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Official: Zeiss Otus 55mm f/1.4 APO-Distagon
  
 
carstenw
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p.12 #1 · Official: Zeiss Otus 55mm f/1.4 APO-Distagon


melcat wrote:
There seems little doubt, based on the last few posts, that paired with one particular $3000 body from Nikon this lens is close to perfect in practice. But that's not the same thing as being able to put an Otus on any modern full frame from Canon or Nikon and get perfect results. It greatly affects the value proposition for those not already possessing that body.


It isn't just the D800, I think that any modern FF camera from Sony or Nikon could handle this. It is just Canon who is lagging, since they appear to be refusing or dragging their feet on upgrading their fab. And perhaps someone knows, maybe the 1D-X is also okay, and only the 5DII and 5DIII have the noisy shadows.



Oct 11, 2013 at 02:17 PM
Steve Spencer
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p.12 #2 · Official: Zeiss Otus 55mm f/1.4 APO-Distagon


melcat wrote:
(abandons sarcasm)

The fallacy here is to regard it as some type of competition or ranking between lenses, instead of asking whether it allows the photographer to make photos that they could not make before. It really is pointless asking which of three trains to the airport, none of which get there before check-in closes, arrives earliest.

There seems little doubt, based on the last few posts, that paired with one particular $3000 body from Nikon this lens is close to perfect in practice. But that's not the same thing as being able to put an Otus on any modern
...Show more

To me it is exactly that the lens, "allows the photographer to make photos that they could not make before," that sets this lens apart. Its control of chromatic aberration both in the focal plane and out, is to me a strong feature that would allow me to take photos I couldn't before. In addition, at f/1.4 the lens is considerably sharper than all previous 50ish mm DSLR lenses in the centre but especially in the corners. This too would allow me to take pictures that I could not make before. For my tastes I almost am never bothered by vignetting and only have very rarely corrected for it, but others may differ. If that is a big issue you wanted addressed then this lens doesn't do it--although I believe a simple tweak in any lens profile when a file is read into most raw converters would. It may be true that because of its better sensor the Nikon D800 would handle such vignetting correction a little better and it may even do such correction in camera rather than in the raw converter, but for me I don't see vignetting correction as a big issue even between cameras, and it makes close to no difference is my valuation of this lens. Of course YMMV.



Oct 11, 2013 at 02:19 PM
hiepphotog
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p.12 #3 · Official: Zeiss Otus 55mm f/1.4 APO-Distagon


Steve Spencer wrote:
By the way, the Otus 55 f/1.4 is a lot better on pretty much all dimensions including vignetting (but of course not maximum aperture) than the Zeiss 55 f/1.2. That is an interesting and even exceptional lens but I am not sure it pushed the Planar design to the limit. In my view, this Otus lens is a much farther step forward than the Zeiss 55 f/1.2 Planar.


Certainly the 55/1.2 didn't push the design to its limit. They could have included an ASPH to control all the PFs. Out of focus aberration control is actually better on the Contax than the current ZA 50/1.4. However, comparing to the direct competitor at the time, the Zeiss matched the Canon FD at WO but won out when stopping down with better corners. It certainly beats both the Leica Noct 1.2 and 1.1.

Vignette profile of the Otus, Contax, Lux and Cron AA

They're pretty much equal WO, but the stopping down, both Zeiss are better.








Oct 11, 2013 at 02:24 PM
Steve Spencer
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p.12 #4 · Official: Zeiss Otus 55mm f/1.4 APO-Distagon


azenis wrote:
What I am saying is that, the 55 f1.2 Zeiss was a Planar lens with no compromises at the time. Can Planar design go further? With the ever-so-advancing technology, I'm sure. But whether we would ever see a Planar lens built to that spec is doubtful (rumour has it that Zeiss lost money on every single lens sold. And it retailed over 5k). And from my personal observation, no other 5*mm from the same era came close to the performance of the 55mm f1.2 Zeiss when you compare wide-open performance. The Nikon Noct hold on its own in some aspect
...Show more

Well, I will just have to disagree with you about the "should." It clearly doesn't on one of the most important aspects max aperture, so if that is your standard then as soon as the lens was announced it was no doubt a disappointment. For me it is enough that the lens would be a major upgrade in several important characteristics and for me I care about CA in the focus plane and out, close up performance, and sharpness wide open. It seems clear that this lens is a major step forward in all of those aspects. Perhaps these aspects don't matter to you. That's fine. Different people care about different things, but that doesn't mean that I shouldn't be impressed by the aspects that matter to me.

