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Author Topic: Zeiss Otus Questions ... honest answers, please.  (Read 4550 times)

JKoerner007

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Zeiss Otus Questions ... honest answers, please.
« on: June 25, 2017, 11:54:45 PM »

I am considering investing in the Otus line due to its optical quality.

However, after reading dozens of articles, reviews, etc., two things stands out as negative:
  • Recessed aperture/DOF dial allows for dust/particles/moisture intrusion;
  • "Rubber" focus rings on $4-5K lenses is, well, un-Zeiss-like :-[
So my questions are, after shelling-out $4,000-$5,000 for these standard range gems, 1) have any of you Otus-owners encountered any foreign substance build-up in the exposed dial-in system, and 2) are you satisfied that the rubber focus ring was a good choice by Zeiss ... or (in your bones) do you feel it to be a cheap substitute compared to the metal ribbing that was a defacto standard of all the old Zeiss classics.

Thanks for any honest confessions.

BernardLanguillier

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Re: Zeiss Otus Questions ... honest answers, please.
« Reply #1 on: June 26, 2017, 12:53:59 AM »

1. No, but it could happen. I had condensation get into one of my Otii (the 55mm I believe) once in winter, the issue quickly disappeared after the lens was brought back in a dry environment. Nowadays I use my Nikon 70-200 f2.8 E FL in such conditions since it is as good as the Otus at comparable apertures (but not f1.4 of course) and fully weather sealed,
2. The rubber focus ring is perfectly functionnal, but gets damaged within hours of starting to use the lens. Not a problem if you use it, a potential problem if you are concerned about resell value.

Cheers,
Bernard
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JKoerner007

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Re: Zeiss Otus Questions ... honest answers, please.
« Reply #2 on: June 26, 2017, 09:04:38 AM »

1. No, but it could happen. I had condensation get into one of my Otii (the 55mm I believe) once in winter, the issue quickly disappeared after the lens was brought back in a dry environment. Nowadays I use my Nikon 70-200 f2.8 E FL in such conditions since it is as good as the Otus at comparable apertures (but not f1.4 of course) and fully weather sealed,
2. The rubber focus ring is perfectly functionnal, but gets damaged within hours of starting to use the lens. Not a problem if you use it, a potential problem if you are concerned about resell value.

Cheers,
Bernard

Thank you for that.

I much preferred the classic Zeiss design. The Milvus line looks almost 'unfinished.' The rubber focus rings in the Nikkor AIS lenses can last for decades ... but the Zeiss rubber focus rings don't look like they'd last a year. I've watched videos and such, where they 'explain' the use of the rubber for tactile reasons, as justification, but the rubber just doesn't match the concept IMO. Don't know why they didn't choose grooved metal as they implemented in their classics.

Conner999

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Re: Zeiss Otus Questions ... honest answers, please.
« Reply #3 on: June 26, 2017, 09:36:01 AM »

1. Echo Bernard. No, but possible. The Otus line are much like cinema lenses in that regard. - $$ put into handling smoothness & focus precision, etc., and not weather sealing.
2. The rubber ring shows handling after some use, but no biggie given what lenses deliver.

I agree on Milvus vs. Classic. Actually tried an 85 Milvus prior to the 85 Otus and the STIFF focus ring made it's great image delivery a moot point. It went back.  Barring an improvement in optical formula, tend to prefer the classic line. Fact also cheaper doesn't hurt either.
« Last Edit: June 26, 2017, 04:50:06 PM by Conner999 »
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JKoerner007

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Re: Zeiss Otus Questions ... honest answers, please.
« Reply #4 on: June 26, 2017, 04:45:53 PM »

1. Echo Bernard. No, but possible. The Otus line are much like cinema lenses in that regard. - $$ put into handling smoothness & focus precision, etc., and not weather sealing.
2. The rubber ring shows handling after some use, but no biggie given what lenses deliver.

I agree on Milvus vs. Classic. Actually tried an 85 Milvus prior to the 85 Otus and the STIFF focus ring made it's great image delivery a moot point. It weant back.  Barring an improvement in optical formula, tend to prefer the classic line. Fact also cheaper doesn't hurt either.


