It was just a few hours ago I wrote about this lens, and that it could be released very soon. Well, it has. Pre-orders are possible at B&H (click here) and Adorama (click here). The lens costs $3990. More information from Zeiss about the Otus 55mm f/1.4 here, plenty of sample shots on Zeiss’ Flickr page. Lloyd Chambers had the opportunity to test the lens, and his review is more than positive.
|Operating/Storage Temperature||Not Specified By Manufacturer|
|Filter Thread||77 mm|
|Dimensions (DxL)||Approx. 3.64 x 5.66″ (9.25 x 14.38 cm)|
|Weight||2.27 lb (1030 g)|
Product description (from Adorama’s product page):
The ZEISS Otus 1.4/55 stands out with technical features ideal for all-around professional photography with 35mm DSLR cameras
With an imaging performance that has hitherto only been seen with medium format systems, the new ZEISS Otus 1.4/55 offers ambitious photographers who do not accept any compromises in image quality the possibility for a more compact gear. DSLR cameras with high-resolution 35mm sensors put enormous demands on lenses.
The Zeiss Otus 1.4/55 can deal with these demands thanks to its outstanding sharpness, high image contrast and no visible chromatic aberrations. It creates the highest-possible image quality, even with an open aperture.
The new ZEISS lens is especially suited for advertising, fashion and studio photography, and professional photographers working in these fields will not need to make any compromises in terms of performance and quality.
The Otus 1.4/55 is the first lens in a family of uncompromising professional lenses from ZEISS. Additional focal lengths will follow. Otus is the Latin name for a type of owl known for its excellent vision in darkness just like this new high-speed lens from ZEISS.
Other unique features of the Otus 1.4/55 are its high image contrast all the way to the edges (even for low f-numbers) and the consistent high-resolution performance across the entire image field.
The lens has a completely new optical and mechanical design, which was developed taking into account the special and increasing requirements of high-resolution DSLR cameras. The Otus 1.4/55 is equipped with a floating elements design with 12 lens elements in 10 groups, including a double-sided aspheric lens and six lenses made of special glass with anomalous partial
The performance delivered by the Otus 1.4/55 is especially obvious with night shots. When taking pictures with many image-dominant, open light sources, it is common for correction defects to show up. Because the Otus 1.4/55 is an apochromatic lens, longitudinal chromatic aberrations are corrected by its lens elements of special glass with anomalous partial dispersion. The color defects are therefore significantly lower than the defined limits. Bright/dark transitions in the image, and especially highlights, are rendered with no colorful artifacts.
Although it is not a traditional focal length for architectural and landscape photography, here, too, the lens can deliver very good results. The edges of the image can be used for all apertures, giving full rein to the photographer’s creativity.
For portraiture, the Otus 1.4/55 render the finest details precisely, and thanks to the maximum aperture of f/1.4, the photographer can consciously play with the depth of field and create a smooth bokeh.
The Otus 1.4/55 stands out not only for its highly detailed pictures with no bothersome artifacts, but also for its mechanical quality. The smooth focus operation with the large angle of rotation allows for the finest variations when focusing qualities that are only possible in a metal barrel. Its design as a manual focus lens allowed the engineers to work with much smaller tolerances during the construction. The lens’s robust metal barrel with the easy to grip focus ring makes it perfect for the demanding everyday situations of professional photographers, and guarantees a long product life. The yellow labels on the scales, which are borrowed from the professional ZEISS cinema lenses, contribute to better visibility.
Update 2: Zeiss just published a video about this awesome lens.
Thanks to the reader who sent in the links!
Looks like the high-end, manual focusing Zeiss Apo-Distagon 55mm f/1.4 (part of the “Otus” line-up, Otus means owl) may be close to be released (source: CR). Prototypes appear to be already in use by selected photographers (source: photoscala). I a new post, called “Mit einer perfekten Optik ein perfektes Bild erschaffen” (translated: Obtaining a perfect image with a perfect optic), Zeiss touts the outstanding features of their new lens. Lloyd Chambers had the opportunity to test the lens, and his review is more than positive, some excerpts:
The Zeiss Otus 55mm f/1.4 APO-Distagon is a true professional-grade lens in every respect, thinking not so much in DSLR terms as in traditional medium format terms, with the associated high expectations for optical performance and top-flight build quality. The lens is a daring move in price terms and in being a manual focus lens, and in offering the ultimate in image quality.
