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Carl Zeiss Distagon T* Otus 1,4/55 ZF.2 and Sigma 18-35mm f/1.8 DC HSM A lenses tested at DxOmark

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Zeiss-OTUS-55mm-f1.4-APO-Distagon-T-ZF.2-lens
Carl Zeiss Distagon T* Otus 1,4:55 ZF.2 test results
It's official - the Carl Zeiss Distagon T* Otus 1,4/55 ZF.2 lens ($3990) is currently the best lens available for Nikon F mount according to DxOMark:

"With outstanding optical quality, the Carl Zeiss Otus 1,4/55 certainly represents a high water mark for a retrofocus fast standard for DSLRs. However, it might not be the high price that deters people, in practical terms the large size and lack of autofocus may be the more limiting aspects, but there’s no denying optical quality like this demands attention."

Here are few other comparisons with similar F-mount lenses:

Best 50mm lens for Nikon
Best 50mm lens
Best 50mm f1.4 lens

DxoMark released their test results for the Sigma 18-35mm f/1.8 DC HSM A ($799) lenses:

Sigma-18-35mm-F1.8-DC-HSM-A-Nikon-mount-lens-DxOMark-review

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  • Maji

    The Zeiss is insanely sharp! The siggy is sharp too. Sigma seems to be doing well lately.

  • Sebastian

    Yes the Sigma fares well here, as in all other reviews. Amazing that they can pull this off. But it’s such a brick! I take it to be more a demonstration of capabilty by Sigma than something useful. Would have much preferred two light, compact, sharp primes, 18 and 24 f/1.8 (and the existing 35/1.8).

  • sperdynamite

    No comparison vs the Leica APO Summicron?

    • Kynikos

      All about f-mount.

    • longzoom

      Go to “LensTip.com”. According to them, Otus is way better than Summ. I am able to say so, look under my name at NikonCafe or such, I’ve already posted some images taken by Otus. Miracle!!

      • sperdynamite

        Leica releases ‘best 50 ever’…a year later, Zeiss releases even better 50, a stop faster, and at half the price.

        Love that. Fuck those snobs at Leica.

        • longzoom

          Aah…Uhh… While some wordings of yours are strong, I like the way you thinking!

        • TheInconvenientRuth

          Still, Leica is (one of) the oldest camera/lens manufacturers stll going today and making a decent profit. Many others may have innovated more, or have been cheaper, but are now out of business or sold to other companies. Bashing Leica because it is expensive is as silly as bashing Lamborghini for being expensive. They are luxury items. I’m not a Leica user, don’t own one, but have shot with the M(240) and the S and I must say they are very enjoyable to use. Much like I would probably enjoy driving an Aston Martin too, but can’t afford one.

          • sperdynamite

            I absolutely bash Lamborghini and Leica for being expensive. They’re toys for the uber rich, not tools for the talented. Why is it silly to point out that simple truth? The M8 and 9 created nice little files in some situations, but at an expense of $7k, and still managed to be fragile little things that were prone to instability. Leica rumors runner’s own M9 had it’s sensor freaking crack on him. What a joke. The M240 is a nice camera, finally, but still just some rich man jewelry. Like fine watches, they now just point out how big of a fool you are.

            • TheInconvenientRuth

              Sounds like maybe you are just envious because you can’t afford any of them? What’s wrong with people spending their money on things they enjoy? If you won the lottery tomorrow, you’d probably change your attitude fairly quickly…

            • TheInconvenientRuth

              My husband owns a ‘fine watch’. A Tag Heur. He bought it 20 years ago and it was very expensive. He has worn it every single day of his life since. Never bought another watch after this one. He still loves it as much as the day he bought it. It never broke down and had one battery change in 20 years. If you break the cost down over 20 years of (enjoyed) use, it is pretty much a bargain. How does this make him a fool, exactly…?

            • Ian Dangerzone

              I bought a fine watch when I was 9. A Timex Iron Man. Indiglo. Cost me 35 bucks at the Bay. I wore it every single day of my life for ten years. Replaced the strap for 15 bucks once or twice. Clocked thousands of laps at swim meets. Put it in a felt lined box at the end of the day and stroked and cooed at it before bed. Never had to change the time on it. With the money I saved by not buying a Tag, I got my first car and a D40. How much of a fool is your husband?

            • silmasan

              You know, one doesn’t always have to save up money to buy something one really wants. One could also simply ‘create’ it if he/she is creative.

              Maybe I’m biased because I’m somewhat partial to TAG Heuer pieces, but I’m definitely baffled by how much judgments are put into someone else’s taste and buying decisions here.

            • Jorge

              Envy sucks. I own Tags. Two homes. Summer home. Nice cars (5 of them), and not one is leased or financed. CASHOLA. Some of us do, some don’t. Live with it. That wasn’t a very nice comment calling someone a fool just because they value something you will never, ever, ever own.
              And on that note. I bed NR farewell for the weekend.

            • Ian Dangerzone

              The Jorge doth protest too much, methinks.

              I have some sad news and words of compassion for you: at your age, this behavior of yours (bragging about your “stuff” every other post and acting like Mr Big Wheel on the internet for being middle class in North America) betrays a sad and profound misunderstanding about values and reveals to me (and everyone else) that you’re trying to conceal a pretty profound unhappiness.The kind of guy who does that kind of thing doesn’t have the insight to tell obvious tongue-in-cheek commentary because he never spent any time cultivating a personality or any emotional maturity or a sense of self worth independent of his possessions. I genuinely pity you.

              At least you have your Tags to count down the fifteen or so years you have left to stop being an empty shell of a person before you’re dragged into the unending blackness of an unforgiving grave by cardiac arrest. I can read your epitaph now: “Thank god he bragged lots that he had Money and Stuff. His kids (when they talked to him) were super proud when they found out he spent his retirement on the internet talking about his house to strangers.” Good luck, man! Maybe you can turn it around before then!

            • Jorge

              Wow. That was profound. Thanks for the analysis.
              It seems you are one of the many overseas US haters. Can’t help it if your country blows chunks.
              And just so you know I have at least another 40 plus years to accumulate more stuff then die.
              Dumbass.

            • Ian Dangerzone

              Fat guys don’t make their nineties, statistically. And you’re wrong about my country, just like you seem to be wrong about most things, most of the time. It’s to be expected, I guess, that a guy who missed the point of my posts, twice, is aiming for a hat trick. But you’re still talking about “things,” so I guess you’ve proved my point. Sad, I guess, that you can’t sell the cameras in your safe and buy common sense or wisdom, but even an example of what not to do is still an example.

            • neversink

              Once you began lambasting Jorge for North American materialism, your argument was no longer valid. I have met braggarts from all over the world… On every continent.

            • Ian Dangerzone

              You’re making the fallacy of attacking two prongs of a dilemma at once. I made two basic arguments: 1) good old rolly poly Jorge is a braggart. You agree with that above. 2) I argue by implication that his braggadocio is ill-formed as the ‘cash, houses, and cars’ that he constantly boasts about (besides making him look like an unspeakably obnoxious person) is mostly just a reflection of the status of the average middle age, middle class retiree in North America, which is not a particularly laudable achievement. I should know. I live in North America. I’m middle class. I’m successful. I work my ass off for what I have and where I am, but I don’t fucking brag about it on every other post, I don’t put people down for not having what I don’t, and I don’t make any mistake about the considerable privilege I enjoy being a relatively intelligent, tall, charismatic, articulate, and educated white male living in a society that’s built around supporting guys like me. Those are things that I’ve taken for granted a good deal of my life that travel and introspection have caused me to acknowledge could have ended up very differently had I been born somewhere else. I also know where I came from: my first job was flipping burgers. Second job was a warehouse at walmart. So no, my credibility isn’t compromised in the slightest, because common sense and human decency tells me trying to lord what I have over people that don’t is a morally unconscionable thing to do, which is why when guys like Jorge who have absolutely no moral compass or even the most basic insights as to what right or wrong are absolutely reprehensible in their behavior throwing class trash around like they do, I will justly put them on blast at every opportunity for the parasitic bottom feeding worms that they are.

            • neversink

              Whoa… Calm down. I agree about this guy being a braggart and that it is unnecessary. I don’t know if I would insult the parasitic bottom feeding worms though, by comparing Jorge with them. At least they have an ecological role to play on this earth. All I was really saying is that greed and bragging is not limited to North America. But I’ll take back the part about your argument not being valid if it will calm you down. “Breathe in, Breathe out!!!” ;-]

            • silmasan

              Saintly said. “Moral compass”. “Right and wrong”. “Justly”. Now who am I to judge? I am no saint. To each his own, by the way. I speak for myself.

              Anyway, I admit that I took your sentence (“How much of a fool is your husband?”) at face value. I thought, “this guy is ‘bragging’ about his cleverness/virtue (i.e. on saving money)”. Maybe I didn’t get your notion, so I bit. But then someone else jumped in with all those braggado on an entirely different level, which I care not to comment on anyway, and… interesting remarks were made from several sides.

              Now I can argue that you’re pushing your moral compass on someone else, but then you could easily say that I’m guilty of the same thing. Alright. What can I say?

              Damn assumptions.
              Damn the assumptions that someone on the internet was foolish, envious, hatin’, or plain wrong.
              Damn the assumptions that the haves are ‘low’, and the have-nots are ‘clueless’.
              Damn fine watches.
              Damn self-righteousness.

              Oh yeah, this ;-) for the tongue-in-cheek warning. Cheers.

            • neversink

              Who cares what you own. We all have things. I agree that envy sucks, but so is bragging about what you own. The question is (and there is no need to answer that here) — are you happy, healthy, have a good attitude, and do you smile when you wake up in the morning and look in the mirror, or do you hate what you see in the reflection?

            • fred

              My friend has a big house 14 cars.
              That’s 2 in the driveway and 12 up on bricks.

