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The new lens stands out with excellent features for demanding use with 35 mm DSLR cameras 

Otus 1.4/55 ZE and Otus 1.4/55 ZF.2

Otus 1.4/55 ZE and Otus 1.4/55 ZF.2

The Otus 1.4/55 contains all the expertise and experience that have been built up over more than 120 years in the field of optics and mechanics. Only the best materials and the highest-quality glass were good enough for a lens whose development was driven by one thought at every phase: offering the best-possible results when used by sophisticated photographers. The scops owl (Latin: Otus scops) is the name giver for this new family of lenses from ZEISS, to which other members will be added in the future.

For photographers who love precision, the Otus 1.4/55 offers the possibility for a more compact gear, without having to accept compromises in terms of image quality. It is meanwhile common knowledge that the latest 35-mm DSLR cameras with high-resolution sensors put enormous demands on the image performance of lenses. The Otus 1.4/55 can withstand these demands thanks to its superb sharpness and ultimate image contrast. Chromatic aberrations are almost completely absent. These features ensure perfect image quality – also with an open aperture. The new ZEISS lens sets a new global standard, whether it is used in advertising, fashion or studio photography – with no compromises when rendering the details in an image.

Light sources that are either in front of or behind the area in focus are a particular challenge for every lens. With the Otus 1.4/55 the longitudinal color fringes are so faint that practically no chromatic aberrations are visible. (Full resolution: <a title="http://bit.ly/1988Gau" href="http://bit.ly/1988Gau" target="_blank">http://bit.ly/1988Gau</a>)

Light sources that are either in front of or behind the area in focus are a particular challenge for every lens. With the Otus 1.4/55 the longitudinal color fringes are so faint that practically no chromatic aberrations are visible. (Full resolution: http://bit.ly/1988Gau)

In developing the Otus, ZEISS set the bar extremely high, as Christophe Casenave, product manager with ZEISS Camera Lenses, explains: “Our goal was to bring the best standard lens onto the market. Otus achieves sharpness and contrast rendition all the way into the edges of the image. The only way to achieve this was through the complex Distagon optical design, which until now has only been found on wide-angle lenses. Thanks to the low level of longitudinal chromatic aberration, there are almost none of them. So, an illuminated harbor scene by night with many light sources in front of and behind the actual focal plane appears close to reality. The performance of Otus is consistently excellent for all shooting distances; the open aperture can also be used for close-ups.”

Otus 1.4/55 ZE

Otus 1.4/55 ZE

Especially for shooting situations where there is little light, the new lens delivers excellent results. Here the lens’s high speed pays off in particular. Even if the sensitive and low-noise digital sensors of DSLR cameras have meanwhile shifted the limits of poorly lit images, the perfection of the Otus continues to reveal itself at night. Especially for pictures with numerous image-dominant, open light sources, it is common for correction defects to show up. However, because the Otus 1.4/55 is an apochromatic lens, longitudinal chromatic aberrations are corrected by its lens elements made of special glass with anomalous partial dispersion. Color aberrations are practically absent. Bright/dark transitions in the image, and especially highlights, are rendered free of color artifacts. Although the Otus with its 55 millimeters is not a traditional focal length for architectural and landscape photography, the lens convinces by delivering excellent results. The edges of the image can be used for all apertures, without posing any limits to composition.

When shooting at night with large variations in brightness, chromatic aberrations become particularly visible. Thanks to the excellent correction of lateral chromatic aberrations in the Otus 1.4/55, the bright façade of the building is rendered perfectly. (Full resolution: <a title="http://bit.ly/17bhdaQ" href="http://bit.ly/17bhdaQ" target="_blank">http://bit.ly/17bhdaQ</a>)

When shooting at night with large variations in brightness, chromatic aberrations become particularly visible. Thanks to the excellent correction of lateral chromatic aberrations in the Otus 1.4/55, the bright façade of the building is rendered perfectly. (Full resolution: http://bit.ly/17bhdaQ)

Other unique features of the Otus are its consistent high-resolution performance across the entire image field and the very high image contrast all the way to the edges, even for low f-numbers. The lens also delivers excellent performance when used with low f-numbers in full-frame 35-mm format. The technical structure of the Otus 1.4/55 is based on a floating elements design with 12 lens elements in 10 groups. This includes a lens with an aspheric optical surface and six lenses made of special glass with anomalous partial dispersion. The unique variable lens arrangement within the lens ensures excellent imaging performance over the entire focusing range – from 0.5 meters to infinity. Color fringing and distortions are not visible.

