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Zeiss55mm f/1.4 Otus Distagon T* Lens for Nikon F Mount
 
4.9

(based on 19 reviews)

Ratings Distribution

  • 5 Stars

     

    (18)

  • 4 Stars

     

    (1)

  • 3 Stars

     

    (0)

  • 2 Stars

     

    (0)

  • 1 Stars

     

    (0)

100%

of respondents would recommend this to a friend.

Pros

  • Strong construction (11)
  • Durable (8)
  • Nice bokeh (8)
  • Consistent output (6)
  • Rugged (6)

Cons

  • Heavy (8)

Best Uses

  • Landscape/scenery (11)
  • Low light (9)
  • Night photography (8)
  • Weddings (4)
    • Reviewer Profile:
    • Photo enthusiast (8), Pro photographer (4), Semi-pro photographer (4)
    • Was this a gift?:
    • No (14)

Reviewed by 19 customers

Displaying reviews 1-19

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5.0

Awesome !!!!

By richard

from Undisclosed

Site Member

Comments about Zeiss 55mm f/1.4 Otus Distagon T* Lens for Nikon F Mount:

I should have known better - the photography magazines are filled with articles telling you to buy the lens you really want, and telling you it's costly to buy something now and change it later.  Sigh !

Anyway, without telling the world whose standard prime is no longer fronting my D810, I am now using the Otus 55m instead.  And it is SOOOOOOOOO much better - it's simply the best!

Wouldn't suit for sports photography, I imagine, because it's manual focus.  But the clarity of the images it produces and the subtlety of the colors it captures are amazing.  I'm giving it 15 out of 10 !!!!

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(8 of 11 customers found this review helpful)

 
5.0

exceeds expectations

By Russ

from Ames, Iowa

About Me Photo Enthusiast

Verified Buyer

Pros

  • Consistent Output
  • Durable
  • Great image quality
  • Nice Bokeh
  • Rugged
  • Strong Construction

Cons

  • Heavy
  • Slow Focus

Best Uses

  • Indoors/Low Light
  • Landscape/Scenery
  • Weddings/Events

Comments about Zeiss 55mm f/1.4 Otus Distagon T* Lens for Nikon F Mount:

I took a lot of images with this lens over the family Christmas gathering and was greatly impressed with the quality. When reviewing the images on the back of my D810, they appear more colorful and contrasty than my other lenses. They almost appear as if they've already been processed in lightroom. After processing the images are superb. It's a different look from my other lenses, not just the sharpness, but also the contrast and dynamic range displayed appears greater. The other lenses I'm comparing the Otus to I would consider very good lenses: nikon 85 1.4, 58mm 1.4, 24-70mm 2.8, but the Otus had me saying "look at this!" repeatedly to my wife. In the Otus there is a smoother transition between color shades and a deeper saturation. It isn't one thing, but a collection of differences that make this lens stand out.
Manual focusing at 1.4 is hard. I experimented with this and found that using the electronic focusing aid in my nikon camera can help. At close focus to about 6-8 ft I found that beginning to focus in front of the target and turning slowly until just beyond where the focus dot appears in the camera gave much more reliable focus. If I started focusing beyond the subject and turned until focus was indicated in the camera, the image was always out of focus. At longer distances, the mid portion of the focus range indicated by the focusing dot seems more reliable. I confirmed this observation with three other Zeiss lenses and manually focusing my 58mm 1.4 nikon. My other camera body, D700, behaved similarly. I was surprised the focus distance indicated on the lens could vary greatly depending on whether I acquired apparent focus coming from the front or coming from the rear toward my focus target. The Otus made this easier to detect because of it's long focus throw. I plan to take two images when using the lens at 1.4, one just beyond where the camera changes from out of focus to in focus indication when I begin the focusing action in front of the target ,and the other image in the middle of the play in the camera between where the dot appears when focusing from the rear and when focusing from the front. I also plan to purchase a DK17 magnifying eyepiece that others have recommended, but have not yet tried it. In fairness, my other 1.4 auto focus lenses also will frequently miss the focus in auto mode when wide open. Live view does reliably focus the lens if there is sufficient light.

