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Zeiss OTUS 55mm f/1.4 APO Distagon T* ZF.2 lens priced at $4000

Zeiss-OTUS-55mm-f1.4-APO-Distagon-T-ZF.2-lens

Zeiss today announced the price of their new “best fast 50mm everOTUS 55mm f/1.4 APO Distagon T* ZF.2 lens: $3,999 (US). The lens is currently available for pre-order at B&H and Adorama. Some sample images from a pre-production version can be found here and here.

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  • Joseph Li

    oh my…..a 55mm for a super telephoto price, with no AF? do u think it’s sharper than my 200mm f/2?

    • Rolleiflex

      Very likely if it’s your thing to compare a long telephoto to a normal lens. Clearly this lens is not for you. And it’s not for me either since I don’t shoot much at this range.

      • Joseph Li

        It certainly has “long telephoto” pricing lol…I will so be waiting for the sigma for $600 or something…^o^…i am assuming from my small brain that a 50mm is one of the easiest lens to make (there’s one for $100 in every manufacturer)..unless it gets to f/1.2 or faster

        • Rolleiflex

          Joseph, on the contrary, 50 is one of the more difficult ones to get good performance across the frame. That’s why you love your 200/2, even at WO. There is no current 50 that has that kind of performance. Then there is the aberration problem, field curvature, coma, etc. Don’t you wish to have a miniature version of your 200/2? Well, you can either pay 3.5K for the Lux 50 ASPH (and more to get into Leica) to almost get there or 7K for the Cron 50 AA to get a similar performance as this lens and have your 200/2 shrunken in size and weight :D. Too bad, it’s now a 50 without AF. Until someone else can come out with a similar lens at a cheaper price, this Distagon is still the cheapest with the highest performance.

    • Dpablo unfiltered

      It certainly looks better than the other lenses…

  • Leonardo

    Cool! But what about the D610??

    • FredBear

      Not to mention the D400!
      (Somebody had to say that …)

  • Janka

    Downsized pics looks exactly like Nikon 50mm 1.4G

    • FredBear

      Yeh, funny thing that.
      Every time I downsize an image to 1 pixel I can’t even tell if it’s a wide angle or a super telephoto lens never mind a high quality 50mm or a mediocre one ;-)
      (BTW I have the Nikon F1.4 AF-D and below F5.6 it’s pure rubbish.)

      • Janka

        Of course Zeiss is outstanding lens, pros will appreciate for sure :)

        • neversink

          It’s for collectors… I do fine with my !Nikon 50 f/1.4 and my old beat up nocturnal 50 f/1.2

      • Paul

        Agreed. The Zeiss is out of my price range though. I wonder what type pros this is targeted at…

        • FredBear

          Pros who know they need it.
          Because of the razor thin focus at F1.4 one also has to manually focus for accuracy which pretty much means that this lens is not going to be great for action …

      • Captain Megaton

        “and below F5.6 it’s pure rubbish”

        Funny how Nikon’s f/1.4 50mm models are so poor. Maybe the AFS model changes this? I haven’t tried.

        • FredBear

          I’ve been in the market for a good 50mm that can be used wide open – or I guess more realistically at F1.8/F2.8.
          Perhaps Sigma will come out with a windy lens that will suffice. If they do I’ll give it a try – would be my first Sigma lens (the others are either Nikon or Zeiss plus 1 Kenko 1.4 TC).

  • Jon Ingram

    Just a few pennies more than my Nikkor 1.8 D…

  • Maji

    I feel this is another overpriced lens from Zeiss… I read about the mythical “Zeiss Look”… problem is that it is as mythical as unicorns.

    • Dpablo unfiltered

      Scroll through the photos and look at the way the flora stands apart from the background. The Nikon lens holds up ok against the better Zeiss for that, but look at the shape of the aperture in the out of focus lights on the Nikon. Even at F2.8. And the Nikon is soft at f1.4 and the out of focus lights are onion shaped. The colors of things both in and out of focus are more saturated with the new lens at wider apertures. By f11 the Nikon catches up with the color.
      I would like it compared to the Nikon f1.8 lens…

      • MyrddinWilt

        A poor comparison as the 50mm AFS f/1.4 is the only Nikon fast prime that is not generally considered to be superlative.

        it is also the cheapest by a factor of four.

        Other than the 300mm AFS VR which is a total no-brainer, the only really glaring omission in the Nikon lens line up is a 50mm at f/1.2 or better. Canon has one, Nikon has a ridiculous number of patents but no lens.