Otus 1.4/55 ZF.2

Otus 1.4/55 ZF.2

With its neutral bokeh, the Otus 1.4/55 delivers not only highly detailed pictures without any bothersome optical artifacts; it also stands out for its mechanical quality. The smooth focus operation with the large angle of rotation allows for the finest variations when focusing, and the stable metal barrel with the pleasantly smooth-operating focus ring make things easier for photographers during their professional everyday work. In addition, the yellow labels — just like those on professional cine lenses (ARRI/ZEISS Master Prime) – ensure easy readability of the settings.

Thanks to its exceptional sharpness, the Otus 1.4/55 makes the most of high-resolution sensors and rewards you with an impressive level of detail in your images. Down to the last pixel. (Full resolution: <a title="http://bit.ly/GHQETL" href="http://bit.ly/GHQETL" target="_blank">http://bit.ly/GHQETL</a>)

Thanks to its exceptional sharpness, the Otus 1.4/55 makes the most of high-resolution sensors and rewards you with an impressive level of detail in your images. Down to the last pixel. (Full resolution: http://bit.ly/GHQETL)

For its innovative product design, the Otus 1.4/55 already received the iF product design award 2013. Here, too, the Otus 1.4/55 is setting standards, not only compared to other lenses, but as the first representative of a new ZEISS family of lenses. No doubt the Otus 1.4/55 and the focal lengths of the Otus range, which are still in development, will win further accolades. Ultimately, photographers across the globe will benefit from the new creative possibilities offered by these outstanding lenses — starting with the Otus 1.4/55 as a standard lens.

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63 Comments

  1. Love the design of your latest lenses! And Otus sounds kinda cool – like some god in some language.

    With this new high end brand of lenses, won’t you develop any new ‘cheaper’ lenses like your current 50mm f/1.4 ZE/ZF.2?

    Every sample so far looks breathtaking technically, incredible lens! Still waiting for the 50mm Touit though, can’t afford this beauty unfortunately.

    Reply
  2. Andrew R

    Congratulations on this fine engineering achievement.

    The spec sheet for the Otus 1.4/50 specifies Relative Illuminance at f=1.4, 4=4.0 and f=4.28. I’m sure that “f=4.28″ is a mistake.

    Reply
  3. Looks very promising. I am sure a lot of photographers will find themself wanting this lens. Perfect timing too, because Canon’s 50mm F/1.4 design is getting a little old and even the newer Nikkor AF-S 50mm has problems with LoCAs and sharpness. Sigma’s version is not even worth the consideration. So you R&D towards this market is was well invested! One question though, this will be a manual focus lens too like the other Distagons, right?

    Reply
    1. ZEISS Camera Lenses

      Hi John,

      Yes, the Otus 1.4/55 is a manual focus lens.

      Best regards,
      ZEISS Lenses Team

      Reply
  4. Amazing looking new lens. Thank you Zeiss. For such a quality product I’m curious to know if the focusing can be calibrated to your image sensor. I love my zeiss 50mm f2 but it does back focus by a couple of mm.

    Reply
  5. gcg

    Thanks for developing this great Lens! But what’s missing for the ‘photographers heaven’ is a better focusing screen for the D800. Nikon will have little interest in producing one. Hopefully a third party manufacturer will produce one.

