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Thread: Zeiss Otus--I guess I've gone truly insane...

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    Zeiss Otus--I guess I've gone truly insane...

    ...or maybe GAS has overwhelmed me, but, after never falling in love with my Sony 24-105/4 midlength lens, this week I bought a couple Zeiss Otus lenses, a 55- and 85/1.4, for use with my 'R4.. The 55 is here, while the 85 is supposed to be here, but even FedEx's 1-day-by-10:30AM service in NOT working well this week.. Bought both from B&H, used, so I didn't have to spend TOO TOO much, just TOO much*.. The 55 works very well with my Metabones-5 smart adapter except that the manual-focus magnification doesn't turn on automatically when the focus ring is moved.. I have a couple Sigma MC-11s coming; maybe they'll work better.

    All the pics I shot last nite coming home from FedEx were at F1.4, ISO800, and handheld; except that I was using my default full-electronic shutter which produced some banding in some shots, all pics looked far better than I thought they would.. (I found no difficulty manually focusing this 4.5-pound combination while handholding, something mentioned in at least one review I read.) The lens is heavy and large, but I never felt that the body and lens were too heavy, as I did with my 4.8-pound Panasonic S1R and Leica 24-90..

    The images have more of the Zeiss aliveness than I expected.

    Still waiting for the 85.

    * but I'm NOT spending the rent or mortgage money!
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    Re: Zeiss Otus--I guess I've gone truly insane...

    Peter Coulson ,fashion photographer ,uses those two OTUS lenses with his Sony A7R 3 . You can definitely see the image quality . I ve not seen anyone complain about the OTUS not being all that good . Its always the size and weight issue .

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    Re: Zeiss Otus--I guess I've gone truly insane...

    Definitely a couple of sweet lenses!

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    Re: Zeiss Otus--I guess I've gone truly insane...

    Quote Originally Posted by glenerrolrd View Post
    Peter Coulson ,fashion photographer ,uses those two OTUS lenses with his Sony A7R 3 . You can definitely see the image quality . I ve not seen anyone complain about the OTUS not being all that good . Its always the size and weight issue .
    Pete shoots mainly with Hasselblad ...
    Last edited by PeterA; 20th December 2019 at 14:25.

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    Re: Zeiss Otus--I guess I've gone truly insane...

    I'm sticking with my Nikon f1.8 G lenses

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    The 85 arrived this afternoon--late and at my neighbor's house.

    I guess FedEx is really slipping.

    The 85 looks as new as the 55 and shoots as well, too.. I'm happy.
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    Re: Zeiss Otus--I guess I've gone truly insane...

    And everything still fits in the rolling bag.
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    Re: Zeiss Otus--I guess I've gone truly insane...

    You should be aware that the 55mm does have some curvature so if you need flat field then shooting at f5.6 or beyond is a must and focusing about a quarter in from one of the edges is helpful.

    Victor
    Last edited by vjbelle; 21st December 2019 at 05:51.

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    Re: Zeiss Otus--I guess I've gone truly insane...

    Congrats on the two lenses, I'm sure they're in good hands and am looking forward to the results here.

    Just a question for interest, did you ever test the Sony 55/1.8 "CZ"? When it was just released some people called it a "mini-Otus" so I would be interested if you can make a real-life comparison.
    Last edited by pegelli; 21st December 2019 at 11:37.

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    Re: Zeiss Otus--I guess I've gone truly insane...

    Quote Originally Posted by PeterA View Post
    Pete shoots mainly with Hasselblad ...
    Not any more . I was with him in NYC in OCT and he was shooting the Sony A7R 3 and the OTUS 55/85 . He told me it was his go to system now. I know he has been a HB spokesperson and still uses them in his studio. He used to specify which system he was using on his instagram posts .

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    Re: Zeiss Otus--I guess I've gone truly insane...

    Quote Originally Posted by pegelli View Post
    Victor, congrats on the two lenses, I'm sure they're in good hands and am looking forward to the results here.

