Zeiss OTUS 55mm F/1.4 Apo Distagon T* Zf.2 Lens for Nikon F (AI-S) Bayonet SLR System

SKU: ZI5514ZF2 MFR: 2010-055
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About Zeiss 55mm F/1.4

Zeiss Zeiss has introduced its first premium lens designed specifically for high-end, high-resolution DSLRs, the Zeiss Otus 55mm f/1.4. Zeiss has decades of experience designing lenses for both 35mm and medium-format cameras, and with the Otus, they've pulled out all the f/Stops.

First, a bit of background: Over the last 10 years, most medium-format film camera users who migrated to digital adapted the 35mm sensor format. As the resolution of these cameras has increased, many lenses simply haven't kept up. High resolution revealed that edge sharpness was not as crisp as the center, and image quality changed based on the aperture used.

Zeiss set about to create a new line of lenses that take full advantage of high-resolution DSLRs, with no design restrictions based on weight or size, using the best possible material. The result would be a line of premium-priced lenses capable of delivering the best possible images with little or no optical distortion. The Otus line was born, and the 55mm f/1.4 is the first product.

The Zeiss Otus uses the APO Distagon design, which is a more complex design using more elements and Apochromatic design for sharper and contrastier images with fewer chromatic aberrations. Lower-end lenses have the Planar designation.

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.

Zeiss 55mm F/1.4 Specifications

Focal Length
55 mm
Aperture range
f/1.4 - f/16
Focusing range
13.2" 0.33m - infinity
Coverage at close range
9.69 x 6.42" / 246 x 163 mm
Number of elements/groups
Angular field (diag./horiz./vert.)
43,7° / 36,7° / 24,9°
Image ratio
Dimensions - Length X Diameter
5.66" / 144mm x 3.64" / 92.4mm
2.43 lb / 1030g
Zeiss warranty

Questions & Answers Powered by TurnTo®

Questions about this item:

Shopper  The Zeiss is a manual focus lens. For the D800E, I can see using LiveView as a method to achieve focus. But for usage on a D800E when LiveView is not feasible how does one achieve fine focus?
GHEORGHE C  The green dot is usually helpful. Other than that, fine focus is a very much a guessing game. Replacing the focusing screen with a specialized screen might help much better. The focusingscreen dot com sells an S-type screen for the D800 that gives you an edge (pun intended).
Bruce C  If you buy this lens for a Nikon and later want to use it on a Sony A7r with an adaptor, will it still have a 55mm focal length?
JAIKARAN G  Buy a Metabones adapter
L T  What is the "T" factor of this lens? Merle
VICTOR C  T* is the name of the propriety coating used on all Zeiss lenses to reduce the internal reflections inside the lenses.
L T  "T" factor of a lens is the measurement of a calibrated light placed in front of the lens and measure the amount of light the glass allows to pass through. If the lens has an iris it is set to lowest F stop. "T" is short for "Transmission Factor"
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