Luminous Landscape Forum

Equipment & Techniques => Cameras, Lenses and Shooting gear => Topic started by: BernardLanguillier on December 26, 2013, 07:27:34 pm

Title: Otus 55mm f1.4 rolling review
Post by: BernardLanguillier on December 26, 2013, 07:27:34 pm
I thought I would report quickly about first hand experiences with the new Zeiss wonder boy.

Images will be added to this Flickr set: http://www.flickr.com/photos/bernardlanguillier/sets/72157639077058796/

Part I:
- 2 days shooting pano in coldish weather, light rain/snow,
- D800 on top of RRS pano head, on top if RRS tv33 carbon tripod,
- most images shot with Kenko Zeta EX PL filter
- liked
  - very easy to focus with viewfinder. I checked all images in live view after pre-focussing in VF and around 30% didn't require any tuning at all, the other ones were pretty close. That's better than any other lens I have used,
  - the bright and aberations free lens makes for a very pleasant viewfinder experience,
  - very progressive focus ring helps reach optimum focus in live view,
  - wide shade mades it easy to rotate PL filter without having to remove the shade, it also provides decent lens protection with light rain (although the zeiss 50mm macro is still better for this),
  - Image quality seems to be sweet!

- didn't like
  - the focus ring has a smooth finish that makes it difficult to locate when shooting with gloves,
  - seems more flare prone than I would have liked, although I'll have to review images before forming an opinion,
  - 3rd day of usage, not sure when it happened, but there is already a small dent in the paint of the lens, it has just lost 1,000 US$ resell value in Japan... not that I intend to sell it any time soon,
  - shade isn't super easy to fit but there is little need to remove it,
  - the cap feels cheap, not that I really care,
  - the nodal point is located pretty far towards the front of the lens, but it will probably not be an issue in terms of system vibration/balance although critical image review will be required.

Bye for now.

Cheers,
Bernard
Title: Re: Otus 55mm f1.4 rolling review
Post by: kers on December 26, 2013, 07:33:44 pm
Hello Bernard,
Since it is a really good 1.4 lens- I would like it if you could share some 'infinity' landscapes at that aperture? (with 100 % slices from it)
regards,
Pieter Kers
Title: Re: Otus 55mm f1.4 rolling review
Post by: BernardLanguillier on December 26, 2013, 07:39:19 pm
Hello Bernard,
Since it is a really good 1.4 lens- I would like it if you could share some 'infinity' landscapes at that aperture? (with 100 % slices from it)
regards,
Pieter Kers

Pieter,

I have just shot a 4 frames pano near infinity at f1.4. Seems very sharp on screen. Light fall off may be an issue, we'll see how well DxO corrects it.

If things work out, this may open exciting possibilities for distant landscape pano at dusk/dawn thanks to much shorter exposure times.

Cheers,
Bernard
Title: Re: Otus 55mm f1.4 rolling review
Post by: AreBee on December 27, 2013, 07:30:28 am
Bernard,

Thanks for reporting your findings, and any others going forward.

Please can you confirm if the hood can be reversed to reduce the storage size of the lens?

Cheers,
Title: Re: Otus 55mm f1.4 rolling review
Post by: BernardLanguillier on December 27, 2013, 08:28:20 am
Please can you confirm if the hood can be reversed to reduce the storage size of the lens?

Yes, it can.

Cheers,
Bernard
Title: Re: Otus 55mm f1.4 rolling review
Post by: JohnBrew on December 28, 2013, 10:18:29 am
Bernard, today I finally got around to printing a landscape I shot with the Otus. A fellow photographer was over and commented that my monitor was probably not the best for examining these images (1080p 23") and perhaps I should print something large. So this morning I printed a 10" x 20"(I had cropped the horizon), not really large but large enough to see if there was an improvement. Oh, wow. Now I see more detail than in any other image I made. This lens really does make a difference for landscape. The image was shot @ f8 based on some previous studies made on the D800 concerning diffraction. I think Michael Erlewine and some others have made a case for shooting this lens @ f11 or even f16 and not having as many diffraction issues as normal lenses. I would have to concur.
Anyway, this lens does seem to be a ground-breaker for 35mm after all.
John
Title: Re: Otus 55mm f1.4 rolling review
Post by: eronald on December 28, 2013, 05:46:22 pm
paper crane streamers unfortunately remind me of ground zero (hiroshima).
Color is very Nikon.

Edmund
Title: Re: Otus 55mm f1.4 rolling review
Post by: BernardLanguillier on December 28, 2013, 07:41:15 pm
I am afraid I have to report a potentially serious problem with the Otus for cold weather landscape shooting.

I was out shooting 2 hours this morning in cold weather (-5C, snow falling).

I came back to the lodge, leaving my camera in the bag as I always do. When I took it out there was some condesnsation on the camera/lens but also... inside the lens. This raises concerns about the kind of weather proofing of the lens. Had I noticed this I would have gone back out in freezing weather which would have caused the condensation to freeze on the lens elements which must not be good.

20 mins with an air dryer removed all visible traces of condensation inside the lens.

I don't remember seeing such issues with any other nikon/zeiss/leica lens I used in similar conditions.

I know that there are ways to reduce these issues by keeping the camera and lens inside an air tight zip bag, but I don't like having to do this kind of babysitting.

Cheers,
Bernard
Title: Re: Otus 55mm f1.4 rolling review
Post by: BernardLanguillier on December 29, 2013, 03:40:42 am
I had the chance to put the excellent Nikon 70-200 f4 in similar conditions and noticed 3 things:
- no internal fogging,
- very little condensation on the external plastic surfaces,
- the warm up time seems much shorter.

We have an example here where a lighter plastic based design is vastly superior to the metal robust design of the Zeiss, although this doesn't explain the internal fogging.

I guess that I'll need to keep the Zeiss in cold state as much as possible, hoping that events such a snow landing on front lens don't happen too often.

Noneteless, my current tentative conclusion is that the Otus can, regretably, not be trusted as a cold weather lens.

Cheers,
Bernard
Title: Re: Otus 55mm f1.4 rolling review
Post by: Rob C on December 29, 2013, 04:34:46 am
I had the chance to put the excellent Nikon 70-200 f4 in similar conditions and noticed 3 things:
- no internal fogging,
- very little condensation on the external plastic surfaces,
- the warm up time seems much shorter.

We have an example here where a lighter plastic based design is vastly superior to the metal robust design of the Zeiss, although this doesn't explain the internal fogging.

I guess that I'll need to keep the Zeiss in cold state as much as possible, hoping that events such a snow landing on front lens don't happen too often.

Noneteless, my current tentative conclusion is that the Otus can, regretably, not be trusted as a cold weather lens.

Cheers,
Bernard


http://youtu.be/rX-b1Ksetcc


Happy New Year, Bernard!

Rob C
Title: Re: Otus 55mm f1.4 rolling review
Post by: David Anderson on December 29, 2013, 04:47:33 am
That's all very interesting and thanks for posting Bernard.  8)

IMHO, It's an interesting concept, but a strange focal length.
A 55 would have some use on my D800, but not much compared to a decent wide or medium tele.
I wonder is there anything wider coming ?


Title: Re: Otus 55mm f1.4 rolling review
Post by: BernardLanguillier on December 29, 2013, 04:54:20 am
That's all very interesting and thanks for posting Bernard.  8)

IMHO, It's an interesting concept, but a strange focal length.
A 55 would have some use on my D800, but not much compared to a decent wide or medium tele.
I wonder is there anything wider coming ?

David,

Thanks. It seems that a wide is coming.

I tend to stitch a lot and 50~mm is my most used focal length, so the Otus may end up being my most used lens.

Cheers,
Bernard
Title: Re: Otus 55mm f1.4 rolling review
Post by: Manoli on December 29, 2013, 05:59:00 am
Noneteless, my current tentative conclusion is that the Otus can, regretably, not be trusted as a cold weather lens.

Bernard,
Have you emailed Zeiss about this, and if so what is their response ?
FWIW, I rarely shoot nature or landscapes but I've never had this issue with any Leitz lens, nor with the Zeiss 100/2.