            • TheInconvenientRuth

              Well now that’s a bit of a skewed comparison. So here’s another. I’m not gonna dignify that with a serious reply, because I have the feeling that arguing with you would be like playing chess with a pidgeon…

            • Ian Dangerzone

              I know what you mean! Every time I play against pigeons they take themselves way too seriously and wind up not understanding tongue-in-cheek commentary.

            • Jorge

              Here! Here!
              I plan on handing my Tags down to my grandson at some point!

            • sperdynamite

              Duh of course I’m envious that’s their whole business model. I would love an M240 and a 50 1.4, but that’s a $11k investment. I’d have to have shit for brains to think an $11K 35mm camera with a 50mm lens is a good value. I’m a working pro shooting reportage style weddings, a Leica would be perfect. But they don’t make them for photographers, they make them for investment bankers and dentists. I would say that’s a stereotype if I didn’t formerly work as a camera salesman. The only people who came in to look at the M8 (current model then) were rich old men and asian camera fetishists. And this is in NYC, the photo capital of the world. Now I’m not gonna buy the Otus either, I don’t need it for people work, but I’m just glad to see Leica is still outclassed by a company that provides premium gear at reasonable prices. Zeiss’s M, SLR, and Cinema line ups are totally do-able for those interested. Not like the rich-man only Leica bullshit. I can have respect for that. Not a $2,800 dollar aps-c zoom lens camera, with no view finder.

            • Jorge

              YOu have no idea what you are talking about when it comes to Leicas and how and by whom they are used — see my comment above. No idea… None. Zero. Nada. Zip. Zipola. An idiot.

            • sperdynamite

              Oh well based on your survey on one dude…I am unconvinced. Two years of selling them taught me who really use them.

            • mikeswitz

              Maybe there was a reason you were selling cameras and not talking pictures with them. The more cameras you sold to “rich” Asians and bankers the angrier you got. Good thing you weren’t selling very expensive guns.

            • sperdynamite

              I’m a pro now, smart stuff. If you knew how hard it is to make a living in photography you’d have respect for people that build their businesses from the ground up, and maybe understand why someone like me would be offended when the art form that you love gets turned into a set of gaudy novelty gadgets for the wealthy.

            • mikeswitz

              And what makes you think I don’t know. You don’t know me any better than your former customers. I certainly hope you were fired for so harshly judging people who just came into someones (not yours) store to buy photographic equipment. As someone who worked hard to build my own business I certainly wouldn’t want someone with your unrepentant hatred for my clients working for me. And just because you may be a “pro”, what exactly gives you the right to judge other peoples needs. I predict your attidude towards humanity in general does not bode well for your business.

            • sperdynamite

              Lol you think that every sales person you’ve delt with has the utmost respect for you? Good luck with that. Good sales people fake it. They didn’t want me to leave when I did because I was pretty good at the job. I’m actually great with people, especially people who express a genuine passion for the craft. But when you got Daddy Warbucks asking me why Leica doesn’t make any autofocus M mount lenses, you seriously expect me not to roll my eyes? These people don’t know their assholes from their F stops think that buying a $10k+ camera kit…how do you not see the folly in that?

            • mikeswitz

              I guess you are not going to get my point. Let’s just say that you may not be to great actor that you think you are.

            • sperdynamite

              Nope. I was always awesome with every customer, and my clients love me. My photo clients are awesome people, no complaints about them. I get your point, we just disagree. If you think Bulgari watches, Hermes notebooks, and G-Star Raw special edition D-Lux 6 cameras are something to respect, then I don’t know what to tell you.

            • mikeswitz

              And if you equate Bulgari watches, Hermes notebooks and G-Star special D-Lux 6 Leicas with Zeiss Otus Lenses and Lieca Ms then no you still don’t get the point and never will. And if my clients happen to have a Hermes notebook I would give a shit.

            • mikeswitz

              Disqus fucked up again… If you think Bulgari watches, Hermes notebooks, and G-Star Raw special edition D-Lux 6 cameras are the equivalent of a new Distagon Otus 1.4 Lens and Leica Ms you really never will get it. But here is something you might understand; customers of car salesmen, insurance salemen, and camera salesmen have the same opinion of you. Those that can’t do….sell. Your false sense of superiority (the uber rich, indeed) will, in the end, come back and bite you in the ass.

            • Jorge

              Here! Here!

            • Jorge

              One of my best friends shoots Leica – the M9, and the new Monochrom with a gaggle of Leica glass. He’s a great artist! And I own some “fine” Tag watches. And I’m not a fool, and do pretty well shooting pics also.

            • mikeswitz

              What if they got rich taking pictures? Would you still hate them?

        • El Aura

          The Leica is also only, maybe, a quarter of the volume of the Zeiss. The Zeiss is as large as it is for a reason.

          • sperdynamite

            I would say that they both match the size of their intended systems.

  • Global

    It looks sharper than DXO mark’s scale. OK — camera manufacturers — now that we know you can do it…. there is no excuse for boosting megapixels THIS much and not working on your lenses.

    Nikon, I’m talking to you. Sigma is beating you. Zeiss shows that any whining of “its not possible to resolve… blah blah blah…” is completely phony.

    Time to upgrade your factories; you charge us enough.

    • RMFearless

      +1

    • Jon

      If Nikon removed autofocus from their lenses and decided to charge 4x more for every lens for a slight gain in sharpness, would you still buy it?

      • orpickaname

        On the positive side, that would be one way to get rid of AF problems once and for all…

        • TheInconvenientRuth

          Nah, most online ‘photographers’ would simply complain that their left eyeball had a focus issue and demand Nikon to replace it for free…

          • Al0n

            LoL

      • Not a still-life ‘tog

        And inherit manual retard-ness?

        Arm-chair purists would. Because photos of rocks and fruits may not need AF.

        • TheInconvenientRuth

          ..but cats move and you DO realise that the only photos worth seeing are cat pictures, right?

          • Truth

            AF is useful to photograph anything that may move… (unlike your cat brain)

            • RxGus

              I feel like you missed a major part of Ruth’s point… like, all of it.

      • FredBear

        Only if it comes in pink and offers other focal lengths.
        Oh, yes, it must have pre-sets for Dog’ and ‘Cat’.

      • Anthony Woodruffe

        I personally think all G lenses are annoying. Yes I own a few but that’s because they are sharper than their older D versions. However Why do we need an AF motor in the lens and the body? Make all bodies with AF and VR in them and gives us better glass instead.

        • Sebastian Rasch

          AF-S (That’s the one integrated in the lens) is much faster than AF. That’s why AF-S has a higher priority when using an AF-S lens on a body with AF motor – the AF motor in the body is only used, when an AF lens (no AF-S) is attached.
          As well, Nikon decided to use VR in the lens because it leads to better results than VR in the body.

          • Jon Ingram

            Yes, I agree in general (with some rare exceptions for AF performance), plus they can charge more for individual lenses with these features as opposed to a one-time camera body purchase.

          • Cajetan Barretto

            As someone who owns the D800 and couple of VR lenses (70-200 VR2 is one), and also shooting recently with the Olympus E-M1 with IBIS, I can assure you that the 5-axis IBIS outperforms anything that is available in the lenses in terms of VR.
            I regularly shoot 1-second hand-held shots with the E-M1. Not possible with the Nikon.

          • Mansgame

            My AF-D 85mm focused faster than my 85G lens

        • groucher

          G lenses sharper than their older D versions – those in my bag aren’t.

          • Pablo Ricasso

            You may need to upgrade your G lenses then. Or your bag.

      • Global

        Nikon already charges us 2 x more than what is necessary for lenses. I don’t know why Sigma and Zeiss and others can make extremely sharp glass that resolves better detail than Nikon.

        The Zeiss price — when adjusted for volume of production — could easily settle at Nikon’s current prime prices, given a market of scale & upgrades to facilities.

        By the way, I’m sorta teasing about primes — Nikon does pretty good there; except for the price. What I’m REALLY talking about are Nikon’s AVERAGE lenses. Where Nikon basically sticks a logo on something half-assed and says “Sell it, because they’ll be too worried about Tamron’s/Sigma’s not working on their camera to buy another brand.”

        And they don’t make it cheaper — Nikon often sells at twice the price or 30% more, for no advantage — yet they have a market of scale.

        So its logical, as consumers, to say, “I see what you’re doing there.”

        • AluKed

          “The Zeiss price — when adjusted for volume of production — could
          easily settle at Nikon’s current prime prices, given a market of scale
          & upgrades to facilities.”

          Not everything scales well (or at all) with volume.

        • whisky

          “I don’t know why Sigma and Zeiss and others can make extremely sharp glass that resolves better detail than …”

          apparently because Sigma and Zeiss can’t design and build better cameras than Nikon, Canon, or Pentax. lenses often subsidize tech for cameras, which Sigma and Zeiss pay no overhead.

      • Anto de Chav

        Some people would definitely pay extra for nikon AF lenses that performed like this Zeiss.. I would love a 24mm 1.4, 35mm 1.4 and 85mm1.4g that performed at this level..and a 150 f2 would also be nice..

      • nebus

        that’s more than a slight gain. and yes I will.

    • Beso

      I got mine on Tuesday. A phenomenal lens. It is not just about sharpness. It is also about contrast, accurate color rendering, lack of chromatic aberration, exceptional construction, and the lack of any compromises whatsoever. And you are right Global, Sigma is even showing Nikon how its done with the 35mm f/1.4. I can’t wait until the next two Otus lenses come out.

      • Mike

        The compromise is you have $4000 less in your bank account for a lens that doesn’t AF.

        • Beso

          I grew up during a time when there was no such thing as “autofocus.” Manually focusing is not a problem for me.

          • TheInconvenientRuth

            Me too , but you cannot deny that MF is more difficult/less accurate when you try this on modern DSLR cameras….

            • Beso

              That’s true. There is a lot to be said for decent focus screens… and the D800 and D4 do not have them.

