Zeiss Otus 55mm 1.4 Lens

paulrpaulr Posts: 1,176Member
edited December 2014 in Nikon DSLR cameras
Whenever you buy a new lens it is wise to find as much information about the lens before parting with any money. The Zeiss Otus 55mm Lens has had plenty of reviews on the internet including a very comprehensive comparison with similar Lenses on this very Forum.
forum.nikonrumors.com/discussion/2444/...otus-55mm-f1...lens/p1
However we are all different in photographic skills, attitudes and applications of the lenses for certain subjects, and at the end of the day opinions are clearly subjective.
I think the only way to test any lens is by using the lens for your personal intended use, does it meet the criteria you bought it for, and can it improve the final outcome.
My experience of this lens on a D4 and this is early days so far, are the colour is richer and in low light situations the lens seems brighter and easier to use. Ok it's heavy, It just slightly bigger than a Nikon 24-70 2.8 Lens. The big question is yes, it's manual focus, so for some photography this lens would not be suitable. Zeiss clearly state this in their sales blurb. But if you appreciate quality and enjoy the feel of a hand built lens, it is a pleasure to use.
Manual focus? Well in the old days that's all we had, so going back to it was quite novel, having said that the Otus lens seems very easy to manual focus and after just a few days it does not become a problem, plus it has a DOF ring on the lens.
Some photographers will say that this lens is best suited to the D810, probably so, but I am a prepared to wait till Nikon bring out a D4X/D5 with even more pixels than the D810 Then this lens will truly show it's quality.
Camera, Lens and Tripod and a few other Bits
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Comments

  • WestEndFotoWestEndFoto Posts: 3,155Member
    Thanks for your comments on this fabulous lens. It is certainly a lens that many of us covet, with the manual focus being the only real potential deal breaker.

    You might want to think about the D820, as I suspect that if you are waiting for a Dx to achieve 36 or greater megapixels, you may be waiting a long time. My prediction is a D7 (or later). I think Nikon will always value low light performance more than megapixels in this line.
  • haroldpharoldp Posts: 984Member
    An interesting question is:

    Even if the Zeiss has slightly better possible IQ than the Sigma, will Sigma users achieve better IQ most of the time because of AF ?.

    ... H
    D810, D3x, 14-24/2.8, 50/1.4D, 24-70/2.8, 24-120/4 VR, 70-200/2.8 VR1, 80-400 G, 200-400/4 VR1, 400/2.8 ED VR G, 105/2 DC, 17-55/2.8.
    Nikon N90s, F100, F, lots of Leica M digital and film stuff.

  • henrik1963henrik1963 Posts: 561Member
    At 1.4 it is hard enough to keep things in focus using AF at close range. MF would be a no go for me at anything moving. Maybe if was to be used on something like a F3.
  • Vipmediastar_JZVipmediastar_JZ Posts: 1,708Member
    edited December 2014
    when I got the Nikon 55 2.8 AIS for the Df it was a pleasure to use but I do have many regrets with not having focused images. I think I have a keeper rate of 90% but that 10% I wished it was in focus. Then again 99.95% of my photography has been Auto Focus so I have little experience with it.
    Weeks later I got the nikon 58mm G and the Sigma 50mm Art and kept the Sigma.

    For hired work I would use the auto focus and for hobby I would use manual focus.
    I will say this I enjoyed using the manual focus lens. It encouraged me to think, connecting and taking my time vs getting the image instantly..