Thank you for your input as well.

We agree the Milvus presentation is an abomination of the original classic presentation. Honestly, I could never get motivated to buy a single Milvus lens; would rather purchase a Classic version (either new or on eBay), not just for holding its value (which is important BTW) but just for an ownership experience. The (plastic) lens hoods on every Milvus look like they're cut with garden plant-trimmers off of raw kevlar sheets and not even filed-down.

While I admit the Otus lenses are more refined-looking, their rubber focus ring is just an eyesore to me. Leicas don't have this; Schneiders don't have this; and (original) Zeiss lenses didn't have this. While the image quality is there, it is irrefutable that the rubber insert detracts from the overall value of the optic. To spend $4900 on (say) the 28mm Otus ... and to lose $1000 in value within a few months' time ... is not a good bargain.

And, even if the user keeps the lens for life, who wants a shoddy, moth-eaten, rubber focus ring in a few years ... on a $4000-$5000 item?  :o

People are trying to be "polite now," due to Zeiss' reputation, but I hope enough owner/potential-owner unrest prompts Zeiss to get rid of that rubber focus in the future.

ErikKaffehr

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Re: Zeiss Otus Questions ... honest answers, please.
« Reply #5 on: June 26, 2017, 11:50:14 PM »

Hi,

Some of the classic Zeiss designs are really great, the 21/2.8 and the 135/2.0 come to mind. With the Milvus line a couple of lenses are new designs, these are 1.4/35, 1.4/50 and 1.4/85.

Best regards
Erik



Thank you for your input as well.

We agree the Milvus presentation is an abomination of the original classic presentation. Honestly, I could never get motivated to buy a single Milvus lens; would rather purchase a Classic version (either new or on eBay), not just for holding its value (which is important BTW) but just for an ownership experience. The (plastic) lens hoods on every Milvus look like they're cut with garden plant-trimmers off of raw kevlar sheets and not even filed-down.

While I admit the Otus lenses are more refined-looking, their rubber focus ring is just an eyesore to me. Leicas don't have this; Schneiders don't have this; and (original) Zeiss lenses didn't have this. While the image quality is there, it is irrefutable that the rubber insert detracts from the overall value of the optic. To spend $4900 on (say) the 28mm Otus ... and to lose $1000 in value within a few months' time ... is not a good bargain.

And, even if the user keeps the lens for life, who wants a shoddy, moth-eaten, rubber focus ring in a few years ... on a $4000-$5000 item?  :o

People are trying to be "polite now," due to Zeiss' reputation, but I hope enough owner/potential-owner unrest prompts Zeiss to get rid of that rubber focus in the future.

JKoerner007

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Re: Zeiss Otus Questions ... honest answers, please.
« Reply #6 on: June 27, 2017, 04:06:26 PM »

Hi,

Some of the classic Zeiss designs are really great, the 21/2.8 and the 135/2.0 come to mind. With the Milvus line a couple of lenses are new designs, these are 1.4/35, 1.4/50 and 1.4/85.

Best regards
Erik


Agreed, Erik.

The Milvus 35 f/1.4 has yet to be reviewed, but the 85mm is optically-stellar. I just can't get past the Milvus design, however.

Meanwhile, the 50mm Milvus performs respectably, but isn't any better than the new E primes Nikon is coming out with (e.g., 105 f/1.4 E ED, 28mm f/1.5 E ED), and the Milvus lacks AF.

Doubtless, Nikon will be coming out with a a 50 f/1.4 (I am praying f/1.2!) E ED, a 35 f/1.4 E ED, as well as an 85 f/1.4 E ED, to refresh their stale G iterations of these focal lengths. If Nikon's new E ED iterations of these old lenses is on a par with recent releases, I expect them to be at least Milvus-like in quality, but with modern advantages. (I also believe Nikon's lenses are better weather-sealed.)