    Just a question for interest, did you ever test the Sony 55/1.8 "CZ"? When it was just released some people called it a "mini-Otus" so I would be interested if you can make a real-life comparison.
    If this was intended for the OP, that's me.
    1. TYVM; I'll try to create some good results.
    2. Never tried the Sony 55/1.8 CZ.

    These two clearly indicate the rez this 85/'R4 system has.. The first is the full frame resized to 1504* pixels wide; second is a 100% crop...handheld, F5.6; the 'R4's IBIS really works.

    * 1504 is 9504 with the 9 changed to 1; it's my new, lazy way of downsizing images to '1500' pixels wide.
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    Re: Zeiss Otus--I guess I've gone truly insane...

    Quote Originally Posted by jeffreybehr View Post
    If this was intended for the OP, that's me.
    I'm sorry, didn't look far enough up

    Anyway, from what youy're posting these lenses really shine on the Riv

    In case anybody else has any real world data (not urban legends) of the Sony 55 vs. the Otus 55 I'd be interested.

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    Re: Zeiss Otus--I guess I've gone truly insane...

    Quote Originally Posted by pegelli View Post
    I'm sorry, didn't look far enough up

    Anyway, from what youy're posting these lenses really shine on the Riv

    In case anybody else has any real world data (not urban legends) of the Sony 55 vs. the Otus 55 I'd be interested.
    The Otus is better is the short answer but the 55/1.8 is still great optically and less than 1/4 the price new. Like most premium items in life, thereís a point where one can weigh cost to performance to see the potential value of going in a different direction (and getting similar but not quite the same performance) but objectively speaking the Otus is optically superior.
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    Re: Zeiss Otus--I guess I've gone truly insane...

    The Sony 55/1.8 isn t remotely comparable in image quality to the Otus 55/1.4 . Last month a friend an I went to Old Car City near Atlanta ..to test the new Sony 7R 4 and a few Zeiss Batis and Sony lenses . I have plenty of OTUS and Leica files to compare . The OTUS is still the reference lens for best image quality . The Leica SL primes are just as good but with a different aesthetic .

    The Sony is a decent but not great lens ...but its small ,light ,with excellent AF and inexpensive (by comparison ) . Its not built particularly well and has reported plenty of sample variation . The OTUS is entirely different ...its huge ,expensive ,manual focus and without compromise ..built like a tank .

    In between the OTUS and the Sony 55/1.8 you have many alternatives ....the Zeiss Batus lenses are terrific ,good AF but larger and heavier , the Zeiss Loxia are also excellent ,small and built tough BUT manual focus , and the Sony G lenses are also excellent but larger, heavier and more expensive .

    As always it depends on what you shoot , how much you want to spend and how important size /weight are to you .

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    Re: Zeiss Otus--I guess I've gone truly insane...

    Thanks guys, the reason for asking is that on DXO mark "standard prime" list it's in 3rd place (DXO mark score) only behind the Sigma 85/1.4 and the Sony GM 85/1.4 and ahead of the Loxia 50/2 and all the Milvus lenses. Just looking at sharpness it's in 4th place, again ahead of most Zeiss's (except the Sony/Zeiss 50/1.4). But unfortunately the OTUS isn't in their database.

    But I realise DXO doesn't tell the full story, any links to some good field test/comparisons that you know of? I've googled a bit but came up empty.
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    Re: Zeiss Otus--I guess I've gone truly insane...

    Quote Originally Posted by glenerrolrd View Post
    The Sony 55/1.8 isn t remotely comparable in image quality to the Otus 55/1.4 . Last month a friend an I went to Old Car City near Atlanta ..to test the new Sony 7R 4 and a few Zeiss Batis and Sony lenses . I have plenty of OTUS and Leica files to compare . The OTUS is still the reference lens for best image quality . The Leica SL primes are just as good but with a different aesthetic .