    Reply
    1. ZEISS Camera Lenses

      Dear Nick,
      Additional focal lengths will follow. However, right now, we do not want to divulge any further details.
      Best regards,
      ZEISS Lenses Team

      Reply
      1. Jacek

        Dear Zeiss

        The question on Otus roadmap is highly relevant for planning the system. I am in the middle of that process for my d800 and do not know if I should buy 135/2 now or wait (how long) for even better one from the Otus range. I do not think that Nikon or Canon is willing nor able to match Otus performance segment so competitive- wise you should not worry. But the clear roadmap for both Otus & standard ZF.2 or ZE range would help avoid mistakes in long term investment ( in your expensive equipment). And for you to increase sales …

        Reply
    1. NGUYEN

      Yes, ZEISS, please tell us where this lens is made in. I’m curious. This design is so new and strange, it doesn’t look like Cosina’s one.

      Reply
    2. ZEISS Camera Lenses

      Dear Victor,
      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.
      Best regards,
      ZEISS Lenses Team

      Reply
  6. Bob Prichard

    Who at Zeiss comes up with these silly names for lenses? First there was ‘Touit’ now ‘Otus’. Is there something wrong with the name ‘Zeiss’? I might spend $4,000 for a Zeiss, but not for an Otus.

    Reply
  7. These optics with such a high price are acceptable only if they are not definitively related to a brand, a mounting ring. Have you considered a solution like that Sigma has to offer, being able to change the mounting ring to keep these goals the day where you change brand?

    Reply
    1. ZEISS Camera Lenses

      Hi Jean-LuK,
      There are no plans for an interchangeable mount system for the Otus 1.4/55.
      Best regards,
      ZEISS Lenses Team

      Reply
    1. ZEISS Camera Lenses

      Dear Babar Swaleheen,
      Additional focal lengths will follow. However, right now, we do not want to divulge any further details.
      Best regards,
      ZEISS Lenses Team

      Reply
    1. ZEISS Camera Lenses

      Dear Andrew,
      The aperture setting for the EF mount lenses (e.g. for Canon EOS cameras) can only be configured on the camera.
      Best regards,
      ZEISS Lenses Team

      Reply
  8. It’s great to see a very good 55 mm lens coming, since there are only good ones with flaws on the market. The full size samples on flickr indeed show almost no distortion, but they look washed out despite being heavily sharpened (big radius). I’m not quite sure, to which part this is because of the D800E with dense Bayer sensor or because of bad demosaicing and post processing. Maybe there’s time to make some real detailed sample images?

    Reply
  9. Dear Zeiss Lenses Team. How is the lens performing outside of what the eye can see?
    Transmission and correction in UV/NIR. Will there be an industrial version?
    Best Regards

    Reply
  10. I am a Contax user for many years. I really love the modern Zeiss optics manufactured in Japan. Are the Otus lenses manufactured by Kyocera in Japan again? It is very exciting!

    Reply
    1. ZEISS Camera Lenses

      Dear Terry,

      Thanks for your question. 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.

      Thanks and best regards,
      Your ZEISS Lenses Team

      Reply
  11. Ben

    Coma? Bokeh? Any examples that we can see?

    I was never really happy with any of my SLR 50mm F/1,4 lenses, they’re all ok but not great. I hope this is great.

    Reply
  12. Zeiss makes great lenses and the statements in this article regarding “best” and “perfect” sure sound like there is a lot of confidence in the performance of this lens. Having said that, I am sure Zeiss has tested and compared to others. How much better would you say this lens is than the other high end lens made by another German company which I won’t mention by name :) Would it be safe to say it will dethrone any other 50mm lens out there that has been praised by many?

    Reply
  13. Hans

    From the meta data on the night shots I see that the pictures were taken at f=5.6 and f=4 while I was hoping they were shot at 1.4. Could you include a night shot at 1.4?

    Reply
    1. ZEISS Camera Lenses

      Dear hahaya8k,

      Thanks for your question. But we have to tell you that right now there are no plans for an Otus lens with a mount other than ZE (EF) and ZF.2 (F).