Meanwhile, I purchased the classic Ziess 15mm f.2.8 Distagon T* ZF.2, and the Zeiss Apo Sonnar 135mm f/2 ZF.2, as they are both on sale pending the complete Milvus transfer. (Saved me almost $1700 and they are the same optics as the Milvus, just with the Classic design, and they will likely be worth more than the Milvus later on.)

N.B.: I had purchased the 15mm Zeiss previously, but sold it. I thought it too wide for most landscapes. However, for my job, there are certain applications for which I missed having it, so I re-purchased it again and am glad I did! The 15mm Distagon's resistance to flare is incredible for a lens that wide. Both the Distagon T* 15 and Sonnar T* 135mm are outstanding, with the 135mm f/2 being virtually Otus-like (according to Hubert Nasse, Zeiss Master for over 30 years).

Cheers.

ErikKaffehr

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Re: Zeiss Otus Questions ... honest answers, please.
« Reply #7 on: June 27, 2017, 11:51:41 PM »

Hi John,

The Otus lenses are all 1/1.4 designs, that is probably the reason the 135/2 APO has no Otus designation. I am aware that 135/2 APO is a match for the Otuses according to the late Dr. Hubert Nasse. My impression is that he was a great guy, sharing much of his knowledge and he will be missed.

The Milvus 50/1.4 has been redesigned with a Distagon like front group, quiet similar to the Otus, but doesn't correct axial chroma fully. Lack of "colour bokeh" is to a great part what you pay for with the Otus.

AFAIK, the Zeiss "classic" lenses are based on designs developed for Contax/Yashica, quiet old designs that is. That doesn't mean they are not good, but technology has made advances since that time.

Best regards
Erik


Agreed, Erik.

The Milvus 35 f/1.4 has yet to be reviewed, but the 85mm is optically-stellar. I just can't get past the Milvus design, however.

Meanwhile, the 50mm Milvus performs respectably, but isn't any better than the new E primes Nikon is coming out with (e.g., 105 f/1.4 E ED, 28mm f/1.5 E ED), and the Milvus lacks AF.

Doubtless, Nikon will be coming out with a a 50 f/1.4 (I am praying f/1.2!) E ED, a 35 f/1.4 E ED, as well as an 85 f/1.4 E ED, to refresh their stale G iterations of these focal lengths. If Nikon's new E ED iterations of these old lenses is on a par with recent releases, I expect them to be at least Milvus-like in quality, but with modern advantages. (I also believe Nikon's lenses are better weather-sealed.)

Meanwhile, I purchased the classic Ziess 15mm f.2.8 Distagon T* ZF.2, and the Zeiss Apo Sonnar 135mm f/2 ZF.2, as they are both on sale pending the complete Milvus transfer. (Saved me almost $1700 and they are the same optics as the Milvus, just with the Classic design, and they will likely be worth more than the Milvus later on.)

N.B.: I had purchased the 15mm Zeiss previously, but sold it. I thought it too wide for most landscapes. However, for my job, there are certain applications for which I missed having it, so I re-purchased it again and am glad I did! The 15mm Distagon's resistance to flare is incredible for a lens that wide. Both the Distagon T* 15 and Sonnar T* 135mm are outstanding, with the 135mm f/2 being virtually Otus-like (according to Hubert Nasse, Zeiss Master for over 30 years).

Cheers.

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Re: Zeiss Otus Questions ... honest answers, please.
« Reply #8 on: June 28, 2017, 08:48:09 AM »

Hi John,
The Otus lenses are all 1/1.4 designs, that is probably the reason the 135/2 APO has no Otus designation. I am aware that 135/2 APO is a match for the Otuses according to the late Dr. Hubert Nasse. My impression is that he was a great guy, sharing much of his knowledge and he will be missed.

I think the 135/2 was around before the Otus concept materialized. The classic version has been converted into the Milvus line, with nothing but a case makeover (to its detriment IMO). If you look at the LenScore rankings, the 135/2 is just a tad less spectacular than the Otus glass, but (at 1207) it's certainly head-and-shoulders over everything else at that focal length. Right now, the classic 135 f/2 is a steal at $1499. The rendering is quite lovely.