All best for 2014
M
Title: Re: Otus 55mm f1.4 rolling review
Post by: BernardLanguillier on December 29, 2013, 07:48:02 am
Bernard,
Have you emailed Zeiss about this, and if so what is their response ?
FWIW, I rarely shoot nature or landscapes but I've never had this issue with any Leitz lens, nor with the Zeiss 100/2.

Nope, it happened this morning...

I have also never experienced this with the Zeiss 100mm f2 or 50mm f2.

Cheers,
Bernard
Title: Re: Otus 55mm f1.4 rolling review
Post by: JohnBrew on December 29, 2013, 09:22:32 am
Bernard, some others questioned the open area where the DOF numbers are printed. When I had my rental I looked very closely at this area and I can understand the concern. Other than a tight tolerance I'm not sure how Zeiss sealed this area, if at all. Might require a re-think in the engineering dept. Not saying this is causing your problem, but certainly an area to investigate.
Title: Re: Otus 55mm f1.4 rolling review
Post by: Hulyss on December 29, 2013, 11:01:28 am
Nope, it happened this morning...

I have also never experienced this with the Zeiss 100mm f2 or 50mm f2.

Cheers,
Bernard

Me either, even thought I was sometimes afraid. Faced -19°C with zeiss 50f1.4 and 85f1.4, big thermal shock when going back home >> nothing... and that many times.

The Otus seem like less well build as the traditional Zeiss lenses. The optical quality is here but they lost on mechanical quality. A big - in my mind.

It can be also a factory problem when assembling the lens and a very rare event. The residual humidity in such big lens is more important than in little lenses so it might be that: They should build it in controlled room with +/- 5% humidity.

Anyway, if this event pop up more over the web, Zeiss will lost big time on Otus 55 sales and even more on the forthcoming 85 or whatever. At this price, consumers are very attentive before pulling out the money for a 35mm lens.

Whatever you say, Bernard, I feel your disappointment.
Title: Re: Otus 55mm f1.4 rolling review
Post by: eleanorbrown on December 29, 2013, 11:48:43 am
O no!  I just got my Otus and planned on using it this winter in snowy weather at high altitudes in Colorado!  This issue with the lens is bad news!  Wonder what the folks at Zeiss have to say about this!  I'm using this phenomenal lens on both my D800e and Sony A7r with Novaflex adaptor.  Incredible micro detail and contrast...magical bokeh and wonderful color! Eleanor

I am afraid I have to report a potentially serious problem with the Otus for cold weather landscape shooting.

I was out shooting 2 hours this morning in cold weather (-5C, snow falling).

I came back to the lodge, leaving my camera in the bag as I always do. When I took it out there was some condesnsation on the camera/lens but also... inside the lens. This raises concerns about the kind of weather proofing of the lens. Had I noticed this I would have gone back out in freezing weather which would have caused the condensation to freeze on the lens elements which must not be good.

20 mins with an air dryer removed all visible traces of condensation inside the lens.

I don't remember seeing such issues with any other nikon/zeiss/leica lens I used in similar conditions.

I know that there are ways to reduce these issues by keeping the camera and lens inside an air tight zip bag, but I don't like having to do this kind of babysitting.

Cheers,
Bernard

Title: Re: Otus 55mm f1.4 rolling review
Post by: ErikKaffehr on December 29, 2013, 11:57:34 am
Hi Eleanor,

Hopefully Bernard has just a piece of bad luck with his sample!

I would be interested in a few issues:

1) Do you see a significant advantage with the Otus over good primes at medium apertues, say f/8?

2) Would you say the D800E and the Alpha 7r differ? The two sensors are probably very similar, so it would be interesting if there is a difference.

Best regards
Erik

O no!  I just got my Otus and planned on using it this winter in snowy weather at high altitudes in Colorado!  This issue with the lens is bad news!  Wonder what the folks at Zeiss have to say about this!  I'm using this phenomenal lens on both my D800e and Sony A7r with Novaflex adaptor.  Incredible micro detail and contrast...magical bokeh and wonderful color! Eleanor

Title: Re: Otus 55mm f1.4 rolling review
Post by: eleanorbrown on December 29, 2013, 12:14:11 pm
Hi Erik, I really haven't had time to do enough good comparisons to really say for sure yet but believe me I will get to this...very interested  in things like this! My initial reaction to the Otus was that I've never seen microcontrast and detail like it but will need to do more testing. Eleanor

quote author=ErikKaffehr link=topic=85500.msg693378#msg693378 date=1388336254]
Hi Eleanor,

Hopefully Bernard has just a piece of bad luck with his sample!

I would be interested in a few issues:

1) Do you see a significant advantage with the Otus over good primes at medium apertues, say f/8?

2) Would you say the D800E and the Alpha 7r differ? The two sensors are probably very similar, so it would be interesting if there is a difference.

Best regards
Erik

[/quote]
Title: Re: Otus 55mm f1.4 rolling review
Post by: BernardLanguillier on December 29, 2013, 03:30:03 pm
I am not sure yet how I'll manage this situation.

The short term bypass is not to expose the lens to abrupt transitions from cold to warm.

Cheers,
Bernard
Title: Re: Otus 55mm f1.4 rolling review
Post by: AreBee on December 29, 2013, 04:08:35 pm
Bernard,

Quote
The short term bypass is not to expose the lens to abrupt transitions from cold to warm.

With all due respect, the above is basic good practice in terms of looking after equipment.
Title: Re: Otus 55mm f1.4 rolling review
Post by: BernardLanguillier on December 29, 2013, 04:22:21 pm
With all due respect, the above is basic good practice in terms of looking after equipment.

Indeed, I meant, not expose the lens to any transition from cold to warm at all, which will mean leave the lens in a car outside or even outside. It is what I had to do last night since I do not have with me any air tight zip bag large enough for the Otus, I'll have to try that next time.

For what it is worth, the transition yesterday was far from being abrupt and one that other lenses and the D800/my previous Nikon bodies/lenses have never had any problem with.

I have been aware of the potential dangers of condensation for years and take reasonnable measures to prevent it, but do more than what I do does IMHO fall in the realm of lens baby sitting. Those using cameras with lesser ruggedness that Nikon bodies may have developped that discipline already, I am not sure I want to add this additional burden.

Yes, I love a lot of things about the Otus, but the Zeiss 50mm f2 is also very good although it is not as amazingly well corrected. It may be a better trade off for cold shooting.

It doesn't mean I am returning the Otus, don't get me wrong. Each piece of equipment has strengths and weaknesses, the game is to get to know them so as to avoid issues and maximize value.

I'll first have to figure out whether my sample has a specific issue or not. Assuming that what I saw is representative of the lens potential, this would only show that the Otus is of course not the ideal lens some liked to think it would be. ;)

Cheers,
Bernard
Title: Re: Otus 55mm f1.4 rolling review
Post by: petermfiore on December 29, 2013, 05:43:03 pm

http://youtu.be/rX-b1Ksetcc


Happy New Year, Bernard!

Rob C

OTUS REGRETS!!!  Very Nice.....

Peter
Title: Re: Otus 55mm f1.4 rolling review
Post by: CptZar on December 30, 2013, 02:47:08 am
Same problem occurs when taking equipment out of heavily airconditioned rooms into hot humid environments, e.g. Singapore. Any thoughts how condensing can be  prevented there? Is it bad for the lens?

Cheers

Jan
Title: Re: Otus 55mm f1.4 rolling review
Post by: Rob C on December 30, 2013, 03:41:06 am
Same problem occurs when taking equipment out of heavily airconditioned rooms into hot humid environments, e.g. Singapore. Any thoughts how condensing can be  prevented there? Is it bad for the lens?

Cheers

Jan


Took a bunch of Nikon stuff there on a shoot; the model fainted and fell off a rock (I caught her in time) but the cameras and lenses soldiered on without complaint. Pre-digital, of course...

One trick, learned elsewhere and continued here in Spain, was never to use the air conditioning in the car. It affects you badly because the shock of getting out of the car and into reality would be long passed if you never exposed your system to the fake atmosphere at all. Hell, you dress for the heat and then end up shivering in some hotel bar! Madness.