It is off topic to talk about the Planar 55 f/1.2, and depending on when we actually define its era there are some other lenses that had some better characteristics. For example the Canon FD 55 f/1.2 Asph., was probably sharper (this was the first lens to have an aspherical element and that did improve its performance notably). In contrast to the Otus 55 f/1.4 which has way more special glass than any previous DSLR 50 (7 special glass elements - 6 with anomalous partial dispersion glass and one aspherical) and is the first lens (not just first 50mm lens) to be both f/1.4 and APO, the Zeiss Planar 55 f/1.2 introduced no new technology. In my view, it was a much smaller advance. A great rendition of a classic design. The Otus, however, is a brand new type of 50 and notably better than anything previous in a number of aspects that are important to me.



Oct 11, 2013 at 02:34 PM
hiepphotog
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p.12 #5 · Official: Zeiss Otus 55mm f/1.4 APO-Distagon


Steve Spencer wrote:
It is off topic to talk about the Planar 55 f/1.2, and depending on when we actually define its era there are some other lenses that had some better characteristics. For example the Canon FD 55 f/1.2 Asph., was probably sharper (this was the first lens to have an aspherical element and that did improve its performance notably). In contrast to the Otus 55 f/1.4 which has way more special glass than any previous DSLR 50 (7 special glass elements - 6 with anomalous partial dispersion glass and one aspherical) and is the first lens (not just first 50mm
...Show more

Having shot with both the Canon FD ASPH and the Contax, I would not say that the Canon is sharper at WO; the Contax still impressed me at time with its WO performance for an old lens. I could certainly get PF on the FD ASPH as well. I have shot extensively with the Pentax A 50/1.2 (similar to the K version-tested by an old German magazine to be the sharpest WO), and that lens is softer than the others (certainly much more hazy). The Otus, with the "disappointing" vignette though in line with other 50s, is still definitely a much bigger advance; I would love to own down the road, but I'm still saving for the Otus WA. Well, it's the first 50 with the Distagon design. I do wonder though if there is a hard limit on the vignette at WO for a 50.



Oct 11, 2013 at 02:49 PM
dcjs
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p.12 #6 · Official: Zeiss Otus 55mm f/1.4 APO-Distagon


If you take a look at the images at the top here, you will understand that it is probably physically impossible to create such a large aperture lens without noticeable vignetting for a camera with a restricted throat/mirror box size. There is simply no room for ray cones big enough.



[source]



Oct 11, 2013 at 02:52 PM
Lee Saxon
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p.12 #7 · Official: Zeiss Otus 55mm f/1.4 APO-Distagon


carstenw wrote:
To make a lens which is razorsharp wide open, into the corners, requires a sacrifice *somewhere* (other than the obvious wallet pain).


Tariq Gibran wrote:
I guess there might have been some expectation of the Otus being a no compromise lens which sacrificed nothing given it's size and price.


Its size and price seem extremely high compared to the highly-compromised fast-50s still photographers are used to.

But consider the MP50/T1.3, which some would say is as close as it gets to a no-compromise fast-50. 40% bigger around, over double the weight, and almost 6x the price, and it only covers S35.

Every performance improvement is exponentially harder than the last. For all we know, even field illumination - which not all photographers even want - might have tripled the price.



Oct 11, 2013 at 02:52 PM
Steve Spencer
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p.12 #8 · Official: Zeiss Otus 55mm f/1.4 APO-Distagon


hiepphotog wrote:
Having shot with both the Canon FD ASPH and the Contax, I would not say that the Canon is sharper at WO; the Contax still impressed me at time with its WO performance for an old lens. I could certainly get PF on the FD ASPH as well. I have shot extensively with the Pentax A 50/1.2 (similar to the K version-tested by an old German magazine to be the sharpest WO), and that lens is softer than the others (certainly much more hazy). The Otus, with the "disappointing" vignette though in line with other 50s, is still definitely a
...Show more

I will definitely take your work on the Canon Asph vs. the Zeiss Planar 55 f/1.2. I have just read about them in tests and have shot neither. I suppose that discussion is off topic anyway. Thanks for your input though, it was very interesting.



Oct 11, 2013 at 03:13 PM
hiepphotog
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p.12 #9 · Official: Zeiss Otus 55mm f/1.4 APO-Distagon


I would not compare a stills lens to a cine lens. Cine lens is always bigger, heavier, and more expensive (and rightly so for the application).

I also just checked the MTF again. At f/11, this Otus corner-to-corner (c2c) performance is the same as the center of the Cron AA WO and F/16, its c2c is better than center of the Lux WO. This is a huge plus as well IMO; it's slightly better than the 135 APO. For those odd times that I need the extreme DOF in one shot, I wouldn't hesitate to shoot well past the diffraction limit.



Oct 11, 2013 at 03:17 PM
Toothwalker
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p.12 #10 · Official: Zeiss Otus 55mm f/1.4 APO-Distagon


azenis wrote:
At such a price with that spec, it should be. I mean, it should outperform all 5*mm in every aspect.