The Milvus 50/1.4 has been redesigned with a Distagon like front group, quiet similar to the Otus, but doesn't correct axial chroma fully. Lack of "colour bokeh" is to a great part what you pay for with the Otus.
AFAIK, the Zeiss "classic" lenses are based on designs developed for Contax/Yashica, quiet old designs that is. That doesn't mean they are not good, but technology has made advances since that time.
Best regards
Erik

Agreed. Again, if you look at LenScore, the only pre-Otus Zeiss lenses clearly better than the competition (in their class) were the 15 f/2.8 Distagon T*, the 100mm f/2.8 macro, and the 135 f/2 telephoto. The rest of the Zeiss classics (despite their beautiful appearance) are actually pretty average when measured. Even the "legendary" Zeiss 21mm f/2.8 had a so-so ranking of 886, and its Milvus upgrade is still only 927, which is very good, it's still below the Classic 15mm Distagon T* at 974. (1000 is considered outstanding.)

The Milvus replacements are about 80% "pretty average" also, still floating in the 700-900 range, with the 85mm being an outstanding exception, at 1231, on a par with the 135 f/2. The Milvus 50mm, at 1054, is on a par with the newly released Nikkor 105 E f/1.5, at 1044, but lacks AF. Don't get me wrong, I love MF lenses, prefer them actually, but only if they provide a decided advantage.

According to LenScore, the Otus Series are the only Zeiss lenses that compete in the "super-telephoto" 1300+ quality range ... while the majority are floating around with the Nikkors and Canons in the 700-900 range. That makes them not worth the money IMO.

Interestingly, 2 of the very bottom-ranked lenses are Zeiss (the 18 f/3.5 Distagon and the 50 Sonnar T*), while the worst two lenses of all (thus measured) ... are both Sony. In fact, of The Bottom 20 lenses measured, 9 are Canons, 7 are Sony, 3 are Zeiss, and only 1 is a Nikon.

That ranking gets reversed on The Top 20 lenses measured: 8 are Nikon, 6 are Canon, 3 are Zeiss (Otus only), 2 are Leica, and 1 is a Sigma.

In my quest to upgrade my lens portfolio, I have acquired 2 of the Zeiss lenses, the 15mm f/2.8 Distagon T* and the 135mm f/2 Apo Sonnar T*, but would not purchase any other Zeiss over its Nikon counterpart ... except the Otus. The prices are eye-watering, but the image quality is (literally) in a class by itself at those focal lengths.  Don't know why they have those rubber rings though :o

At that price point, the Otus rings should be made of ribbed metal, like the classic Zeisses used to be, as well as the Leicas 2 of which occupy the same Über-Class.

With the Nikkor 28 f/1.4E coming out, and showing a level above everything else, but just a notch below the Otus 28 f/1.4 in even focus distribution, but being sharper in the center, with equal-quality bokeh, I think that will be the direction I go. Am waiting to see Nikon's E f/1.4 versions of the 50mm and 85mm too ... both long overdue ... being 9 and 7 years old, respectively.

kers

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Re: Zeiss Otus Questions ... honest answers, please.
« Reply #9 on: June 28, 2017, 09:00:31 AM »

.... The Milvus 50mm, at 1054, is on a par with the newly released Nikkor 105 E f/1.5, at 1044, but lacks AF. Don't get me wrong, I love MF lenses, prefer them actually, but only if they provide a decided advantage.


Both are good examples that the numbers don't tell the whole story.

We know the 105 nikon 1.4 is a stellar lens... and

Lenscore writes about the Zeiss milvius 50mm...
"
Even though this is neither the best nor the cheapest normal prime, everybody at the lab instantly liked this lens. It's a high quality, well-rounded prime at a fair price with that certain something people in labs with test benches, who just have to put a number on everything, just don't get. A photographer's lens indeed. Highly recommended.
"


what i found interesting is that the Milvius 85mm 1.4 does not have good extreme FF corners up until f5.6 -; they are really below average.
I see that with more offerings from Zeiss.

