Zeiss OTUS 55mm f/1.4 APO Distagon T* ZF.2 lens sample images


The $4,000 Zeiss OTUS 55mm f/1.4 APO Distagon T* ZF.2 lens should start shipping on November 11th. Some new sample images taken with the Nikon D800/D800E camera are now available on flickr (click on photo for larger view):

Otus 1.4/55 - No Color Fringes, Sample 01 Otus 1.4/55 - High-contrast, Sample 02Otus 1.4/55 - Stray Light, Sample 02 Otus 1.4/55 - Stray Light, Sample 03Otus 1.4/55 - Sample 15 Otus 1.4/55 - Sample 01Otus 1.4/55 - Medium-format, Sample 01 Otus 1.4/55 - Medium-format, Sample 03Otus 1.4/55 - Sample 11 Otus 1.4/55 - Sample 08Otus 1.4/55 - Sample 09 Otus 1.4/55 - Sample 10Otus 1.4/55 - Sample 14 Otus 1.4/55 - Sample 16Otus 1.4/55 - Sample 17 Otus 1.4/55 - Sample 22Otus 1.4/55 - Sample 26 (shot at f/1.4) Otus 1.4/55 - Sample 27 (shot at f/1.4)Backstage at Hexa By Kuho Spring Summer 2013 Fashion Show. Backstage at Hexa By Kuho Spring Summer 2013 Fashion Show.Backstage at Hexa By Kuho Spring Summer 2013 Fashion Show. Model Noam Frost. Hexa By Kuho Spring Summer 2013 Fashion Show.Models Madison Schill and Emma Burger. Hexa By Kuho Spring Summer 2013 Fashion Show. Models ready to go onto the runway. Hexa By Kuho Spring Summer 2013 Fashion Show.Model Aine O’Gorman. Junko Shimada Spring Summer 2013 Fashion Show. Backstage at the Junko Shimada Spring Summer 2013 Fashion Show.Designer Junko Shimada being interviewed. Junko Shimada Spring Summer 2013 Fashion Show. Model Karin Hannson. Junko Shimada Spring Summer 2013 Fashion Show.Otus 1.4/55 - Sample 25 Otus 1.4/55 - Sample 05 Otus 1.4/55 - Sample 06Otus 1.4/55 - Sample 20 Otus 1.4/55 - Sample 23 (shot at f/1.4) Otus 1.4/55 - Sample 28

Technical specifications:


MTF charts:



Video presentation:

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  • Daniel

    The religion is strong in those photos

    • Guest

      and in this forum.

      • anatoly

        The lens is much more superior then any other 50mm.
        And it is worth every penny. It is always hard for someone living in a trailer to understand why someone would pay a million dollars for a Ferrari when one can buy a Honda Civic for $10,000? But you have to live in a mansion do understand that a Ferrari is worth every penny!!!! Your sophistication and taste is not on that level yet!!

        • Gil Aegerter

          A Ferrari and a Honda are driving down the freeway at 60 mph. Which is going faster? Yes, this is a trick question, anatoly.

        • Dpablo unfiltered

          I was once really into cars. You would be amazed at the quality that goes into much of the Civic. The B18C engine is good for around 10000 rpm without changing the crank. The block is good for about 1000 horsepower without a sleeve kit…
          The main thing keeping it slow vs a Ferrari is that it is front wheel drive. The first generation CRX and Integra handle more like a race car than most rear wheel drive cars. It’s not a matter of taste.
          If I had millions of dollars I would probably have one and the bumper sticker would say that my other car was a Civic.
          Also, I don’t believe that you live in a mansion…

        • Conspicuous consumption is not the same thing as refinement.

  • Neptune

    Just so so…

  • Dyun27

    Am I the only one who’s unimpressed? I can think of a hundred ways to spend $4,000.00 and this lens certainly is not it…. even if I was swimming money.

    • bratvlad

      I used to have the 50mm Nikon 1.4 G, and it was pretty sharp at 1.4! maybe it was my copy, but I agree, $4000.00 wow. its manual focus too!? yeah… no.

      • Shepherd

        Agreed… seeing these samples, it does not look convincingly sharper than my AF 50mm f/1.8D, which is razor sharp right to the corners at f/5.6 and beyond. Better background blur for sure, and probably better control against flare and better edge resolution wide open, but I could get plenty more useful kit for the price.