I'm including two images. Both are shot at 1/500 sec, F1.4. I focused on Bogey's left eye (your right side). The image which is clearly sharper I achieved by starting to focus ahead of the eye, so the arrow in the camera pointed to the right when I began the focusing action. With the less sharp image I began behind Bogey and approached from the rear until the camera indicated an apparent focus (arrow in camera initially pointed to the left).

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(5 of 5 customers found this review helpful)

 
5.0

Perfection is Expensive

By Joe

from Colorado

About Me Pro Photographer

Verified Buyer

Pros

  • Consistent Output
  • Durable
  • Nice Bokeh
  • Strong Construction
  • Very High Resolution

Cons

  • Cost
  • Heavy

Best Uses

  • Indoors/Low Light
  • Landscape/Scenery
  • Night Photography
  • Video
  • Weddings/Events

Comments about Zeiss 55mm f/1.4 Otus Distagon T* Lens for Nikon F Mount:

I purchased the Zeiss 55mm f1.4 Otus lens to use on my Nikon D810. I have found that many lenses are not up to the performance of this camera's 36 megapixel sensor. Test images with a lens resolution target show that this lens is capable of outperforming the sensor. It is even close to the sensor's performance at f1.4 (wide open). Nice job, Zeiss. In order to achieve consistent maximum performance, focus has to be done through the rear LCD screen in Live-View mode with the aid of a magnifying loop. This may be more effort than some photographers are willing to use, but I think it's worth it when reviewing the startling images. If manual focus isn't your thing, then you might consider the Sigma Art lenses. In my opinion, they are the next best choice, have auto-focus but are not quite as sharp as the Zeiss Otus series.

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  • No

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(14 of 14 customers found this review helpful)

 
5.0

It's real

By geecheeboy

from Charleston, SC

About Me Photo Enthusiast

Verified Reviewer

Comments about Zeiss 55mm f/1.4 Otus Distagon T* Lens for Nikon F Mount:

As a two-system user for many years (currently Leica M9 and Nikon D810), I was used to using each system for what it did best. Nikon excelled when I needed AF, telephoto, zoom, or macro, Leica when those did not apply and I just wanted the best possible (i.e., most realistic) image quality. Except for a few special lenses (200 Micro, 200/2, etc), The Nikon lenses were clearly send-tier, in my opinion, to Leica M lenses. The Zeiss for Nikon lenses were sometimes great (21/2.8, 100/2), but there was nothing outstanding near 50 mm.

This lens has changed that, and how! The D810 images shot with this lens now bear a close resemblance to M9 images shot with a 50 Summilux ASPH (except it's 36 MPX!). Clearly this lens is not for everybody, most don't need it, some even like to ridicule it (and it's purchasers) because of the price, but believe me, it's a stunning leap forward for what's available in F mount.

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(4 of 4 customers found this review helpful)

 
5.0

My best lens

By Vlad Sava

from Kiev, Ukraine

About Me Photo Enthusiast

Pros

  • Consistent Output
  • Durable
  • Nice Bokeh
  • Strong Construction

Cons

  • Heavy

Best Uses

  • Indoors/Low Light
  • Landscape/Scenery
  • Night Photography
  • Video
  • Weddings/Events

Comments about Zeiss 55mm f/1.4 Otus Distagon T* Lens for Nikon F Mount:

This lens is amazing. After shooting it for a week the photos from other pro Nikon lenses look simply "not as great". The quality and details are stunning. Yes, it's big, it's heavy, it's manual and quite expensive, but the picture quality and look is worth this spend. Using it together with my d810 I'm very close to medium format.

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  • No

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(13 of 13 customers found this review helpful)

 
5.0

Stunning

By TeeCee

from New York

About Me Pro Photographer

Pros

  • Durable
  • Rugged

Cons

    Best Uses

      Comments about Zeiss 55mm f/1.4 Otus Distagon T* Lens for Nikon F Mount:

      Everything about this lens is as advertised. If you know what you want to do with this lens and can cope with its "drawbacks" (manual focus, bulky, heavy, significant 270-turning radius), you will find no finer 35MM lens. It simply blows away Nikon's best--across the board. In the first shoot that I used it, I was able to deploy it in a situation where I would normally use the 70-200 2.8. At about 40 feet from the subjects, it captured greater resolution, superb color rendition and next to zero chromatic aberration. If you don't believe me, go to the B+H counter and take one demo shot with it. Stunning.