The problem with Lenscore is they do not explain how they achieve the numbers they publish.
Also they test only one copy...
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JKoerner007

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Re: Zeiss Otus Questions ... honest answers, please.
« Reply #10 on: June 28, 2017, 09:36:13 AM »

Both are good examples that the numbers don't tell the whole story.

We know the 105 nikon 1.4 is a stellar lens... and

Lenscore writes about the Zeiss milvius 50mm...
"
Even though this is neither the best nor the cheapest normal prime, everybody at the lab instantly liked this lens. It's a high quality, well-rounded prime at a fair price with that certain something people in labs with test benches, who just have to put a number on everything, just don't get. A photographer's lens indeed. Highly recommended.
"

Good point. Actually, numbers do tell the whole story, as they provide the numbers in many important categories.

As anything over 1000 is "outstanding" ... the 105mm E and 50mm Milvus ratings of 1034/1044 only serve to confirm "the feeling" that these are both exceptional lenses, in the upper 15% :)

However, the numbers also go to show that the Zeiss Apo Sonnar 135 is better than both ... at 1207 ... which Lens Rental's Roger Cicala provided MTF measurements of the 105 to 135 which confirmed this as well.



The problem with Lenscore is they do not explain how they achieve the numbers they publish.
Also they test only one copy...

In fact they do explain:

  • "Existing lens rating systems are flawed by two severe problems. The first and somewhat less significant problem is that not all lenses are tested on the same camera, making it virtually impossible to compare the results. All lenses should be tested on the same camera. The second problem is that many lenses outperform even the best full frame sensors currently available. It is impossible to determine the performance of a lens if the lens outresolves the sensor used for testing. The sensor used for testing lenses should have more resolving power than the best lens. Based on these findings, we've created a lens testing system based on a custom-built camera using a 200MP super high resolution CCD sensor, an apochromatic high-precision lens group custom-made by one of the world's best industrial optics manufacturers and 5 exchangeable lens mount adapters. The sensor of our measuring camera is very slow and not designed for low light applications, but these restrictions are of no significance when measuring the optical performance of a lens. We test every lens on one and the same camera with a sensor that easily outperforms every full frame camera in existence.

The truth is, Photozone results are meaningless, as they use different cameras to test different lenses, many of which cameras were 16mp dogs of 10 years ago. When one lens is tested over a Canon 40D and another over a Nikon D810, how can the results be meaningful to anyone? Same with DXO: they test different lenses over different cameras/sensores.

IMO, LenScore testing all lenses over the same Über-Sensor makes their results much more meaningful.

kers

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Re: Zeiss Otus Questions ... honest answers, please.
« Reply #11 on: June 28, 2017, 12:09:02 PM »

Good point. Actually, numbers do tell the whole story, as they provide the numbers in many important categories.
Good point? if you do not agree?
how do you put a number on Bokeh?

or even sharpness?
sharpness where? at what aperture???

Yes i know what is written on the site but that does not explain so much.

As anything over 1000 is "outstanding" ...
The reference is the 1000 points 1.4G Nikkor 85mm

At 1,4 there are lots of colorproblems with the lens making the image blurry
also it is not very sharp at f1.4
At f5.6 it is very good.

So is Lenscore reading the f5.6 numbers or the f1.4 numbers?
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JKoerner007

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Re: Zeiss Otus Questions ... honest answers, please.
« Reply #12 on: June 28, 2017, 12:21:52 PM »

Good point? if you do not agree?
how do you put a number on Bokeh?

Ever heard of "agree and disagree?"

A person can make a good point, but yet which still leaves other questions unanswered.

For example, the issue of "soft corners." On paper, "soft corners" make a lens sound bad ... and perhaps that is true for architecture ... but that same characteristic might be good for portraiture. Hence, my agreeing that "numbers don't tell the whole story."

As for numbers on bokeh, I personally don't put numbers on that; you might inquire with LenScore as to how they do. (I believe it has something to do with the measure geometric "roundness" of OOF blur points, but you have to ask them directly.)



or even sharpness?
sharpness where? at what aperture???