        • Spy Black

          Any lens is sharp at f/5.6 and beyond. If your lens isn’t rockin’ by f/4, it’s not that great a lens. My50mm f/1.4 is total crap at 1.4, but by 2.8 it’s damned good, and by 4 is sharp as hell. Forget it by 5.6.

          • Nice demonstration! (Same thing with my old 24-85 2.6-4 — absolutely hopeless wide open, but better than decent stopped down.)

        • Remedy

          WOW now that’s a wonderful example of internet stupidity “my bla bla bla lens is sharp at f/5.6”. 200$ plastic 18-55 is sharp at f/5.6! Do you even comprehend the unmeasurable vastness of your stupidity in that sentence?! Your 50mm 1.8D is pure crap wide open in terms of sharpness and contrast. Do you understand that? There is more, no matter what you do your f/1.8 lens is not gonna turn into f/1.4 lens. Do you understand the difference? Not to mention the poor bokeh due to 7 (straight) blades diaphragm. Please do yourself a favor and think before you say something.

          • Shepherd

            Wow, shame on me for not desiring an extra 2/3 stop of aperture, $3950 less in my bank account, and almost two extra pounds on my back. I suppose some people get pretty angry on the internet and stuff.

            • Dpablo unfiltered

              So you can’t afford the thing. Get on the internet and tell people your Polaroid is that good…
              I just looked a little further and I think it’s worth every penny that you don’t have.

            • Remedy

              WOW, shame that you don’t grasp the concept of a f/1.4 lens. It’s way more difficult to make it flaws free, it’s way more things to take into account for the engineers. Could you please explain me why Nikkor 85mm f/1.4 is tipple the price of an 85mm f/1.8? Could you please explain why Nikkor 35mm f/1.4 is 5 times more expensive than 35mm f/2?
              Nobody on this planet fking cares whether you need this lens or not. It’s a bigger challenge to design such lens, and it’s extremely difficult to make it sharp and contrasty wide open. That’s why it costs so much. On top of that it’s Zeiss, their gear tends to be expensive, deal with it. Go back to using your 50mm f/1.8 G and let others live. Kthxbai

            • robert

              so tell me why the 58mm is 3 times more than the 50 when both are 1.4?
              the 85 1.4g is not worth 3 times the price of the 1.8g.

              with many people editing their work in ps, you can fix almost any flaw of a lens. I, like many here, are not impressed with the zeiss. for that price the 50 1.4g is just great. so deal with it.

            • Vamp898

              And f/1.4 is way more less needed than Zeiss Fans think.

        • Check out the lack of coma on the bright point lights in the background on the bridge shot. The crowd scene is also insanely sharp. I don’t think nifty fifties really compare, but the new 58mm noct will give it a run for its money (with AF and less astigmatism).

        • Jon Ingram

          My 50mm 1.8D is amazing…, I still use it frequently to this day… razor sharp, super small and light, and a bit old school in a good way. Love it. If yours is not razor sharp well before 5.6 I would spend the extra $75 for another. My is great at 1.8, and rocks by 2.2. Anything above that is perfection…

          • robert

            Yes from 2.2 its pretty sharp. from 2.8, its razor sharp. And today with a ff sensor, the 1.8 is just fine. If u need speed up the iso. If you need more selective focusing/blur then id just use my 85. No need for 1.4. I never shot my 1.4 ais at 1.4. It was from 2 onwards.

            • Remedy

              Dude you still don’t get it. Nobody cares how your lens performs at 2.8 or even at f/2. You buy the f/1.4 lens to use that 1.4. Also nobody cares whether you shot your 50 wide open or not. And if you really claim that 50 f/1.4G is fantastic wide open then you clearly have issues with understanding the word “fantastic”.

              This particular Ziess is made to be great right from the start – wide open. 50mm f/1.4G is only OK sharp wide open and it fringes like a pig. Corners are soft, vignette is quite strong and contrast is not what you would call amazing. Yes it sharpens significantly by f/2 but that’s not the point. In this case you pay for the stellar performance wide open already. Grasp this fking concept already. This lens is not for you, end of story.