I see no reason why it should. Do you also think that the most expensive car on the market should win the Dakar Rally?

azenis wrote:
At 4k for a standard 1.4 lens, that is Leica territory. And Leica... well... it's Leica.


Do you mean that Leica territory is collectors who don't care much about the optical performance?

azenis wrote:
Zeiss, although superior in many ways, the target market is still Canon/Nikon users.


I went Canon because it allowed me to use my (Contax) Zeiss lenses. I did not go Zeiss because it would allow me to use Canon.

azenis wrote:
What I am saying is that, the 55 f1.2 Zeiss was a Planar lens with no compromises at the time.


Differences with the competition were marginal. Even at that time Zeiss could have made a much better lens.

Steve Spencer wrote:
If you look at the technical data from the Leica website on the Leica M 50 f/2 APO ASPH, you will see it has a slightly worse vignetting profile than the Zeiss Otus. Specifically, it is slightly worse at f/2 than the Zeiss is at f/1.4.


Hence the Zeiss has much less vignetting at F/2 than the Leica. I really think that the Otus is not expensive for what you get.


hiepphotog wrote:
Well, it's the first 50 with the Distagon design.


For the 24x36 mm format.

hiepphotog wrote:
I do wonder though if there is a hard limit on the vignette at WO for a 50.


No. Just mount a 50-mm lens for a larger format on your smaller format.

dcjs wrote:
If you take a look at the images at the top here, you will understand that it is probably physically impossible to create such a large aperture lens without noticeable vignetting for a camera with a restricted throat/mirror box size. There is simply no room for ray cones big enough.


It is a pity that Canonians also have to live with Nikon's narrow throat.

Lee Saxon wrote:
For all we know, even field illumination - which not all photographers even want - might have tripled the price.


That price estimate may be close to the truth, but introducing vignetting in post-processing is much easier than improving the corner SNR when it is the lens that vignettes.




Oct 11, 2013 at 05:46 PM
 

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hiepphotog
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p.12 #11 · Official: Zeiss Otus 55mm f/1.4 APO-Distagon


Toothwalker wrote:
No. Just mount a 50-mm lens for a larger format on your smaller format.


I didn't mean for the focal length of 50mm per se. Since this lens is designed to be used on both Nikon (very narrow throat size) and Canon, would it mean that the throat size/size of the rear element is too small to get rid of the vignette at such large aperture? Since you have the knowledge, what would they need to do to rid of the vignette? The front element size doesn't seem to be the problem.



Oct 11, 2013 at 06:55 PM
JohnJ
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p.12 #12 · Official: Zeiss Otus 55mm f/1.4 APO-Distagon


This image is very telling and was absent from the original set posted to show the lenses capabilities. In fact there where no images that showed this aspect of the lenses performance, which otherwise seems superb.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/carlzeisslenses/10203490974/sizes/o/in/set-72157635236491881/

If you look at the chrome strip just above the dogs head, where the point of focus is clear, you see how the OOF areas transition from purple/green outside the focus point. This is disappointing but it's not as bad as it could be. However it is quite close to the edge of the frame so I'm not sure how that factors into what we are seeing, if at all. I was hoping that the complex design might have addressed this much better, and it probably has, but it's not as perfect as suggested.



Oct 11, 2013 at 11:25 PM
hiepphotog
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p.12 #13 · Official: Zeiss Otus 55mm f/1.4 APO-Distagon


If anything, those bokeh fringe is extremely well-controlled. The Coastal Optics are free of this (from the limited samples I have seen), but at a higher cost and 3 stop slower. In a test like this (non-chrome surface), it might be even less apparent. (Coastal Optics from Lloyd blog):




Oct 12, 2013 at 12:09 AM
Jonas B
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p.12 #14 · Official: Zeiss Otus 55mm f/1.4 APO-Distagon


JohnJ wrote:
This image is very telling and was absent from the original set posted to show the lenses capabilities. In fact there where no images that showed this aspect of the lenses performance, which otherwise seems superb.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/carlzeisslenses/10203490974/sizes/o/in/set-72157635236491881/

If you look at the chrome strip just above the dogs head, where the point of focus is clear, you see how the OOF areas transition from purple/green outside the focus point. This is disappointing but it's not as bad as it could be. However it is quite close to the edge of the frame so I'm not sure how that factors into what we
...Show more

Hoping for much better seem optimistic. You can see it looking at the chrome list and then you have more of it if you look at the fur and the tongue, in front of as well as behind the absolute focus plane. But... this is at f/1.4. I don't know what the correct technical term is, maybe sphero... something?, but I know how the Voigtländer APO 125/2.5 Macro behaves in similar situations. This Zeiss is, clearly, better judging from the sample of the dog (and a quite extreme sample it is).