;-)

Rob C
Title: Re: Otus 55mm f1.4 rolling review
Post by: Rob C on December 30, 2013, 03:43:01 am
OTUS REGRETS!!!  Very Nice.....

Peter


Bless you Peter, you return to me my fading faith in humanity.

;-)

Rob C
Title: Re: Otus 55mm f1.4 rolling review
Post by: AreBee on December 30, 2013, 07:01:14 am
Bernard,

Quote
Assuming that what I saw is representative of the lens potential, this would only show that the Otus is of course not the ideal lens some liked to think it would be. ;)

Does the smiley above imply that you consider me to be one such person?
Title: Re: Otus 55mm f1.4 rolling review
Post by: BernardLanguillier on December 30, 2013, 07:37:51 am
Bernard,

Does the smiley above imply that you consider me to be one such person?

No, it does not. I have absolutely no idea how you feel about the Otus.

Cheers,
Bernard
Title: Re: Otus 55mm f1.4 rolling review
Post by: CptZar on December 31, 2013, 03:58:19 am
I was thinking about the Otus as well, however then decided against it due to size and weight. I am not convinced, that it is a lens to be used outside without a tripod.

As for stitched panoramas, couldn't one get the same quality results with the Sony A7r and the FE 55/1.8ZA?

Lloyd Chambers calls it :
Start Quote

Overall performance rivals the very best lenses in sharpness, overall contrast, and micro contrast.

The Sony 55/1.8 Sonnar delivers an outstanding performance on par with the best Leica M APO telephoto lenses (75/2 and 90/2 shot separately on the A7R and not shown here). It represents a steal at about $1000. A clean slate and designing for the sensor clearly can work wonders.

End Quote

Assuming, one will use f8 to f11 for landscape the advantage of the Otus shot wide open, will decrease.

The whole package would cost around 3000,. weight about 800g, whereas the D800/Otus Combo will weight 2kg and only the Otus alone will cost 3200.

Having said that, I have to admit that I run around with TS lenses which put some weight on my back too. But I do not stitch.

Cheers

Jan
Title: Re: Otus 55mm f1.4 rolling review
Post by: BernardLanguillier on December 31, 2013, 06:58:35 am
I was thinking about the Otus as well, however then decided against it due to size and weight. I am not convinced, that it is a lens to be used outside without a tripod.

As for stitched panoramas, couldn't one get the same quality results with the Sony A7r and the FE 55/1.8ZA?

Lloyd Chambers calls it :
Start Quote

Overall performance rivals the very best lenses in sharpness, overall contrast, and micro contrast.

The Sony 55/1.8 Sonnar delivers an outstanding performance on par with the best Leica M APO telephoto lenses (75/2 and 90/2 shot separately on the A7R and not shown here). It represents a steal at about $1000. A clean slate and designing for the sensor clearly can work wonders.

End Quote

Assuming, one will use f8 to f11 for landscape the advantage of the Otus shot wide open, will decrease.

The whole package would cost around 3000,. weight about 800g, whereas the D800/Otus Combo will weight 2kg and only the Otus alone will cost 3200.

It seems to be a great combo. I would consider it if:
- I didn't use long lenses to stitch also (I use my 180mm a lot),
- I was not already heavily invested in F mount lenses.

It is probably worth starting another thread to discuss the Sony and/or the various possible options to stitch?

Cheers,
Bernard
Title: Re: Otus 55mm f1.4 rolling review
Post by: henrikfoto on December 31, 2013, 07:49:30 am
Hi Bernard!

Have you used the 135 zeiss for stitching?

Henrik
Title: Re: Otus 55mm f1.4 rolling review
Post by: BernardLanguillier on December 31, 2013, 08:04:34 am
Hi Bernard!

Have you used the 135 zeiss for stitching?

Henrik,

No, I have been considering getting one, but I already own the Zeiss 100m and the Leica 180mm f2.8 APO so it somehow seems a bit redundant.

I may end up getting one though. :)

Cheers,
Bernard
Title: Re: Otus 55mm f1.4 rolling review
Post by: KevinA on December 31, 2013, 08:27:01 am
I was thinking about the Otus as well, however then decided against it due to size and weight. I am not convinced, that it is a lens to be used outside without a tripod.

As for stitched panoramas, couldn't one get the same quality results with the Sony A7r and the FE 55/1.8ZA?

Lloyd Chambers calls it :
Start Quote

Overall performance rivals the very best lenses in sharpness, overall contrast, and micro contrast.

The Sony 55/1.8 Sonnar delivers an outstanding performance on par with the best Leica M APO telephoto lenses (75/2 and 90/2 shot separately on the A7R and not shown here). It represents a steal at about $1000. A clean slate and designing for the sensor clearly can work wonders.

End Quote

Assuming, one will use f8 to f11 for landscape the advantage of the Otus shot wide open, will decrease.

The whole package would cost around 3000,. weight about 800g, whereas the D800/Otus Combo will weight 2kg and only the Otus alone will cost 3200.

Having said that, I have to admit that I run around with TS lenses which put some weight on my back too. But I do not stitch.

Cheers

Jan
It's one thing testing a lens out of the box, 6 months or a year down the line after being carried around in a bag etc. That's when quality engineering shows up over the budget bargains.
Title: Re: Otus 55mm f1.4 rolling review
Post by: CptZar on December 31, 2013, 09:22:47 am
It's one thing testing a lens out of the box, 6 months or a year down the line after being carried around in a bag etc. That's when quality engineering shows up over the budget bargains.

Well, this engineering masterpiece had a dent, after being carried around for 3 days.
Title: Re: Otus 55mm f1.4 rolling review
Post by: ErikKaffehr on December 31, 2013, 09:33:30 am
Hi,

Just two points:

I have had something 30-40 lenses over 43 years. About two of them have failed. So I would say lenses are, or at least used to be reliable.

The Sonnar discussed below i a Zeiss-labeled lens made by Sony. It corresponds to Zeiss specifications. I don't have the slightest idea that it stands being carried about in the bag.

The Otus is perhaps four times the price of the Sony 55/1.8, the question if it is a good substitute is a question worth 3000$.

Best regards
Erik

Ps. While 30-40 lenses? Many reasons Minolta MD -> Switch to Minolta AF in the 80-es. Pentax 67 in the 90-es new telephoto lenses, ultrawides, smaller lenses for air travel, need a sharper lens with new high res sensor, lenses are sexy and I recently started shooting Hasselblad V.

It's one thing testing a lens out of the box, 6 months or a year down the line after being carried around in a bag etc. That's when quality engineering shows up over the budget bargains.
Title: Re: Otus 55mm f1.4 rolling review
Post by: CptZar on December 31, 2013, 11:31:02 am
Right and the Otus is a Zeiss labeled lens made by Cosina, which is normal by today global standards.

Brings me to the point, and maybe Bernnard could clear that. I was told by an optician  in HKG, that Sony again owns part of Cosina. Is that correct?

Cheers

Jan
Title: Re: Otus 55mm f1.4 rolling review
Post by: henrikfoto on December 31, 2013, 11:36:15 am
Right and the Otus is a Zeiss labeled lens made by Cosina, which is normal by today global standards.

Brings me to the point, and maybe Bernhard could clear that. I was told by an optician  in HKG, that Sony again owns part of Cosina. Is that correct?

Cheers

Jan


Is it correct that the Otus is made by Cosina??

Title: Re: Otus 55mm f1.4 rolling review
Post by: ErikKaffehr on December 31, 2013, 11:39:05 am
Hi,

I am not sure the Otus is made by Cosina, some of the Zeiss ZF lenses are made in Germany, I have read.

Regarding Sony having partial ownership of Cosina, it is possible but I have never heard about it.

Regarding the Sony ZA and ZE lenses, they are designed and built by Sony. I don't know how much role Zeiss plays. But I would guess they need to meet criteria that Zeiss sets on their own lenses.

Let us not hijack this thread

Best regards
Erik

Right and the Otus is a Zeiss labeled lens made by Cosina, which is normal by today global standards.

Brings me to the point, and maybe Bernhard could clear that. I was told by an optician  in HKG, that Sony again owns part of Cosina. Is that correct?

