Zeiss Milvus 1.4/35 lens officially announced

The Milvus 1.4/35 lens is now officially announced. The US pricing is $1,999 and pre-orders are now open at B&H and Adorama.

The full technical specs with MTF charts can be downloaded here.

Sample photos can be found on flickr:

Milvus 1.4/35

Here is a video shot with the new Zeiss Milvus 1.4/35 lens:

Additional information on the new lens is available here and here.

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  • Hogarth Ferguson

    I’m very curious to know how these might perform on my f3

    • Michiel953

      Not wanting to rain on your party (I had an F3 once), but, looking at the pictures, do you think you can reach the aperture ring, once the lens is fitted to the F3 body?

      • Hogarth Ferguson

        Yeah.

        • Michiel953

          Yeah you can or yeah you see the problem?

          • Hogarth Ferguson

            Yeah, I can sure reach the aperture ring, no, I do not think that would be a problem

    • Spy Black

      Not sure it’s worth using a lens like this on film.

      • Hogarth Ferguson

        Yeah, I would never buy one, I doubt, but I am still curious how it would look. You’re likely right, though.

        • Spy Black

          You can always rent one once it’s readily available. If you’re in the US Lensrentals is a good place to rent from.

          • Hogarth Ferguson

            I was doing then when I typed that, actually.

      • raziel28

        F5 is still one of my favorite body, I would gladly use it… 🙂
        Regards

  • Captain Megaton

    Out of my league of course, but still cheaper than I expected. I’d even go so far as to say “reasonable”… but the Sigma 35/1.4 is $900 so maybe not.

    • Eric Calabros

      just gives Nikon an excuse to price their next 35mm f/1.4 $2k or even more: “saw Milvus? Ours have AF too”.

      • Less costs more. Like clothes.

  • T.I.M

    Why would anyone buy that manual focus lens for 2K when the Nikon brand one (great lens BTW) is selling for only 1.5K right now.

    https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/735000-USA/Nikon_2198_AF_S_NIKKOR_35mm_f_1_4G.html

    • ToastyFlake

      I have had bad focusing performance with my 50mm 1.4, so I’m wary of Nikon’s 35 1.4

      • VanHoff

        Bad luck buddy, my Nikkor 50 1.4 performs flawless mounted on my D810, at f/1.4:

        https://www.instagram.com/p/BOIuujvBk6R/?taken-by=nicolaioterov

      • VanHoff

        Bad luck buddy, my Nikkor 50 1.4 performs flawless mounted on my D810, at f/1.4:

        https://www.instagram.com/p/BOIuujvBk6R/

        • Eric Calabros

          Do you have Instagram address of this girl? Want for optical research purposes.

          • T.I.M

            I know, she is HOT.

          • VanHoff

            Of course! she is a college mate @la.flaca.acosta

      • T.I.M

        The Nikon 50mm f/1.4G Af-s is slow focusing (but accurate)
        The 35mm f/1.4G have a much faster auto focus, mine is from 2013 and still rock!

        https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/a17eb0ca4eaf1e1c92b6ce34276414076c47c476fdbd8594ca4fd7fa92ba032b.jpg

        • Michiel953

          Mine is from late 2010, on my D810 now, no AF problems once fine-tuned. Great rendering.

        • Captain Megaton

          It’s a pity the Nikon autofocus could not keep up with the action in that shot. Roadrunner and Wile E. Coyote are no longer even in the frame!

          • Allan

            Meep, meep.

        • FountainHead

          I love the composition here.

          • T.I.M

            Thanks, it’s crazy to see how nice can be a country road in the middle of the USA!

            • T.I.M, this is an interview with Nikon in French – anything interesting we need to know about?

              https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/f980b4dc71184a6556b8a43bde31309c7f73b164709aabedc3de8dfb47e05673.png ? Thanks!

            • T.I.M

              It’s an interview with Nikon France boss Benoit Dieuleuveut.
              He say that they did not stop the 810 production, they have plenty good quality sensors, they stopped the DL cameras because they were late (too late to stay competitive), there will be important Nikon products release soon, they are working on a small camera to compete with smart phones.
              He said that Nikon will not quit the camera business and they are spending a lot of money on research and development.

            • Thanks, the part about the small camera is interesting. I will probably do a post about it. Thanks again!

            • doobster

              Regarding D820, excellent advice to everyone: “Mais il vous faudra encore un tout petit peu de patience pour avoir plus de details!” You must have a bit of patience for more details.