        It is not as if this is in any way impossible, the 80mm f/1.4 design performs better than the legendary Noctilux. It is even better on sagittal coma flare than the old design. Is it really so hard to make the field of view a little narrower?

        • Ian Dangerzone
          • Dpablo unfiltered

            Yup. Got one of those myself. But I bet that new lens rocks it. Probably on par or better than the 58 that I don’t have…

            • Ian Dangerzone

              Aye, based on the sample images I have no doubt the Zeiss is going to be the best of the bunch. I’d spend 1400 on a 50mm 1.2G AF N lens, (if Nikon ever puts one out) over the Zeiss, though. The Canon version is stunning and I’m confused why Nikon doesn’t have a mate for it in their lineup.

  • Ordnassela

    $4000??? hahahahhahah

  • Mandrake

    I thought $4K MF lenses usually have the word Leica on it. :)

  • BenHDisqus

    Dear Santa…

  • Banan Tarr

    Isn’t Sigma coming out with a 50mm ART lens? Watch as they do and it’s comparable to this Zeiss for 1/4 of the price.

    • Dpablo unfiltered

      I hope that someday sigma makes a decent fast 50.

      • Michael

        I don’t know about a decent 50, but they currently make a fantastic 50.

        • Dpablo unfiltered

          I think it’s good for one kind of shooting, but not landscapes as much.

    • sperdynamite

      PRAYING for a 50mm 1.2 from Sigma since apparently Nikon is unable to pull this off.

      • Ian Dangerzone

        Nikon produces an *excellent* 1.2 50mm. Sure, it’s MF, but so is this Zeiss, and the Nikon is 1/5 the price. Where’s the beef?

        • sperdynamite

          I’ve been curious about that lens but I’m hesitant to switch to another MF lens.

          • Ian Dangerzone

            I like MF just for the compositional elements of making a picture–it turns something that sometimes feels like a hunt or a tracking for the quick shot into a leisurely and thoughtful process. As a semi-pro who gigs to support my hobby, that adds a lot of ROI in terms of the pleasure of the art. That said, I’d be perfectly happy to buy a 50mm 1.2 AF ED lens if Nikon decides to make one because Canon’s is just a stupendous piece of glass and I can see Nikon just knocking it out of the park.

    • neversink

      Sigma has great marketing — horrid quality control… Watch out– you get what you pay for…

      • Banan Tarr

        Maybe so, but I’ve had two Sigma lenses and never had a problem with them. My 35mm f/1.4 ART lens is superb, too.

        • ZeissDarling

          The Yashica 35mm ML is a lush prime. Anyone use that? Reputed to be superior to the Contax version. Be good to remount one for Nikon.

  • Jorge

    Zeiss is absolutely full of themselves.

    • sperdynamite

      Nikon charges $550 for a flash that they botched the initial launch of, refuses to upgrade firmware on the flawed D600, charges nearly 2 grand for an 85mm 1.4… Zeiss is hardly the only game upping costs. Not saying I like it, but they ain’t Leica.

      • Shawn

        What’s the flawed firmware on the D600? I’m asking honestly, I haven’t heard any issues beyond the unfortunate dust/oil.

        • sperdynamite

          Not being able to change aperture in live view.

          • KnightPhoto

            For the last time you guys ;-) …not being able to set Aperture in LiveView is a physical mechanical issue. Clearly you know a lot about lenses of various ilk, but you and many other posters continue to miss the basics about Nikon cameras and Nikkor Aperture stop-down levers. D800 and on up cameras have a second physical apparatus that moves the Aperture lever on the lens independent of the shutter. Ain’t no firmware going to place an aperture setting apparatus in the D600.

            Your welcome!

            Here’s a better worded quote from dpreview:

            “The only Nikons that allow continuous real-time Aperture Control in LiveView are the D800 and D4. These bodies have a separate motor driving the aperture stopdown lever. All lower end Nikon bodies directly link the aperture stopdown lever to the mirror drive mechanism, and so can only change aperture when the mirror is cycled – which happens when you enter liveview or take a picture. So you get this frustrating exit Liveview – change aperture – reenter Liveview behavior that make the D7100/600 less than ideal video cameras

            This is a fundamental limitation of the f-mount’s partially mechanical lens interface. It’s one of the reasons that Canon switched to a fully electronic interface in the early 1990s. Legacy support has its disadvantages as well as its benefits.”

            The better question is “Why doesn’t Nikon convert their lenses to E for electronic Aperture?” The 800mm and PC-E lenses all have this. High time the rest of the lineup is converted too.

