Zeiss Otus 55 Mm/1.4 & 85 Mm/1.4 Apo Distagon – Like Owls in the Dark

TWIN TEST: With the Latin name from an eagle-eyed OWL see in darkness, Otus, the Zeiss lens gives its name to its new series of small-screen format that are created with only one thing in mind: kompromissl shet.

First up was the 55 mm/1.4, and the next in line was the new 85 mm/1.4, both of Canon’s ef-mount and Nikon f-mount lenses and with manual focusing. Everything is so clear about mediation in the lens world – you cannot get all of the good, such as brightness, light weight, perfect clarity, absence of chromatic aberration and, of course, a great price. In the case of Otus-lenses, one could say that Zeiss has done right to get compromises, which is reflected in the importance and price – the lenses weigh over one kilogram apiece, and the price tag is much higher than the respective flagships of the major manufacturers.

More sharpness, manual focus

Of the abnormalities a lens can have as we look at these two lenses almost no chromatic aberration that settles at the edges of objects in the image, which is possible through the use of expensive special glass that refracts light in a certain way. Lenses also have a design with floating lens element, which further improves the refraction of light, contrast of lens and the sharpness of the image.

That is also why the weight becomes as it gets: glass costs money.

Both Otus 55 mm/1.4, 85 mm/1.4 has manual focus, which means that you have to rely on their own sharp photo eye, or possibly focus indicator in the camera’s viewfinder. In fact, this can be quite difficult even for the intrepid photographer, especially since many of today’s digital cameras have the same focusing screen that does not help you along at all to see exactly when the image is that sharpest.

Anyway, it is the mechanics of the lens is one of the easiest and best I’ve used, by mainly two reasons: focus ring’s size as well as the feeling and the ease of turning the ring in question. This balance has Zeiss lens managed to so good is great to use for manual focusing. The ring is nice rubberized, and the diameter is over nine centimeters. Together with the soft and light rotation, you can easily fine-tune the sharpness with the fingers, but it stutters or becomes sluggish-something which is not entirely unusual in many lens designs.

The big numbers in meters and feet also helps to quickly see where you are on the scale.

Otus Zeiss 55 mm/ 1 , 4

With focal length 55 mm, we are close to hand a right normal image of reality. To use this focal length is at first rather different – I used a classic 50 mm 1.4, and it’s pretty much lighter and smaller than the Otus version. Instead of having a smooth lens easily can have on the camera and walk around with around the shaft, so this becomes a big BLOB that weighs 1030 grams, and standing out around 15 centimeters from the camera when the lens hood is attached.

55 millimeters feels otherwise correct allround, and with a minimum focus distance of 0.5 meters can also go right around and have the opportunity for exciting pictures. The focal length also works well for portraits. On the whole, this lens is really nice to use, and deliver images with extremely good sharpness. This also becomes apparent when the focus extra crispy stands up quite nicely against the super soft and nice background, which has a really nice bokeh – avteckningen of the light in the blur that reaches up to the camera. This alone makes the image popping out more than usual.

Otus Zeiss 85 mm/1.4

The newly released Otus-85 mm lens weighs around 200 grams more than 55 mm version, but both look and feel the same in design and operation.

On the other hand, feels the area slightly narrower than the 55 mm, since we now gone over on tele focal length. 85 mm wont be a classic focal length for portraits and weddings, because the focal length gives a blurred background, and mixed with a lens aperture of f/1.4 so are also reinforced this feeling in images. As with Otus Zeiss 55 mm/1.4 gives this lens the really soft and fine the blur in the background, while the contrast of the picture is high and the sharpness is fantastic.

Unlike the 55 mm lens feels 85 mm lens is slightly more difficult to finjusera to get the optimum sharpness, but on the other hand, it is also the depth of field the right narrowly at just 85 mm/1.4. Närgränsen on the lens is 0.8 m.

I have worked with several lenses on the 85 mm, but there are few times that the design is so good to help manual focus along the way – that you usually would, for example, wedding photography at this focal length, and that the focus is so sharp and precise.

On the other hand, it is a bit of a shift and bulky to carry this big piece, even if it ultimately thus simplifies at the shooting moment compared with many other options.



What sets these lenses against the other is that the sharpness is consistently super sharp, something that usually never sees. It is often said that lens with fixed focal lengths are sharper than zoom lenses due to their construction, as well as to preview button (less light, higher f-stop, the smaller aperture opening) also provides increased clarity, to a certain extent, in a lens construction.

It is therefore good in these two lenses is that the sharpness is consistently super sharp no matter the choice of aperture. We take a look at the competitors in a still relatively expensive price range, we see that one can sense a certain softness at apertures 1.4, something that is usually improved by 1.8 and disappears completely at 2.8. But on the other hand, in large part, the aperture of 1.4 to pay for – the ability to bring in plenty of light – that makes you turn to in such a lens.

The two lenses that now exists in Otus series is clearly two great pieces of glass, which delivers images in top performance, but where the weight is a disadvantage to have to take, along with the high price tag. For the 55 or 85 millimeters in their work and need the brightness and the extreme sharpness at all apertures, these two lenses the best you can get for Nikon and Canon cameras with full frame sensor.

And are you sitting on a camera with a high resolution, it may be an extra swing to get that little extra – as you know you lack only seen it – for so good are the two lenses.