Sharpness and contrast wide open care unmatched by any ƒ/1.4 lens for a DSLR or rangefinder. The lens is actually sharper at ƒ/1.4 across the frame than many 50mm prime lenses offer at ƒ/5.6.
A real strength of the 55/1.4 Distagon is in delivering total image quality across the entire frame. For example, the very high performing Zeiss 50mm f/2 Makro-Planar performs nearly as well over the central areas of the frame, but it cannot deliver the same quality to the edges and corners and it doesn’t have quite the same level of flare control. Compared to other ƒ/1.4 lenses at ƒ/1.4 and ƒ/2, the Zeiss Otus 55/1.4 Distagon is in its own class of one.
The 55/1.4 APO-Distagon is so well corrected that even pushed beyond its design range into macro territory (using an extension tube), the same beautiful qualities remain intact, including its superb color balance and correction for color errors.
The review comes with lots of sample images and covers most aspects you want to learn about such a lens. In the conclusion he writes:
Photographers looking for the very best in imaging quality need look no further. When everything is considered, the Zeiss Otus 55m f/1.4 APO-Distagon is without a doubt the finest lens ever produced for a 35mm SLR or DSLR (or rangefinder). It sets a new benchmark.
The lens will be available for Canon and Nikon mounts, official release date is November, 11 – the price should be around $4000. Tech specs:
|Aperture range||f/1.4 – ƒ/16|
|Number of lens elements/groups||12 elements in 10 groups
– floating element design*.
– Double-sided aspherical rear element.
– 2 elements with very low index and dispersion and large positive partial dispersion ratio deviation** +
4 elements of special glass having negative partial dispersion ratio deviation which together help to improve chromatic correction***.
|Focusing range:||0.5 m / 19.68 in – infinity|
|Free working distance at MOD:||330 mm / 13.2 in (300 mm with hood)|
|Angular field (diag./horiz./vert.)||43.7°/36.7°/24.9°|
|Diameter of image field||43.2 mm|
|Flange focal offset||ZF.2: 46,50 mm (1.83′′)
ZE: 44,00 mm (1.73′′)
|Coverage at close range (MOD). 36 X 24mm frame||246 x 163 mm = 9.69 x 6.42 in|
|Image ratio at close range||1:6.8|
|Length with caps||142 mm (ZF.2) / 144 mm (ZE)|
|Diameter max||92.4 mm (lens only), 98.5 mm (hood)|
|Weight (nominal), ZF.2:||ZF.2: 970g / 2.2 lb, 1040g with hood
ZE: 1030g / 2.43 lb, 1120 g with hood
|Mounts||ZF.2 (F bayonet), ZE (EF bayonet)|
A rumor surfaced, and it has word that Canon could soon announce a 50mm f/1.8 IS lens going to replace the EF 50mm f/1.4 USM lens. The lens is said to be in line with the new(ly) EF 24mm,EF 28mm, and Ef 35mm IS lenses. Price should be higher than the EF 50mm f/1.4 USM(price & specs). THe lens is expected for 2014.
And there is more. Eventually, a new rumour came out saying that Canon could well make a development announcement before the end of 2013. However, it’s unclear what Canon may announce. The hypothesis are these: a pro camera body positioned above the EOS 5D Mark III (price & specs) and/or a new lens.
Everything is far from being sure. It’s true that there are upcoming trade shows (PhotoPlus in NYC, CES, CP+ in Jan, 2014, and NAB in April, 2014). Take all this with a grain of salt. There are no concrete signs that Canon may announce something soon, all past rumors and hints suggested that it’s over with new Canon gear for this year.
The Canon EOS 7D Mark II hasn’t been announced so far but you can already buy accessories that are optimised for the 7D Mark II. B&H has a video rig on sale that is touted as “Versatile Video Rig for Canon 7D Mark II“. Just a typo or does it mean the EOS 7D Mark II is close to be announced?
Latest rumors had it that there will not be an EOS 7D Mark II announcement this year. But then: who knows?