Cheers

Jan
Title: Re: Otus 55mm f1.4 rolling review
Post by: AreBee on December 31, 2013, 12:00:37 pm
Quote from: henrikfoto
Is it correct that the Otus is made by Cosina?

Not sure, but it certainly is made in Japan...not that it makes the slightest difference where it is manufacturerd if it is within specification - refer to the Zeiss blog toward the bottom of this (http://blogs.zeiss.com/photo/en/?p=4313) page, where they confirm that:

We can tell you that for the manufacture of ZEISS lenses, we use a global production network of trusted partners in the optical industry that has been built up over many years. Otus lenses are made in Japan.

Somewhat back on topic, in the same blog linked to above, Zeiss confirms that in terms of temperature:

...the ZEISS Otus 1.4/55 is designed for use in normal conditions. Protection against environmental influences exceeding common dimensions is not provided. These lenses can be used at a temperature range of -20C to +55C.

Nothing surprising there, then.
Title: Re: Otus 55mm f1.4 rolling review
Post by: BernardLanguillier on December 31, 2013, 05:23:32 pm
The Otus is indeed made in Japan, I believe by Cosina.

I heard in the past that internal Zeiss quality audits revealed that the quality of their lenses made in Japan was higher than the quality of the kenses they manufactured in Germany.

The fact that they selected a Japanese manufacturing facility for the Otus implicitely confirms this.

The yen having been made to lose 45% if its value relative to the Euro in the last 6 months, it is also probably a very good deal for Zeiss.

Cheers,
Bernard
Title: Re: Otus 55mm f1.4 rolling review
Post by: Ligament on January 01, 2014, 02:02:47 am
I am afraid I have to report a potentially serious problem with the Otus for cold weather landscape shooting.

I was out shooting 2 hours this morning in cold weather (-5C, snow falling).

I came back to the lodge, leaving my camera in the bag as I always do. When I took it out there was some condesnsation on the camera/lens but also... inside the lens. This raises concerns about the kind of weather proofing of the lens. Had I noticed this I would have gone back out in freezing weather which would have caused the condensation to freeze on the lens elements which must not be good.

20 mins with an air dryer removed all visible traces of condensation inside the lens.

I don't remember seeing such issues with any other nikon/zeiss/leica lens I used in similar conditions.

I know that there are ways to reduce these issues by keeping the camera and lens inside an air tight zip bag, but I don't like having to do this kind of babysitting.

Cheers,
Bernard


I will second this statement! I took the Otus and D800e to the summit of Mauna Kea in Hawaii, over 13,000 feet. Lo and behold, condensation on the INSIDE of the lens ruined my sunset photos! I understand the Otus is not weather sealed and not sold as such, therefore I can accept this. However, for landscape photographers, this may be an issue.
Title: Re: Otus 55mm f1.4 rolling review
Post by: Rob C on January 01, 2014, 05:53:28 am
The fact still remains that in the pre-af manufacturing era you could take your stuff anywhere and not ever wonder if the temperature or humidity was about to give you unexpected visual special effects.

I see all of this as simply a continuation along the path of less factory inspection and marketing down to a price, however high that price may appear to some; the price really worth understanding (and forever hidden to us) is the price of manufacture.

But I don't expect anything to improve: a new generation has grown up absolutely programmed to the idea of trying several examples of almost anything before finding one that's right. I have no idea how this change in expectation levels happened; in the past, it would have spelt ruin for any company to do what's normal today. But then, you had to be there to understand the concept now.

On which gloomy note, have a great 2014, and don't buy what you don't really, really need: if you do, you'll surely live to regret it.

Rob C
Title: Re: Otus 55mm f1.4 rolling review
Post by: Rob C on January 01, 2014, 12:22:36 pm
Careful - you'll have us both branded Jack-greeters.

;.)

Rob C
Title: Re: Otus 55mm f1.4 rolling review
Post by: Rob C on January 01, 2014, 02:32:19 pm
Jack - A very intellectual, insightful man with the most honest heart. His intentions and words are always well intended and he has the sexiest eye.

Jack - another term for the clap or gonorrhea 2. from the popular AC/DC ditty "The Jack".

Jack - To instruct a fellow jackoff(n) to continue jacking off(v), despite himmerself's better logic.

Jack - To steal something from someone without their consent. An action which someone does to another person for their personal belongings

Jack - Nothing, zero, zilch, nada, shit all. Possibly a short, fat man

Jack - It roughly means "in a state of disarray" and is commonly used in the phrase "to jack someone/something up".

Jack - To masturbate to the extreme or with extreme force after you have been said 'no' to.

Which did you have in mind, Rob?

;-)



Hi-

But I'm sure you knew it all the time!

;-)

Rob C
Title: Re: Otus 55mm f1.4 rolling review
Post by: BernardLanguillier on January 01, 2014, 05:36:41 pm
Having selected the Otus over the Nikon 85mm f1.4 AF-S for a family weekend with a 2 years old as main character... here are the findings:

- I love the bokeh. It a bit nicer than that of the Nikon 85mm f1.4 AF-S behind the subject, but where it really shines is in front of the subject, it is probably the best performer I have seen here and strongly contributes to the 3D look of images,
- I manage to get some reasonnably focused images of a moving baby about 50% of the time , which is not bad in absolute terms. Now, they are never quite tack sharp... probably softer than what I could achieve with the "awful" Nikon 58mm f1.4,
- Live view is usable hand held on static subjects are results in optimally focused images reliably at f1.4,
- Contrast is extremely well preserved in strong back lit situations, like a subject in front of a window, which is very important obviously,
- Veiling flare is well present as soon as the sun hits the front element, as I expected from its size. The effect can be leveraged for portrait use although it is obviously a clear departure from technical perfection.

Cheers,
Bernard
Title: Re: Otus 55mm f1.4 rolling review
Post by: AreBee on January 01, 2014, 06:26:37 pm
All,

I did a bit of digging on condensation, as it applies to lenses, as I struggle to imagine how a state of the art lens that, in Zeiss's own words is operable down to -20C apparently shows condensation where other lenses do not.

I suspect that the reason plastic lenses do not suffer the same as Zeiss all-metal lenses is related to the fact that the thermal conductivity of plastic is significantly less than that of metal. Hence, the latter will gain/lose heat more rapidly than the former. Information relevant to the thread regarding condensation can be found here (http://www.the-digital-picture.com/Photography-Tips/Cameras-Humidity-Condensation.aspx). It is clear that temperature cannot be considered in isolation. The dew point is equally important, as is the temperature of the equipment when it is exposed to the environment.

Bernard,

Quote from: ErikKaffehr
I would be interested in a few issues: 1) Do you see a significant advantage with the Otus over good primes at medium apertues, say f/8?

Like Erik, I too would be very interested to see how the Otus 55mm f/1.4 at, say, f/8 compares to your Zeiss 50mm f/2, also at f/8. Will such a comparison be feasible?

Regards,
Title: Re: Otus 55mm f1.4 rolling review
Post by: BernardLanguillier on January 01, 2014, 08:02:52 pm
I did a bit of digging on condensation, as it applies to lenses, as I struggle to imagine how a state of the art lens that, in Zeiss's own words is operable down to -20C apparently shows condensation where other lenses do not.

I suspect that the reason plastic lenses do not suffer the same as Zeiss all-metal lenses is related to the fact that the thermal conductivity of plastic is significantly less than that of metal. Hence, the latter will gain/lose heat more rapidly than the former. Information relevant to the thread regarding condensation can be found here (http://www.the-digital-picture.com/Photography-Tips/Cameras-Humidity-Condensation.aspx). It is clear that temperature cannot be considered in isolation. The dew point is equally important, as is the temperature of the equipment when it is exposed to the environment.

Being able to operate at -20c is not related to weather ruggedness at all. It is only about lubricants specs.

Yes, plastic lenses are superior for cold shooting for the reasons you mention, but I have never experienced issues with the other Zeiss lenses I use, although the conditions were of course not exactly identical. This time the Otus got wet with snow before I went back inside.

This being said, my 70-200 f4 on the D800 was totally trenched with wet snow the next day for 90 minutes and didn't suffer any condensation inside the lens at all. The ruggedness of those Nikkors is truly outstanding. You can just totally forget about them and focus on shooting.

