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Author Topic: Otus 55mm f1.4 rolling review  (Read 26115 times)

BernardLanguillier

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Otus 55mm f1.4 rolling review
« 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
« Last Edit: December 27, 2013, 10:46:39 am by BernardLanguillier »
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kers

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Re: Otus 55mm f1.4 rolling review
« Reply #1 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
« Last Edit: December 26, 2013, 07:38:11 pm by kers »
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BernardLanguillier

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Re: Otus 55mm f1.4 rolling review
« Reply #2 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
« Last Edit: December 27, 2013, 12:14:24 am by BernardLanguillier »
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AreBee

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Re: Otus 55mm f1.4 rolling review
« Reply #3 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,
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BernardLanguillier

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Re: Otus 55mm f1.4 rolling review
« Reply #4 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

JohnBrew

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Re: Otus 55mm f1.4 rolling review
« Reply #5 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

eronald

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Re: Otus 55mm f1.4 rolling review
« Reply #6 on: December 28, 2013, 05:46:22 pm »

paper crane streamers unfortunately remind me of ground zero (hiroshima).
Color is very Nikon.

Edmund
« Last Edit: December 28, 2013, 05:47:56 pm by eronald »
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BernardLanguillier

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Re: Otus 55mm f1.4 rolling review
« Reply #7 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
« Last Edit: December 28, 2013, 07:49:45 pm by BernardLanguillier »
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BernardLanguillier

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Re: Otus 55mm f1.4 rolling review
« Reply #8 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

Rob C

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Re: Otus 55mm f1.4 rolling review
« Reply #9 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

David Anderson

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Re: Otus 55mm f1.4 rolling review
« Reply #10 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 ?


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BernardLanguillier

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Re: Otus 55mm f1.4 rolling review
« Reply #11 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

Manoli

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Re: Otus 55mm f1.4 rolling review
« Reply #12 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
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BernardLanguillier

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Re: Otus 55mm f1.4 rolling review
« Reply #13 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

JohnBrew

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Re: Otus 55mm f1.4 rolling review
« Reply #14 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.

Hulyss

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Re: Otus 55mm f1.4 rolling review
« Reply #15 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.
« Last Edit: December 29, 2013, 11:03:08 am by Hulyss »
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eleanorbrown

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Re: Otus 55mm f1.4 rolling review
« Reply #16 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

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ErikKaffehr

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Re: Otus 55mm f1.4 rolling review
« Reply #17 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

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eleanorbrown

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Re: Otus 55mm f1.4 rolling review
« Reply #18 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]
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BernardLanguillier

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Re: Otus 55mm f1.4 rolling review
« Reply #19 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
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