            • Thomas

              Would be nice if the d800 had replaceable focus screens for those who prefer MF lenses

            • Beso

              I don’t know if there are technical reasons why Nikon doesn’t provide a good focus screen, especially given the fact that both the camera and lenses have switches to turn off auto focus. I would love to have the ease of a better screen for manual focus.

            • NoMeJodas

              According to following link the D800′s focus screen is interchangeable:

              http://digitaljournalofphotography.blogspot.de/2012/04/nikon-confirm-interchangeable-focusing.html.

              Still wondering why there are no 3rd party focus screens available by now (or at least couldn’t find one)

            • Beso

              Thanks for posting the link. I have previously read several conflicting opinions on the interchangeable focus screen. And, as you indicate, there doesn’t seem to be either Nikon option or third party option. Given Nikon’s new “Pure Photography” initiative with the Df and its ability to use old lenses one might think a logical inclusion would be a better manual focusing screens. Apparently that is not the case.

            • Paddy

              I can deny that MF is NOT more difficult/less accurate on a modern DSLR. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. If one uses one of Zeiss’s MF line, it’s is a total pleasure to use. The helicoids don’t have any sloppy play, and turn with just the right amount of resistance, with an appropriate amount of rotation. This makes it a no brainer to accurately nail your focus. For contemplative work, especially with live view, MF with a Zeiss lens is extremely easy.

            • Mansgame

              So you have to tell your subject to “Wait there! I need to drop down to Liveview, hold still for 3 minutes while I try to focus on you at f/1.4…wait wait, dang it, I missed, let’s try again…Ok got it! Wow MF is easy!” While it would take me half a second to focus and take the shot on my 50mm f/1.4d that cost $250?

            • mikeswitz

              …if you actually had a camera…

            • Mansgame

              That’s between me and the guy at Nikon who has de-dusted my D600 3 times.

            • mikeswitz

              You have a guy at Nikon with whom you share secrets? Impressive. I still don’t believe you have anything but an iPhone because you are so absolutely clueless.

            • Mansgame

              iPhone huh? I thought since you were a fan of mine, you’d see that a lot of my comments are anti-apple.

            • mikeswitz

              Which is exactly why I knew it would be an iPhone because you have obviously gotten oil all over its sensor and now you are just fed up with the whole damn company and are switching to ….SAMSUNG!

            • R!

              Damn you’re even bad at trollin, nothing fun is comming from you,If you ‘re a photographer I hope for you’re”clients” that you shut your mouth up ,It could deserve you.

            • mikeswitz

              I’m thinking English is not something you speak.

            • Paddy

              I’m not in the habit of speaking to my still life & landscape images, doofus. I’m so envious of people who’ve got their creative process nailed down to half second experiences. All those keepers, that I must be missing.

              The right tool for the right job. When the subject matter calls for it, I use my pro AF-S glass. For precise, accurate manual focus, the AF-D, and G Nikons simply suck. The manual focus PC-D or E lenses, are decent, though.

            • Mansgame

              Well I guess it was silly of me to want to capture once in a life time moments when they happen without fiddling with the focus.

            • fjfjjj

              Just think, Gary Winogrand would have been a great photographer if he’d been able to capture once in a life time moments when they happened without fiddling with the focus. Oh wait…

            • R!

              You got It right Dude,I just sold my Zeiss 35 mm for that reason,AF i just better .

            • Sebastian Rasch

              You DENY that MF is NOT more difficult? Which means you affirm that MF is more difficult. Thanks for that, we all knew it. ;)

            • Paddy

              Wow, what an intelligent contribution. So clever.

          • Mansgame

            Sure sure…whatever makes you sleep at night. Then maybe your subjects stand still and you shoot them at f/5.6.

            • mikeswitz

              Its a shame you don’t know how to follow focus manually. But I guess thats not surprising since it so hard to do on a Nokia.

          • ninpou_kobanashi

            You’re right, but let me ask you something…

            Can you actually focus as accurately as AF [without using liveview]? I have tried it, and I know my vision is not as good as the AF on my camera.

            Especially, with the lack of traditional focusing screens [like a proper split screen].

            • Beso

              I don’t use the “live view” mode as it is not helpful to me. I use the viewfinder. I may not be as fast as AF but I don’t back focus or front focus either, and I have a bunch of Nikon professional glass that isn’t focusing as sharply as it should. The D800 will also “hunt” quite a bit in low light situations. So, the short answer to your question is yes, and sometimes more accurately than an AF lens.

        • neversink

          I’ve been using manual focus lenses since the 1960s and occasionally I mount an old one on the D4 or D800. However, there is nothing faster than AF, for certain types of photography. The great thing about AF is that I am given the option to use manual focus if I choose. And I often do. But if I am taking photos of a charging elephant, or a riot in Egypt, you better believe I want auto focus. I also want a quit and easy exit from the scene….

          • Fiatlux

            There is nothing faster than manual pre-focus ;-)
            Action photography can be done in MF, and in some cases, more reliably so!

            • neversink

              It certainly isn’t faster, but it can be more accurate at times. I shot annual reports, editorial and worked as a photojournalist. I rarely had out-of-focus shots and I was using only manual focus prime lenses and film cameras for my work until 2009 when the banking crisis nearly destroyed my business. Most of my colleagues had long gone digital, but I was stubborn.
              Now I use digital, AF prime and AF zoom and I love it. Yes, I admit to occasionally shooting film with the Mamiya 7ii or the old Leica M3 or M6, but digital is amazing and AF is much faster than manual focus in most cases. More than 40 years of experience says so.

            • Paddy

              Quite true. Much of the best street photography, before and after the advent of AF, has always been done by zone focusing, using hyperfocal distance settings. With a wide angle lens, higher ISO, and middle f-stop, you’ve got an extremely responsive, professional quality “point and shoot”, that’s ready for anything, instantly.

          • NoMeJodas

            I agree that it depends on the type of photography and that there are situations where MF is almost a must.

            Assuming one took the time to learn proper MF techniques and is using a MF lens with DoF and distance scales and a camera that has decent MF aid, I’d say at 35mm and wider, MF will win in speed over AF in the common use cases. From 50mm and narrower, it will highly depend on the situation and type of photography. But generally if one has to fiddle with the complex AF system on a DSLR before taking the shot (e.g. changing from single point AF-S to multi-point AF-C and choosing number of points) then there is a good chance MF will win on speed (yes those 3 extra seconds are more than enough to MF a decent lens in many situations).

            As to focus precision, it also depends on type of photography. If one is working with very shallow DoF and needs to hit critical focus (e.g. in macro photography), then in most cases one has to use MF anyway. For other types of photography it will depend on the acceptable focus range for the shot and how difficult the situation is from AF point of view. Trying to focus on a bird hiding in a tree using large aperture with all those small limbs in the way might be much easier to do with MF for example.

            • neversink

              I find myself switching between AF and MF all the time. But the D4 has incredible tracking abilities for subjects like hockey players and birds (that even fly behind trees.)
              You are absolutely correct about DoF distance scales. I hate that Nikon has eliminated the DoF markings from all their G lenses, as these markings allowed much quicker and easier focusing and server as a guide. I used to use the DoF markings rather frequently, even with a good focusing screen, depending upon the situation.

            • NoMeJodas

              Yep those fast-paced types of sports like hokey and basketball are the types of situations were decent AF shines and where MF can’t keep up with. You still can use MF and get some nice shots. But the hit rate with AF will be much higher, specially with something like a D4 and a 70-200/f2.8.

      • Tickled

        You spend 4K for no-AF. Banker’s lens sitting on a shelf?

        • Beso

          Perhaps if you spent less time worried about how others spend their money or speculating about the use of their purchases (implied judgment) you might be able to improve your lot in life to the point where such expenses would be of no concern. Or maybe you would prefer to languish where you are and spend your time posting inane comments regarding others’ behaviors that have no effect on you. I suspect I have met a lot of people like you in my life. They just can’t seem figure it out.

          • Tickled

            Spent 4K+ to go to Patagonia and Brazil… because fun and life will not wait for non-AF to focus!

            • orpickaname

              um…. good for you.

            • Alex

              I think he can afford to go there too. ;)

              Then thing is…some people afford the most expensive lenses,cars,homes etc… Live with it. It’s not their fault you can’t. It’s only you that failed on achivements…

            • mp

              Would be so much better had you left out the last sentence. Just my opinion though.

            • Value Spender

              Real achievement need balls to donate that 4K to a local orphanage…

              And still take outstanding photos with AF-lens

            • mikeswitz

              Exactly how many local orphanages do you know. I suspect none, since they don’t really exist in the States anymore. Something tells me you neither donate to orphanages or take outstanding pictures with AF lenses. Self-righteous hypocrite.

      • Neopulse

        Lucky you, still on the waiting list. Did you have to wait for yours? And if you did, how long did you after you placed the order?

        • Beso

          I placed my order on the first day they began taking preorders, which I think was October 7. I believe Zeiss began shipping to retailers on November 11. I received mine on November 19, a day ahead of the original scheduled delivery date. Well worth the wait.

          • Neopulse

            Ah I see… Thought there weren’t any pre-orders before the month of November :-/ So about a month you waited. Placed mine 4 days ago. Just hope I don’t have to wait a month for it though. They told me their “batches” of that lens is of 5 only and I’m supposedly 9th in line. But glad you got it. Post links with it later on to see how it fairs. Gonna test mines on a friend’s D4 later on. Thanks again for the quick reply.

            • Beso

              Yes, I waited about 6 weeks which includes the 6 days of shipping time. I really haven’t done any thorough testing but did go out for a few night shots and found the lens to be quite impressive. You can see a few examples here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/79203622@N02/

            • Lubos

              amazingly beautiful pictures

            • Beso

              Thank you!

            • bonem

              Oh the wtc in pdx. Nice!

            • Beso

              Thanks!

            • NoMeJodas

              Beautiful pictures and wonderful lens. Thanks for sharing and have fun with it!

