Bold Claims, Sharp Optics
Zeiss makes the bold claim, based on its internal MTF optical bench tests results, that the Otus 55mm f/1.4 is the best standard lens ever made by Zeiss and is the best standard lens currently available. Let's take a closer look at these claims.
First, while most lens image quality varies based on the chosen aperture, the Zeiss Otus 55mm f/1.4 is said to offer the same high quality and maximum sharpness and contrast at f/1.4 as it does at f/5.6 or f/8. So, this lens can be used wide open and still show maximu image quality.
The lens has 12 elements in 10 groups, with a modern floating element design and T Anti-reflex multi-layer coating. Overall, Zeiss says the lens's performance is comparable to medium format lenses.
The lens barrel is made of high-quality metal alloy and has a rubber focus ring (the lens is manual focus only) that rotates 248 degrees-that's a good amount of rotation that will make a difference when focusing at maximum aperture where depth of field is super shallow. There's a 9-blade iris and Zeiss says it produces pleasing, "organic" bokeh. The lens accomodates 77mm filters.
The Otus 55mm f/1.4 is a pro tool that Zeiss believes will be embraced by studio, wedding, commercial and even architecture photographers.
The ultimate in image contrast
Aberrations caused by extreme differences between shadows and highlights are particularly obvious in images captured at night. Thanks to the outstanding correction of lateral chromatic aberration, the floodlit facade is reproduced with absolute perfection.
No colour fringing
Sources of light located in front of or behind the plane of focus present particular challenges to every lens. In the case of the ZEISS Otus, longitudinalchromatic aberration is so low that practically no colour fringing occurs.
The medium format look
Thanks to its exceptional sharpness, the ZEISS Otus exploits the full potentials of contemporary high-resolution sensors and rewards photographers with images characterised by breathtaking rendition of even the finest details.
The aspherical lens design ensures consistent imaging performance throughout theentire focusing range as well as sharpness to the periphery of the image. The asphere's more complex surface profile can reduce or eliminate spherical aberration and also reduce other optical aberrations compared to a simple lens.