    I was looking recently at the 50mm 1.4 AIS if I get it I'll chime in again.
    Post edited by Vipmediastar_JZ on
  • paulrpaulr Posts: 1,176Member
    Clearly Af is an issue, and this is not a point and shoot lens. Like all thoroughbred lenses Lecia, Schneider and Zeiss, they must consider that Af is not an issue. The Otus was made with a no limit budget and took three years to design and build. Zeiss justify their none AF, by saying that this lens was made for photographers who have time to set up and want the best lens, totally made for the new DSLRs. Photography is a funny old thing and means different things to different people. For my part after over 50 years of playing with cameras, the joy of taking the photograph and using equipment of the highest standard is part of the pleasure. This lens takes time to set up and therefore prolongs the pleasure.
    Camera, Lens and Tripod and a few other Bits
  • donaldejosedonaldejose Posts: 3,327Member
    Question: If the Otus was designed to be the best with no budget limit why not include AF which the user could switch on or off as they desired?
  • PB_PMPB_PM Posts: 4,098Member
    Zeiss has always argued that since the manufactures (Nikon/Canon) won't licence the AF technology they cannot in good conscience make AF lenses*. Kind of a poor argument, but I understand the reasoning.

    * All Zeiss branded lenses with auto focus (aka for Sony mounts) are not actually made by Zeiss (only optical design is by Zeiss), so that explains that situation.
    If I take a good photo it's not my camera's fault.
  • heartyfisherheartyfisher Posts: 3,176Member
    edited December 2014
    Re: manual focus. one of the reasons I got my 24-70 tamron was for low light shooting indoors. previously I would be using a 50mm AIS manual focus. however in my recent shooting probably due to it being new to me and I need to tweak the AF system, I missed focus on the Tamron more times than I would have liked. More times than I would have missed if I had used manual focus. I would say with a good focus screen manual focus can be faster and more specific. especially if you like unconventional compositions. You just need to train your self and learn the technique and it becomes automatic like driving. (manual vs auto, yes I love manual cars too). I think I would love the use of the Otus but, luckily for me its in a focal length I dont care for ;-)
    Post edited by heartyfisher on
    Moments of Light - D610 D7K S5pro 70-200f4 18-200 150f2.8 12-24 18-70 35-70f2.8 : C&C very welcome!
    Being a photographer is a lot like being a Christian: Some people look at you funny but do not see the amazing beauty all around them - heartyfisher.

  • henrik1963henrik1963 Posts: 561Member
    Sure it is possible to MF. The problem is that modern DSLRs are not made for MF.

    Like heartyfisher I think it is possible to use MF if you have a good focus screen.

    How about a Nikon MF camera? Nikon D810MF? Or Nikon DfMf?
  • funtagraphfuntagraph Posts: 265Member
    In the beginning of the development of the Otuses, there was just one 36MP around, the D800 ( with a okayish AF module, at best). Even if Zeiss could do a state of the art AF (to me, this remains to be doubted) and people would pay 40...60% more than they already have to, how loud would the complaints be if it misses more than 10%?

    I don't think Zeiss would take the risk being dependant on several manufacturers AF capabilities. And the price tag would approach 5 digits, but still no VR?

    I'm wondering @paulr what do you do with the very best 55 mm around in front of a low resolution body? Giving up 50% of today's possible resolution? Why?
  • heartyfisherheartyfisher Posts: 3,176Member
    on the other hand .. the reason the other non Japanese lense manufacturers do not make AF lenses is due to legal restrictions. (END OF STORY!) sigh .. this has been said/asked/mentioned so many many many many times ... maybe we need a FAQ of some kind.
    Moments of Light - D610 D7K S5pro 70-200f4 18-200 150f2.8 12-24 18-70 35-70f2.8 : C&C very welcome!
    Being a photographer is a lot like being a Christian: Some people look at you funny but do not see the amazing beauty all around them - heartyfisher.

  • heartyfisherheartyfisher Posts: 3,176Member
    There is nothing that nikon(or canon) would want from ziess in exchange. if they had a choice they wont be letting sigma or tamron or tokina make compatible lenses too.
    Moments of Light - D610 D7K S5pro 70-200f4 18-200 150f2.8 12-24 18-70 35-70f2.8 : C&C very welcome!
    Being a photographer is a lot like being a Christian: Some people look at you funny but do not see the amazing beauty all around them - heartyfisher.