    The Sony is a decent but not great lens ...but its small ,light ,with excellent AF and inexpensive (by comparison ) . Its not built particularly well and has reported plenty of sample variation . The OTUS is entirely different ...its huge ,expensive ,manual focus and without compromise ..built like a tank .

    In between the OTUS and the Sony 55/1.8 you have many alternatives ....the Zeiss Batus lenses are terrific ,good AF but larger and heavier , the Zeiss Loxia are also excellent ,small and built tough BUT manual focus , and the Sony G lenses are also excellent but larger, heavier and more expensive .

    As always it depends on what you shoot , how much you want to spend and how important size /weight are to you .
    Maybe I have a ďgood copyĒ but my 55/1.8 is every bit as good as (and probably better) optically as the Batis lenses. I still own the 85 Batis and owned the excellent 25 until last year. Iíve used both the 18 and the 135 but not the 40. The 55/1.8 is comparable, at minimum, and better (again at least my copy) than all of the Batis lenses Iíve tried. The biggest benefit of the Batis lenses is maybe superior video performance (less focus breathing and smoother AF). The Loxia is an excellent len as well but the 55 can easily resolve more detail when comparing the 50 Loxia to the 55/1.8. Iíll say that my copy of the 55 is good enough that I sold my 50 Lux FLE without ANY reservations. Iím not saying itís better in every way... but I objectively didnít see a point to keeping the 50 Lux FLE (and I still believe that itís an excellent lens in every which way).

    So I wouldnít personally go hyperbolic on descriptions. Theyíre all great lenses. I canít speak for sample variation. Iíve owned the same copy since December 2013 and didnít bother with brick walls. I just used the lens in real world situations.
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    After using the Otus 85 for a few days, I'm afraid its weight...

    ...of 2.95 pounds including Sigma adapter (the way I'd use it) is just too much and makes my 'R4 feel like the excellent-but-too-heavy Panasonic S1R and Leica 24-90 in my hand.. I'll be returning it to B&H and will keep the Batis 85 instead.

    So the Sony 24-105/4 will go and be replaced by the Otus 55 and Batis 85.. My keepers then become the Sony 16-35GM, Otus 55, Batis 85, and Canon 70-200/4/L/USM plus 1.4 (III) extender (AKA the Canon 98-280) plus the VERY excellent Canon TS-E 50mm Macro.. Everything fits in my ThinkTank Airport Roller; it now weighs 28 pounds, two more than its recent lightest.
    Last edited by jeffreybehr; 25th December 2019 at 10:41.

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    Re: Zeiss Otus--I guess I've gone truly insane...

    Quote Originally Posted by glenerrolrd View Post
    Not any more . I was with him in NYC in OCT and he was shooting the Sony A7R 3 and the OTUS 55/85 . He told me it was his go to system now. I know he has been a HB spokesperson and still uses them in his studio. He used to specify which system he was using on his instagram posts .

    Here is Peter Coulson camera bag content:

    https://shotkit.com/peter-coulson/
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    Re: Zeiss Otus--I guess I've gone truly insane...

    I am sure we each evaluate lenses with a great deal of subjective criteria . There are plenty of excellent lens review sites that can provide MTF charts and comments on resolution tests . I look more at the overall aesthetic produced which depends on micro contrast ,color and how a lens renders out of focus areas . The best lenses all create a terrific look and its obvious (at least to me ) .

    My conclusions are of course subjective and personal .

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    Re: Zeiss Otus--I guess I've gone truly insane...

    3D-KRAFT tested some 50mm lenses including OTUS 55mm.
    http://3d-kraft.com/index.php?option...id=40&Itemid=2
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    Re: Zeiss Otus--I guess I've gone truly insane...

    Quote Originally Posted by B L View Post
    3D-KRAFT tested some 50mm lenses including OTUS 55mm.
    http://3d-kraft.com/index.php?option...id=40&Itemid=2
    Iíd say my personal experience was about 100% in line with this test.
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    Workshop Member glenerrolrd's Avatar
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    Re: Zeiss Otus--I guess I've gone truly insane...