            • sperdynamite

              Well then Nikon did a shittier thing than I had originally thought. It should be in all cameras D7k and up. They can obviously do it with the 800/D4/D700… Sucks that it’s not a firmware issue. Just another frustrating thing that makes me think maybe the grass really is greener with Canon (and uhm not too green like on a new Nikon LCD).

            • Zograf

              Not entirely true. My Nikon 1 V2 does it as well. Even better :)

  • bgbs

    crazy price for a piece of glass. That is why I do not give my business to Zeiss

    • sperdynamite

      Oh please a lot of the Zeiss lenses are cheaper than pro glass from Nikon or Canon. The 50mm 1.4 is a bargain compared to the Canon 50mm 1.2, and delivers a similar look, admittedly at the expense of AF.

      • StarF

        oh, Come on…

        Which one has the larger aperture?

        • Sahaja

          Only by half a stop.

          Which one delivers the better IQ?

          People pay this much for a used Nikon 58mm f/1.2

        • sperdynamite

          It’s half the price of the 1.2 and better than the EF 1.4, all I’m saying. As a Nikon user and Zeiss 50 owner I’m also hoping for a Sigma 1.2, no question.

    • Steven Wade

      You’ve clearly never seen the prices of Leica glass.

  • tertius_decimus

    Optimus Prime.

    • kassim

      Optimus Zoom is even more expensive.

  • whisky

    this lens isn’t for everybody, but for those who shoot this field of view on ultra high MP sensors — there may be a slight technical advantage. kudos to Zeiss for having the balls to produce this.

    • Global

      Its not a $3,500 dollar technical advantage. Its not even a $100 advantage. Sigma will probably match this with their next ART lens.

      I think ZEISS accidentally put an extra zero on that price tag!

      • Sahaja

        Some people pay this much for a bottle of wine. Do you think that would taste much better than a good $100 bottle?

      • Jake

        yea, just like it does with the 35 ART. You guys that promote the Sigs as some kind of Zeiss on AF are either loons or you really like crap bokeh.

    • Global

      .. I guess this is for the “Medium Format” owner who is “on the cheap” using Nikon D800 or D800E.

      I just hope that ZEISS stops this pricing with Nikon lenses, because Nikon might get funny ideas that they need to increase the price of bodies, accordingly. I’d rather Nikon stop thinking they are luxury end, because Canon and Nikon both need to properly be the work horse, not the fancy pants.

      Nikon almost was making $10,000 cameras for a while there (D3X sold for $8,000+!!). I don’t want Zeiss encouraging them in that direction again now that they are finally in the $1600 range with refurbished D600es. ;-)

      • Vin

        I don’t think Nikon will increase there prices simply on what Zeiss is manufacturing. Sigma is also making sharp lenses at a good price. Nikon has made many different qualities of lenses at a variety of prices accordingly. Demand, sharpness, supply, will be the tell tail reality.

        • Neopulse

          tale*

          • mikeswitz

            their*

        • kassim

          everybody*

      • Sahaja

        Just wait for the 56mp D4x…

      • neversink

        Yes, and I don’t know any pro personally that ever purchased a D3x.

        • Sahaja

          I know a couple who did – and they earned lots of money with those cameras.

        • Nick

          I know loads – but then I used to sell D3xs for a living so that may be why…

          • neversink

            I’m sure there were some sold. I was extremely happy with the D3s — so at the time I wasn’t interested n the extra “pixel power.” But I do love the D800 and the D4; and if Nikon produces a D4x I just might bite, after it’s been on the market for awhile.

      • Ian Dangerzone

        I don’t think that’s the case at all. This lens is just incredibly sharp and from what I see worth the money; and I’m not a Zeiss fanboy in any respect. Yeah, you pay but you get what you pay for with Zeiss, typically. They also have primes in the 500-800 price point. This price point is not without justification…this is a lifetime 50mm lens for a serious shooter.

  • visionaer

    i love zeiss lenses and i use them a lot, but this is far to expansive, sorry …

    • StarF

      With the high price and the unmatched quality…

  • Daniel

    Finally a lens worthy for my facebook

    • roadie

      Waiting to see your cat pictures!

      • BernhardAS

        As the digiloyd review shows, it is indeed THE cat lens. you can not only see each hair but also the miniscule pigment structure inside the eye. :-)

        • kassim

          I wonder if he used katzeye focusing screen for the review.

          • Alex

            Hope the make a white one to suit my Nikon 1, count me out otherwise

    • Anto de Chav

      Facebook is sooo 2012… Google+ is the place for your photos..

