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Zeiss Otus 1.4/55 Thomas, February 2014
 
 

Zeiss Otus 55mm f1.4 sample images

The following images were taken with the Zeiss Otus 1.4/55 on a Nikon D800. Each image was recorded in RAW and converted with Lightroom 4.4/5.3 at Camera Standard settings. Reduction of lateral CA is ON, Noise-reduction is set to 0, sharpening to 70/0.5/36/10. Apart from WB no extra tone-, color-, or saturation-adjustment was used. You can click on each image to access the large original. Please respect our copyright and only use those images for personal use.

All images below were shot wide open at f1.4. Yes, all of them.

The first shot should give you an impression of the bokeh that this lens can produce wide open. The 50% crops are from the foreground, the sharpest point, and the background in the overall image and demonstrate the rendering of out-of-focus elements at closer distances (approximately 1.3m). Both foreground and background look pretty smooth. Looking at Douglas R. Hofstadter's book you can see that the black letters on the back of the book stay black even as they fade out of focus. The Nikon 58/1.4G produced some greenish coloration due to loCA.

 

Books: shot with Zeiss Otus 55/1.4 at f1.4 on a D800
Main image and all 50% crops: 55mm, f1.4, 1/60 sec, 100 ISO
 
   
foreground, f1.4, 100 ISO
 
center, f1.4, 100 ISO
  background, f1.4, 100 ISO

 

The following shot shows (again) that bokeh is pretty smooth with no green outlining of the white flowers in the background. Behind the plane of sharpest focus Bokeh develops evenly with subjects and details becoming progressively more blurred.

Flowers: shot with Zeiss Otus 55/1.4 at f1.4 on a D800
Main image and all 100% crops: 55mm, f1.4, 1/60 sec, 100 ISO
 
   
left side, f1.4, 100 ISO
 
center, f1.4, 100 ISO
  background, f1.4, 100 ISO

 

This is a pretty telling shot with regard to loCA: The Zeiss shows only little green fringing at f1.4 of the figure in the upper right background while the Nikon 58/1.4 showed some heavy green outlining even at f2.8:

Pillars: shot with Zeiss Otus 55/1.4 at f1.4 on a D800
 
Main image and all 100% crops: 55mm, f1.4, 1/1000 sec, 100 ISO

 

Is he aiming at the competition? Smooth blurring of out-of-focus areas with sharp reproduction of details in the Putto's face:

Putto: shot with Zeiss Otus 55/1.4 at f1.4 on a D800
Main image and all 100% crops: 55mm, f1.4, 1/500 sec, 100 ISO
 
   
f1.4, 1/500 sec, 100 ISO
 
f1.4, 1/500 sec, 100 ISO
  f1.4, 1/500 sec, 100 ISO

 

The texture of the metal and the pavement is faithfully reproduced even at f1.4.

Art: shot with Zeiss Otus 55/1.4 at f1.4 on a D800
Main image and all 100% crops: 55mm, f1.4, 1/125 sec, 100 ISO
 
   
f1.4, 1/125 sec, 100 ISO
 
f1.4, 1/125 sec, 100 ISO
  f1.4, 1/125 sec, 100 ISO

 

Another portrait with excellent rendering of fine details and a very pleasing transition to oof areas:

Puppet: shot with Zeiss Otus 55/1.4 at f1.4 on a D800
 
Main image and all 100% crops: 55mm, f1.4, 1/500 sec, 100 ISO

 

Not easy to manually nail the focus on this musician because he was moving frantically back-and-forth with his music:

Musician: shot with Zeiss Otus 55/1.4 at f1.4 on a D800
 
Main image and all 100% crops: 55mm, f1.4, 1/250 sec, 100 ISO

 

Extreme contrasts in this church show that the Zeiss Otus is not flawless. But still the rendering of the following scene is pretty impressive:

Angelic Salutation: shot with Zeiss Otus 55/1.4 at f1.4 on a D800
 
Main image and all 100% crops: 55mm, f1.4, 1/30 sec, 100 ISO

 

A similar setting shows that the contrast and detail in this stained glass window is faithfully reproduced:

Stained Glass Window: shot with Zeiss Otus 55/1.4 at f1.4 on a D800
 
Main image and all 100% crops: 55mm, f1.4, 1/125 sec, 100 ISO

 

From sharp detail to a blurred background: Only f1.4 on a full-frame body can give you this transition at larger distances.

Sculpture: shot with Zeiss Otus 55/1.4 at f1.4 on a D800
 
Main image and all 100% crops: 55mm, f1.4, 1/250 sec, 100 ISO

 

Specular highlights in the following scene reveal little purple and green fringing:

Little Angels: shot with Zeiss Otus 55/1.4 at f1.4 on a D800
 
Main image and all 100% crops: 55mm, f1.4, 1/2000 sec, 100 ISO

 

The Otus renders fine details even in the corners of the FX-sensor and shows little ghosting of twigs against the glaring sky:

Heilig Geist Spittal: shot with Zeiss Otus 55/1.4 at f1.4 on a D800
Main image 55mm, f1.4, 1/1000 sec, 100 ISO
 
   
f1.4, 1/1000 sec, 100 ISO
 
f1.4, 1/1000 sec, 100 ISO
  f1.4, 1/1000 sec, 100 ISO

 

Fine details, high contrast, and nice blurring of the background is the forte of the lens in the following close-up shot at f1.4:

Schoener Brunnen: shot with Zeiss Otus 55/1.4 at f1.4 on a D800
 
Main image and all 100% crops: 55mm, f1.4, 1/2000 sec, 100 ISO

 

Following is one of the most brutal tests for lenses: the sun reflecting on water. This produces extreme specular highlights which mercilessly reveal longitudinal CAs, purple fringing and coma. The Zeiss exhibits clearly less of these aberrations than the Nikon 58/1.4G although it is not free of them.

loCA and coma: shot with Zeiss Otus 55/1.4 at f1.4 on a D800
Main image and all 100% crops: 55mm, f1.4, 1/1600 sec, 100 ISO
 
   
background, f1.4, 100 ISO
 
center, f1.4, 100 ISO
  corner, f1.4, 100 ISO

 

The following night-shot is a good test for coma. The 100% crops show the effect from the right border at various apertures. The effect here looks similar to the Nikon 58/1.4G and is much smaller than with e.g. the Nikon 50/1.4G or the Sigma 50/1.4. Stepping down to f4 eliminates coma completely.

Landscape: night shot with Zeiss Otus 55/1.4 at f1.4 on a D800
Main image 55mm, f1.4, 0.8 sec, 100 ISO
 
   
f1.4, 0.8 sec, 100 ISO
 
f2.0, 1.6 sec, 100 ISO
  f4.0, 5 sec, 100 ISO

 

The final example in the gallery is the same shot as above but suitably defocussed. You can see how evenly lit the blur-circles are, how the cat's-eye effect sets in the further you look away from the optical axis, and the clipping from the mirror box at the bottom of the image:

Defocussed Landscape: night shot with Zeiss Otus 55/1.4 at f1.4 on a D800
55mm, f1.4, 0.8 sec, 100 ISO
 
 

For more examples (including at other apertures!) check out all my high-resolution Zeiss Otus 55mm f/1.4 sample images.

Now check out my verdict of the lens!
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