      • Was this a gift?:
      • No

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      (6 of 6 customers found this review helpful)

       
      5.0

      The Pinnacle of Zeiss zf Lenses

      By Giant Tristan

      from Stamford CT

      About Me Photo Enthusiast

      Verified Reviewer

      Pros

      • Rugged
      • Strong Construction

      Cons

      • Heavy

      Best Uses

      • Landscape/Scenery
      • Night Photography

      Comments about Zeiss 55mm f/1.4 Otus Distagon T* Lens for Nikon F Mount:

      I own already Zeiss zf 25/2, 35/2 and 100/2 and they are my most used lenses on the Nikon 800. I was pleasantly surprised that the Otus 55/1.4 is in many respects even better than my other Zeiss lenses.
      Notably, the excellent sharpnes wide open over the entire FOV, the very smooth transition from in-focus to out-of-focus parts of the image, plus the beautiful color rendering. Manual Focus is quite easy due to the wide throw of the focus ring - I have clibrated the focus confirmation indicator, and I have no problems getting tack sharp picture when hand holding.

      I use this lens mainly for landscape, for architecture and for general photography.

      I believe the lens is best at medium and far distances. For close-ups and bokeh I prefer the zf 100/2.

      • Was this a gift?:
      • No

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      (2 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

       
      5.0

      Big but beautiful

      By Camerahead

      from Singapore

      Comments about Zeiss 55mm f/1.4 Otus Distagon T* Lens for Nikon F Mount:

      Huge lens with equally hugely excellent performance - sharp even wide open but I'm experiencing some field curvature.

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      (6 of 6 customers found this review helpful)

       
      5.0

      55mm f/1.4 Otus

      By CUBYDC

      from Corolla, NC

      About Me Semi-pro Photographer

      Verified Buyer

      Pros

      • Consistent Output
      • Durable
      • Strong Construction

      Cons

      • Heavy

      Best Uses

      • Indoors/Low Light
      • Landscape/Scenery
      • Night Photography

      Comments about Zeiss 55mm f/1.4 Otus Distagon T* Lens for Nikon F Mount:

      This lens is amazingly sharp throughout its f stop range. I test each new lens for its sweet spot for maximum resolution. This one is sweet throughout. Paired with a Nikon D800E, it gives even better results than the Makro-Planar 2/100 ZF.2. Recent application in dark recesses of a restored historical fort were very satisfying.

      • Was this a gift?:
      • No

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      (5 of 5 customers found this review helpful)

       
      5.0

      Built like a tank

      By Stechert

      from Brooklyn

      Comments about Zeiss 55mm f/1.4 Otus Distagon T* Lens for Nikon F Mount:

      So sharp, even when wide open, that it shows itself best on high megapixel bodies like the D800e or D810. Manual only operation makes it best suited to studio work.

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      (12 of 23 customers found this review helpful)

       
      5.0

      Absolutely the Best Lens for a DSLR

      By Jake

      from Chicago, IL

      About Me Semi-pro Photographer

      Pros

      • Beautiful Detail
      • Consistent Output
      • Nice Bokeh
      • Sharp
      • Strong Construction

      Cons

        Best Uses

        • Indoors/Low Light
        • Landscape/Scenery
        • Macro Photography
        • Night Photography

        Comments about Zeiss 55mm f/1.4 Otus Distagon T* Lens for Nikon F Mount:

        This lens is beyond anything I have ever used for Nikon. It gives a whole new perspective as to what I thought a sharp lens was. The contrast is superb; the detail is magnificent; the color renditions are flawless. The Bokeh is buttery-smooth wide-open and just melts away any background to isolate your subject with incredible clarity.

        I use this lens mostly for portrait and landscape work, but it is so ridiculously sharp that I can even crop tight enough for some macro-like shooting as well, while still retaining amazing detail.

        • Was this a gift?:
        • Yes

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        (2 of 14 customers found this review helpful)

         
        4.0

        Worth the Wait

        By Hobbit

        from Fairfield County, CT

        About Me Photo Enthusiast

        Verified Buyer

        Pros

        • Durable
        • Rugged
        • Strong Construction

        Cons

        • Difficult to focus
        • Heavy
        • Long Wait To Get

        Best Uses

        • Landscape/Scenery
        • Night Photography

        Comments about Zeiss 55mm f/1.4 Otus Distagon T* Lens for Nikon F Mount:

        Use it with a Nikon 800e. Mainly for general photography. Somewhat difficult to focus with 800e.