            • Beso

              Thank you!

            • Beso

              Thank you!

            • http://www.davidkasman.com/ David Kasman

              Some strong work on your flickr account.

            • Beso

              Thank you!

      • Cool Otus !

        Just asking where is this made / markings ? Thanks.

        • Beso

          The lens is made in Japan.

          • Cool Otus !

            So it’s Engineered, Designed by Zeiss… so must be manufactured by Cosina !! AWESOME = Cosina is now Number 1.

            • Beso

              I have three Zeiss lenses – all made in Japan. Zeiss designs, engineers, and establishes QA/QC parameters and then outsources actual manufacturing to one of their partners to control costs. The quality is exceptional and a testament to the selected partner as well as the rigorous design and production standards established by Zeiss.

          • gr8fan

            So???
            Isn’t the iPhone also made in Japan? Are you still living in an era wherein “Made in Japan” was synonymous of junk?
            Wake up, pal!

            • Beso

              Why don’t you try following the thread? I was responding to the question asked. I am not the one that needs to wake up.

      • Mansgame

        lol “no compromise” = “no autofocus”

      • neversink

        So, what do you think of it, now that you have it in your hand? And have you been able to compare it with the new Nikon 58 f/1.4???

        • Beso

          It is a large lens, a bit shorter than the 24-70 f/2.8. The focus ring is buttery smooth with just the right amount of tension to not allow inadvertent movement. The construction is superb – all metal with rubberized focus and aperture rings. The focus ring has something like 220 degrees of rotation providing minute focus control. I haven’t shot enough frames to make a thorough assessment and there is plenty of technical information available that goes far beyond my technical knowledge. My initial impression is it appears to be everything that Zeiss intended and I am going to enjoy using it.
          I cannot compare The Otus with the Nikon 58 f/1.4 because I don’t have that lens and don’t plan to buy it. I did not find the reviews and technical specs of the Nikon lens to be compelling and I don’t need two “normal” focal length lenses. The new 58 f/1.4 does have some nice features and performs well in some areas according to reviews but I liken it somewhat to my 85 f/12.4G – I may have paid a significant premium price over the 85 f/1.8 without noticeable benefit. Then again, beauty and value are in the eye of the beholder.

          • neversink

            Thanks. What do you think of the images you shoot with it — comparing it to the 85 F/1.4G which is superlative, but according to DxO not as sharp as the Zeiss 55?
            Interesting that the new Nikon 58 f/1.4 is rated sharper than the 85 f/1.4.
            And no, the Nikon 85 f/1.4 is sharper than the 85 f/1.8 lens. However, the 1.4 sports more chromatic aberration.
            And then, even if we like the results, we have to understand that DxO ratings leave out a number of factors that measure lens quality.

            • Beso

              I will need to do some additional shooting to be able to answer your question. As far as lens ratings go, there is usually a general consensus among users and testers as to relative quality. I think it really boils down to each individual, their style, their own preferences, and the end result. One of the things the D800 did was make me a “pixel peeper,” at least some of the time. That can be a bad habit and can certainly expose lens characteristics.
              I think the technical assessments have some merit but the bottom line for me is minimizing the addition of things in the image by the lens that detract; such as chromatic aberration, distortion, diffraction, etc. Then it becomes a matter of style, light, composition, and execution. I’ll post some more when I have time.

            • neversink

              Thanks…. !!!!

      • Jon Ingram

        I’m sure I would love it if I had unlimited money and could afford it.

    • anon

      On the contrary, having the sharpest lens means nothing if you don’t have the best sensor to match it. By best I mean with the most MP. So both should be developed simultaneously.

      Secondly, Zeiss shows it can be done, but look at the price. With AF, this type of lens will costs at least USD6k. Thanks but no thanks.

      • http://loewald.com/ Tonio Loewald

        Part of the 4k pricetag is low volume. I imagine that the lens could be made in volume for less money if there were demand.

        • FredBear

          There’s a lot more precision engineering in this lens to get the lens elements precisely aligned – not to mention that the assembly and QA man-hours will add significantly to the cost.

          • http://loewald.com/ Tonio Loewald

            Sure, but an aluminum soda can and the chip in your cellphone are both engineered to finer tolerances than a Zeiss lens. Selling larger volumes spreads out fixed costs (e.g. R&D) to begin with, and also drives down marginal costs. The problem is that even if this lens were $1000, most folks would still opt for (say) the $400 Nikon alternative because it has AF and is smaller and lighter. (I wonder how good the new f1.8 55mm Sony FA will turn out to be.)

            • FredBear

              Microchips yes but the the volumes are so much higher.
              ‘Soda Cans’ not so much I think – especially the 2 piece cans.
              I read somewhere about the tolerances needed to get the individual elements aligned properly – quite a job – and Lensrentals has some information on how difficult it is with ‘normal’ lenses – or at least they’re not always put together so well as indicated by focus shifts across the lens. AN interesting read if you haven’t done so already.
              Will be interesting to see what Sigma come up with in their ‘Art’ range in the future.
              Never bought a Sigma lens before but if they come up with an ‘Art’ 28 and 50mm I’ll be interested.

            • http://loewald.com/ Tonio Loewald

              You’d be shocked at the precision of soda can manufacturing (there was a Scientific American article devoted to it a decade ago). The companies that manufacture them also build parts for spacecraft.

            • http://loewald.com/ Tonio Loewald

              I found a link to the Scientific American article on the precision with which soda cans were engineered in 1994: http://www.chymist.com/Aluminum%20can.pdf (0.0001in or 0.0025mm tolerances) — I can only assume they’re made to greater precision using less material today.

            • FredBear

              Interesting read, thank you.
              32 years since I last visited a can factory – things have moved on since then (even just 13 years on from that time it seems ;-) )
              I’ll pass it on to my sales personnel as we have an indirect association with can manufacturers.
              Good memory you have :-)

        • nobody cares

          If they cut the price to 2K, how many are they going to sell? It’s clearly a great lens, but there aren’t that many photographers will to drop 2 grand, much less 4, on a 55mm lens. If Zeiss make more money by selling them for 3 grand (due to increased volume)they’d sell them for 3 grand.

          • phil

            It would destroy Zeiss image of the maker of unobtainable lenses. That alone is worth $2k.

            • nobody cares

              Zeiss glass was on plenty of P&S digicam 10 years ago. What said stands. Someday we will be able to cheaply mass produce lenses of this quality, but the technology clearly isn’t there yet.

          • http://loewald.com/ Tonio Loewald

            Exactly.

        • Ronan

          For every 1 Zeiss lens made… Nikon makes 1000… lol

    • Ronan

      Clueless as always… It’s easy to tell you never bought good nikon glass like the 70-200, 24-70 and the 14-24… Heck my 6 year old 17-55 is amazing and it’s what, $700 used? Bargain.

      • Global

        I own all of those lenses, except the 17-55, and a handful of FX primes. I’m satisfied (and happy) with their quality.

        My point was to the sharpness of the lenses and the resolution vis a vis the Megapixel war, which Nikon itself is pushing and a commentary on prices and those who claim that lenses “can’t resolve” more detail. They can.

        If Nikon is going to make a 50 MP camera — which is looks on track to doing — it might want to stop making its sloppiest/most half-hearted lenses (which is makes by the bucket loads).

        Its primes and high quality lenses are still top notch for this tier. But other are catching up and even going far beyond these days. Its a turning point that Nikon should recognize.

    • http://www.mikekobal.com/blog mike kobal

      finally we have an undisputed mtf chart champion.
      now the tricky part will be to capture all this sharpness while shooting a wedding, portraits, fashion spread

  • Joseph Li

    Ya I saw this and I am like DAMN…..I really wanted to buy one but they wont stick an AF motor in…..need AF for fast wedding shots, plus the stupid viewfinder is not accurate enough for MF

    • pj

      get a katzeye focusing screen

      • Joseph

        They don’t make one for the D800.

      • zoetmb

        Do you use one? I’ve read about potential issues using 3rd party focusing screens.

        Besides, according to the KatzEye site, they only support the D40, D40x, D50, D60, D70, D70s, D80, D90, D100, D200, D300, D300s, D700, D3000, D3100, D3200, D5000, D5100, D5200, D7000, D7100, D2H, D2Hs, D2X, D2Xs. Notice no D600, D610, D800, D3, D3x or D4.

        I tried that Zeiss lens at the recent NYPhotoPlus and I had a hard time focusing it using a native focusing screen. Too rich for my blood anyway.

      • Anon

        Focusing screen for manual focus is not suitable for DSLR. DSLR mirror only reflects about 2/3 the light towards the viewfinder. The rest of the light goes to AF sensor.The VF will become significantly darker. True, you can still use it to focus, but if you look at older manual focus camera(FM2 for example), DSLR + split-circle FS will looks like a joke. Seriously, I’ve tried it.

        • TheInconvenientRuth

          Aye… I have my beloved F3P with a Beattie IntenScreen. If you compare that to the D800 VF, the D800 looks very dim. If you then go and stick a proper ground glass i the D800, oh dear…

        • Mr. Mamiya

          True. I had a Katzeye screen in my D700 and found it pretty useless. Most of the time I used the green dot for focussing instead.

        • El Aura

          My F90X has a significantly better focussing screen (Ie, with less DOF) and it also had AF. And any situation with inhomogeneous lighting, turn your head by 30º and you’ve likely lost or gained a third of the light. It makes it a little bit more difficult but overall this insignificant.

          One reason the ‘modern’ screens are so bright is that brighter looks better to most and we used to have a lot f/xxx – 4.5 lenses. Now almost all end in f/5.6 and some even in f/6.3. Maybe metering has something to do with it but I think that only applies to screens with microprism or split-image elements.

      • Btb

        You’ve never used one on a dslr or you wouldn’t have said that. I have, and I say the opposite. It simply amazes me how many people on the internet parrot what others say, none of them having ever used the gear they talk about.