            • Thanks for the translation. Any other interesting bits worth sharing online?

            • doobster

              Hard to distinguish between what is general corporate-speak and what is worthwhile information, but a few snippets:

              Regarding Coolpix: “R&D effort is geared toward markets with greatest potnetial, which is the reason for significantly reducing the Coolpix product line.”

              Regarding DL: “Abandonment of the DL models was due to delays, which no longer allowed them to be marketed competitively.”

              Regarding 100th anniversary: “As for all good celebrations, let us keep the moment of surprise!”

      • IronHeadSlim

        My 35mm f/1.4G is flawless on D3 and D500.

      • Joe Prete

        Did you try Fine Tuning the lens to the D810? Of course it could’ve taken a fall after the final inspection, (like at the camera shop!) Many shops treat the stock like their own free rental service ~ Did you buy this lens new? Are you within a return period?

    • Patrick McKay

      Your question is laughable, but someone always make this comment whenever there’s a review of MF glass. For the millionth time: Because there are many image makers, such as myself who demand very high grade glass, that focuses MANUALLY with absolute ease (w/live view), and precision. (w/long throw)
      The right tool for the right application

      • T.I.M

        so basically, you focus on manual.

    • Bob Thane

      Why would you buy that non VR lens when the Tamron 35mm f1.8 VC is selling for only $600 right now?

      Horses for courses. If you need AF and f1.4, you go with the Nikon or the Sigma Art. If you need the best image quality, you probably go with the Zeiss (assuming it performs as expected), or possibly the Sigma if the Zeiss doesn’t measure up. If you need VR, you go with the Tamron.

      • T.I.M

        You will probably never need VR with a 35mm f/1.4

        • manattan

          I disagree. Say you were shooting an event at night. The 1.4 wide open helps, but the VR, especially the kind that gives you 4+ stops of stability, would help keep both shutter speeds and the ISO down.

          • IronHeadSlim

            In that case you could be using a f/2.8 zoom anyway or in my case a flash since at 35mm you are usually close.

            I like shorter primes without the extra glass surfaces of VR.

            (Of course that is just my opinion and you have yours) : )

          • T.I.M

            That’s why I own 5 tripods….

          • AlphaStatuz

            Agreed. VR is solid. I’ve shot handheld with my tamron at 1/20 or so and obtained sharp images.

        • CrashingOut

          You don’t do much video work do you? I’m expected to basically shoot and film at the same time for many customers, just because you don’t need it doesn’t mean others don’t. My 18-140mm gets a lot of use for video because the VR works for me. If it didn’t do its job I would need different tools.
          I would take and use a 35mm VR unquestionably.
          The only sad thing is is I think I tried that Tamron 35mm and I wasn’t very impressed with the VR. Wasn’t feeling it on the panning performance.

          • T.I.M

            I don’t do video (even if I have all the computers/software/cameras needed for it).
            Because to make videos as a professional you need a team (not a T.I.M).
            One of my best friend is a pro cameraman and when I see the time necessary in filming+post production to get a 15mn movie, I just don’t have the people and the time for that, I’m already 200% busy taking pictures.

        • Bob Thane

          I’ve heard that more often than I can count. “You’ll never need VR with a 24-70”, “You’ll never need VR with a wideangle lens”, “You never need VR with a fast prime”. So far, people seem to change their minds after using the lenses.

    • FountainHead

      This, for me.
      35/1.4G gets some abuse for not being razor sharp but it’s plenty sharp for my work and I love the way it renders colour–particularly skin tones.
      I’m not Anti-Zeiss, I have a lot of Zeiss friends! OK, I have no friends. I just own the 15 and the 135. Those lenses are great. But I can’t see myself swapping the Nikkor for the new Zeiss at this focal length.

  • VanHoff

    As I thought by the high element/group count inside the new lens vs the ZF 35mm f/2 makes the second one still remain the absolute king when one wants the best three dimensional rendering, natural tone gradation and color saturation from a Zeiss 35mm lens (to get the best 3D rendering of a 36mmx24mm sensor), while this new Milvus 35 1.4 renders very flat images, but with flawless correction of chromatic aberration, really good distortion control and incredible sharpness from corner to corner… it just follows the “art” tendency which has replaced traditional strong character lenses with just over corrected lenses.

  • Mike A

    When is Zeiss going to discover autofocus? I have the 50MM Milvus – awesome lens, but major pain due to NO AF.