Yes i know what is written on the site but that does not explain so much.
The reference is the 1000 points 1.4G Nikkor 85mm

At 1,4 there are lots of colorproblems with the lens making the image blurry
also it is not very sharp at f1.4
At f5.6 it is very good.

So is Lenscore reading the f5.6 numbers or the f1.4 numbers?

Again, ask LenScore. Based on reading the site, they measure all of these things, the scoring for which is an average quotient. For exact sharpness measurements at various apertures, this type of information is available everywhere.

kers

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Re: Zeiss Otus Questions ... honest answers, please.
« Reply #13 on: June 28, 2017, 01:04:58 PM »

Again, ask LenScore. Based on reading the site, they measure all of these things, the scoring for which is an average quotient. For exact sharpness measurements at various apertures, this type of information is available everywhere.

OK
i did ask them but they don't  answer.

I asked them also why the sony 85mm 1.4  is found so much better than the Nikkor 1.4G 85mm while in total points it is only marginally better.
they  answered; "you cannot put everything into numbers..."  ;)
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hogloff

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Re: Zeiss Otus Questions ... honest answers, please.
« Reply #14 on: June 28, 2017, 01:40:03 PM »

OK
i did ask them but they don't  answer.

I asked them also why the sony 85mm 1.4  is found so much better than the Nikkor 1.4G 85mm while in total points it is only marginally better.
they  answered; "you cannot put everything into numbers..."  ;)

Bang on...numbers are there to decieve you. So many variables that trying to sum things up into a number is just rediculous. Don't understand how anyone can base their view of a lens by looking at some made up numbers.
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kers

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Re: Zeiss Otus Questions ... honest answers, please.
« Reply #15 on: June 28, 2017, 02:17:32 PM »

Bang on...numbers are there to decieve you. So many variables that trying to sum things up into a number is just rediculous. Don't understand how anyone can base their view of a lens by looking at some made up numbers.

True, but how do make your judgement?...before you buy.

Sometimes i can try a lens for a while before i buy;
More often it is during the time i work with a lens ( already bought) i discover if it works for me or not.
In that way i discovered i like the look of the nikon 70-200 VrII when doing portraits and that i like the rendering of the nikkor 300pf lens.
I could try the 58mm nikkor 1,4  lens and really liked the strong colours it can give. I hardly ever read about that in reviews. Exceptional good coatings on that lens.
In other aspects not very sharp wide open and the corners even worse, but for some images beautiful.
etc

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Re: Zeiss Otus Questions ... honest answers, please.
« Reply #16 on: June 28, 2017, 03:20:02 PM »

True, but how do make your judgement?...before you buy.

Sometimes i can try a lens for a while before i buy;
More often it is during the time i work with a lens ( already bought) i discover if it works for me or not.
In that way i discovered i like the look of the nikon 70-200 VrII when doing portraits and that i like the rendering of the nikkor 300pf lens.
I could try the 58mm nikkor 1,4  lens and really liked the strong colours it can give. I hardly ever read about that in reviews. Exceptional good coatings on that lens.
In other aspects not very sharp wide open and the corners even worse, but for some images beautiful.
etc

Rent and shoot how you normally would shoot with the lens.
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JKoerner007

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Re: Zeiss Otus Questions ... honest answers, please.
« Reply #17 on: June 28, 2017, 03:37:39 PM »

True, but how do make your judgement?...before you buy.

Exactly.



Sometimes i can try a lens for a while before i buy;
More often it is during the time i work with a lens ( already bought) i discover if it works for me or not.
In that way i discovered i like the look of the nikon 70-200 VrII when doing portraits and that i like the rendering of the nikkor 300pf lens.
I could try the 58mm nikkor 1,4  lens and really liked the strong colours it can give. I hardly ever read about that in reviews. Exceptional good coatings on that lens.
In other aspects not very sharp wide open and the corners even worse, but for some images beautiful.
etc

Again, exactly.

Hence my statement, "numbers do tell the whole story, as they provide the results in many important categories."

Perhaps I should have added, "Provided you know how to interpret the numbers biased against your personal interests."