            • robert

              someone get this guys some tissue before he shits his pants. poor baby getting all worked up cause we think the lens is not worth the price. get lost.

            • orpickaname

              You still have “money” factored in. Difficult to appreciate anything more expensive than a 50/1.4G or 85/1.8G that way. And yes, those two are good enough.

            • robert

              OPN, everything in life we deal with is calculated according to price. we factor whether were getting worth for our money.

              really, “good enough” is a hard battle in our minds. good enough is satisfactory, but many see good enough as mediocrity. its a battle. we buy “good enough” but in our minds, it never is a lot of times.

              this zeiss is a great lens, but damn the price is extreme. I could understand $1200, but 4 grand? for a 50mm? thats just prices thats out of proportion to real life. manual focus and its just 50mm. crap, id rather use an 85 or a 35 before the 50mm. its a nice focal length but its not such a focal length for creating truly different perspectives and angles.

              the last row portrait of the boy is just horrible. what distortion. I wouldnt even put it up as a sample. it does more damage than good for their case.

              the AF on the 85 AFD 1.8 is faster than the new G but IQ is superior. though the AFD is good enough. im fighting with myself whether to go to the G. ive used my friends G and its not so fast.

      • StarF

        Although manual focus is not a big deal, I have to agree what you say…

      • JM

        Sharpness is an issue further down the scale. With professional lenses you need to look at other aspects of performance. The bokeh on some of these is exquisite.

    • Jon Ingram

      If I had unlimited money or was very rich I would by it for sure. The bokeh is tasty, the contrast is super nice, and the sharpness is really nice. Sadly I can’t afford this, but I’m sure that those who do get it will be very pleased. It would be nice to use on the new Nikon hybrid cam.

  • Daniel

    If I have $4000, I will buy the 24-70 and give the rest to the poor

    • phil

      no you wouldn’t

    • orpickaname

      no you shouldn’t

      giving away money to “the poor” doesn’t solve the underlying issue (i.e. the “poverty consciousness”).

  • Michael_Foley

    Razor sharp and great colors/contrast, but I honestly like the look of the bokeh on Nikon’s 58mm a little better.

  • Bonetti

    I have the Nikon D800E with 85 1.4, 50 1.8, 70-200 2.8 and non of this pictures Impress me for a $4000 Lens

    • Remedy

      Means you should pay a visit to an oculist pretty soon.

  • Zoron

    there’s only so much a lens can do…..

  • Zoron

    1 question……how many missed shots?

    • Daniel

      Just set it at f16 auto iso and rocking all day :))

    • RMFearless

      Too much!

    • Remedy

      The answer: zero. Condition: you have to not be an AF zombie.

  • john

    unimpressed. feels not price worthy.

  • Joseph Li

    for most who doesnt print anything bigger than 13×19…all those sharpness are for luxury enjoyment on the screen only and not a necessity. It helps to boost your ego but it’s hard to tell just how much sharper the images are. A tiny bit of mis-focus, camera motion or subject motion and the $3500 worth of goodness cannot be seen. Not to mention we have so many sharp lenses lying around for less. Heck we have yet to test out the 58mm 1.4G perhaps that’s not too far behind for a LOT less money

  • robert

    $3000 overpriced. not impressed. the sample shots zeiss gave a few months back were impressive. but these arent anything special. great photos. very nice images, but not $4000 worth.

  • Spy Black

    No shots at infinity @ f/1.4. No nights shot with point light sources to the edges at infinity @ f/1.4. I bet this lens sucks.

    • Daniel

      Yes, and they should try to shoot the resolution chart.
      Then put the result next to the $400 Nikon 50mm 1.4

      • Spy Black

        At 4 G’s, I want to see how this performs wide open where it counts. The fact that you don’t see that is suspicious to me. Nikon makes no bones about the 58mm f/1.4 being able to deliver wide open, and that’s a hell of a lot cheaper lens, comparatively speaking.

        • Daniel

          If you read the info, it was obvious that the Zeiss photographer didn’t know what he/she was doing. like who shot in church at f2 1/125 iso 800
          where you could do f4 1/60 instead? But since they tried to show off the lens, why not f1.4 but f2?
          Or who the heck shoot landscape at f2.8 1/1000 in broad day light.