      • BigEater

        Wow, doesn’t anyone like their aftermarket focusing screen? That was going to be my next purchase….But on a positive note, at least you guys saved me from wasting money.

    • http://www.gordonmoat.com/ Gordon Moat

      Nikon DK17M eyepiece magnifier.

      • TheInconvenientRuth

        I used one on my D800 for a while, for MF purposes, but I stopped using it because:
        a) it makes it harder to see the whole VF image at once
        b) it makes the entire VF image slightly less sharp
        c) it slightly distorts the VF image

        • http://www.gordonmoat.com/ Gordon Moat

          Interesting. I use one on my D3. Perhaps there is a difference in the screen, or maybe the eyepoint between a D800 and the D3. I do not experience the same problems you indicate with the DK17M on my D3. Another option would be trimming the tab on an F6 screen to get it to fit.

        • http://www.gordonmoat.com/ Gordon Moat

          Just to add a bit more information, I checked the eyepoint specification between the D3 line and the D800. The difference suggests that has a greater impact than magnification, which is the same at 0.7x. The DK17M is 1.2x improvement. I suspect the eyepoint difference is why that does not work as well on the D800.

  • http://Flickr.com/inthemist InTheMist

    Wow, that’s sharp.

    But I wonder which is heavier, the lens or the pile of cash you’ll need to pay for it?

    • longzoom

      Hah, I am under my desk!

    • FDA

      Heaviest is the mush brain who buys it.

  • peter marshall

    How can the rating be 45 with the D800 and only 36 with the D4??

    • jefferylewis

      it outresolves the sensor

    • fred

      35 with the D7100, not bad.

    • http://nanchatte.wordpress.com Graxxor Anandro Vidhelssen

      How can you ask a question without reading up on what the score means?

  • vFunct

    Not really interested in sharpness, as I mostly shoot people. Also, Landscapes are completely boring and generally unmarketable.

    Still need to see samples for Bokeh quality.

    • LS

      “Bokeh” is so over-rated and boring, and obsessed over by so many amateurs.

      • vFunct

        Haha landscape photographers can’t get professional photography jobs.

        • davewyman

          Good landscape photographers work for themselves.

          • vFunct

            There’s no such thing as a “good landscape photographer.”

            They’re all worthless.

            • davewyman

              Well, that’s true enough.

      • neversink

        Bokeh, or the out of focus areas is just as important to the final image as the sharp areas. How can a part of the image be “over-rated and boring?” The out-of-focus area plays an important part of differentiating the sharper areas.
        Suggestion: buy your cheap lenses and enjoy jour hard angular and ugly bokeh, but please, don’t obsess about it when you discover your sharp areas of a photo are distracted by the ugly bokeh.

    • The_Laugh_A_Minute_Guy

      Fooey…who needs bokeh when you can get seamless for $45 a roll. Just buy Thunder Grey and you’re covered for all situations.

  • Spy Black

    So how does the 50mm f/1.4 Nikkor out-perform the 58mm f/1.4 Nikkor?

    • balance

      Because pricy = quality

    • Anon

      The 58mm sacrificed overall sharpness for more consistent sharpness across the entire frame

      • Discontinued

        Hahaha,

        how would that work?

        “The 58mm sacrificed overall sharpness for more consistent sharpness across the entire frame”

        Better use of “the entire frame” leads to less resolution and less overall sharpness? Well that makes perfect sense! Glorifying Nikon much?

    • fred

      58mm has sharpness to the edge at f1.4, the 50mm at 1.4 does not.

      • Spy Black

        That doesn’t really answer the question tho. If anything it perplexes it more. I haven’t seen a side-by-side comparison of those two shooting an identical environment, but from my own personal experiences with the 50mm, and the (admittedly limited) images I’ve seen of the 58mm, the 58mm appears to be a far sharper optic, center and edge.

  • http://www.gradyphoto.com/ Pete Grady

    I wonder how much Rembrandt and Cezanne worried about how sharp their pictures were?

    • TheInconvenientRuth

      Actually, there’s an ongoing discussion where some experts on human eye conditions argue that Monet’s cateracts heavily influenced the way he painted and that he may have been painting more ‘realistically’ from his own eyesight than his impressionist style would suggest.

      • Steve Griffin

        Idiots always say that about revolutionary artists simply because they are clueless and NOT experts.

        • TheInconvenientRuth

          Idiots always say that about experts simply because they are clueless and NOT experts.

          • Idiots

            Idiots always say that about idiots simply because they are clueless and NOT id … uh that doesn’t work.

      • PeterO

        Opium was very popular and readily available during the time of the impressionists and did influence composers painters and dancers. Things just seemed a little less focused….

    • Mr. Mamiya

      Not much, I guess. I see it as an improved tool for creating art, that enables new viewing experiences, or makes them easier to create. Look a some Gursky images. In exhibitions they are printed very big, but they are also very detailed, and you can really dive into them and discover fascinating details. I’ve seen a TV documentary about him, creating those images mean a lot of thought, work and technology. But with today’s high resolution cameras and lenses, it becomes more accessible for more people to create their own big-size images. Volks-Gursky.

      • TheInconvenientRuth

        Wow… Just wow… Never heard of Gursky, thanks for mentioning him. My gob is smacked.

  • TheInconvenientRuth

    Wow
    Such Lense
    Much Sharp
    So focus

    • sensi

      if i focus, it will be 2K
      if you to focus me, it will be 4K
      i am that kinda girl

  • http://www.davidkasman.com/ David Kasman

    So, with this lens, how significant will the difference be between the D800 and D800e?

    • neversink

      Little significance. If you use the D800, just add the right amount of sharpening and I bet you won’t be able to tell much difference, if any. I use the D800, but only because I was worried about moire when it came out. I would probably get the 800E today, after having tested one.

  • Bud

    If people are going to be spending many thousands of dollars on manual focus lenses from now on, I wonder if it wouldn’t make sense for Nikon to take the DF concept all the way, and make one that has a mirror and viewfinder optimized for manual focus, and omit AF altogether.
    Give it the D800 sensor and you’ve got the ideal camera for the Otus 1.4/55 (or… you could use focus peaking on the A7R).

    • TheInconvenientRuth

      Only if Nikon actually developed a new range of MF primes with proper focussing rings. I’m pretty sure that won’t be worth the R&D costs for them.. They can’t simply fit their new designs into the old MF housings. And if you can buy the AF-S 35/1.4G, would you pay more for the exact same optic, but in a MF version? Don’t think many will do that…

      • Neopulse

        I think the AF-D focus rings are pretty nice. Well with the 85 1.4D I can vouch for.

      • fred

        No R&D required, Nikon already know how to make excellent MF lens design.

        Only need some R&D if they want to try and make one out of plastic. ;)

    • http://www.gradyphoto.com/ Pete Grady

      That is, in fact, what many were hoping for. It was stated repeatedly during the run0up to the Df announcement.

  • Mansgame

    who would pay $5000 for an f/1.4 lens that doesn’t autofocus?

    • Neopulse

      What $5000 lens? I know people who would kill to own a $10,995 Leica lens that also doesn’t autofocus.

    • mikeswitz

      I’m telling you stick with the Barbie-cam. It auto-focuses and you can change her clothes for all your “pro” shoots.

  • Yannick

    it’s sharp ….reaaaalllly sharp!!! But without AF this thing is very hard to use. I’m pretty sure that someone will reply that a real photographer can use MF. The fact is: New cameras does not offer a proper manuel focus screen. I Own a D800 and wide open, it’s pretty hard to focus! …even with AF. It’s like putting a Ferrari engine in a bicycle with crappy pedals …..

    • fred

      The new Nikon Df Body is supposed to be better than other bodies to manually focus lenses. Don’t know why, just what others have reported. Maybe the Df buyers will buy this lens.

  • george

    Maybe I’m an idiot, don’t know, but I have to ask this: what do people paying 4000 for a lens such as this use it for?
    I am a wedding and portrait photographer (so I do use 50mm lenses all the time) and at least for these this lens is totally useless;

    -No way you can shoot this lens in a wedding or other event wide open, since it would be nearly impossible to focus accurately (therefore its sharpness would be wasted).
    -If it’s going to be used for studio portraits, 99% of the time it will be shot at f/8 or so, so again, no advantage over the other 50mm lenses.

    What am I missing here?

    • Cyrille Berger

      Since it is useless for you, it must be useless for everybody. What you are missing is that not everyone do portraits and wedding. In fact, the lens most likely shine for architecture, landscape and most likely at night.

      • conpain

        The Otus is not a special lens for night shots. The sagittal coma correction is just ordinary. At f/1.4 -f/4 you will see birdwings. Review for sagittal coma -> http://www.lenstip.com

        The only way to reduce sagittal coma is decrease maximal sharpness to increase maximal contrast.

        The laws of physics apply even for Zeiss.

        • neversink

          The laws of physics? Lens design limitations? Now why bring such mediocrity into the conversation??? ;-}

      • george

        Why would you use a 50mm prime for architecture? And even if you did, you’d be shooting it stopped down (for DoF), so again, it wouldn’t be better than any of the other 50mm lenses. The same goes for landscape.
        Only thing left is the night shots, which would require higher ISOs, which once more would degrade the super sharp lens…

        • mikeswitz

          To quote Neoplus if you don’t know what this is for then is not for you. Will make beautiful portraits if you knew how to use it, though.

          • george

            I know what this is, I make my living with similar lenses, I just consider this specific lens to be just a luxury item. None of the full time pros I know would ever invest in such a lens unless it got autofocus.

            And of course it will make beautiful portraits in the right hands, but the question is, will these be any better than those made by the same photographer using the Nikon? In 99.9% of the cases it won’t be, since by using the Nikon you are bound to get more usable pics to choose from (autofocus), and can also spend the energy going into manual focusing the lens for composition…

            • Neopulse

              I remember not too long ago when weddings and headshot photographs were shot on film and with manual focusing. If not too long ago people worked fine without those luxuries for several decades, why would it seem impossible to you in your head?