      • Sebastian Rasch

        Yes they’re actually quite safe on Google+ because nobody will ever see them there! Like anyone is using Google+…

        • Anto de Chav

          yeah and Facebook compresses them to the point of being useless,G+ allows you to upload full rez

          • Marco Santa Cruz

            sure does! especially since their latest user agreement update allows them to use your photo/ or photos, in any ad.
            “Hell, if i’m gonna steal something, i want it to be in good quality” – google thoughts

  • Jorge

    And the ridiculous names to make themselves stand out from the crowd, and maybe justify their insane prices for a MF lens! What a freakn’ joke.

  • sperdynamite

    Leica announces 50mm APO Summicron, a year later Zeiss announces a better performing normal, a stop faster, and less expensive. Oh snap…

    This is a specialty item for a very small number of photographers, and exists mostly to showcase what Zeiss can do. Stop complaining about the price. Think Dodge Viper. You probably won’t buy one, but it might get you to consider a Dart. I personally am a very happy 50mm 1.4 Planar user. It’s just got a different look that I really enjoy.

    • Anto de Chav

      Pity it’s 3x the weight of the Leica 50mm APO..

      • NotAnto

        Can’t stick the Leica 50 APO on a Nikon DSLR. Bad comparison.

        • Anto de Chav

          true,from a Nikon perspective it’s irrelevant,but looking at it simply as another 50-55 lens its in the same class as the APO.. I have seem a few shots from the APO wide open and they’re stunning so it certainly doesn’t lack quality,only drawback seems to be that some of them flare and are being recalled by Leica

          • Neopulse

            Yeah, those already got recalled. Read an article awhile back on it. I think it was a Summicron lens though. But as long as you can get it fixed for fre ain’t no big deal.

      • sperdynamite

        When quality is king, weight, and Leica, aren’t even at the table.

        • Anto de Chav

          Leica is not at the table with quality??

          • sperdynamite

            Maybe the M, seems like a step in the right direction (minus the ridiculous luxury price). But the M8 and 9 were a joke. See cracked sensors, no weather sealing, terrible screen, little to no low light performance and dynamic range, and now flaring APO Summicrons. Then again, with Nikon we got the D600, ughhhh

            • Anto de Chav

              True about the M8 and M9,although a lot of shooters still prefer the M9’s CCD sensor and the look,I know a couple of guys that went back to the M9 (and MM)from the M..

              I don’t have much experience with the M range but what I have seen from the M glass is very good and they do hold their value well which is always a bonus. ;-)

  • TaoTeJared

    Tempting but just too far out of reach and my eyes are not accurate enough and unfortunately my work moves too fast to be able to utilize a manual focus lens often enough to justify it. Wish it did though!

    For the uninformed who do not understand the cost of high end glass, check out info and the prices on any medium format system lens: Mamiya which is the cheapest start at $1,500, Hasselblad’s “kit” 80mm starts at $2,900 and up to $8,000 per lens. Cine lenses: Zeiss start at $3,900, Canon start at $4,900 and others are even higher. The more MP we get, the more DSLRs will find their way into studios replacing MF systems, the more higher end glass will be desired. There is no need to knock a company who meets the desires of customers.

    • Beso

      Well stated, TTJ. My preorder was placed this morning. I own two other Zeiss lenses and there truly is an intangible in warmth and tonal qualities and I am looking forward to plugging this onto my D800. The cost, justification, value formula is always a personal perspective call but there is a price to art. And yes, photography is an art. This lens may be as well.

      • Sahaja

        Enjoy the lens. Would like to see some sample photos when you get it.

        • Beso

          I am sure I will post a few to PAD as well as my Flickr page.

      • Ian Dangerzone

        While i think you’re romanticizing the ‘intangible’ qualities to justify your expenditure, I’ll not deny that this 50mm is an absolutely stunning lens and I’d buy it in a heartbeat if I didn’t need a d800e and 14-24 first. I don’t object to the price of this lens and will consider it down the road, but realistically the Nikon 1.2 or the Noct 58mm is adequate if I’m spending 3k or more on a prime.

        • Beso

          I am neither romanticizing nor attempting to justify anything. I chose to purchase the lens. Period. End of story.
          You might be well advised to seek your exercise in other ways than by jumping to conclusions. Of course I will consult you for your approval prior to any future purchases.