        • Was this a gift?:
        • No

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        (13 of 17 customers found this review helpful)

         
        5.0

        Big !

        By DCFOTO

        from Washington DC

        About Me Semi-pro Photographer

        Verified Buyer

        Pros

        • Nice Bokeh
        • Rugged
        • Strong Construction

        Cons

        • Heavy

        Best Uses

        • Indoors/Low Light
        • Night Photography

        Comments about Zeiss 55mm f/1.4 Otus Distagon T* Lens for Nikon F Mount:

        This lense performs as advertised. It is very sharp wide open at 1.4 with just a few small hints of CAs... but beware that it is also very hard to see the focus point with the standard optical viewfinders found in today's SLRs such as the Nikon 800s or the Canon 5D3s.

        This is a must lens if you work mostly near F1.4 but not so if you shoot F5.6 to F16 as the difference between this stellar piece of glass and another less expensive but premium design will quickly vaporize.

        The lens is way too large to use with EVF cameras like the Sony A7R and for me it is not a lens that I would use to shoot street scenes. Perfect for the studio and tripod work!

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        • No

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        (10 of 19 customers found this review helpful)

         
        5.0

        Amazing optics, but...

        By Chia-Ming Yang

        from Hengchun county, Taiwan

        About Me Photo Enthusiast

        Verified Reviewer

        Pros

        • Best Overall Optics

        Cons

        • Suboptimal Cosmetics

        Best Uses

        • Just Not For Action

        Comments about Zeiss 55mm f/1.4 Otus Distagon T* Lens for Nikon F Mount:

        I'm the lucky one for owning this gem since this February. The image quality is second to none. I was not a lover of "normal lenses" before, but now I definitely am. The size of this lens doesn't bother me at all(I only used other ZF lenses in the past years), and should not bother others who were used to pro zoom lenses. However, the cosmetic details are not at the same level. Just out of the box, there's a scratch on the lens cap. The marking filling of the depth of field was uneven due to some dust particles. The most obvious defect was a small area(about 0.5 x 0.5cm) of the lens shade contaminated by white painting(though I could clean it just by nail). Maybe I'm just nitpicking, but I do expect a better quality control and detail from this premium price. No doubt this lens deserves five stars for its optical performance. But I wound minus half a star just because its cosmetic defects.

        • Was this a gift?:
        • No

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        (9 of 9 customers found this review helpful)

         
        5.0

        Believe the hype

        By Vil

        from Dubai

        About Me Semi-pro Photographer

        Verified Reviewer

        Pros

        • Consistent Output
        • Nice Bokeh
        • Strong Construction

        Cons

          Best Uses

          • Landscape/Scenery
          • Portraits

          Comments about Zeiss 55mm f/1.4 Otus Distagon T* Lens for Nikon F Mount:

          After four months of high anticipation and waiting, the otus finally arrived. When you open the box, the size of otus needs to be seen in person to realize just how big it is. It is roughly the same size as the Nikon 24-70mm, but with a fatter barrel. The focus ring is smooth as reported by many, and with enough resistance to limit any further movement when you've hit focus. I'm on the fence with the rubber ring, as it attracts dirt from dusty hands, especially when you're out in the field. Apart from that I'm extremely happy with the images. Large aperture can produce an extremely thin DOF, and the out of focus area is just millimeteres apart. Images from this are crisp and sharp. Focusing is not too bad with the D800E, which aleviated one of my earlier concerns with this lense.

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          • No

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          (9 of 10 customers found this review helpful)

           
          5.0

          Hard to beat

          By Bernardl

          from Tokyo, Japan

          About Me Photo Enthusiast

          Verified Reviewer

          Pros

          • Durable
          • Nice Bokeh
          • Remarkable Image Quality

          Cons

          • Heavy
          • Poorly Weather Proofed

          Best Uses

          • Landscape/Scenery

          Comments about Zeiss 55mm f/1.4 Otus Distagon T* Lens for Nikon F Mount:

          I have been using one on my D800 for about 2 months. Just love the lens. It of course excellent on tripod where I do lost of stitching, but does also well hand held where I have a surprisingly high number of well focused images.I have experienced some issues with condensation inside the lens after if came back inside following a cold shooting session where the lens got wet with snow. It may be wise to take special care in such circumstances. this is just one thing to be aware of.

