Canon EOS-1D X, Carl Zeiss Otus 1.4/85 ZE, 1/2000, F2.8, ISO 100, Photo by A.Inden

Carl Zeiss Otus 1.4/85

[Zoom] Wide-zoom | Standard-zoom | Tele-zoom | High-zoom
[Fixed-focal] Wide angle | Standard | Telephoto | Macro

It's called the Otus 1.4/85 ZE and this is the second lens in Carl Zeiss's prime Otus series. It generously uses expensive glasses and it's heavy. And, it's a manual focusing lens. While it may not appeal to those who value usability and cost performance, it definitely attracts enthusiasts. But, I'm sure everyone will be mesmerized by the phenomenal image quality. (Check out our shooting report of the Nikon mount version as well)

( Photography : A.Inden / Text : 48 )

Canon EOS-1D X, Carl Zeiss Otus 1.4/85 ZE, 1/2000, F1.4, ISO 100, Photo by A.Inden

Image quality beyond description

It's so sharp that I can even count sand grinds. The 3D quality makes the subject pop up and the resolution is wonderful. The bokeh is smooth front and back. The tonal gradation is so rich and smooth. The color reproduction is fantastic. And, it's so clear. Hmm, I still need to add, but it's hard to describe in words.

Canon EOS-1D X, Carl Zeiss Otus 1.4/85 ZE, 1/1000, F1.4, ISO 100, Photo by A.Inden

The Otus series is all about the best image quality. Converting 3-Dimension world to 2-Dimension is hard and naturally, it brings aberration. And, this lens corrects all aberration completely. I can say it's like the best sake, whose body is strong and whose aftertaste is clear. Similarly, the Otus 1.4/85 draws focus peak clearly, reproduces rich colors, and leaves no stagnation.

Canon EOS-1D X, Carl Zeiss Otus 1.4/85 ZE, 1/125, F1.4, ISO 100, Photo by A.Inden

In this report, I chose not to shoot street photography which requires instant decision so that you can take similar shots in similar situations, compare with other 85mm lenses, or you can imagine the world of 85mm if you don't have it. By the way, without a short-telephoto lens, it's impossible to capture the scene in this way.

Canon EOS-1D X, Carl Zeiss Otus 1.4/85 ZE, 1/20, F1.4, ISO 100, Photo by A.Inden

When I got my first bright lens, I was so happy and I kept making big bokeh. And, after trying different lenses and looking at many photos, I started to notice the difference of bokeh. But, the quality of bokeh can't be well described by numbers and our evaluation tends to be subjective and sensory. So, even though you hear someone saying "the bokeh is noisy," you may not understand what it means. And, it may be because you haven't seen a "beautiful bokeh" such as the one in this shot. The bokeh is so smooth because of the razor sharp part of the punching strainers.

Canon EOS-1D X, Carl Zeiss Otus 1.4/85 ZE, 1/4000, F4, ISO 100, Photo by A.Inden

It's even sharper when it's stopped down. It depicted each tile with no ambiguity. A short telephoto lens is often said to be a portrait lens, but it's also a great lens for street and landscapes photography because it's easy to compose. And, using bokeh wide open, you can get impressive images. So, this lens would be a great addition to a standard prime lens. And, it's completely different from the 55mm even though it has the same max f-value (F1.4).

Canon EOS-1D X, Carl Zeiss Otus 1.4/85 ZE, 1/250, F1.4, ISO 100, Photo by A.Inden

For example, an ordinary pipe chair is captured in this way. The texture drawing of the vinyl back rest as well as the front and back bokeh is just superb. This image quality ensures desired outputs regardless of situations. Try shooting still lives and enjoy focusing and exposing.

Canon EOS-1D X, Carl Zeiss Otus 1.4/85 ZE, 1/3000, F1.4, ISO 100, Photo by A.Inden

Remember, this is a manual focus lens. Honestly, I want AF, but manual focusing is more fun. Take time focusing. Turn the helicoid feeling the nice torque. And, you really feel you are taking photography. It's a little hard to shoot moving subjects, but because it's a manual focus lens, you can always fire the shutter even if the subject is out of focus. You'll say, "It's a heavy lens." or "This lens is hard to focus." But, I know you're smiling in your heart.

Canon EOS-1D X, Carl Zeiss Otus 1.4/85 ZE, 1/125, F1.4, ISO 100, Photo by A.Inden

This is the ultimate and dream lens.

Although it's hard to define a good lens, in terms of optical performance, the Otus 1.4/85 is the best. Period. The world drawn by this lens is so clear, sharp, and dramatic. The more you use it, the more you will like it and trust it. Do you think it's too excellent to enjoy? Don't worry. Even though you like the unique taste of old lenses, I promise this sublime world will surprise and excite you. I shot whatever I wanted just because I was curious about its image quality. And, this reminds me of my first days with a medium format camera.

This is a dream lens that enthusiasts want in the future. And, it requires a big decision to buy it. But, I know a common phrase by many people who bought their favorite lenses, "I should've gotten it earlier." And, I know their next words. "The future is now."

( 20.02.2015 )