          • Ian Dangerzone

            Tut, tut, no need to jump so quick at the sight of a bare needle…nobody is begrudging you the lens: I just said I’d buy it myself! Let’s not fool ourselves, though: if you can’t describe the quality of a thing, to call it ineffable or intangible as an estimation of value is to substitute your opinion for an objective, measurable set of values in comparison to another thing, which is to romanticize it…and that’s fine! But don’t crap in a man’s cappuccino and tell him it’s nutmeg :D

            • Beso

              Given your definition I am going to guess that you romanticize an awful lot of things.
              You inappropriately and inaccurately presume I need to rationalize my expenditure. I don’t. Why is that so hard for you to understand? Further, I feel no obligation to describe anything to you irrespective of what you may believe. Argue semantics all you want. It will be one-sided from here on out.
              You may also want to find some new clichés while you are at it.

            • Ian Dangerzone

              Oh, okay. I guess I was just curious why you’d romanticize the hell out of a lens and manufacturer then automatically deny it right after. I get that most people don’t like being called on not having logical reasons for them doing things and is the surest way to trigger a denial mechanism, it’s part of the religion / politics / money trifecta that you’re not supposed to bring up around the dinner table. Enjoy the lens that you didn’t have any reason, rationale, or justification for buying (except for the romantic qualities you indicate above). It’s pretty common for people to spend 4000 dollars on a thing with no reason at all. Good day to you, sir!

        • Sahaja

          The prices of used 58mm 1.2 are as much as this lens but, all round, this is likely to be much better.

          It will be interesting to see a comparison.

    • Dpablo unfiltered

      Here’s what I see that a lot of people are missing. A person probably should be using some sort of a 50 a lot more than a lot of people like to for an infinite number of reasons. You simply get the most bang for the least buck and the angle is the one you might pick if you could have but one lens. It’s also the angle you will likely start with if you go to a larger format. And for the most part it doesn’t matter what 50 you use. Any 50 is a good 50. They’ve been making 50 so long and so much that the differences are almost nil. You get more tradeoffs than improvements. Any of them can go against the expensive zoom. And many different 50s have a strong point at one ap or another. Well, here is a lens that I can see is clearly better than the others, even on those tiny tiny pics. Well if there’s a lens that I want, it would be a length that I commonly use that is significantly better than all the others which are thought to be the benchmark of quality. And one made by a good maker with a solid no compromise reputation. Made of metal…

      • TaoTeJared

        I would agree that this is the first Dslr lens that actually is visibly better than the rest. Anyone who knocks it has not done their research. Some just take photos and others want the tools that give one the ability to push the limits and give them the opportunity to create images that will stand the test of time.

        • fjfjjj

          Tao Te Youhaven’tshotwiththislens

          • TaoTeJared

            Nope but Zeiss and their testers have posted a large bunch of images shot with it that you can download. I do my research and I’m not dumb enough to think I have to “touch” it to see what it can do. I’m not lazy enough to comment without doing any research either.

          • Jake

            you haven’t read the mtf then? …are you sure you can even read one.

            • fjfjjj

              Read the MTF, don’t care. Ph.D. in finance, so no problem reading them. P.S. You’re a dick.

            • Jake

              Ph.Douche. in finance hangs out on internet rumor blogs …l.o.s.e.r.

  • fjfjjj

    “Otus”? “Touit”? Can we go back to “Distagon” please?

    • sperdynamite

      I’d use it as a nice long normal at 1.4 if it would give a similar look to the Contax 80mm f2 or the Pentax 105mm f2.4, on a full frame digital. Right now the 50mm Planar 1.4 gets me pretty close, but it’s not exactly the same, and I’d love it to be a very slight bit sharper at 1.4 (although I do love the softness too).

      Too rich for my blood though, I’ll stick with my Planar.

      • Captain Megaton

        The Planar 50/1.4 is a lot of great things, but its not a technically outstanding optic.

        • sperdynamite

          No, certainly not. But not all photography is technical. It’s got a wonderful softness to it, while also holding contrast wide open and close up. I use it at weddings all the time. Pretty dreamy at 1.4, sharp enough at 2.0, and then like a good normal 50 from 2.8 on.

      • fjfjjj

        The Contax645 80mm is 6.6% longer than the 645 format diagonal. The “Otus” 55mm is 28% longer than the 135 format diagonal.

        • Pat Mann

          My 645 negatives are about 56 x 41.5 mm. Contax 645 specs show image size 56 x 41.5 mm as well. Diagonal is about 70mm, 80mm is 14.7% longer.

    • StarF

      Maybe Pentax is right…I don’t think Zeiss is making a ‘standard’ lens.

    • Zograf

      At about 55-58 mm the need for retro focus design ends(albeit design is Distagon-ish), so I would guess they have more freedom to optimize aberrations..

      • fjfjjj

        LOL. This is a Distagon. It’s a retrofocus design.

  • Patriot

    It doesn’t cost nearly that much to build a lens does it? If they lower the price then more people would buy it. Just greed that all.