          • Spy Black

            Somebody without a tripod…

    • Steven Wade

      You bet this lens sucks? Oh please. How often does a Zeiss lens “suck”? If it is a run of the mill 50mm, then all 50mms suck.

      Your comment is just asinine.

  • James

    The bokeh is stunning on that shot with the dog. I really like the way this lens renders.

    • silmasan

      My favorite of the bunch also. It’s got that perfect render feel. They should give more samples under this kind of natural lighting. Most of the images in this set look like random, careless snapshots.

      This lens would be a tough job for the marketing team no matter what, at twice the price of the 135/2 APO-Sonnar which just set a new standard of what to expect from Zeiss. Suits them well, whoever came up with this f*****g “Otus” marketing calf poop…

      “Dear Zeiss, don’t go Leica Schmeica Hassy Lunacy, please?”

    • Dpablo unfiltered

      It has incredible bokeh. I noticed it on a model shot but I think I liked the dog shot the best. It also has great color rendition and edge to edge sharpness along with something I can’t quite put my finger on. I didn’t look too long or hard because I have no plans for having it. I’m sure it will be more than worth it so some people. If the MTF chart is right then it bests anything. Easy length to make. Hard length to make really well. Harder length to use we. I think the extra 3mm will give the Nikon a little advantage.

    • skaarj

      The creamiest of the bunch for sure.

  • Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ

    That bridge shot at night at f2.8 looks close to what the nikon 58/1.4 can do at f1.4, so this is a no go for me sense I will be using it much at night.
    I was already going for the nikon 58/1.4 because I need the AF, this just sealed the deal.

  • Mr. Mamiya

    Compared to Nikon’s 58/1.4 sample images on Flickr, these images are so much better made, technically. These are well focussed and tack sharp, while Nikon’s are all front-focussed, noisy, blurry and shaken.

    • Dpablo unfiltered

      But the Nikon model was HOT.

  • Mr. Mamiya

    Is it worth 4.000 USD/EUR? Everybody should find answer for themselves. But one shouldn’t underestimate the “Zeiss-Power”. 95% of my images are made with Nikon lenses, because it’s more convenient with AF and zoom. But whenever I grab my Zeiss 35/2 and 100/2, those images stand out with their special look.

    • Mr. Mamiya

      N.B.: Compared to the AF 50/1.8 Nikkor this is bloody expensive. Is it really that much better? Compared to a Leica 50/1.4 Summilux, it is on par. If you are a medium format downgrader who wants to deliver absolute quality and you’re used to Hasselblad’s prices, this, combined with a D800E, is a bargain. All depends on your point of view.

      • Neopulse

        Exactly… Couldn’t have said it better myself.

      • Remedy

        Could you please tell me in which universe f/1.8 is on par with f/1.4? And who said it has to me X times better if it’s X times more expensive?!!! What a retarded logic!

        Is Bugatti Veyron 100 times better than a typical compact car? Is it 10 times better than a Lamborghini Gallardo?

        …and no, your 50mm f/1.8D is NOT on par with Summilux, not even remotely close.

        • Mr. Mamiya

          Sorry, I meant: the Zeiss 55 is on par with a Summilux, price wise.

          • Remedy

            Oh, in this case you are right. Just to make it clear, I’d love it to be way cheaper and I probably won’t buy it but I’m far from denying it’s purpose and that it would sell, because it will.

            • Mr. Mamiya

              I won’t buy it. My AF-S 50/1.4 and AF-S 60/2.8 aren’t flawed enough to justify such an expensive upgrade for me.

              I could imagine upgrading my 135/2 DC to the new Zeiss 135/2 though, it must be phantastic, while the DC has lots of purple fringing at times.

  • Steve Griffin

    That lower MTF graph is not winning me over. I expect that is the resolution graph (?) ..the top one being contrast… and if that is true, there would be quite a lot of astigmatism in that lens. I usually feel like puking when I see complex linear image components (going in all directions) made with a lens like that.

  • robert

    guys, its only $3990. you get back $10 change…cmon, now thats a deal.

  • Matt

    These images confirm that Zeiss glass is the best in the world. Only Leica is comparable against Zeiss. Superb! really envy sony’s users.