  • calengorcalengor Posts: 277Member
    The bigger question, in my mind, is: why is it that Sigma, Tamron, etc. can figure out how to make autofocus lenses and Zeiss can't?

    People bring up the cost, there's probably a healthy profit margin built into the Otus plus if you're willing to shell out for it, a couple of hundred extra or even a grand extra isn't going to stop you from buying it.
  • WestEndFotoWestEndFoto Posts: 3,155Member
    Third party add-ons have a poor record of compatibility issues. These are minimal for a manual lens but can be significant with auto-focus. I can imagine a company like Zeiss or Schneider not wanting to compromise their quality reputation with those issues.

    Sigma has a novel approach with the USB dock. Perhaps Zeiss is watching that development closely.
  • WestEndFotoWestEndFoto Posts: 3,155Member
    Perhaps not the best choice words that reflects my own bias, which is low tolerance. Perhaps we can agree on "there have been compatibility issues"?
  • funtagraphfuntagraph Posts: 265Member
    Zeiss was making a turnarround of 4.2 Billion € (Or 5.2 billion $) in 2012/13. 195 Million € (=4.6%) they were making in "Consumer Optics" which is split in Camera lenses, Sport optics, Planetariums and a device called "cinemizer". For the camera lenses they do have some great cinematographic lenses and two best lenses for photography resolutionwise and stunning contrast performance. Zeiss could not care less about some folks yelling for AF and other stuff as they do have their customers willing to pay a lot just for the best lens available. Believe it or not, it's just not important to them. Given the results of lensscore the Otuses (testing with a 200 MP sensor) will outperform sensors for quite a while. Anyway, those Otuses will never become a cash cow cause they are too expensive, so why loose money by spending them a state-of-the-art AF?
  • Golf007sdGolf007sd Posts: 2,840Moderator
    D4 & D7000 | Nikon Holy Trinity Set + 105 2.8 Mico + 200 F2 VR II | 300 2.8G VR II, 10.5 Fish-eye, 24 & 50 1.4G, 35 & 85 1.8G, 18-200 3.5-5.6 VR I SB-400 & 700 | TC 1.4E III, 1.7 & 2.0E III, 1.7 | Sigma 35 & 50 1.4 DG HSM | RRS Ballhead & Tripods Gear | Gitzo Monopod | Lowepro Gear | HDR via Promote Control System |
  • donaldejosedonaldejose Posts: 3,327Member
    Still, Zeiss should because the Sigma Art series will take many sales from Zeiss. And Nikon should welcome some Zeiss lenses for their bodies. But, selfishness often rules and I personally know people whose business experience with Japanese companies have been very unpleasant.
  • Golf007sdGolf007sd Posts: 2,840Moderator
    edited December 2014
    It would be foolish for Zeiss to do this; knowing full well that an international lawsuit is going to be coming their way. A German company, and its culture, have a different way of looking and strategizing on things vs. those in the West or Asia.