    • Neopulse

      The thing is, that it’s of higher grade quality glass than most lens companies and the chances of getting a defective lens is almost nil due to their QC. Plus, it’s absolutely sharp at 1.4 rather than having to stop it down to f/2.0 like the Nikon f/1.4G plus the colors are more true with these lenses. Think about it, the Noctilux f/0.95 doesn’t cost $10k+ for nothing, at maximum aperture it’s ridiculously sharp and very good with colors and CA and what not. Although it is manual focus, the quality is astounding.

  • cookie

    Just the right lens for a Nikon D900 E with 50 MP

    • jk

      there won’t be D900E but D810.

      • BroncoBro

        …right after the D410.

        • kassim

          D400 was a stillbirth. Don’t ever mention its name, or its supposed to be successor(D410 or whatever). it makes me depressed.

          :P

  • Pixyst

    This hopefully will help to demonstrate the clear difference between the D800 and the 5D3 which so many have been deceived into thinking is a real rival.

    • jk

      you do not need this to do so, you can get the excellent Zeiss 135mm f2 APO, which is my favorite Zeiss prime to date.
      the 25mm f2 ZF2 , the 50mm f2 MP are also good.
      the 15mm f2.8 disappointed me , the 100f2 is sharp but with excessive Lo-CA and I dislike it.
      overall , the 135mm apo is a great lens and it is reasonably priced.

    • sperdynamite

      The 5D3 is a great camera, and so is the D800. You can do things with either that you can’t do with the other. Don’t know why one has to ‘win’ for you, when clearly one has an intended purpose, and the other has another. For Canon’s part, they made a fantastic wedding camera. Nikon has not done this with their current line up. The D4 is overkill, the D600 has too many drawbacks or problems, and the D800s lovely but chunky files are overkill in a different way. The 5D3 fits that niche nicely.

      • Meh…

        You *can* change the D800 files to “Medium” instead of “Fine” to get the equivalent file sizes of a 23MP camera. I find in my workflow that I don’t mind the large file sizes at full resolution; I am just much, much more selective of which files make it through the first cut and on to post.

        • sperdynamite

          jpeg? What is this evil you speak of?

        • BroncoBro

          If you’re shooting only jpegs why would you spend $2,800 on a camera body? Might I suggest saving a ton of money and just get a P7800?

      • coloretric

        I would say the D800 is fine as a wedding camera if not equally on par with the 5D3. Either you bought into either system from the beginning and one usually accumulates a series of accessories for that system. Personally I use the D800 when shooting weddings as a I love the results I get out of the 105mm DC that I have :) Something maybe matched by the Canon 135mm f/2

        On a side note if the D4 is overkill, the 1Dx must be so too?

        • sperdynamite

          Yeah, the 1Dx is overkill for weddings.

        • Anto de Chav

          1DX is too heavy for wedding’s..

  • Max Barros

    this is madness

  • Anto de Chav

    If this lens had Autofocus it would sell well,its a top knotch lense with excellent wide open performance and superior control of aberration’s,But a peculiar focal length and a bit on the heavy side..But either way it wont be long before we see a flickr pool for Zeiss 55mm 1.4 shooters,most of us would love it if we could afford it,and I applaud Zeiss for pushing the boundary’s of lens design for 35mm format..

  • snappur

    name association . . . OTUS rhymes with Lotus, POTUS, SCOTUS . . . accidentally political?

  • Cammece Capitalbrock

    after reading this rubbish about a $4k 55mm f1.4 manual lens, my middle fingers wont go down.. My sigma 35mm f1.4 art lens takes a dump all over every Zeiss lens available for 35mm digital format. Be on the look out for the sigma 50mm f1.4 art lens, it will slay the Zeiss lens for sure.

    • Anto de Chav

      It will definitely be interesting to see what Sigma has to offer…

    • sperdynamite

      While the Sigma 35/1.4 is certainly sharper than the Zeiss, it suffers in overall contrast and bokeh. Once you get past the idea that sharpness isn’t king, you find that there are other ways to evaluate a lenses quality. That’s why I like my fairly soft 50mm 1.4 Planar. With 35mm I opted for the Sigma, but I’d give up some of that bite for a little more contrast wide open and close up.

      • jk

        I think people spoil Zeiss too much , if Nikon or someone else realeased something like this at this price , it would be harshly criticized.
        And, Zeiss is not Leica ,therefore , not many of us allow this kind of pricing from them, Zeiss is not as special as Leica or Rodenstock.