          • Was this a gift?:
          • No

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          (14 of 21 customers found this review helpful)

           
          5.0

          This Lens Delivers

          By RAG

          from Florence, SC

          About Me Photo Enthusiast

          Verified Buyer

          Pros

          • Durable
          • Strong Construction

          Cons

            Best Uses

            • Indoors/Low Light
            • Landscape/Scenery

            Comments about Zeiss 55mm f/1.4 Otus Distagon T* Lens for Nikon F Mount:

            I compared this lens to a Nikon 58mm f/1.4 and a Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8 set at 52mm using a D800E on a tripod with ISO 100 1/1.3 sec f5.6 and at ISO 1600 1/20 sec f5.6. All at a distance of about 10 feet. When I zoomed in on the images and subjectively analyzed them the Zeiss lens seemed about 15% sharper than the 58mm and 10% sharper than the 24-70mm set at 52mm. I sure would like to have auto-focus, but the manual focus is smooth and feels substantial.

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            • No

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            (17 of 38 customers found this review helpful)

             
            5.0

            Tested this lens against a medium format

            By Jilm

            from Brooklyn, NYC

            About Me Pro Photographer

            Verified Reviewer

            Pros

            • Considered Every Aspect
            • Extremely Sharp

            Cons

            • Obviously Price

            Best Uses

            • Indoors/Low Light
            • Studio

            Comments about Zeiss 55mm f/1.4 Otus Distagon T* Lens for Nikon F Mount:

            Tested this lens on a D800E against an IQ180 mounted to a RZ ProllD, with a 90mm lens. The Zeiss Otus / D800E were able to hold their own against the goliath medium format system. I am in full agreement with Zeiss's claims on this lens, a new higher standard had been achieved.

            • Was this a gift?:
            • No

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            (43 of 61 customers found this review helpful)

             
            5.0

            Groundbreaking

            By Amudgarden

            from Phoenix, MD

            About Me Pro Photographer

            Verified Reviewer

            Pros

            • Easily Interchangeable
            • Nice Bokeh
            • Rugged
            • Strong Construction

            Cons

              Best Uses

              • Indoors/Low Light
              • Landscape/Scenery
              • Night Photography
              • Weddings/Events

              Comments about Zeiss 55mm f/1.4 Otus Distagon T* Lens for Nikon F Mount:

              Just received the lens today from B&H, and have only taken a few shots with it, so this review is based on very limited experience.That said, what experience I have with the lens has been unlike that of any other DSLR lens I've used. Right out of the box, the lens look and feels like a medium format lens: big, heavy, and sturdy. Mounted on the camera (a D800E), it makes the camera significantly front-heavy.Focusing the lens is not unlike every other Zeiss lens I've used. The focus ring moves as smooth as warm butter, and sturdy enough to make perfectly precise adjustments.The images I produced with this camera were very impressive, even though it was only a few shots. It gives the image that soft, subtly contrasty "Leica look", which is the trademark of most lenses of the highest quality. Detail is superb...very sharp but not overly crispy or harsh. The image I posted with this review was shot at f/1.4. My focus target was the nose of the cat. If you look closely, you will see that, while the nose is in focus, the eyes are already outside the circle. Fully opened up, the lens has a razor thin depth of field, without any noticeable image degradation, distortion or vignetting as you approach the corners of the lens. Even though it's not an ideal length for portrait photography, I will most definitely give it some use in portraits...I am very enthusiastic about how it will perform in rendering faces outdoors in moderate lighting (i.e. sunsets). I wanted to wait until I shot more with the camera before writing a review, as I can only attest to how it renders a cat in low indoor lighting. But, even in this limited testing, the lens clearly shows me that it's on a totally different level than any other DSLR lens I've used. It's not cheap, but if it fits in your budget, it is very much worth the investment.

              • Was this a gift?:
              • No

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