Like Erik, I too would be very interested to see how the Otus 55mm f/1.4 at, say, f/8 compares to your Zeiss 50mm f/2, also at f/8. Will such a comparison be feasible?

Karel Van Wolferen compared the Otus to a legacy Minolta 50mm f3.5 lens on the a7r and found them to be similar at f8 for the scenes he used. His results are published on the.me @ http://www.the.me/f-stops-bokeh-mania-monstrous-lenses-and-lazy-composition-plus-sony-a7r-with-zeiss-otus-comparisons/

Very interesting read by the way.

I was given the chance to review his files and did find some minor differences in some of them, but agree that they were overall very close. The Minolta seemed a bit more contrasty in one (but I suspect the light was a bit different), while the Otus exhibited less color aliasing in another with slightly better corners. The lack of aliasing may result from the better correction of the Otus, or simply from the slight difference in magnification avoiding some moire.

Measurments clearly show that the Otus is at its peak at f4 and starts to suffer from diffraction at smaller apertures, but f8 is indeed a relevant aperture to consider for those shooting landscape.

Doing such comparisons isn't part of my priorities right now, but I'll do it if I find some spare time.

Cheers,
Bernard
Title: Re: Otus 55mm f1.4 rolling review
Post by: AreBee on January 02, 2014, 07:00:10 am
Bernard,

Quote
Being able to operate at -20c is not related to weather ruggedness at all. It is only about lubricants specs.

I respectfully disagree. I doubt Zeiss referred solely to the viscosity of lubricant used in the lens when it stated that The ZEISS Otus 1.4/55 is designed for use in normal conditions. Protection against environmental influences exceeding common dimensions is not provided. These lenses can be used at a temperature range of -20C to +55C. in response to the question I was wondering if this lens is weather sealed and also if the lens is useable outside when the temperature is below 0 C. In any event, the point is moot since neither of us can know for sure.

Quote
Karel Van Wolferen compared the Otus to a legacy Minolta 50mm f3.5 lens on the a7r and found them to be similar at f8 for the scenes he used. His results are published on the.me @ http://www.the.me/f-stops-bokeh-mania-monstrous-lenses-and-lazy-composition-plus-sony-a7r-with-zeiss-otus-comparisons/

Very interesting read by the way.

Yes, a very good read, and thank you very much for providing a link to it.

Quote
Doing such comparisons isn't part of my priorities right now, but I'll do it if I find some spare time.

Okay, thanks.
Title: Re: Otus 55mm f1.4 rolling review
Post by: BernardLanguillier on January 02, 2014, 07:29:07 pm
Bernard,

I respectfully disagree. I doubt Zeiss referred solely to the viscosity of lubricant used in the lens when it stated that The ZEISS Otus 1.4/55 is designed for use in normal conditions. Protection against environmental influences exceeding common dimensions is not provided. These lenses can be used at a temperature range of -20C to +55C.

There are several aspects that are typically designed for/validated when a manufacturer provides a working temperature range:
- meterials dilatation,
- lubricants viscosity,
- electronic behavior
- ...

They typically do not include weather factors like very high humidity, rain/snow nor changes of temperature within the supported range.


Cheers,
Bernard
Title: Re: Otus 55mm f1.4 rolling review
Post by: JohnBrew on January 02, 2014, 08:44:40 pm
Measurements clearly show that the Otus is at its peak at f4 and starts to suffer from diffraction at smaller apertures, but f8 is indeed a relevant aperture to consider for those shooting landscape.
Cheers,
Bernard

This is incorrect. Refer to the MTF charts posted on LensRentals and the Otus is pretty much the same as other top lenses. Peak sharpness occurs at f5.6. You are quoting Lloyd Chambers, who has a tendency to get lost in pixel peeping. Michael Erlewine has speculated (and I agree) that due to the corrected glass used in the Otus, diffraction should be much less noticeable @f11 and f16. Based on this, landscape users should be able to use a fairly stopped down aperture for DOF. The most stopped down I shot was f9 and in hindsight it should have been stopped down quite a bit more. The Otus is a great landscape lens and it needs to be stopped down considerably if wide DOF is a concern.
Title: Re: Otus 55mm f1.4 rolling review
Post by: BernardLanguillier on January 02, 2014, 09:32:44 pm
This is incorrect. Refer to the MTF charts posted on LensRentals and the Otus is pretty much the same as other top lenses. Peak sharpness occurs at f5.6. You are quoting Lloyd Chambers, who has a tendency to get lost in pixel peeping. Michael Erlewine has speculated (and I agree) that due to the corrected glass used in the Otus, diffraction should be much less noticeable @f11 and f16. Based on this, landscape users should be able to use a fairly stopped down aperture for DOF. The most stopped down I shot was f9 and in hindsight it should have been stopped down quite a bit more. The Otus is a great landscape lens and it needs to be stopped down considerably if wide DOF is a concern.

John,

I am in fact basing my comments on Dpreview/DxO measurments. F4 and f5.6 are close, but f4 delivers more details in the center.

I don't disagree that the Otus still performs well at smaller apertures but it is not fully tapping in the resolution potential of the lens. One can discuss whether the Otus still delivers more detail than other lesser lenses stopped down. At least in the comparison results I saw with the stellar Minolta 50mm f3.5, the advantage of the Otus was not obvious at f8.

There are of course many images where using a smaller aperture is the right thing to do, no debate here. I have used f11 a lot as well.

Cheers,
Bernard
Title: Re: Otus 55mm f1.4 rolling review
Post by: Bart_van_der_Wolf on January 03, 2014, 03:09:53 am
Michael Erlewine has speculated (and I agree) that due to the corrected glass used in the Otus, diffraction should be much less noticeable @f11 and f16.

Hi John,

It has a different cause. Diffraction blur is always the same for a given aperture number. The Modulation Transfer Function (MTF) of lens aberrations and the MTF of diffraction, multiply. When one improves, e.g. the residual lens aberrations are less, that MTF improves. Hence, the multiplied MTFs have a higher response, and come closer to the best of the two.

In other words, when lens aberrations are reduced, we get closer to only diffraction blur. Diffraction blur is always the same for a given aperture number. Also a higher sampling density will get a more accurate encoding of that diffraction pattern.

Cheers,
Bart
Title: Re: Otus 55mm f1.4 rolling review
Post by: Bart_van_der_Wolf on January 03, 2014, 03:37:28 am
I am in fact basing my comments on Dpreview/DxO measurments. F4 and f5.6 are close, but f4 delivers more details in the center.

Hi Bernard,

That's as expected. At f/5.6 the diffraction pattern will start to reduce the contrast of micro-detail, because the diffraction pattern diameter exceeds 1.5x the sensel pitch of the D800/D800E. Because the diffraction pattern blur is center weighted, it will gradually increase its resolution reducing effect until at f/22 and narrower the lens will effectively limit all achievable high spatial frequency resolution, even high contrast micro detail will be totally lost, and overall contrast is significantly reduced. Some of the remaining high contrast spatial frequencies can be boosted by deconvolution, but noise will have to be controlled very well.

Quote
I don't disagree that the Otus still performs well at smaller apertures but it is not fully tapping in the resolution potential of the lens. One can discuss whether the Otus still delivers more detail than other lesser lenses stopped down. At least in the comparison results I saw with the stellar Minolta 50mm f3.5, the advantage of the Otus was not obvious at f8.

These lenses will have a similarly low residual lens aberration blur component at f/8. All that remains will be diffraction blur and that only varies with aperture number, everything else being equal.

Quote
There are of course many images where using a smaller aperture is the right thing to do, no debate here. I have used f11 a lot as well.

Most good lenses can be used up to approx. f/16 without too much consideration, which is where lots of micro detail will lose contrast beyond repair, but for optimum performance (instead of creative considerations) its usually close to 2 stops down from the wide end to f/5.6 where the best can be expected. Close-up magnification factors will also magnify the blur, so it helps to have lenses that perform well closer to the wide open end of the range, as Michael Erlewine amongst others will be able to confirm. So your findings are consistent with the expectations for a well corrected lens at longer focusing distances.