        • sperdynamite

          Well it’s $3000 dollars less expensive than Leica’s fancy high performance 50, and a stop faster.

          Secondly, Zeiss is not Leica or Rodenstock? No lens maker is special, they just want you to think they are. Even if they ‘must’ be thought of as ‘special,’ I’d point out the amazing line of G lenses, the 80mm ƒ2 for the Contax 645, the 110mm ƒ2 for Hasselblad, the 38mm Biogon for the SWC, the Master Primes, their never talked about line of Super 16 lenses, the generally excellent CP.2s, the ƒ.07 lenses for NASA and Kubrick, their M line which is not only affordable but also has many lenses of excellent optical quality, even the new 35mm ƒ2 Planar for the Sony RX1 has been widely acclaimed as world class. Not special?! What the heck do they have to do to be special?

          And Nikon does release over priced items all the time. The D3X, all their ƒ4 zooms, the new 80-400, the Coolpix A, etc..

        • Josh

          Nikon already did it’s called “Micro-Nikkor 55mm 2.8″

          • Zograf

            Yes, that’s right – the Micro-Nikkor 55/2.8 is very sharp.

        • BroncoBro

          Well, I’ve owned many Leica and Zeiss lenses and would differ with you. The Leica lenses are very fine on the whole. The 35mm f/2.0 Summicron ASPH is a remarkable lens, for sure. But, I’ve had some that were no better than some of the better Nikon lenses I’ve owned. As for a set of lenses for a specific camera, the Zeiss lenses for my Contax G2 were the best lenses I’ve ever used…bar none. The 90mm f/2.8 Sonnar and the 28mm f/2.8 Biogon, in particular, were sensational in every way. The 45mm Planar was not far behind. AND, they were basically a third the price of the Leica lenses. Don’t get me wrong, the Leica lenses are also exceptional, but they are not necessarily in a category by themselves. As for what I use now, the Nikon’s are more than fine. I’ve grown past thinking that a lens makes a picture. I’m now making the best photographs I’ve ever made and using Nikon lenses to do it. The cameras are very functional, the lenses are reasonable in cost and there is a very wide selection of focal lengths and speeds. And, they have the integrated flash system that allows me to take a studio on location and get near-studio quality at my client’s site, which is important to my business. As for the Zeiss lens noted here for $4,000, if you think you have to have it and can afford it, go for it. But I think very few will make photographs with it that will actually show off what the lens is capable of.

      • Danzig

        Funny how you mention bokeh as a quality to evaluate a lens and your example for that is the 50 1.4 Planar which has one of the ugliest bokehs in the Zeiss and non-Zeiss line ups :)

        • sperdynamite

          It’s all subjective. I like the Zeiss Planar’s bokeh, and dislike the Sigmas as compared to it. Overall I don’t put too much stock in how the bokeh looks at all.

          • BroncoBro

            “Overall I don’t put too much stock in how the bokeh looks at all.”

            Which is why you brought it up in the first place?

            • sperdynamite

              I do prefer one to the other, I do not care enough about it to affect my purchasing decisions.

              Ughhhhhhhhh.

              Must everything be spelled out. Are you happy now nitpicker?

      • Cammece Capitalbrock

        You can bet Zeiss has nothing that can touch Sigma’s 35mm art lens. I will have to disagree with you about the Sigma 35mm art’s bokeh & contrast. I use it on a D800E, the bokeh is smooth and I see no contrast issues at all. If Zeiss made the same lens, they would charge $5k for it.

  • Neopulse

    Thought the best fast 50 was the f/0.95 Noctilux?

    • Anto de Chav

      it’s the fastest 50 but not the best,Leica’s own 50APO is better..

      • Neopulse

        interesting, will see if I can try one out next year in the states.

        • Anto de Chav

          I doubt you will be disappointed ,its awesome,I ordered one for myself,my first step into the M glass,I considered the Nocti but it’s too large and not as good as the APO at f2

        • jk

          the Leica 50mm f2APO is a magical optical marvel.

      • jk

        and the Leica is smaller and lighter and more beautiful than this thing.

      • Rolleiflex

        Please back up your statement. People have shot with both (this Distagon and the Cron 50 AA) show that they are pretty much equal (the Zeiss actually has a tiny bit better resolution). However, the Leica has one major flaw for a 7K lens: severe veiling flare (Zeiss has none). It’s well-documented and Leica is issuing a recall for users that are aware of the problem. I guess you missed the memo…

        • Rolleiflex

          Let me back that up with Erwin Putt (a Leicaphile) conclusion: http://www.imx.nl/photo/leica/apo-summicron-m-250-mm-asph.html (he has to say that the Zeiss is just as good even though one can see it’s clearly better overall)

          diglloyd.com, you can easily see his documented veiling flare problem of the Leica as well as his praise of the Zeiss.