    • Neopulse

      Sony lenses aren’t Zeiss made -.-

  • robert

    I see by the pictures of the girls, anyone can be a model today..

    cmon everyone, lets go get out headshots done!

  • yawn. 55mm = nowhereland focal length, when was the last time you were out shooting wishing you had a 55mm on you?

    $4000 on the other hand, I wish it was in my pocket right now, I’d order the retro Nikon – tba – in a heartbeat 😉

  • Michael Erlewine

    I am a close-up/macro photographer of mostly nature
    subjects. I have done close-up work since 1956 including many years of focus stacking. I have been very concerned about sharpness in a lens and most concerned with corrected lenses, commonly known as APO lenses, although there is no official APO standard.

    I mostly use the Nikon D800E body at this time, although the
    new Sony A7r looks interesting, and have some 80+ lenses, most of them used for close-up and macro work, including the Coastal Optics 60mm APO, Leica Elmarit-R APO, Voigtlander 125mm APO, and many other Nikkors including some of the finest industrial Nikkors (Printing Nikkors, APO El-Nikkor, etc.)

    The Zeiss 135mm APO lens is not macro or even a close-up
    lens, but because of the raves I had to find out if this new Zeiss APO was
    possibly useful at close range. I bought one. To my astonishment it is, and amazingly so at that.

    My point here is, of all the lenses I have used, the new
    Zeiss 135mm f/2 APO is probably the finest of the lot, and by a good margin. Originally I did not buy it because it was not a “macro” lens, but
    just a standard prime lens with a near focus of 2.62 feet, not very close for my work, and forget about macro. I was wrong.

    Anyway, the long-story-short is that the Zeiss 135mm APO,
    even at a distance, is an excellent close-up lens, beyond anything I would have expected. And it takes reasonable extension very, very well.

    I have other Zeiss lenses including the two Zeiss
    Makro-Planars which I never use because of their harsh contrast and lack of correction. Please don’t imagine that the new Zeiss APO 135mm is anything like the Makro-Planers except perhaps in being built well.

    This new APO Zeiss is for me (and in my opinion) a
    game-changing lens. I have posted some preliminary photos from the Zeiss 135mm APO at this link, and will try to add more as I find time.


    I have every reason to expect the new Zeiss 55mm APO Otus to
    be of the same quality, and probably better for my work, and it also takes
    extensions well, according to Chambers. I have one on order, and am selling some lenses I will never use again anyway because in reality I would always choose one of the great lenses, like these APO Zeiss.

    • Flickr link is broken. I tried to find your photographs online but all I found were astrology sites.

      • Michael Erlewine

        I believe I fixed that link now.

    • Dustbak

      I agree, I used to have a Voigtlander Apo-Lanthar 125. Sharpness is not the most important thing. Color rendition and the lack of fringing is stunning on the Apo lenses. This is also what I see in the new 55. Expensive? Sure! But look at how the thing draws, the highlights, etc.. absolutely amazing. There is a lot more than just sharp…

      • Michael Erlewine

        I have several Voigtlander 125mm APO Lanthars, and until the Zeiss 135 APO came along, they were my favorite lens. Can’t wait to see what the Zeiss Otuis 55mm will be like.

  • waterengineer

    Dear Zeiss:

    It is 2014 (almost.) There is a new idea called auto-focus. It has actually been in the marketplace for a few years now. While I know your Leica lenses are manual focus, I know you make some lenses that are auto-focus. How about trying that on your full-frame DSLR lenses? You can manual focus with an auto-focus lens but you can’t auto-focus with a manual focus lens.

    • Abraham Collins

      Zeiss alpha mount lenses autofocus, go buy a Sony. Blame Nikon, Canon, etc. for not licensing their tech for reasonable royalties. If you think their lenses are expensive now wait until you see the price for af capability tacked on.

      • waterengineer

        I understand your point, but if I am going to spend $4K what is another $500? I would do it. Would you?

        • Abraham Collins

          Eh.. for some reason I only buy Nikon branded lenses anyway, so it doesn’t matter to me. There’s something about putting two precision instruments of different manufacturers together. The thought of it bugs the heck out of me.