Cheers,
Bart
Title: Re: Otus 55mm f1.4 rolling review
Post by: Slobodan Blagojevic on January 03, 2014, 03:42:53 pm
Outdoor Photo Gear site recently posted an article titled: Fighting Condensation with Reasonable Methods (http://www.outdoorphotogear.com/blog/fighting-condensation-with-reasonable-methods-29152?utm_source=Outdoor%20Photo%20Gear%20Newsletter&utm_campaign=4bd27d6ce7-Stay%20Warm%2C%20Stay%20Dry%21&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_72f0be6e2a-4bd27d6ce7-145710398&mc_cid=4bd27d6ce7&mc_eid=57af100462). From the article:

Quote
So, are ziplock bags really necessary? The short answer is, no. I never put my gear in plastic bags or ziplock bags to prevent condensation forming on them when I go in from the cold. I find that just ensuring that you put your gear into your camera bag before going inside, and then leaving it there for a few hours to warm up gradually, is enough to prevent condensation forming.
Title: Re: Otus 55mm f1.4 rolling review
Post by: BernardLanguillier on January 03, 2014, 06:34:19 pm
Outdoor Photo Gear site recently posted an article titled: Fighting Condensation with Reasonable Methods (http://www.outdoorphotogear.com/blog/fighting-condensation-with-reasonable-methods-29152?utm_source=Outdoor%20Photo%20Gear%20Newsletter&utm_campaign=4bd27d6ce7-Stay%20Warm%2C%20Stay%20Dry%21&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_72f0be6e2a-4bd27d6ce7-145710398&mc_cid=4bd27d6ce7&mc_eid=57af100462). From the article:

So, are ziplock bags really necessary? The short answer is, no. I never put my gear in plastic bags or ziplock bags to prevent condensation forming on them when I go in from the cold. I find that just ensuring that you put your gear into your camera bag before going inside, and then leaving it there for a few hours to warm up gradually, is enough to prevent condensation forming.

That is exactly what I have been doing and I have never had issues.

Now, I wonder what equipment the author shoots with. From what I hear Nikon shooters have gotten used to taking for granted that their camera and lenses are weather proofed to a very high degree and that less stringent measures are required to prevent the adverse effects of condensation.

My experience with the Otus may just be a wake up call that not every piece of gear is designed by Nikon standards.

Cheers,
Bernard
Title: Re: Otus 55mm f1.4 rolling review
Post by: ErikKaffehr on January 03, 2014, 09:40:24 pm
Hi,

I had Minolta and Sony for 40 years and never seen a problem like that. I don't think it is a sealing problem, more related to cooling down rates on different parts of the lens.

What I usually do is just leave the camera in the bag, zipped up. But I am no extreme weather shooter.

Best regards
Erik

That is exactly what I have been doing and I have never had issues.

Now, I wonder what equipment the author shoots with. From what I hear Nikon shooters have gotten used to taking for granted that their camera and lenses are weather proofed to a very high degree and that less stringent measures are required to prevent the adverse effects of condensation.

My experience with the Otus may just be a wake up call that not every piece of gear is designed by Nikon standards.

Cheers,
Bernard
Title: Re: Otus 55mm f1.4 rolling review
Post by: BernardLanguillier on January 04, 2014, 07:39:02 am
For what it's worth, I have uploaded several new samples shot with the Otus after the link:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/bernardlanguillier/sets/72157639077058796/

The new Flickr viewer doesn't provide direct links to the jpg files I could find, so here are links to 3 photographs of very different styles:

https://www.flickr.com/photos/bernardlanguillier/11730152636/player/dcf6fdfb07
https://www.flickr.com/photos/bernardlanguillier/11750269245/player/d5ab88e59e
https://www.flickr.com/photos/bernardlanguillier/11751222626/player/7a16a784c1

Cheers,
Bernard
Title: Re: Otus 55mm f1.4 rolling review
Post by: ndevlin on January 04, 2014, 10:26:02 am
Bernard,

Thanks for reminding us how wonderfully beautiful Japan is in the winter.

Happy New Year.

- N.
Title: Re: Otus 55mm f1.4 rolling review
Post by: Rob C on January 04, 2014, 01:12:48 pm

For what it's worth, I have uploaded several new samples shot with the Otus after the link:

https://www.flickr.com/photos/bernardlanguillier/11730152636/player/dcf6fdfb07

Bernard



That's an amazingly crisp image; any chance it wasn't hand-knitted stitched? I never get that kind of detail out of a single frame... if it's a single shot, then the damned thing's worth every penny.

;-(

Rob C
Title: Re: Otus 55mm f1.4 rolling review
Post by: BernardLanguillier on January 04, 2014, 05:29:14 pm

That's an amazingly crisp image; any chance it wasn't hand-knitted stitched? I never get that kind of detail out of a single frame... if it's a single shot, then the damned thing's worth every penny.

Hi Rob,

Sorry to disapoint, this one is a 150 megapixels stitch. ;)

Cheers,
Bernard
Title: Re: Otus 55mm f1.4 rolling review
Post by: Rob C on January 05, 2014, 05:16:13 am
Hi Rob,

Sorry to disapoint, this one is a 150 megapixels stitch. ;)

Cheers,
Bernard



I was afraid that's what you'd say. In essence, then, it hardly matters what you buy if you are going to use each shot to make tiny bits of a greater whole. Something there runs counter to all aspirations for optical progress. In fact I think it a retrogressive idea. Yes, it works, but the how is somehow morally all wrong. Some test lenses by photographing brick walls; this takes the concept of making a photograph down to nothing more than 'a brick at a time' construction.

Rob C
Title: Re: Otus 55mm f1.4 rolling review
Post by: BernardLanguillier on January 05, 2014, 05:26:24 am

I was afraid that's what you'd say. In essence, then, it hardly matters what you buy if you are going to use each shot to make tiny bits of a greater whole. Something there runs counter to all aspirations for optical progress. In fact I think it a retrogressive idea. Yes, it works, but the how is somehow morally all wrong. Some test lenses by photographing brick walls; this takes the concept of making a photograph down to nothing more than 'a brick at a time' constructiono.

You are a pioneer Rob, stitching had been criticized in many ways before, but nobody had questioned the morality of the deed till now! :)

Now, why do I bother using an Otus if the quality of the lens doesn't matter for stitching? A 1920 pixel wide web image that was downsized without any precaution is not the right medium to assess the difference stitching makes, it starts at 1 meter wide on the best printing devices.

Finally, the train station image I also linked was sharpened differently and is IHMO sharper looking than the temple stitch at that large web resolution. It also exemplifies the technical perfection that can be reached shooting handheld with the Otus/D800/DxO combo.

Cheers,
Bernard
Title: Re: Otus 55mm f1.4 rolling review
Post by: kers on January 05, 2014, 08:36:50 am
...For what it's worth, I have uploaded several new samples shot with the Otus after the link: ...

hai Bernard,

First of all thank you for posting these Otus samples... with such a lens i really want to have a good look on what it does..

I think it is not easy to show the quality of the Otus with such small images... i can see that they are very crisp indeed but some are over processed in the downrez I think
( at least  to my liking)
example
http://www.flickr.com/photos/bernardlanguillier/11646020714/in/set-72157639077058796
a very nice image, but here on flickr it looks oversharpened. This happens quickly with super sharp images - other images do not have that problem at all..

One of the images that i find very interesting and really shows something special is this one:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/bernardlanguillier/11730152636/player/dcf6fdfb07
is it taken wide open? 
It shows something that i did not realize before i saw it: if you make panorama's you have a super wide angle that can be used on 1.4  !  Well; in that field Otus is king.

Title: Re: Otus 55mm f1.4 rolling review
Post by: Bart_van_der_Wolf on January 05, 2014, 09:23:24 am
It shows something did not realize before i saw it.: if you make panorama's you have a super wide angle that can be used on 1.4  !  Well; in that field Otus is king.

Hi Pieter,

Indeed. Of course one can also achieve that effect by using a longer focal length (300mm @ f/4.5 or f/5.0 would give similar DOF, although even much higher resolution), but it would require a lot more tiles to stitch and a less comfortable way of shooting and travelling.