I'm a friend of APO lenses as I don't like the typical purple/green fringe, or general cast, at all. From the limited number of samples we have seen this far I would be happy to own this Zeiss, expensive or not. I have been thinking of the CO 60mm Macro a lot, as slow and expensive it is, because of the clean land- and cityscape images I have seen taken with it. This fast 55mm is more tempting, or very more tempting as I'm not into UV/IR photography.



Oct 12, 2013 at 10:22 AM
AhamB
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p.12 #15 · Official: Zeiss Otus 55mm f/1.4 APO-Distagon


Jonas B wrote:
Hoping for much better seem optimistic. You can see it looking at the chrome list and then you have more of it if you look at the fur and the tongue, in front of as well as behind the absolute focus plane. But... this is at f/1.4. I don't know what the correct technical term is, maybe sphero... something?, but I know how the Voigtländer APO 125/2.5 Macro behaves in similar situations. This Zeiss is, clearly, better judging from the sample of the dog (and a quite extreme sample it is).


Spherochromatism.

The backlit hairs on the dog's chin show the worst green CA. Overall it's very well controlled, considering the aperture. I'm very impressed by the image quality. I don't really see what more one could hope for, except for a bit more 3D pop maybe?



Oct 12, 2013 at 10:59 AM
carstenw
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p.12 #16 · Official: Zeiss Otus 55mm f/1.4 APO-Distagon


Jonas B wrote:
Hoping for much better seem optimistic. You can see it looking at the chrome list and then you have more of it if you look at the fur and the tongue, in front of as well as behind the absolute focus plane. But... this is at f/1.4. I don't know what the correct technical term is, maybe sphero... something?, but I know how the Voigtländer APO 125/2.5 Macro behaves in similar situations. This Zeiss is, clearly, better judging from the sample of the dog (and a quite extreme sample it is).

I'm a friend of APO lenses as I don't
...Show more

How will you get it onto your RX1?



Oct 12, 2013 at 11:17 AM
Jonas B
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p.12 #17 · Official: Zeiss Otus 55mm f/1.4 APO-Distagon


AhamB wrote:

Spherochromatism.

Thank you.


The backlit hairs on the dog's chin show the worst green CA. Overall it's very well controlled, considering the aperture. I'm very impressed by the image quality.


I agree.

I don't really see what more one could hope for, except for a bit more 3D pop maybe?

Perhaps time will tell, together with some post processing.



Oct 12, 2013 at 11:27 AM
Jonas B
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p.12 #18 · Official: Zeiss Otus 55mm f/1.4 APO-Distagon


carstenw wrote:

How will you get it onto your RX1?


That will be tricky but I believe in stubbornness, screwdrivers and super glue.

Or I'll just wait until they release a 35/1.4 version. By then Sony may have made a FF Nex. You know, with my keeper rate the world will only be happy for any delay.



Oct 12, 2013 at 11:34 AM
Toothwalker
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p.12 #19 · Official: Zeiss Otus 55mm f/1.4 APO-Distagon


hiepphotog wrote:
I didn't mean for the focal length of 50mm per se. Since this lens is designed to be used on both Nikon (very narrow throat size) and Canon, would it mean that the throat size/size of the rear element is too small to get rid of the vignette at such large aperture? Since you have the knowledge, what would they need to do to rid of the vignette? The front element size doesn't seem to be the problem.


I am not a lens designer, but I think it is safe to say that it helps to have an optical construction with a large ratio of diameter to length. The length is partly determined by the measures taken to control aberrations, namely the number of elements and their refractive properties and spacings. At a given length of the design, vignetting can be mitigated by incorporating large elements near the front and rear ends. A narrow throat certainly does not help to achieve the latter.

The problem increases with an increasing maximum aperture. Consider the light cone which has the lens exit pupil as its base and the image point as its apex. The F-number N of a well-corrected lens is related to the half angle b of this cone by N = 1 / ( 2 sin b). That angle presents a hard requirement to the minimum diameter of the rear element and the throat, depending also on their distance from the sensor. Anything that clips that light cone causes vignetting.

The mirror chamber typically supports lens speeds up to F/1.4. At F/1.2 and larger apertures, it causes extra light fall-off on top of the vignetting due to the lens.



Oct 12, 2013 at 11:48 AM
Light_pilgrim
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p.12 #20 · Official: Zeiss Otus 55mm f/1.4 APO-Distagon


What to photograph with this lens and on which camera? I am just asking a very pragmatic question. It is MF, so it is fine for Landscape....but it is not the best FL for landscape. Portrait? Can be...but you need a camera body that is designed for a MF lens....are there any these days?

I really doubt we will see active photographers using it for fashion, people or street. I am sure it will be exceptional in a controlled environment....on a tripod....where you can fine tune the focus with a Live View. Maybe a house.....a car.....a bike in a park.



Oct 12, 2013 at 12:09 PM
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