    • Meinrad

      Leica is not Zeiss

  • Maji

    Sorry, not impressive at all. Perhaps the mythical Zeiss look is just a myth 🙂

  • A Little Bit Sarcastic

    Oh my heavens. If you look at the dog’s tongue, there are clearly at least two if not three pixels that are green fringing. I would never buy such an inferior product.

  • Frank

    I’m not sure we can use these images to make a fair judgement. Am I correct in thinking that since the images shown here are JPEGs, which are 8-bit images and compressed, wouldn’t these images look completely different as RAWs on a monitor? And wouldn’t they look even better on the new 4k monitor? Doesn’t the low resolution of most CRT & LCD monitors that aren’t 4k clip the resolution of the image?

  • Frank Gosebruch

    When you are not impressed, you will never had to make a picture like the one with the model wearing the jeans jacket.
    Sharpness is exactly there where it should be – not before and not behind! The eyes and lips are pin-sharp, but – just a few inches back – the neck already blurres and the background is totally blurred (with great bokeh).
    You CAN NOT make such a picture with a lens stopped down to f/2.8 or f/5.6!
    Maybe you just need a lens for the pictures of your birthday cake?

  • David

    I’d like to see a comparison between a Leica M240 + Summilux 50mm and the Nikon D800E + 58mm f/1.4G and the Nikon D800E + this Zeiss Lens . . . Completely different setups of course, but if anyone has a bunch of time on their hands I would be interested in seeing that . . .

  • Anto de Chav

    I dont understand why people are complaining about this lens,it is a luxury item,a masterpiece of optical engineering for the people who don’t mind paying for the best,I have a 50mm 1.4G.. it’s great value for money but it is not in the same league as this Zeiss,

    If you can’t afford it or don’t want to spend 4k to buy it,fine.. but no need to whinge about it..

  • Aeroengineer

    This lens is on display at PhotoPlus in NYC. The Zeiss product manager said that the lens was designed with the D800E in mind, and that the engineers were given liberty to go for maximum performance without considering cost. Mechanically, it is massive with wonderfully smooth focus action. Alas I didn’t shoot it as I left my D800E at home. He showed me prints taken with the D800E and this lens, in comparison with the same shot taken with a 60MP Hasselblad. It is a favorable comparison. It is his opinion that no other lens on the market takes full advantage of the 800E sensor. Time (and Lens Rentals) will tell, but I am always encouraged when engineers are allowed to do their thing without a lot of help from the marketeers or the beanies.

  • Peter

    All those photos… I can take with my 24/1.4G on my D800. Unless it’s twice as sharp as the 24/1.4G, it’s silly to splurge $4k on it. But definitely better than the Nikon 50/1.4/1.8.

    • Guest

      And please don’t compare unless you’ve shot with the 24/1.4G. That lens is one of Nikon’s sharpest (along with the 200/2 VR II, 300/2.8, 14-24/2.8).

    • Peter

      And please don’t compare unless you’ve shot with the 24/1.4G. That lens is one of Nikon’s sharpest when wide open (along with the 200/2 VR II and the 300/2.8 AF-S VR II).

  • Young

    Still don’t understand why they chose to omit the aperture direct readout from the concept. Seriously Zeiss, on an otherwise perfect $4,000 lens?

  • shamael

    Photo world seems to run crazy, Leicas for 15000$, lenses for 4000$, and so on. And, this one is not even packed with rosewood focusing rings!
    For that price, I buy a GX7, a good lens, and a ticket to somewhere by plane for 2 weeks. At least, it will make my day.

    • Neopulse

      Well obviously this Zeiss isn’t meant to be a walk around lens for tourism I’d say. The GX7 is a great camera, the 20mm and 25mm primes are good for it.

  • Jonny

    Would this lens be wasted if I’m shooting (largest) JPEGS on an 18mp Canon 1DX? I shoot over 30 weddings a season and often shoot JPEG for a quicker workflow. Don’t worry kids, I get it right in camera. Even if I shoot RAW, is an 18mp sensor not doing this lens justice? Will my JPEGS be sharper and look nicer than my current Zeiss 35 f/1.4 ZE. This lens is pretty incredible and has the Zeiss 3D pop, colors and contrast. Thanks!

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