    Those are very poor examples of what the Leica Noctilux and Summilux can produce . I am dropping out of this thread ...I ve done my research ,tested the actual lenses and stand by my conclusions . Your experience may be different .

    I look at my images at 200% on a 5K iMac for resolution and full screen for aesthetic . Not sure how the tester could make the color so far off and claim to be relevant evaluations . Take a look at Diglloyd s tests if you want to see real comparisons that you can evaluate .

    Keep in mind I am not saying the Sony lenses isn t a good choice ..size,native AF ,cost ,balance on camera ..all big pluses . But its not nearly as close on IQ (to the OTUS) as that test implies .

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    Re: Zeiss Otus--I guess I've gone truly insane...

    I don't have (and never tested) a Noctilux or Summilux so can't comment on those results. I only have an old Summicron 50 (1958 "Dual Range") that I will not choose for sharpness but for the (very subjective) lovely smooth rendering and fall-off that's special and can't be reproduced with any other nifty 50 that I have or have used.

    On the other hand in the linked test I can clearly see how the Otus in both sharpness (detail and microcontrast) and field curvature beats the Sony/Zeiss 55 but in these examples the more subjective rendering I can't see too much difference. Only the bokeh at 1.4 for the Otus is a bit smoother than at 1.8 for the Sony/Zeiss but I think that's just 2/3 stop more dof.

    And as in every test you shouldn't take it as an absolute, it's just another datapoint among many. Methods and results differ between tests, even when only test charts are involved and even more, like in this case, when live scenes are taken.

    Anyway, I value all the information provided by all in this thread, so thanks!

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    Re: Zeiss Otus--I guess I've gone truly insane...

    Quote Originally Posted by pegelli View Post
    I don't have (and never tested) a Noctilux or Summilux so can't comment on those results. I only have an old Summicron 50 (1958 "Dual Range") that I will not choose for sharpness but for the (very subjective) lovely smooth rendering and fall-off that's special and can't be reproduced with any other nifty 50 that I have or have used.

    On the other hand in the linked test I can clearly see how the Otus in both sharpness (detail and microcontrast) and field curvature beats the Sony/Zeiss 55 but in these examples the more subjective rendering I can't see too much difference. Only the bokeh at 1.4 for the Otus is a bit smoother than at 1.8 for the Sony/Zeiss but I think that's just 2/3 stop more dof.

    And as in every test you shouldn't take it as an absolute, it's just another datapoint among many. Methods and results differ between tests, even when only test charts are involved and even more, like in this case, when live scenes are taken.

    Anyway, I value all the information provided by all in this thread, so thanks!
    I don’t have extensive experience with a Noctilux. I’ve used one on exactly two separate occasions. It’s a great lens without a doubt but it does cover a niche. The Summilux I owned....

    I agree with Roger in the sense that these aren’t the best representation of that lens as it looks like it was misfocused in some shots. When I did my own tests they were with the Summilux being used on my own on the M9’s and not on a Sony but the ultimate conclusion was the samee. The 55/1.8 (at least the one I personally own) was just as good if not better at the pixel level as it applies to sharpness across the frame (whether used on the original A7 or the A7R). I understand that the Sony had more resolution than the M9 but I wanted to put each lens in their optimal setting for my usage. Maybe my test wasn't the most scientific but it applied to how I’d use each lens. The 50 Summilux is less than optimal on an unmodified Sony... whether that’s because of lens design or not is an argument for another day but in general I had much better luck with Zeiss and Voigtlander M lenses (regardless of focal length) on Sony than Leica lenses FWIW. I don’t know if it’s a matter of Leica having Aspherical lenses which creates a different ray angle or lack of profile. In any case you will have less headache by using them on M cameras if you build your system around them... if you just want the Leica look... invest in R lenses (or SLR lenses in general).

