Panasonic Lumix S PRO 70-200mm f4 review so far

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The Panasonic Lumix S PRO 70-200mm f4 OIS is a telephoto zoom designed for full-frame mirrorless cameras employing the L-mount. Delivering a classic range for portrait shooters or nearby sports and wildlife, it’s the most affordable telephoto for the L-system to date. Find out how it performs in my review-so-far!…

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Zeiss Otus 100mm f1.4 review

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The Zeiss Otus 100mm f1.4 is a high-end telephoto corrected for full-frame sensors and available in Canon EF and Nikon F mounts. It’s the fourth in the acclaimed Otus series, joining the 28mm, 55mm and 85mm models, all sharing the same f1.4 focal ratio, manual focusing and uncompromised optics. Find out how it compares to the Sigma 105mm f1.4 ART and others in our in-depth review!…

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Sony FE 35mm f2.8 ZA review

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The Sony FE 35mm f2.8 ZA is a wide-angle prime lens for Alpha mirrorless cameras. Launched with the original A7 full-frame bodies, it remains a popular choice for anyone wanting the most compact general-purpose lens for the system. Find out how if it’s still a contender against multiple rivals and alternatives in our full review!…

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Sigma 40mm f1.4 Art review

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The Sigma 40mm f1.4 Art is a short standard lens designed for full-frame sensors and available in Nikon, Canon, Sigma, Sony E and Leica L mounts. The 40mm length falls between more common 35mm and 50mm models, but is actually closer to ‘normal’ coverage with a natural perspective that’s ideal for general-use. Thomas compares it to rivals in his in-depth review!…

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Sony FE 135mm f1.8 GM review

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The Sony FE 135mm f1.8 G Master is a telephoto prime lens for its Alpha series of full-frame mirrorless cameras, delivering a classic telephoto view with minimal distortion and very shallow depth-of-field effects. I tested a final production sample for my review.…

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Canon RF 35mm f1.8 IS Macro STM review so far

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The Canon RF 35mm f1.8 IS Macro STM is a mild wide-angle lens for the EOS R full-frame mirrorless system. It’s the smallest, lightest and cheapest lens for the system to date, and a flexible all-rounder with 1:2 close-up capabilities. Ahead of my full review, check out my sample images and videos!…

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Nikon Z 14-30mm f4 S review

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The Nikon Z 14-30mm f4 S is a compact ultra-wide angle zoom designed for Nikon’s full-frame Z-series mirrorless cameras. This fourth native lens in the Z system is ideal for landscape and architecture, and is the first full-frame ultra-wide zoom to take relatively compact and affordable 82mm filters. Find out if it's right for you in my complete review!…

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Nikon Z 35mm f1.8S review

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The Nikon Z 35mm f1.8 S is a mild wide-angle prime lens for Nikon’s full-frame Z-series mirrorless cameras. A popular focal length for street photography and general-purpose use, it features an f1.8 focal ratio and fast and quiet focusing. Thomas puts this first Z-mount prime lens through its paces in his review-so-far!…

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Tamron 28-75mm f2.8 review

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The Tamron 28-75mm f2.8 is a general-purpose zoom for Sony’s full-frame mirrorless cameras. It offers a classy step-up from Sony’s entry-level FE 28-70mm f3.5-5.6, and is less than half the price of the FE 24-70mm f2.8 GM. Find out if it's the ideal kit zoom for Sony full-framers in Thomas's review!…

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Sony FE 24mm f1.4 GM review

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The Sony FE 24mm f1.4 G Master is a wide-angle prime lens designed for full-frame Alpha mirrorless cameras. The lens delivers a popular field-of-view with a bright f1.4 focal ratio that's ideal in low-light and for a shallow depth-of-field. Find out why this is one of the best 24mm lenses we've tested in our full review!…

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Tamron 17-35mm f2.8-4 review

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The Tamron 17-35mm f2.8-4 is a small, light and wide zoom available for Canon and Nikon DSLR mounts. To find out how it performs. Thomas tested it against Tamron's own 15-30mm f2.8, Nikon's 18-35mm f3.5-4.5 and Tokina's 17-35mm f4. If you're looking for a wide-zoom for a full-frame body check out his Tamron 17-35mm review!…