      Best regards,
      Your ZEISS Lenses Team

      Reply
    1. ZEISS Camera Lenses

      Dear Pieter,

      Thanks for your remarks. However, the only thing we did is to develop the RAW files in Photoshop. No additional sharpening was applied. And the example that you mentioned was not at all photoshopped. What in this photo is it exactly, that you find to be strange? :)

      Thanks and best regards,
      Your ZEISS Lenses Team

      Reply
  14. ken lake

    I was wondering if, with the announcement of several other Zeiss lenses for the Sony a7/a7R, will there will be a version of this lens using the Sony FE lens mount? Thanks.

    Reply
    1. ZEISS Camera Lenses

      Hi Ken,

      Right now there are no plans for making the Otus family of lenses available for Sony’s new full frame CSCs.

      Best regards,
      Your ZEISS Lenses Team

      Reply
      1. pedro meyer

        I am surprised that the Otus would not be available or possible to use on the new Sony A7R, if I can use all my Leitz lenses. Can you explain your criteria?

        Reply
        1. ZEISS Camera Lenses

          Hi pedro,

          Just because there are no plans for an E-mount version doesn’t mean that you cannot use Otus an the A7/A7r with an adapter. That’s definitely possible :)

          Best regards,
          Your ZEISS Lenses Team

          Reply
  15. MARRK ZULUNUZ

    I missed-out on the opportunity to collect your wonderful Planar-T 55/1.2 for the Contax SLR. I also missed the Tele-Superachromat 300/2.8, which reminds me of the Tele ApoTessar-T 300/2.8, also for the Contax. (As well as the ApoSonnar-T 200/2. Can I speculate on the reincarnation of the latter long lenses for the Otus-line? I am a Leica-M(240) owner seeking high-performance long lenses…

    Reply
  16. Samo

    Dear Zeiss,
    The night photography and astrophotogaphy capabilities of Otus seem to be excellent. But, as I can see, all of the sample pixtures are shot at least f/2, because the diffraction pattern around bright lights can be seen. How sharp, considering sharpness of small light sources, the lens is at f/1.4? Are there any sample photos?
    Thank you

    Reply
  17. Raouf

    I was wondering if this lens is weather sealed and also if the lens is useable outside when the temperature is below 0 C. Thanks.

    Reply
    1. ZEISS Camera Lenses

      Dear Raouf,

      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 -20°C to +55°C.
      Best regards,
      ZEISS lenses team

      Reply
  18. Lens looks wonderful. Can see where it’ll be a “want=need”. I’m a Zeiss fan — have the 50mm Macro, the 100mm Macro, and the 21mm, which are terrific on my D800. Really hope that Zeiss develops a new, improved 35mm f2.0 of reasonable size. Seems that the reviews on all current Zeiss and Nikon 35mm indicate too much CA on the D800.

    Reply
    1. ZEISS Camera Lenses

      Hi Jeremy,

      Thanks for your question. Our Otus lenses show outstanding performance on all cameras with film/sensor size up to 24x36mm. So they can be used on APS-C size sensors without any downsides.

      Best regards,
      Your ZEISS Lenses Team

      Reply
    1. ZEISS Camera Lenses

      Hi Abimael,

      Thanks for your question. The Otus 1.4/55 is only available in ZE (Canon) and ZF.2 (Nikon) mount. Maybe you can use an adapter to mount the Otus to your a900. However, we of course can not guarantee that everything works out fine, when using an adapter.

      Best regards,
      Your ZEISS Lenses Team

      Reply
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  26. SANTI CALAVERA

    So yeah, this is perhaps the best lens ever built . There goes my impression after a few hours of photographic frenzy.
    Solving capacity is closer to the optical film than of photography, this is certainly true, the coveted medium format . The image quality is exceptional . The best pictures do these lenses, NO .
    The brightness and contrast draw attention , are superlative . The approach is simply delicious, smooth and precise . The color is very true , the bokeh is great, this is very relative , I like.
    I searched chromatic aberrations in all kinds of reflections, do not exist.
    The portraits are notable for the contrast and detail. I do not care I guess the corners also met.
    Not too heavy , unless the 135mm . In low light also behaves like a champion, like many, if not really merit the sensor or lens.
    Surely the best lens in the world today. And this is silly , I have fun like a pig with the Nikkor 50mm f1.2 Ais not need much at all.

    Reply

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