            • george

              It’s pretty simple, you can’t be competitive with yesterday’s technology.
              You may think that an F5 with a few rolls of film is enough for shooting a wedding, but try explaining your client that you didn’t manage to get a shot in the candle-lit reception because your film only went up to ASA800, or why you only got two shots of the couple kissing because you only had a super expensive manual focus lens but not enough time to focus it properly. Keep in mind they will be comparing your work to the next photographer who’ll be using cutting edge technology and would have taken crystal clear shots of the reception without ruining it with a flash, or provide 50 shots of the kiss, all of them perfectly sharp for them to choose from…

              Heck, I could even take my old 4×5 in a wedding, I’m not denying that. Do you honestly believe I could do a better job covering the wedding from the kid next to me shooting with an iphone with live view and auto-exposure/focus???

            • Neopulse

              I do honestly believe one could do better than the kid with the iPhone if one is good enough in their craft even with a film setup.

            • mikeswitz

              Actually yes I do think you could do better with an old 4×5. It all comes down to your talent and the your clients understanding of what constitutes great photography. If all your client wants is a bunch of snapshots taken with a point and shoot that they can put in a scrapbook to look at long after they are divorced, then yeah, the kid with the iPhone is gonna win. It all depends on you and what you want to give your client.
              Again, this is a post about the Dx0 test of a new Zeiss lens. Clearly it is not made for documentary style wedding pictures and of course pro wedding photographers won’t be jumping at $4000 f1.4 lens that in no way could make its cost back. So what!
              But think of the beautifully lit close-up portraits shot in the 30′s and 40′s of Hollwood stars or todays portraits for the covers of say the New York Times Magazine or even Rolling Stone. the work of Avedon or Penn or Sally Mann.
              I would love to have this lens but:
              1. I can’t afford it.
              2. My wife would kill me because…

            • Neopulse

              No. 2 —> lol

            • Pablo Ricasso

              As you say yourself, that was not too long ago, when manual lenses were the norm…but the time and technology moved on, and we live in AF world now whether you’d like to admit it or not. I also shoot with manual lenses, but these days MF is considered a disadvantage, a lack of something so ubiquitous today. So asking 4k for a sharp MF lenses today just doesn’t compute with many…what’s so hard to understand here?

            • mikeswitz

              Nots not they don’t want it, its that they can’t understand why ANY photographer would want it. And that is a pretty limited world view.

    • eff one four

      There’s lots of opportunity to shoot at f/1.4 through f/2.8, portraits especially, and even in studio sessions. But yeah, maybe you don’t miss anything, why try to find out?

    • Rasmunssen Gok

      You’re not alone wondering…it’s a lens for lens-sharpness-masturbators, as you said its practical use is extremely limited and may I say frustrating on anything moving faster than an ant.

      I won’t even start on its ridiculous size and length for a 55mm prime.

      • callibrator

        And for the folk with more money than a clue what to spend it on.

        4k for a 55mm manual focus lens? Leica is nothing… Zeiss now rules in the kingdom of unintelligent and gullible.

  • Demot McD

    I’d used Nikkor lenses for years on 35mm cine cameras before trying Leitz lenses and once I had done it, I never wanted to go back. The quality improvement is not something you could graph and Leitz were always quick to claim that a test chart would not show up why their lenses were good. As various posters have said, it is a combination of usable sharpness, superb contrast and colour rendition, an extraordinary ability to resolve detail in backlit situations and solid mechanical construction.

    Yes, German glass costs the earth. Some prime lenses were more expensive that a whole set of Nikkors but it’s worth it.

    There’s little doubt that modern autofocus lenses are mechanically inferior to non-autofocus lenses in every respect and are virtually throw away. Personally, I have no time for auto-focus. If you can’t focus quickly yourself, use a good focus puller. :-)

    • neversink

      Yes, in the movie business we have ton of money to throw at anything. But eats get back to reality, not “reelity.”

    • mikeswitz

      Amen, brother!

  • Eric Calabros

    lol none of these astronomical priced primes could beat 50mm f/1.8D in distortion :-)
    I love it

  • Richards

    Zeiss otus is perhaps the best glass on the planet Earth. The combination with otus and A7r would be the most gorgeous killing machine. None of Nikon’s body and lens will come close!

    http://www.stevehuffphoto.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/otus-680×510.jpg

    • orpickaname

      Finally someone who dared mention the A7R ;)

      Anyway, still no sight of a more functional adapter for Nikon F to Sony FE mount (with AE/AF/metadata etc)?

      • Nasareth

        Why not? A7/a7r is much superior to every flagship cameras from Nikon and Canon camp.

        • Neopulse

          Ummmm what drugs are you on? The D4 and 1DX are much better built than the a7/r. And apart from the fact that they can take a beating, the battery of those “inferior” flagships literally poop on Sony’s by much more than a mile. Then there’s the lens system, very few…. too damn few. Then there’s the AF- detection, the a7/r uses contrast which isn’t as good as the “inferior flagships” of Nikon and Canon. And also, the glass is inferior to the competition, sorry to kill Santa Claus for you.

        • jk

          the 7 is a good camera but the 7R is not.

          • Jorge

            Here! Here!
            I’ve been trying to remain neutral on this whole Otus lens thing. If someone wants to throw money at Zeiss, so be it and it’s not my place to say anything but I couldn’t sit on the sidelines anymore when folks start to talk crap about Sony A7r being better than a Nikon. Never gonna happen.

        • Mansgame

          It’s unique…not sure if it’s superior. At least it doesn’t have oil and dust on the sensor.

          • Jorge

            Why, oh Why must the “oil splatter issue” be injected into every topic here? LOL

        • Jorge

          YOu have no freakin’ idea what you are talking about. I’m not one to defend Nikon — they have their share of problems but comparing Sony body to a Nikon? Come on now. Don’t be ridiculous. If you made a bad purchasing decision and bought a Sony live with it, but make no assumptions it’s better than a Nikon or a Canon either in build, quality, or function.

    • http://z7photo.com/ Csaba

      I see the SONY fanboys arrived at last. Seeing how the d800E has exactly the same resolution as the A7R, you’re factually wrong there. And such a huge lens would balance better on the larger body. Lastly, you have an additional glass (the mount adapter) between the sensor and the lens on the A7R which certainly won’t help with IQ.

      • orpickaname

        Nope, not additional glass, only flange adjustment. But chances are there will be some very slight misalignment that may not be detectable in most real life use scenarios.
        Obvious score for D800E there.

        If there’s an advantage to the Sony system, it would be easier manual focus peaking through EVF, as claimed by some early reviewers (I have yet to try it).

        • jk

          well, the SB thing has an additional glass.

          • orpickaname

            What SB? You must mean something other than Speed Booster since that’s made for crop sensors… :?

      • RoyK

        The statement of poor balance is ancient, wrong belief. The balance between the small body and larger lens will be a lot better. You just hold your hand comfortably at lens and use another hand at the body. This is much relaxing than using large body and large lens. This is proven on NEX bodies and among Sony users before.

        • UA

          I have NEX-6 and a Nikon F-mount adapter. It’s horrible combination with anything larger than my 85/1.8 AF-D is. I once tried my 24-70/2.8 AF-S on it for laughter.. it was terrible. I have 70-200/2.8vr2 as well, but I haven’t even thought about testing it. Maybe with tripod.

          The focus peaking is shit, since you need to activate it with a button. It only activates automatically with Sony lenses.

          NEX-6 is unusable on fast changing situations, it’s just too slow. The battery life is very poor due to the EVF or lit LCD. Something like 400 pics max, when I get 2000 with my D700 with 2 years old battery.

          The Sony NEX optics are crap, since the sensor is too big to be that close to the sensor with compact optics.

          It’s only real good sides are the compact size, quality sensor, and it makes easier to take some shots, when you can see from LCD what you about to get in exposure wise.

          The mirrorless are not superior. They are good for something, but nowhere near to replace DSLR.

          • davewyman

            “The mirrorless are not superior. They are good for something, but nowhere near to replace DSLR.”

            I love my Nikon DSLRs for making photos in Yosemite, for architecture, street photography, and bison in Yellowstone.

            I wouldn’t take a DSLR, though, on a hiking/skiing/climbing trip. They’re too heavy and too cumbersome for me. I wouldn’t take a DSLR with me when I cycle; they can’t fit into a jersey pocket or even a small waist pack.

            A mirrorless Nikon (or a Sony NEX or even something like a Panasonic LX) are, for me, the kinds of cameras to take for those activities.

      • jk

        well, the 7R sensor is a bit better than the D800E sesnor imho, but the Otus does not balance well on the poorly built tiny Sony toy quality camera.
        the Otus like super high quality lens requires a big body.
        the mount adapter thing does not work since it really deteriorates the super high quality of the Otus or any Zeiss super glass.
        so I think you are right the Sony 7R + poorly designed mount adapter are not really any option.
        I personally much prefer the Alpha 7 over the 7R.
        in any case though, they just can be sub camera body , cannot be a main camera since they have no flash , no really good native mount glass ,etc and the 7R is just freaking slow in many ways.

        • Jorge

          The 7R sensor is the SAME as a D800E. However, the rest of the camera s.u.c.k.s. Just like sony sucks. Read the (un) biased reviews, and not by the shill Huff.

  • Espen4u

    Hey Nikon, do you think there will be great and not so good samples of this lens? I do’nt. What I’m saying is – if you want your high margins, you may have to step it up from now.

  • Andy

    I’ve just had a naughty sex wee

  • Sebastian Rasch

    What idiot at DxO came to the conclusion the Nikon 58mm 1.4 would be best at 1.4? It’s actually pretty bad at the maximum aperture. Should be considerably better between 2.8 and 5.6.

    • neversink

      Have you tried it yet???? The 58 f/1.4 was designed to be shot wide open.