    • nwcs

      When Nikon licenses the spec to them.

    • They HAVE “discovered” it. They are licensed to make it for Sony and Fuji. Canikon is reluctant because many of their users are knowledgable enough about image quality to see the difference and would buy Zeiss instead of their own.

      • Paul H.

        Uh huh. That’s why Sony and Fuji’s lens sales are really hurting, right? Please. Zeiss is a niche player, not unlike Sony and Fuji…

        • I can assure you that many professional photographers would be buying a LOT more Zeiss for their Canikons if Zeiss could get the rights to make them autofocus. Sony and Fuji are the niche players and they aren’t selling more cameras than they do because they just don’t have the complete system nor 50 years of lenses already in the kits of so many photographers who aren’t willing to start over with all new glass. If you know a better reason for Zeiss not being able to make their Canon and Nikon-mounted lenses auto focus, let’s hear it.

          • manattan

            Agree 100%

        • manattan

          What is striking to me is that it seems the last 4 or 5 lenses that have come out for the F-mount have all been third party lenses. If nothing else, I appreciate that 3rd parties like Zeiss manage to keep progress moving on what is otherwise starting to look like a stale mount.

          • CrashingOut

            F mount is stale? That’s so backwards. It doesn’t work like that. The closest I can come to is a fine wine, which like a mount gets better with age – more options and choices.
            A new mount would be “unripe” if we take this a step further, and F mount is currently one of the juiciest peaches out there, it’s ripe and ready, prices are great there is a glut of good used glass.

  • VanHoff

    Didn’t want to be mean by saying this but… one funny thing about the photo gallery on flickr is that all the shots made with the canon camera are overexposed/highlights burned, while the photos taken with Nikon cameras are neatly exposed.

    • Eric Calabros

      I don’t want to be mean too but even color in D5 images is so much better.

      • After all one reason we are nikon users is those colours.

        • TheInfinityPoint

          And the awesome dynamic range!

    • What I have noticed is that those canon users like those kind of images. And the really bad canon users may have popularized the instagram look. ( And I don’t want to sound mean either)

      • TheInfinityPoint

        I agree, when I was looking for wedding photographers for our wedding there was a tendency of canon users having the overexposed pastel-y look while Nikon users tended to be have shots more exposed “correctly.”

        • Eric Calabros

          Its like over-retouching brides: a tendency to throw away data.

  • bobgrant

    BTW, I’m no big fan of Zeiss these days. I owned them before and I find other companies have caught up, plus have AF. But Nikon and Canon are STUPID not to change the rules on AF outside of Japan. Both systems would BENEFIT from such a move. Think about it: you can slap this 35mm on a Sony a9 and have AF. And THAT is what Nikon and Canon should be worried about. All the same, I don’t know a soul who’d want this heavy Zeiss lens. The price really isn’t bad, but without AF…forget it. All the same, Zeiss has its fans so these will sell to the niche as intended.

    • Or customers could saying: “Oh well this doesn’t have autofocus so i go for the high-end Nikon or Canon lens”. Not sure which one is more effective to sell your own lenses.

    • Phil Sohn

      I have an Otus 55. Something about this lens that’s a joy to use. I don’t think it’s for everyone and I don’t claim it’s useful in certain jobs such as documenting wedding nor sports. But something about this lens and image it produce is magical.

      • bobgrant

        I’ve owned several Zeiss lenses. There is no “magic.” There’s skill and optics. I’ve seen mediocre results from Zeiss and award winning work with a Nikon 18-55 kit lens. In a perfect world, side by side with lower cost lenses (such Sigma ART), I’ve witnessed that the Zeiss no longer earned the high price. Owners of the Zeiss will defend it and it’s a great lens. The problem is that there are are others that are equally great and they are more versatile.

        • Phil Sohn

          Curious as which Zeiss lenses you’ve owned?
          That being said, i don’t think I was defending that Zeiss is the lenses for everyone. It’s not for everyone nor especially the Otus the price point many can justify. And agree that at the end it’s the image one takes. Either using the point and shoot iPhone or 4K Zeiss Otus.

  • John Mackay

    the mtf of this lens looks better than the otus 85…

  • HD10

    Seriously, I wonder how well the lens mount of the Nikon cameras will hold out as lens manufacturers make notably longer and heavier lenses which do not have a lens collar, and with the lens mounted on a tripod where the weight of the lens is not partially supported and carried with the hand.