I also think that a focal length in the order of 50mm, produces a very nice wide angle stitching experience, both in taking as well as in viewing the result, and the amount of post-processing remains manageable even if combined with HDR.

Cheers,
Bart
Title: Re: Otus 55mm f1.4 rolling review
Post by: BernardLanguillier on January 05, 2014, 08:03:50 pm
One of the images that i find very interesting and really shows something special is this one:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/bernardlanguillier/11730152636/player/dcf6fdfb07
is it taken wide open?  

Nope, this one was taken at f11 if I recall.

I wanted to keep detail in the wood carvings at the back of the stage while also showing enough details of the front of the building.

In terms of details, f1.4 is definitely usable for pano on the Otus, but the one concern is light fall off that it pretty important. DxO corrects this extremely well but is not quite as good as C1 Pro colorwise at base ISO.

My guess is that PTgui pro should be able to correct the light fall off automatically very well with images converted using C1 Pro, but I have not tried this out yet. It can be a challenge in skies.

Cheers,
Bernard
Title: Re: Otus 55mm f1.4 rolling review
Post by: uaiomex on January 05, 2014, 08:27:11 pm
I downloaded one of those first jpegs released by Zeiss. It was the one showing a  bunch of buildings taken from a considerable height. For sure from another high building.
The image was sharp, very sharp, ok, too sharp. Maybe oversharpened because I could see some artifacting but maybe it was the compression. Anyway, after some comparisons with medium format scanned film jpegs and some downloaded jpegs from DMF, I was disappointed for the "digital" look of the Otus. This said image and some others i've seen over the web have this quality lacking the smoothness of the bigger formats.
Maybe the Otus images may need a totally different sharpening algorythm or Zeiss just reached a "ceiling"
At first I was excited about Otus but because of its too-high price and since I have 2 wonderful Canon TSE lenses (more to come soon according to rumors), I think I'll stick to flat stitching. So easy, so fast, so unexpensive (relative).
Part of my landscape photography is long-exposure. When I finally get a megapixel Canon or after Sony solves the A7r glitches I'll do my own testing. If the TSE glass fails to deliver non stitching quality, then I may consider an Otus lens.
Eduardo  

 
hai Bernard,

First of all thank you for posting these Otus samples... with such a lens i really want to have a good look on what it does..

I think it is not easy to show the quality of the Otus with such small images... i can see that they are very crisp indeed but some are over processed in the downrez I think
( at least  to my liking)
example
http://www.flickr.com/photos/bernardlanguillier/11646020714/in/set-72157639077058796
a very nice image, but here on flickr it looks oversharpened. This happens quickly with super sharp images - other images do not have that problem at all..

One of the images that i find very interesting and really shows something special is this one:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/bernardlanguillier/11730152636/player/dcf6fdfb07
is it taken wide open? 
It shows something that i did not realize before i saw it: if you make panorama's you have a super wide angle that can be used on 1.4  !  Well; in that field Otus is king.


Title: Re: Otus 55mm f1.4 rolling review
Post by: allegretto on January 05, 2014, 08:45:27 pm
For what it's worth, my Canon 24 TS-E on the 6D delivers an image almost as good as my Zeiss 21 on the 6D. As is the case with Zeiss lenses, the color balance is somewhat different than the Canon. Noticeably more neutral, and thus I can see it contributing to the "too sharp" impression. Bet the Otus is similar.

As far as the non-stop phobia about Canon and "not enough Mpxl"... yawn ("when I finally get a megapixel Canon")... you think that even with stitching it's a major issue? Is it an issue with other 20MP-something cameras, or just Canons? There are only two FF cameras with significantly more MP's than a 6D or 5D III. Do people take every photo with one of them? Even Pros who have them?

Is there anything as important as MP count? To me it's much like horsepower. To folks who sit around talking about them, a racecar's HP is the most important spec. To those who actually race them, it's one of many factors.



I downloaded one of those first jpegs released by Zeiss. It was the one showing a  bunch of buildings taken from a considerable height. For sure from another high building.
The image was sharp, very sharp, ok, too sharp. Maybe oversharpened because I could see some artifacting but maybe it was the compression. Anyway, after some comparisons with medium format scanned film jpegs and some downloaded jpegs from DMF, I was disappointed for the "digital" look of the Otus. This said image and some others i've seen over the web have this quality lacking the smoothness of the bigger formats.
Maybe the Otus images may need a totally different sharpening algorythm or Zeiss just reached a "ceiling"
At first I was excited about Otus but because of its too-high price and since I have 2 wonderful Canon TSE lenses (more to come soon according to rumors), I think I'll stick to flat stitching. So easy, so fast, so unexpensive (relative).
Part of my landscape photography is long-exposure. When I finally get a megapixel Canon or after Sony solves the A7r glitches I'll do my own testing. If the TSE glass fails to deliver non stitching quality, then I may consider an Otus lens.
Eduardo  

 
Title: Re: Otus 55mm f1.4 rolling review
Post by: BernardLanguillier on January 05, 2014, 09:11:58 pm
As far as the non-stop phobia about Canon and "not enough Mpxl"... yawn ("when I finally get a megapixel Canon")... you think that even with stitching it's a major issue? Is it an issue with other 20MP-something cameras, or just Canons? There are only two FF cameras with significantly more MP's than a 6D or 5D III. Do people take every photo with one of them? Even Pros who have them?

Is there anything as important as MP count? To me it's much like horsepower. To folks who sit around talking about them, a racecar's HP is the most important spec. To those who actually race them, it's one of many factors.

Could that be discussed in another thread please? Or in any of the 231 threads where it already was discussed?  ???

Thanks.

Cheers,
Bernard
Title: Re: Otus 55mm f1.4 rolling review
Post by: allegretto on January 05, 2014, 10:56:37 pm
Certainly! Didn't mean to hijack your thread... sorry. Felt I was truly addressing the issue of TS-e color vs. Zeiss and my $.02 about why it "looks that way". The other thing was just an offhand response to his offhand response

In any case, you're right, not an issue for me either in fact...


Could that be discussed in another thread please? Or in any of the 231 threads where it already was discussed?  ???

Thanks.

Cheers,
Bernard

Title: Re: Otus 55mm f1.4 rolling review, pictures
Post by: risedal on January 07, 2014, 02:24:45 pm
Weather is very bad here in Sweden , took some pictures handheld with my Otus and d800, many at F-1,4
did a short comparison with 2 examples of  Micro-Nikkor 60mm, I got so much inferior results with my MN  despite live view, tripod so I leant a new 60mm out of the box, mine is 2 years old.
Short
there is nothing  better than Otus, my Sigma 35/1,4 remains about Otus but there is something extra with this lens micro contrast

some pictures here and to down load in full resolution

https://picasaweb.google.com/106266083120070292876/ZeissOtusAt14MaybeTheBest5060mmLensEver?authkey=Gv1sRgCOCB46_Bl_ju6gE
Title: Re: Otus 55mm f1.4 rolling review
Post by: BernardLanguillier on January 14, 2014, 04:37:11 pm
Team,

For what it is worth, I have added 20 new Otus images to the set below:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/bernardlanguillier/sets/72157639077058796/

Most of these were shot handheld. A few additional observations/confirmations:
- The lens is great for night shooting, it handles urban lights very well,
- It is possible to have a fairly high ratio of well focused images using the viewfinder of the D800,
- The very low distortion really helps frame accurately on such images,
- Veiling flare behavior is average at best, it is better to avoid having the sun hit the front element of the lens without being in the image.

Cheers,
Bernard
Title: Re: Otus 55mm f1.4 rolling review
Post by: Rob C on January 14, 2014, 05:37:08 pm
Team,

For what it is worth, I have added 20 new Otus images to the set below:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/bernardlanguillier/sets/72157639077058796/

Most of these were shot handheld. A few additional observations/confirmations:
- The lens is great for night shooting, it handles urban lights very well,
- It is possible to have a fairly high ratio of well focused images using the viewfinder of the D800,
- Veiling flare gehavior is average at best, it is better to avoid having the sun hit the front element of the lens without being in the image.

Cheers,
Bernard



Bernard, doesn't it strike you as weird that you can write that and nobody will think it strange?