      • jk

        well, then have you tried the Otus?
        if you tried it , you do not think the Nikon at all, the Nikon 58mm G is a poorly designed lousy lens , sorry but it is the fact.

        • http://nanchatte.wordpress.com Graxxor Anandro Vidhelssen

          The Nikon 58G only costs half as much as the Otus and has AF. If you need wide open corner-corner performance, AF and have to limit you lens budget to 200,000 (about 2000 usd), the only option is the Nikon.

        • neversink

          In the states for a few weeks before I head back to Africa. Tried the 58 f/1.4 and the Zeiss Otus 55. I’m not buying either, but the Otus certainly is outstanding. I was actually blown away. But I was not at all dissatisfied with the Nikon, as it also seemed to take great shots similar to the 85 f/1.4. I prefer the 85 and 24 for f/1.4 work. I have no need for the Otus, and need AF for some of my work. So I am sticking with the 50 f/1.4G, which actually works rather well. Stop it down a bit, and it becomes damn good. I have had no complaints from clients whenever I have used the 50.

      • Sebastian Rasch

        Yes I have and we got training about it. It performs best at around 4, but it is already considerably better from 2.2-2.4 than 1.4.
        The official Nikon statement is “it is already very sharp at open aperture”, but that doesn’t mean it gets better when you stop down.

    • fred

      DXO saying the both Nikon’s 50mm lenses at f1.4 is their sharpest f-stop is not right.

  • droll

    This is all too expected from the youtube video I saw where Zeiss product manager told to the interviewer that they are truly surprised about the result of this lens, and he said with confidence this is far and away the greatest lens of all current offerings from any brands. Its edge-to-edge sharpness at f1.4 is quite astounding. If you want the same edge-to-edge sharpness of this lens at f1.4 using a normal prime lens, you gotta step it down to f4 or f5.6. DxO test confirms exactly what the product manage told us. It’s quite silly people cannot accept the obvious truth: It is not DxO’s fault that this lens scores way better than any other lens. If you can find the interview in youtube video, you will find the test result there. You are looking at a miracle. Again, it is not DxO’s fault that this lens outscores every NIkkor lenses. It’s just insanely sharper at f1.4 than any Nikon offerings at f2.8.

    • fred

      Looks like Nikon has some catching up to do!
      Surely Nikon can produce a 50 or 85mm lens with Ziess’s extreme level of sharpness if they tried. It may be $2000 but it would have Auto-focus as well.

  • jk

    it is amazing and much better than anything else at f1.4 , but from f2.8 , the difference between it and the Sigma 35mm f1.4 or Nikon 85mmf1.4G is not that big in this test and Roger’s test.

    however , when I tried it at a local photo dealer’s it just shocked me how sharp and how incredibly 3d it was, there is nothing like that.

    even the Leica 50mm f2 APO is not this sharp, the DXO mark does not report whole story about it , it is way much greater than what they says about it, you must try it to see it.

    I think it is even better than any MFDB lens out there for Phase system.

    well, I kinda regret I tried it but now I have to make 4k to get it ASAP.

    many many hats off to Zeiss for designing this amazing lens for us.

    by contrast , the Nikon 58mm f1.4G is a poor poor lens , it is way over priced….I am kind of sad to realize now I use only 3 Nikon native lenses and all others are either from Zeiss or from Sigma.
    there is a very very interesting threat on future of Nikon at Getdpi.com

    http://www.getdpi.com/forum/nikon/49415-nikon-whats-way-forward.html

    in the above thread Guy said it extremely well , we do not need 64 lenses but really a few super high quality glass.
    hope this shockingly amazing Otus wakes Nikon up.

    • Anto de Chav

      This lens might be as sharp as a phase lens (but phase SK lenses are very sharp too) but the medium format cameras still have larger sampling areas which raise spatial resolution,so a slightly less sharp phase lens will still render a very finely detailed image…

  • EagleEye

    Reading the comments, it appears that almost everyone has trouble understanding the use case for this lens. Which is not our fault, but Zeiss’s. They say it’s a high-resolution lens, but then they don’t tell us what problems it solves. Maybe that’s a German cultural authoritarianism thing—–they make it, we buy it, no questions allowed. If an American company made this lens, there would be extensive explanations, power points, youtube videos, and house-to-house demo sessions on its benefits. But from the engineers in Oberkochen, we get nichts.

    Do they see this an all-purpose lens? For product photography? APS-C portraits? Scientific and lab photography? Is it mainly for DSLR video? Is it manual focus because they anticipate that all cameras will get better focus peaking? Are there secret focusing screens that will make this lens more usable on a DSLR? I know people here are answering those questions for themselves but it would be helpful if the manufacturer were to at least give us an idea of the 3 to 5 problems that they created this lens to solve.

    • http://www.davidkasman.com/ David Kasman

      The Otus, $4,000 lens, will be a strong seller with pros and some serious hobbyists. It’s Ideally mated to high res, full frame DSLR’s like the D800 and a7R. It will turn those FF cameras into viable medium format alternatives for product, portrait/fashion, night shooting, landscape, stitched landscape etc. Of course, without auto-focus, it won’t be good for sports or other fast paced action shooting.

      • http://www.gradyphoto.com/ Pete Grady

        No, not good for sports…tell that to Heinz Kluetzmeier who shot this picture of Pete Rose in 1975. Thank you to Sports Illustrated for the use of the picture to make this point.

        • http://nanchatte.wordpress.com Graxxor Anandro Vidhelssen

          The fact that you picked up a shot from ’75 kind of dampens your argument, though.

          • http://www.gradyphoto.com/ Pete Grady

            How’s that? We didn’t have autofocus in 1975, yet incredible photographs were made. To listen to some on here, you can’t make a great photograph without the latest technology. This photograph proves otherwise.

            • BigEater

              True indeed. Creative people find a way to make art despite the limitations of technology. Now the problem is that the limits are so much less that we are running up against the limits of human imagination and courage.

            • http://nanchatte.wordpress.com Graxxor Anandro Vidhelssen

              Actually, Pete, I agree with what you were saying.

              However I was merely pointing out that using a classical photo from an age before autofocus to prove that autofocus was not needed to make such a photo is a somewhat tautological argument since no alternatives existed at the time. Thus your point is less convincing than, say, showing a manually focussed action sports photo taken last week, to prove that autofocus is unnecessary to readily create great action photos.

        • NoMeJodas

          This is really a GREAT shot. But as to proving the point, if you look at the image closely you’ll notice that he didn’t hit the critical focus. The head would be way OOF at 100% if this was a digital image and you account for the small output size of the linked image. The one visible shoe, on the other hand, is perfectly focused. For 1975 standards the shot was perfectly usable apparently. The acceptable focus range for the print size it was intended for was met afterall. The question ist, a) is today’s 3D-subject-tracking AF technology able to produce (technically!) better (focused) photos than this?, even hand-held thanks to VR? And b) Will this shot still be usable by today’s much stricter standards? Will it even pass the submission to a stock photo site?
          I really love the MF experience and the involvement in creating the image it demands. But we have to admit that, at least on some fields, a human can’t compete with today’s computerized photography world anymore!

          • http://www.gradyphoto.com/ Pete Grady

            This shot is still considered one of the 100 greatest sports photographs of all time according to Sports Illustrated and the editors that helped select it. Your obsession with sharpness and where the critical focus is totally misses the point. This photograph would be no better if it were sharper or less sharp or if the focal plane was a foot one way or the other. It would be different, but not better or worse. Its impact lies with the subject and the exact moment that was captured. In today’s world this photograph might not even be possible because the photographers today rely so much on technology and not enough on instinct. If you don’t understand the brilliance of this photograph then nothing I say will convince you. Keep looking at photographs and thinking about them…that is the best medicine.

        • fred

          Looks a bit soft around the edges. ;)
          If you look at the ground way back on the left side it is sharp. Even the ground at the front of the mat on the left is sharp. I think it is motion blur that makes the man a bit soft-looking.

    • Jorge

      Well asked. Well said.

    • Neopulse

      If you don’t know what this is for, than it isn’t meant for you.

  • Saffron Blaze

    Any sharper and DxO would have had to make a wider scale. Talk about raising the bar.

    • http://nanchatte.wordpress.com Graxxor Anandro Vidhelssen

      Yes, you could say this Lens’s sharpness is a cut above the rest.

  • mikeswitz

    Only at Nikon Rumors can there be a post about an incredible (and incredibly expensive) lens made by Zeiss used as an excuse to bash great Nikon lenses. What is the matter with you people? Are your photographic lives so miserable that you need even the flimsiest of excuses to spew your distain for people who either can afford to shoot with this lens or people who enjoy the equipment they have now. You must be really sad photographers.

    • fred

      I think there are those that are dreamers……and there are those that make it happen. Most of the dreamers are here, most of the latter are out shooting.

      • BigEater

        You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one. I hope someday you’ll join us,
        and the world will be as one.

  • lorenzo

    Admin,
    In a previous evaluation DXO had given the Nikon 200mm f/2 as the best in clarity, sharpness etc. etc. and now… it is worse than the 85mm f/1.8?!
    DXO is a total BS, why do I keep reading and wasting my time here?.

    • http://www.gradyphoto.com/ Pete Grady

      I believe DxO is BS for other reasons, but as long as you are trying to compare lenses with their data, make sure you’re comparing them on comparable camera bodies. The 200mm f/2 on a D600 will get a different “score” than on a D800. That said, rent the lens, try it, and see if you like the photographs you make with it.

      • lorenzo

        I don’t see by whom and why the Nikon 200mm f/2 had to be tested on a D600 or even worse on a DX camera.

        The fact is up to DXO (they aren’t absolutely consistent in their ratings), as I said, it looks PURE BS to me.

        I own all Nikon primes and I am very happy with them.
        I am not interested in the above lens, just make an observation reading the first few lines of this posting.