          I paid more (than the Distagon) for my 50, but I would not blindly deny the optical performance of this lens.

  • Neopulse

    Just a bit more I can get an 80mm f/2.8 LS Sekor with a 645DF+ :-/

    • Anto de Chav

      or a HC50 mk2. and like the Sekor it has leaf shutters and A.F.. But of course it’s horses for courses,and the Zeiss is a 1.4 so has its uses..

  • Funduro

    That price is Otus this world.

  • KT

    The ultimate test of how sharp this lens is would be a picture of the yet to be seen D610.

    • Deep_Lurker

      The ultimate test of how sharp this lens is would be a picture of the “there isn’t going to be a” D400.

  • jk

    it must be a optical marvel. but really oversized, I can accept the price if it is really really outstanding but this size for a simple normal prime without AF?
    IMHO, if this huge barrel size and weight MF lens design is allowed , anyone can design a 50mm prime as good as this , I bet Rokinon will beat it.
    my Rokinon 14mmf2.8 is sharper than both Zeiss 15mm f2.8,which I owned for a week and returned, and the Nikon 14mm f2.8 D.
    it is hard for me to say this but Zeiss is becoming like a fashion brand(collector’s item, not a photog’s tool) like Gucci or something like that.

  • Captain Megaton

    The thinking seems to be: “Why bother making a lens to sell at $1000 when you make one to sell at $4000 instead?”

    You’d wonder if they’d reach a price point where no one would buy them, but that’s clearly not the case yet.

    Perhaps its something like wristwatches: the higher the price, the more people want them.

    • Neopulse

      They put it at that price because it’s meant to only appeal to a certain demograph of people. They don’t want soccer moms to own this lens. Kinda like Ferraris and Lambos, only meant for people with a taste for exclusivity and high quality.

  • Zeiss Freak

    $4000USD and no Autofocus? Gotta love that!

    • lorenzo

      That’s what I also thought but I read that Zeiss cannot do AF on Nikon F mount only for patent issues. Too bad… I was going to consider replacing my $200 Nikon 50 f/1.8 :-)

    • Ian Dangerzone

      Bud, if you will spend 4k on a prime and not bother to learn how to use MF, you’re dating a crackhead and complaining their mouth tastes like darts.

  • Mi Lee

    Wonder if there’s an adapter to screw this thing onto the Loonyblad?

  • Spy Black

    I’m surprised Samyang hasn’t gotten in this game. Would love to see what they would do. If a new Sigma 50mm f/1.4 was made the way they made the 35mm f/1.4, that would just blow everything up, now wouldn’t it?…

    • Zograf

      Yes, it would have. In fact the Sigma 35/1.4 and the 30/1.4(for DX) have the same optical design approach as this Zeiss.

    • Viktor

      actually they have 50 1.2 in development, that will be released in 2014

      • Spy Black

        That’s going to be a tough product to do right, hopefully they do it right, we’ll see. I’ll assume you mean Sigma in your comment.

  • BroncoBro

    Pretty soon you won’t have any more reason to buy a Zeiss lens than you do a Leica lens. How many people look at your photographs at 100% from 14″ away?

  • kassim

    Suddenly I see a lot of Sigma fans.

    • Zograf

      And the price of Noct Nikkors on eBay going up..

  • Asaf

    I would rather add 1500$ and get me a 300 2.8.. :)

  • Sebastian Rasch

    Dude this thing is mental. AF would be awesome though!

  • Hank Carter

    By all accounts it’s blazing sharp, but it’s also the size of a coffee can.

  • Neopulse

    Wonder how good this lens would perform on a Nikon 1 series with an FT1 adapter?

  • Reilly Diefenbach

    From what I understand from these giddy comments, this magical lens will increase the resolution of your camera by multiplying the pixels, say from 36 to 72MP.

    • Sahaja

      Though it should be good when Nikon come out with a 72mp DSLR in a few years.

      • KnightPhoto

        Which is exactly DigLloyd’s point also…

        There are reason’s to pre-order a lens like this. Each to their own, I don’t personally need it, but I respect that others will.

  • cjacja

    Here is a MUCH less expensive Zeiss lens that is adapted to a modern dSLR. I actually own this lens in (Exacta mount) and after seeing this guy’s results may get it converted to Nikon. You can buy these for just over $100. Take a look at his images. http://galactinus.net/vilva/retro/eos350d_biotar.html

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