I don't think it strange, I just think it revealing about the sorry state of today's camera viewfinders. Bring back the split-image screen!. Within a checked screen, please, that works with fast lenses, unlike your old offering, Mr Nikon.

Rob C
Title: Re: Otus 55mm f1.4 rolling review
Post by: BernardLanguillier on January 14, 2014, 07:09:45 pm
Bernard, doesn't it strike you as weird that you can write that and nobody will think it strange?

I don't think it strange, I just think it revealing about the sorry state of today's camera viewfinders. Bring back the split-image screen!. Within a checked screen, please, that works with fast lenses, unlike your old offering, Mr Nikon.

Rob,

I think most folks around here have accepted long ago that it is challenging to get tack sharp images when manual focusing with DSLRs... The reasons are the following:
- the resolution of sensors is much higher than the detail of most 35mm films,
- we have much higher expectations in terms of sharpness since looking at images at 100% on screen is equivalent to a 1m wide print that we typically never did from 35mm film,
- there is no grain to blur the appreciation of sharpness when reviewing images,
- most lenses are AF and have been optimised for fast AF focusing instead of accurate manual focusing,
- indeed, the DSLR viewfinders are not optimised for manual focus.

So, in that context, being able to reach very sharp results manual focussing/hand helding the D800 and the Otus is a result worth mentioning IMHO. ;)

Now, this comments applies to good light situation, it is more challenging in darker environments.

Cheers,
Bernard
Title: Re: Otus 55mm f1.4 rolling review
Post by: Hulyss on January 14, 2014, 07:30:30 pm
I really like your photos Bernard. Japan is a very inspiring place for photographer brain.

For manual focus with modern DSLR, about a time we all can manage to tame our lenses. I'm sure of it. But this need time and understanding this sensual relation between our eyes and a given manual lenses.
Title: Re: Otus 55mm f1.4 rolling review
Post by: BernardLanguillier on January 14, 2014, 08:11:00 pm
I really like your photos Bernard. Japan is a very inspiring place for photographer brain.

Thanks a lot Hulyss!

Cheers,
Bernard
Title: Re: Otus 55mm f1.4 rolling review
Post by: uaiomex on January 15, 2014, 12:07:14 am
No, not in the "not enough mp's channel". But since I like to print 24X36" and bigger I'm sure more Mp's than my 6D can provide with flat stitching would be a nice thing to have.
If I could afford to not care about spending ridiculous amounts of money for digital medium format gear, I would bite. But no, there more important priorities in life than mortgaging one, two or three years of my life for this kind of of photo gear. Not worth it to me. If I'd hit the lotto, one of the first things I would do, would be to get me a Rollei Hy6 Mod 2 with the finest lenses and the finest Leaf and Phase One backs.
Oh, so easy to daydream!
Eduardo

For what it's worth, my Canon 24 TS-E on the 6D delivers an image almost as good as my Zeiss 21 on the 6D. As is the case with Zeiss lenses, the color balance is somewhat different than the Canon. Noticeably more neutral, and thus I can see it contributing to the "too sharp" impression. Bet the Otus is similar.

As far as the non-stop phobia about Canon and "not enough Mpxl"... yawn ("when I finally get a megapixel Canon")... you think that even with stitching it's a major issue? Is it an issue with other 20MP-something cameras, or just Canons? There are only two FF cameras with significantly more MP's than a 6D or 5D III. Do people take every photo with one of them? Even Pros who have them?

Is there anything as important as MP count? To me it's much like horsepower. To folks who sit around talking about them, a racecar's HP is the most important spec. To those who actually race them, it's one of many factors.



Title: Re: Otus 55mm f1.4 rolling review
Post by: Rob C on January 15, 2014, 04:31:12 am
Rob,

I think most folks around here have accepted long ago that it is challenging to get tack sharp images when manual focusing with DSLRs... The reasons are the following:
- the resolution of sensors is much higher than the detail of most 35mm films,
- we have much higher expectations in terms of sharpness since looking at images at 100% on screen is equivalent to a 1m wide print that we typically never did from 35mm film,
- there is no grain to blur the appreciation of sharpness when reviewing images,
- most lenses are AF and have been optimised for fast AF focusing instead of accurate manual focusing,
- indeed, the DSLR viewfinders are not optimised for manual focus.

So, in that context, being able to reach very sharp results manual focussing/hand helding the D800 and the Otus is a result worth mentioning IMHO. ;)

Now, this comments applies to good light situation, it is more challenging in darker environments.

Cheers,
Bernard



Yes, all of those factors that you quoted might be correct, but I still know that using a split-image screen made the world of difference for me even when I was using film, and so putting the same advantage into the dslr situation could not but help me get better results than I can without it. I have a life-long experience of manual focussing, and its the single af lens that I own that would give me the greatest problems were I to use it in af mode, but it is a focal length that I seldom use anymore - 180mm.

Further, in my case, with manual lenses, only the central af point on the screen works in conjunction with the little green focus-confirmation light. I seldom put the main subject directly in the middle of the frame, and as you know, focussing on one thing and then recomposing isn't geometrically a good solution; you end up with putting the actual point of focus beyond your real subject.

Rob C
Title: Re: Otus 55mm f1.4 rolling review
Post by: Manoli on January 15, 2014, 06:39:46 am
Further, in my case, with manual lenses, only the central af point on the screen works in conjunction with the little green focus-confirmation light. I seldom put the main subject directly in the middle of the frame, ...

Rob,
Nikon, D700 manual, p82:

"..the viewfinder focus indicator can be used to confirm whether the subject in the selected focus point is in focus (the focus point can be selected from any of the 51 focus points)."

http://www.nikonusa.com/pdf/manuals/dslr/D700_en.pdf

Title: Re: Otus 55mm f1.4 rolling review
Post by: BernardLanguillier on January 15, 2014, 06:44:15 am
Rob,
Nikon, D700 manual, p82:

"..the viewfinder focus indicator can be used to confirm whether the subject in the selected focus point is in focus (the focus point can be selected from any of the 51 focus points)."

Yes, but this is not selective enough to distinguish between perfect focus vs so so focus.

On the D800 + Otus, I get a better focus accuracy by eye compared to using the focus indicator.

Cheers,
Bernard
Title: Re: Otus 55mm f1.4 rolling review
Post by: Manoli on January 15, 2014, 07:31:00 am
Yes, but this is not selective enough to distinguish between perfect focus vs so so focus.
On the D800 + Otus, I get a better focus accuracy by eye compared to using the focus indicator.

Bernard, yes - so do I. But the post was to correct the mistaken
" only the central af point on the screen works in conjunction with the little green focus-confirmation light. " belief.

If Rob, is using the central focus point (for better or worse) only - he can shift it, if he so desires, to any one of the other 51 that Nikon provide.
Title: Re: Otus 55mm f1.4 rolling review
Post by: Rob C on January 15, 2014, 10:46:53 am
You are absolutely right; and to make matters worse, I've just checked out the book for the D200 as well, and though slightly less positively stated than for the D700, it seems to offer the very same multi-point functionality!

I wonder where I developed my idea that it couldn't be done? I've had the thought as long as I've had the first of the two cameras. And I did RTFM - without doing that, both would still be in their original boxes! One of life's mysteries. ;-) Maybe just post-mid-life crisis.

Regarding Bernard's point about the eye being better than the green light, I don't know: I have problems now with glaucoma and some days are better than others. It's not a thing about the diopter settings of the camera - they still have a way to go - it's that if I am lucky and focus quickly within, say, three seconds, I'm okay; however, if I have to hunt focus a bit, as with the glass on the Coke bottle I sometimes shoot, I may as well give up, look at the horizon or my shoes, and then try again after a few seconds. That's where a tripod helps a lot - I can sometimes focus more rapidly by holding my face a little way off the camera and just concentrating on the small area that remains visible in the eyepiece. No idea why, but it helps. Hence the delight of a split-image screen. That kind of image confirmation is easy to make.

The strange thing about all of this is that, though the subject may be difficult to bring to focus, I do see the grid lines in the pentaprism perfectly crisply pretty much all of the time!

Thanks for your very helpful piece of information! I'm pretty sure it will help me quite a lot.

Rob C