    Again to answer your original question and as you can see the Otus has something special going on with it. Whether the increased cost and size is worth it is subjective. Few people complain about it optically though. Those that do usually just realize it’s not the lens for them. Nothing wrong with either decision and at this level of quality we are all really nitpicking. A great photo can be taken with any of these lenses when given their ideal environment to shine. I think that fact gets lost when trying to contrast the differences between lenses for common (I hesitate to use the word normal) usage. In an effort to highlight what is largely subtle, but real, optical differences between premium lenses I believe that it’s human nature to ”color” the commentary comparative and superlative words in an effort to bring about the points. Again there are differences that are in fact real but how much they matter is in fact subjective to the individual user. What I personally can appreciate about sites like DXO is that they can present data with minimal conjecture... but what I dislike about those sites is that it leads to fanboyism for the ignorant (in the truest sense of the word that just means unknowing) that may not understand or consider the nuances of the data and how it may or may not be a benefit for some photography... but this is the age of the internet and subsequently arguments must be made.
    Last edited by iiiNelson; 27th December 2019 at 08:04.
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    Re: Zeiss Otus--I guess I've gone truly insane...

    Okay, this is embarrassing. I have the three Otus 28/55/85 lenses that I used on all my most recent Nikons before switching over to the Sony. I just assumed I would be selling them, because . . . well, that's why it's embarrassing. But now I've got to get that Metabones adapter and see what's what.

    Granted, my primary reason for switching to Sony was to get a system better suited to wildlife and lightweight travel, when I didn't need anything MF or it was too bulky/slow to use, and with better AF/Eye/Wildlife than the Z7—though occasionally I still miss the AF on my D850. So, I would not be inclined to haul the Otus lenses around very often, but it would still be nice to have the option. Also, I am going to have to compare the Voigt 50/2 Lanthar with the Otus. Just to see.

    Addendum: As I started to look more thoroughly, I came across this Commlite adapter. Seems like it would permit me to use a number of my lenses on the A7r iv. Anyone have experience with it?
    Last edited by drunkenspyder; 3rd January 2020 at 10:07.

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    Re: Zeiss Otus--I guess I've gone truly insane...


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    Re: Zeiss Otus--I guess I've gone truly insane...

    I use a commlite (or clone) with the Nikkor 24mm 1.8 lens. Focus, readout, and exif data all work great. I had used it in the past with the 300 f2.8 and it also worked well. I use it on the a7rii, btw.

    Joel

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    Re: Zeiss Otus--I guess I've gone truly insane...

    I have a hard time believing Otus lenses are worth the money considering their size, weight and cost. Not to mention lack of autofocus.

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    Re: Zeiss Otus--I guess I've gone truly insane...

    Quote Originally Posted by DougDolde View Post
    I have a hard time believing Otus lenses are worth the money considering their size, weight and cost. Not to mention lack of autofocus.
    I too used to think that...until I tried a couple.. While the 85 proved too heavy for my weight-restricted right shoulder, the 55 is a keeper for me.

    PS. I'm keeping my Batis 85.

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    Re: Zeiss Otus--I guess I've gone truly insane...

    Quote Originally Posted by DougDolde View Post
    I have a hard time believing Otus lenses are worth the money considering their size, weight and cost. Not to mention lack of autofocus.
    Dear Doug, I heard someone say big is beautiful.

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    Re: Zeiss Otus--I guess I've gone truly insane...

    Quote Originally Posted by SrMphoto View Post
    Here is Peter Coulson camera bag content:

    https://shotkit.com/peter-coulson/
    Jeez I spent a whole day with him in NYC in OCT . We talked at length about HB and Sony both about equipment but also about the companies themselves . He is a HB ambassador and surely doesn t want to say anything negative about their gear . But he demonstrated how he uses the Sony for several shooting scenarios and he is quite pleased with what he can accomplish . He still has a complete set of HB gear for his studio but when he is on the road ..his go to kit is the Sony A7R 3 and the Zeiss OTUS Lenses 55/85/105 .

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