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Sigma 105mm f1.4 Art review

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The SIgma 105mm f1.4 ART is one of the brightest portrait lenses available, undercutting its only rival from Nikon on price, while giving it a run for its money on performance. Find out if the Bokeh Master is the best portrait lens in our Sigma 105mm f1.4 review!…

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Fujifilm XF 8-16mm f2.8 review

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The Fujifilm XF 8-16mm f2.8 is an ultra wide zoom designed for Fujifilm's X-Series mirrorless cameras. It delivers the widest coverage in the system to date, making it ideal for landscape, architectural and astrophotography. It's an unashamedly high-end lens and you can find out more in my review!…

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Olympus 17mm f1.2 PRO review so far

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The Olympus 17mm f1.2 PRO is a bright wide lens, aimed at Olympus and Panasonic mirrorless owners who want the best performance and fastest aperture at this flexible focal length. Check out my video overview and sample images!…

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Sigma 14-24mm f2.8 ART review

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The Sigma 14-24mm f2.8 ART is an ultra-wide angle zoom lens designed for full-frame cameras and available in Canon, Nikon and Sigma mounts. Find out how this latest addition to the acclaimed ART series performs in Thomas's in-depth review!…

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Sony E 18-135mm f3.5-5.6 review

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The Sony E 18-135mm f3.5-5.6 is a general-purpose 7.5x zoom for its cropped-frame mirrorless bodies, including the A6000, A5000 and NEX series, on which it delivers an equivalent range of 27-203mm. Compact and light but capable of quality results, find out if it's for you in my review!…

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Canon EF 24-105mm STM review so far

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The Canon EF 24-105mm f3.5-5.6 IS STM is a general-purpose 4.4x zoom designed for full-frame DSLRs. It's Canon's third 24-105mm, but the first with STM motors for smooth and quiet focusing in live view and movies. With great quality at half the price of the L version, it's a bargain!…

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Sony FE 28mm f2 review-so-far

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Sony's FE 28mm f2 is a compact and affordable wide-angle prime lens for Sony mirrorless cameras. The small size and light-weight make it a perfect companion for Sony's smaller bodies, while a pair of optional adapters transform it into a 21mm ultra-wide or 16mm Fisheye. Check out my sample images!…

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Zeiss Otus 55 1.4 extended preview/ Medium format in a 35mm body? Yes, with the right lens.

Zeiss Otus 1.4 55mm ZE

Zeiss Otus 1.4 55mm ZE

Every now and then a piece of gear appears, which changes not only the photo gear landscape and forces the competition to alter their plans, but also pushes photographers into working differently using new equipment. The Fuji X system managed to do this, with lots of people switching to this system. The Nikon D800/e had a similar effect just as Canon 5D. And so we come to the Zeiss Otus 55mm 1.4, which might also be such a game changer, although matching its qualities will be very difficult for the other lens makers.  For now let us look at the basics.

Construction

Looking at the cosmetics, the lens has a modern look, an all metal barrel and a rubber like focusing ring, which is easy to detect with your fingers when looking through the viewfinder, easy to read distance and depth of field scales. Apart from the brilliant design (it won the 2013 IF product design award) the first thing you notice is the sheer size of this prime. It is after all a standard lens. It’s not a 50mm nor a 45mm, which is in fact closer to the diagonal 43.3mm, but a 55mm, yet the size and weight is much closer to a medium format 80mm, then the standard fifties we are used to.

All of this has a reason. The Otus, with the diastagon optical construction, is a very complex lens; 12 elements in 10 groups with floating elements design. The specialists at Zeiss worked on the whole project for 3 years, but the time from starting the work to building the first prototype was just one year. According to Dr. Nasse, scientist from Carl Zeiss and one of the first people to shoot with the lens, this was possible thanks to the extensive experience in building high performance cine lenses.

zeiss otus construction

zeiss otus construction

When designing the lens, the engineers and scientists had a totally free hand, not restricted neither by size, weight nor cost. Richard Schleuning from Zeiss says this was a new approach, as normally these restrictions are a part of every project of a new lens. This time there were no compromises with just one goal in mind, the absolutely best lens for 35mm.

The diastagon is normally used for wide angle lenses, it is a more complex, but also gives a possibility of correcting both for chromatic aberrations and field curvature. Schleuning claims both of these parameters are controlled across the whole aperture spectrum, if so, this is an amazing achievement.

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