is not targeted at this market. So where does it sit in the market? Well, the Zeiss 55mm f/1.4 Otus is now available for pre-order, and with this release has come additional information and initial reviews from the lens. From what we’ve seen so far, this is a very exciting lens. Its design is not targeted to challenge entry-level cine lenses, but to ultimately alleviate the need to turn to a medium format camera for serious still photographers. Zeiss boast that the performance is so good, that when coupled with a large megapixel camera (Nikon D800/D800E for example), it will provide a credible alternative to medium format photography. The below video is provides a nice summary of it’s features, and displays some very impressive photos from the 55mm Otus. The lens is all metal housed, with an ergonomic rubberized focus ring. It has 12 elements in 10 groups, and is a Distagon lens (as per the design of Zeiss’ wide angle lens) to reduce field curvature and chromatic aberration (CA). Aperture range from f/1.4-16. It weighs 2.13 lbs. (970 g) it has a 77mm filter thread. B&H present an initial review that gives Zeiss’ claims some substance. This is a lens that is claimed to lose no optical performance as you operate through the f-stop range. It will perform just as well at f/1.4 than it will at f/5.6. Here’s a still from the review shot at f/1.4 on the Nikon D800E. The detail retained in the cat’s eyes is extremely impressive. It’s clear this lens is not designed to the pro-consumer/low level professional. To most this lens will appear outrageously overpriced. But it’s said performance brings so much to the table; no CA, no distortion, and no loss through f-stop range. I’m sure it will easily find it’s way to the top of most serious professional’s wish lists. The lens is available in both Nikon mount, and Canon mount. Pre-order only currently, with stock predicted at the end of October. There’s also news of the Otus range extending next year.Read more
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