    Zeiss wants it's optical lenses to be in the hands of those end users that can and are willing to pay for its performance and overall functionality. The argument of AF and not having one is nothing new to them and from the looks of it they are happy with its current product line; moreover, so are their customers. For those of us that don't have one of their lenses...well we all have found our happy home and I'm personally quite happy where I'm. Thank you Sigma and Nikon.
    Post edited by Golf007sd on
    D4 & D7000 | Nikon Holy Trinity Set + 105 2.8 Mico + 200 F2 VR II | 300 2.8G VR II, 10.5 Fish-eye, 24 & 50 1.4G, 35 & 85 1.8G, 18-200 3.5-5.6 VR I SB-400 & 700 | TC 1.4E III, 1.7 & 2.0E III, 1.7 | Sigma 35 & 50 1.4 DG HSM | RRS Ballhead & Tripods Gear | Gitzo Monopod | Lowepro Gear | HDR via Promote Control System |
  • WestEndFotoWestEndFoto Posts: 3,155Member
    I am thinking of some of the issues that Sigma has had with subsequent Nikon cameras. They seem to be resolved with the USB dock.
  • BesoBeso Posts: 464Member
    Whenever you buy a new lens it is wise to find as much information about the lens before parting with any money. The Zeiss Otus 55mm Lens has had plenty of reviews on the internet including a very comprehensive comparison with similar Lenses on this very Forum.
    forum.nikonrumors.com/discussion/2444/...otus-55mm-f1...lens/p1
    However we are all different in photographic skills, attitudes and applications of the lenses for certain subjects, and at the end of the day opinions are clearly subjective.
    I think the only way to test any lens is by using the lens for your personal intended use, does it meet the criteria you bought it for, and can it improve the final outcome.
    My experience of this lens on a D4 and this is early days so far, are the colour is richer and in low light situations the lens seems brighter and easier to use. Ok it's heavy, It just slightly bigger than a Nikon 24-70 2.8 Lens. The big question is yes, it's manual focus, so for some photography this lens would not be suitable. Zeiss clearly state this in their sales blurb. But if you appreciate quality and enjoy the feel of a hand built lens, it is a pleasure to use.
    Manual focus? Well in the old days that's all we had, so going back to it was quite novel, having said that the Otus lens seems very easy to manual focus and after just a few days it does not become a problem, plus it has a DOF ring on the lens.
    Some photographers will say that this lens is best suited to the D810, probably so, but I am a prepared to wait till Nikon bring out a D4X/D5 with even more pixels than the D810 Then this lens will truly show it's quality.
    Glad you are enjoying the Zeiss Otus 55 f/1.4. I find it to be a superior performer on both the D800 and D810.

    Occasionally a decent image ...
  • heartyfisherheartyfisher Posts: 3,176Member
    The bigger question, in my mind, is: why is it that Sigma, Tamron, etc. can figure out how to make autofocus lenses and Zeiss can't?

    People bring up the cost, there's probably a healthy profit margin built into the Otus plus if you're willing to shell out for it, a couple of hundred extra or even a grand extra isn't going to stop you from buying it.
    As mentioned before .. the Japanese companies have the legal right to do so due to a policy by the Japanese government many many years ago allowing Japanese companies to "copy" each other. I think only Sony has licensed its mount AF to 1 other manufacturer.

    Moments of Light - D610 D7K S5pro 70-200f4 18-200 150f2.8 12-24 18-70 35-70f2.8 : C&C very welcome!
    Being a photographer is a lot like being a Christian: Some people look at you funny but do not see the amazing beauty all around them - heartyfisher.

  • PB_PMPB_PM Posts: 4,098Member
    I think only Sony has licensed its mount AF to 1 other manufacturer.
    And that would be Hasselblad of all companies.
    If I take a good photo it's not my camera's fault.
  • heartyfisherheartyfisher Posts: 3,176Member
    edited December 2014
    @Golf007sd just saw your post
    Why Zeiss Does Not Make Autofocus DSLR Lenses
    Yup .. we should all link to this whenever this topic comes up ! :-) nice find ..

    Post edited by heartyfisher on
    Moments of Light - D610 D7K S5pro 70-200f4 18-200 150f2.8 12-24 18-70 35-70f2.8 : C&C very welcome!
    Being a photographer is a lot like being a Christian: Some people look at you funny but do not see the amazing beauty all around them - heartyfisher.

  • SquamishPhotoSquamishPhoto Posts: 608Member
    I'm guessing that 90% of the reason for the existence of the USB dock isn't to do anything in particular; but rather to assure potential buyers who have doubts.
    And thats the unprofessional bullshit that Zeiss would rather avoid. Something tells me that they are rolling in cash despite all this and Im sure the Otus line is selling well enough considering the price tag.
    Mike
    D3 • D750 • 14-24mm f2.8 • 35mm f1.4A • PC-E 45mm f2.8 • 50mm f1.8G • AF-D 85mm f1.4 • ZF.2 100mm f2 • 200mm f2 VR2
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