    This is particularly so as Nikon transition more of its cameras to Sereebo (carbon fibre reinforced thermoplastics) as what Nikon did from the Nikon D800 to the D810 and in the D750 and D500. I particularly like the D500 shape and ergonomics and appreciate the Sereebo’s light weight and consistent tolerance but do wonder how well the lens mount of these Sereebo bodies will be able to handle even heavier lens made without a tripod collar.

    Consider the length and weight of the following lenses:

    Nikkor 105mm f/1.4E ……….. 985g ….. (DxL) 94.5mm x 106.0mm

    Zeiss Milvus 35mm f/1.4 ….. 1174g ….. (DxL) 84.8mm x 124.8mm

    Sigma Art 85mm f/1.4 ……… 1131g ….. (DxL) 95.0mm x 108.0mm

    Sigma Art 135mm f/1.8 ……. 1130g ….. (DxL) 91.4mm x 114.9mm

    • Semaphore

      The camera body might have a plastic shell, but the lens mount is still in metal. I don’t see it becoming a problem, at least not for semipro/pro bodies like the D750 or D500 and higher.

      • Bob Thane

        The lens mount is metal, but the internals it screws into isn’t.

        EDIT: I don’t know which is better though – I do appreciate the lighter weight, and I have no clue how either hold up to heavy lenses.

        • IronHeadSlim

          The mirror box is a monocoque design that moves with the metal mount. I am sure that with very heavy exotic teles there could be a problem but it should hold up very well as designed.

    • Michiel953

      Yes. Maybe. Sort of.

      You have intimate knowledge of the strength properties of Sereebo?

  • Aldo

    I’ll wait for the one you have to wind the aperture blades…

  • Michiel953

    Great focal length that I’ve learnt to appreciate (again) on my D810. Great lens too probably, but I’m not letting my 35/1.4G go for it.

  • Reilly Diefenbach

    $2000 for a manual focus 35mm? Really?

  • Too big and too heavy for a fixed focal length prime in this range (especially if you want it to carry around your camera bag). The same problem is having the Sigma Art. I prefer the Nikon versions which aren’t that extreme.

  • Mehdi R

    Holy moly, 1.1KG for 35mm.
    Do Germans make Supercars? 😉

  • Joe Prete

    They think because it has their name on it, that it will sell? I guess it could be used to gather up the idiots into one group!

  • It’s amusing how so many readers here trash so many lenses as not being sharp enough across the entire filed of view, the contrast isn’t that great, too much flare, bokeh that doesn’t measure up and blah, blah, blah. THEN, when a lens is announced that solves all that, but weighs 2 1/2 pounds and cost $2,000, it’s a boat anchor that won’t sell, is over priced, is over rated, isn’t any better than this or that brand, they don’t like the focal length, it’ll damage my camera’s lens mount, it’s too slow, it’s too fast, my mother can’t pronounce the name Zeiss properly, doesn’t have VR. It’s like wanting a car that gets 45 mpg, goes 0-60 in 3.7 seconds, seats 9 and costs $14,499, with leather seats and led headlights.

    • Phil Sohn

      I love the car analogy as I’m a car who’s been building cars for 15+ years and that’s exactly what guys want when building a car…. except it’s impossible without the price tag.
      I have a 1973 RX3, also 1994 RX7 stock, 1993 modified track, and new Infiniti Q50 Red Sport. All serves a purpose but all does different things that provide different joy. Otus for me is like my 73 and my track RX7. It’s simple no abs, traction control, manual gear box, with performance to beat many out of the box high performance modern cars. It’s hard to explain to some who solely relied on autofocus. But there is a joy to manual focus just as manual gear box on a car.

      • Ah, yes, the RX3. A friend bought one of those new and wouldn’t let me drive it at first. Finally he gave in. We got on a brand new section of freeway where we lived in Southern California. I don’t know how fast we were actually going, but the speedometer read 132. It was white knuckle time for my buddy in the passenger seat and I never got the keys to it again. But, I had my moment with it. 🙂

  • vriesk

    What a pig.

  • Captain Megaton

    I don’t find the flickr samples make an especially convincing case for the lens. They seem, how to put this … amateurish? Overworked to the point of making it actively difficult to come to any judgement about the lens itself.

  • ToastyFlake

    When I see the word Milvus, I always think of vulva for some reason.

  • I think they are correcting the prices of their new lenses according to nikon and canon prices. After all premium has to have a premium. Right?

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