  • http://www.davidkasman.com/ David Kasman

    It’s only, by far, the sharpest Nikon/Canon mount lens ever made … so, as if on cue, some NR readers start bitching about the price, the lack of auto-focus, Nikon’s lack of direction, etc.

    • http://nanchatte.wordpress.com Graxxor Anandro Vidhelssen

      What? It’s got no Autofocus? YOU’VE GOT TO BE KIDDING! And HOW MUCH are they asking? It’s a bloody ripoff, if you ask me. And anyway, who the heck reads anything into DXO? I trust them about as far as I can throw a Nikkon 800mm f/5.6 WITH AF! and All Nikon can do is bring out a Df… I mean, really, Nikon? You need to start making a D400… Like yesterday, already.

  • Adnan

    The Nikon 55 2.8 Ai-s is still being made and DXO should test and measure it if new Zeiss MF lens can be tested why not a lens which is being made since 35 yrs! or just coz the digital born shooters’ life started from 2006 ?

    • Neopulse

      Because, I think some of these lenses have to be tested on a digital sensor for one. For example the Contax Zeiss and V-Series were for film. And if you were to test them on a digital sensor like the…. Mamiya Leaf Credo 80 or Hasselblad H5D-60, it would require the use of a lens adapter. And there I think because of the use of one they don’t do it that way.

      Although there are digital backs for the V-Series, but I guess there must be a reason why they don’t do it with those.

      • Adnan

        I was talking about the 35mm format Nikon 55mm 2.8 AI-s Micro manual focus lens ,no idea why you are mentioning medium format,if that was coz I wrote MF then it meant Manual Focus not Medium format.

        DXO has tested Nikon 28mm 2.8 D which has inferior optics compared to 24mm 2.8 D.

        DXO should test 24mm 2.8 D as it has same optics of 24mm AI-s version so 2 lens’s data can be gathered by testing one lens.

        28mm 2.8 Ai-s has superior optics it should also be tested.

        The 55mm 2.8 AI-s lens shows remarkable performance on D7000 and as a reference to one year old post in “Related Posts” at number
        5 – Sample images from the new Zeiss Distagon 55mm f/1.4 lens

        I’ve got same or sharper eyelashes with D7K+552.8 Ai-s combo.
        Haven’t been able to test it on D800 but I’m sure it will take the bull by horns :)
        The main thing is if the Zeiss lens shows absolutely NO COMA at 1.4 then it’s well worth the money and if the cheaper new Nikon 58mm 1.4 shows same performance then sharpness does not matter considering the price difference and Nikon has Auto focus as well.

        • Neopulse

          You’re right, thought you meant medium format. Been around MF forums often and got used to seeing that acronym.

          It does have a bit of coma the Zeiss lens, just negligible to some (reposting a link that someone put earlier: http://www.lenstip.com/390.7-Lens_review-Carl_Zeiss_Otus_55_mm_f_1.4_ZE_ZF.2_Coma__astigmatism_and_bokeh.html )

          And I’m pretty sure the reason why they haven’t tested those lenses because they probably need a significant amount of them in order to test them properly and get an overall idea of it’s performance. Since most are discontinued chances are it won’t be done. Are you planning on getting the DF btw?

          • Adnan

            NP :) yeah MF usually stands for Medium Format :)

            All AI-s and AF-D lenses mentioned are still being made and are in Nikon’s current catalogue.AI-s lenses are very well built and Nikon’s fastest 50mm 1.2 is AI-s.

            http://imaging.nikon.com/lineup/lens/list.htm#manual

            most ppl don’t look beyond “holy grail” of 3 zooms or G lenses.
            The reason I’m mentioning these “antique” but good lenses is that ppl will talk about the new manual focus lenses and then complain about the price but neither are willing to upgrade their electronic cameras (mostly D700 huggers,still waiting for it’s upgrade) and won’t realise that they need 20+ MPix camera for the expensive zooms they invested in to see the lens’ true potential ,so there is a cheaper and good alternative already present.

            If this Zeiss lens has coma then even the cheapest 50 1.8 D stopped down gives fantastic results.And checking the link if it’s perfect at F4 then certainly not worth the money IMO. 55mm is not the focal length that everyone wants all the time.
            i don’t see any other use than night photography or astrography as most modern cameras are giving good results at ISO 3200 or if one is printing 6ft.
            I’ll prefer the Nikon 58mm for general photography as it has auto focus,but then there are lot of choices :)
            For me Zeiss 21mm or Nikon 24 1.4 G are more appealing :)

            I like the Df but right now it’s not on my shopping list the battery combo I have with D7000 and D800 is working fine besides i’m a bit disappointed by it’s inferior meter not bothered by the auto focus module though.

  • sculptor

    No doubt about it, an insanely good lens. My only question why has Zeiss decided to not play in the realm of modern lens makers and support autofocus?

    • Lubos

      because Nikon doesn’t give them “go ahead” with AF system duplication. It would be real thread to them.

      • Maji

        In my mind, it sounds like an excuse. How does Siggy, Tammy etc. have AF? Zeiss just can get away with it and does that.

        • Neopulse

          Probably R&D costs. They probably don’t have the money to waste on it. At least an AF-D style lens would be pretty cool. Found this on a blog post:

          “Due to international licences, it is not possible at the moment for companies outside Japan to offer AF lenses with EF- or F-mount. So we will concentrate on high-end manual focus lenses with those
          mounts within the next future.

          Best regards

          Carl Zeiss Lenses Team”

          • http://nikonrumors.com/ Nikon Rumors

            I think they just don’t want to pay the licensing fees – how do Sigma and Tokina produce AF lenses.

            • Neopulse

              Well I know that Sigma has one factory in Japan and Cosina also. But yeah, chances are it’s the royalties that they would have to pay Nikon for it.

              Maybe there’s some kind of problem law-wise with the owners being in Germany and Nikon based in Japan that might be complicating financial transactions worldwide from happening.

  • Bobbie

    How much?????? (SAD FACE)

  • Steve Griffin

    The only cheap 50 that gets close to the OTUS re’ resolution/acutance is the Pentax DA*55, according to Lenstip. From f/4 the two lenses are, ostensibly, identical. The DA is also a FF lens.. common Pentax where’s your FF camera?

    http://www.lenstip.com/163.4-Lens_review-Pentax_smc_DA*_55_mm_f_1.4_SDM_Image_resolution.html

    http://www.lenstip.com/390.4-Lens_review-Carl_Zeiss_Otus_55_mm_f_1.4_ZE_ZF.2_Image_resolution.html

    • Neopulse

      You may say cheap, but Pentax does make nice optics. Hmm… anyone know the formula of using 645 glass on a 35mm sensor would be the equivalent of? Wondering if the 645 glass would do well with the same FOV on a 35mm sensor in comparison to the 55mm OTUS.

      • Steve Griffin

        My DA*55 cost me AU$769, so it’s not a cheap 50 by the usual standards, and I did have a Nikkor 50 1.4G, getting rid of it for a Sigma 50 for my D800E’s. It will be interesting to see how Sigma go re’ upgrading the 50/1.4 to an A lens though.

        • Neopulse

          Would be interesting, although I’m hoping for an ART lens version of the 85mm :-D

  • Michael Erlewine

    I have most of the best Nikon lenses, include the exotic industrial Nikkors like the APO El-Nikor and three of the Printing Nikkors, and these lenses are very highly corrected.

    Also have Coastal Optics, Leica, and Vogtlander APO lenses, etc. I have the companion Zeiss 135mm APO lens released recently and it outperforms ALL of my other lenses, about eighty lenses. I expect the Otus 55MM to outperform the 135 APO Zeiss.

    I understand most of the comments here, but my experience tells me that I should just unload a lot of the lenses I have but will never use again. I am a close-up/macro nature photographer, so I don’t worry about manual focus. That’s
    all I use.

    This is just the beginning of incredible lenses that are APO corrected. It is the correction (IMO and in my experience) that makes the difference. Nothing much else. I don’t mind paying for a lens that is better than any and all the lenses I own. Worth every penny! With that said, this is not a lens for everyone, unless you eye demands that kind of beauty.

    • Spy Black

      This article makes spending that kind of money on macro gear a bit embarrassing, no? http://tinyurl.com/kjuujc2

      • Michael Erlewine

        Not really. Nice shots, of course. I find a highly-corrected lens that is sharp wide open what I need. Of course, I stack images a lot, so I can choose to put whatever part of the photo in focus I feel I need and let the rest go to bokeh. When I look at how much I have spent on lenses that really don’t measure up, it is a pleasure and a gift to even find a lens in the world that is as good as these new Zeiss lenses. This could have happened a long time ago, but now it will happen all over…. my guess.

      • Neopulse

        I remember saying that guy was quite determined on Twitter awhile back. Very MacGuyver-ish the setup.

      • BigEater

        Hey baby, it’s not what you or I want, it’s what the clients and the man’s business model demands. If having that lens helps him be more profitable, then who are e to argue?

  • Archer

    I know what I’m going to say may seem trivial, but the picture of this new Zeiss lens really irritates me: normally Zeiss lenses are considered to be the cream of the crop, right? Then why does this thing look like it’s a cheap chinese knockoff of an old Cosina lens? I mean all previous new generation Zeiss lenses I remember – like the Macro-Planar T 50mm – had a lot of metal and some chrome or aluminum on them and looked really really high quality. That thing practically oozes workmanship and sophistication. This new one plainly doesn’t. It looks cheap and ordinary. Of course looks are not what count in the end, but if I decide to pay for a premium product, I want it to feel and look premium too.

    • http://www.davidkasman.com/ David Kasman

      Not at all.

      • Archer

        That they are, indeed :-)

  • Claude B.

    On another point of view, with also a test with a Leica M 24

    http://kristiandowling.com/blog/2013/12/8/nikon-df-and-zeiss-otus-55mm-f14-apo-distagon-first-impressions-and-image-samples-part-2-the-lens

    “First Impressions Review on Nikon Df”

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