Using the prior example example, numerical results telling a lens isn't sharp in the corners tells you what you need to know. If you're an architecture guy, you might not buy based on "the numbers." If you're a portrait shooter, you might not care--or you might be positively-influenced to buy even more.

What I am saying is, the numbers tell the story, but how you interpret the numbers (based on what's important to you) tells the whole story.

No "one" lens analyzing site can possibly satisfy everyone. They all have their limitations, and yet they all have their use.
Poor chromatic aberration performance might be a deal-breaker for some, but others might not care, as it can be handled in post. Etc.

Ultimately, shooting with the lens is the best way to do it, but reading the reviews will definitely point you in the right direction before you hit the "buy" button.

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Re: Zeiss Otus Questions ... honest answers, please.
« Reply #18 on: June 28, 2017, 07:40:05 PM »

The Otii are very heavy and bulky lenses, and naturally are MF, requiring you to be comfortable either with the fine-screen option of your optical viewfinder or with live view or with zebra focus assist (insert sigh about demise of split-prism focus screens here - the true sign of an old-timer). Does this fit your preferred working style? Those who like MF undoubtedly would love any Zeiss option. I have one, the old 21mm f/2.8, really a pleasure to use.
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Re: Zeiss Otus Questions ... honest answers, please.
« Reply #19 on: June 29, 2017, 08:58:29 AM »

I have all of the Otus series and I consider the Zeiss 135mm APO f/2 Sonnar as an Otus, but one without the f/1.4. The 135mm is as sharp (or sharper) than the other Oti.

I have perhaps an extreme view, so it’s hardly worth my posting here, but I shall for completeness sake. I find the Oti the best lenses I own, along with some few exotic scanner, LF, or enlarger lenses. And I have a lot of lenses.

I tried to break out to other brand lenses, but have not been able to have much success, other than a couple of Leica Elmarit-R lenses converted to Nikon-F format. In the last year or so, I have purchased and returned (or cancelled) the following lenses.

Nikon AF-S Fisheye Nikkor 8-15mm f/3.5-4.5E ED

Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 105mm f/1.4E ED Lens

Zeiss Milvus 18mm f/2.8 ZF.2 Lens for Nikon F

Nikon PC NIKKOR 19mm f/4E ED Tilt-Shift Lens

The above all are “nice,” but just not in the same ballpark as the Otus series. I know many would disagree with this, but I’m only representing my view here.

I also purchased and eventually returned the Pentax K3 and K1, the Hasselblad X1D system, and the Fuji GFX system, all of which (when all is said and done) turned out to not be as useful to me as my aging D810 and the lenses that work with that camera. I was very disappointed not to be able to break away from the D810, which is long overdue for an upgrade. I did purchase the Sony A7RII and have kept that.

I try these things out and only return them if they fail to measure up to what I need. Of course the Oti lenses are heavy and bulky, but I do not measure lenses (for my work) by anything other than what they do for me photographically, not how much of a PITA they are to use. I will cart them around happily, if they perform.

One lens that I have high hopes for is the forthcoming Zeiss Milvus 35mm f/1.4 ZF.2 lens. I can see that the f/1.4 will not be up to the Otus, but according to correspondence with Lloyd Chambers ..” by f/2.8, it’s an Otus.” That is good enough for me, because often I use a lens wide open to capture the background bokeh for use in stacking, anyway. It does not have to be razor sharp, although I wish it were.

So, allow me to represent perhaps the extreme arc of the pendulum, the one that celebrates the Zeiss Otus-style lenses and won’t settle for less. I am waiting to see if there is a Nikon D820 and whether it will keep or improve the hardwired ISO 64 and also have a decent LiveView. I never use the OVF.

My two cents, since I have skin in this game.
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Michael Erlewine
Founder: MacroStop.com, MichaelErlewine.com (articles), https://www.youtube.com/user/merlewine (video tutorials), AMG - All-Movie Guide, All-Music Guide, All-Game Guide, Matrix Software, Classic Posters, ClassicPosters.com, SpiritGrooves.net, and other sites.
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