Review: the Zeiss 1.4/28 Otus APO-Distagon

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28, 55, 85. A pretty versatile core set for pretty much any purposes. And now fully filled out by the latest in the Otus series, the recently-announced 1.4/28 APO-Distagon. Advance warning: this is not a general purpose lens, nor is it the kind of thing you can deploy casually. That is merely the nature of steeply diminishing returns; there are no gains without significant incremental effort. And we’re really talking about pushing the last 1% here. If you’ve not felt anything lacking in your images, then I suggest you stop reading here and save yourself a lot of money, because chasing perfection isn’t cheap…

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Sorry for the gratuitous p***, but it really deserves a place amongst the legends.

Disclaimer: I have been testing the 28 Otus for the last couple of months courtesy of the folks at Zeiss. The sample I have is not 100% final, and I’m told the units that ship will carry further performance improvements. I plan to update this review accordingly when I have access to those lenses. In the meantime, I’ll be uploading images (including 100% screen shots from various parts of the frame) to this flickr album as I shoot with it more. The full data sheet including block diagram and MTF is available here from Zeiss. Additionally, Lloyd Chambers also has an ongoing detailed technical analysis which comes to much the same conclusions as I do.

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Extreme corner crop. Note highlight handling and complete lack of chromatic aberration. It’s also worth noting that whilst not all subjects have high frequency detail that shows off the resolving power of the lens, you still need a high degree of transparency to accurately render the small tonal transitions in a low contrast subject like mist or cloud and avoid it looking flat and ‘dead’.

Regular readers will know that I have reviewed the 1.4/55 and 1.4/85 Otii in the past, and have been impressed to the point they now serve as reference lenses for anything approaching that focal length, regardless of subject distance (!). They match or better my macro lenses when used with extension tubes. However, you’ll also know I never carry more than one of these things at a time: it’s just not practical in the field unless you are in a studio environment, are shooting somewhere with direct car access, or you can use a rolling bag.

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I also make no secret of the fact that I’m a very big fan of the 28mm focal length – wide enough for context, long enough to still be plausibly natural in rendering. There have been a few lenses that satisfy for various reasons – but optical perfection has never been one of them. Zeiss’ own 2/28 Distagon has been a favourite because of the 3-D rendering caused by serious field curvature; however it suffers from noticeable violet fringing wide open and both longitudinal and lateral chromatic aberration on high resolution cameras. It is fine from f5.6 onwards, but that limits applications quite noticeably. The field curvature and violet fringing make it difficult to focus accurately, too. The Leica Q has a solidly-performing lens that’s great in the centre, but weaker in the corners til f5.6 or thereabouts and relies on fairly heavy software correction to moderate distortion; on top of that, there’s some focus shift. The Ricoh GR and GRII is good out to the corners, but tops out at f2.8 and is fixed to one camera body (with attendant limitations).

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Whilst all of these lenses excel at a specific purpose, I find I’m often left wishing I’d also had one of the others in the bag when other opportunities arise. I haven’t mentioned other methods of getting to 28mm-e simply because none of them are particularly noteworthy – I’m sure there are probably some lenses I haven’t tested (like the 28/1.4 Summilux-M ASPH) which might fit the bill, but these aren’t exactly practical, either. Until this point, there hasn’t really been a truly reference-grade versatile 28mm offering that can really be used for anything.

Enter the 28 Otus. Because in reality, nothing is perfect, I’m going to start with the warts first: some are obvious, some are not.

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At 1.35kg, a 16/13 design and a 95mm front filter, the spec sheet reads more like a 70-200/2.8. (In practice, it takes up about as much space in the bag, too.) That is a lot of glass, which aside from weight means potential QC and alignment issues – especially for corner performance at large apertures. My sample is remarkably symmetric (as is the other sample I am aware of in the wild), so perhaps this is not likely to be an issue in practice – the level of QC achieved with the other Otii has been remarkable thus far.

This is not a lens you carry trivially: you need to know you a) need 28mm, and b) need the performance envelope that other lenses cannot deliver. It is not a lens that is quick to shoot, because precision in focusing is required (more on this later). It is not a lens that is easy to carry, nor does it balance well on small bodies – the D810 really benefits from having the vertical grip attached, taking the full weight of your rig into the 3kg range, and that’s before you add an LCD magnifier for precise focus, too. It does not balance well on mirrorless bodies – don’t even think about using this on the A7RII without the vertical grip, because your fourth and fifth fingers will cramp very quickly as they try to counteract the torque from the lens on the small grip. And thanks to the adaptor, all of the weight is very far forward. But at least you’ll get stabilisation and a true DOF representation.

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Focusing on the fly is not easy. It’s not as bad as I expected it to be with a wide angle lens (read: shallow DOF transition between in and out of focus) and the D810’s optical finder (albeit modified with split screen and realigned mirror) – but it’s not easy, either. And you still need to do a bit of focus bracketing to get it right. Naturally, live view with an LCD magnifier is much easier, but slower since you have to go to 100% at your point of focus to ensure critical sharpness. It’s not quite so simple, however. The 28 Otus has a relatively flat plane of focus with some curvature towards the edges; it’s flat enough that center-focus-and-recompose will not work, and fast enough at f1.4 that you will not have enough depth of field to cover the effective shift in subject distance, either. This means you must focus at the subject’s final position in your composition. On top of that, the nature of the field curvature changes slightly as you stop down – ‘uncurling’ is perhaps the best description – and the plane of focus itself seems to have a larger sweet spot in the centre of the image than towards the edges. For work where you need critical sharpness from corner to corner across a range of distances, I’d focus at the near corners first and then tweak for the centre afterwards. If your scene topography isn’t concave towards you, then focus as normal.

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If this seems like a lot of hassle, it’s only because misses are noticeable: that is the nature of high resolving and highly chromatically-corrected lenses. What you get in return, however, is quite spectacular: impressive resolving power in the centre of the frame even wide open; equally impressive resolving power in the corners once you get above approximately 5m subject distance, and performance peaking around f4-5.6 across the field. By f8 you are assured of sufficient depth of field for a wide range of subject distances and effectively flawless performance; the corners are especially impressive. Subjectively, you’re already getting 85-90% of the maximum performance at f1.4. The lens reaches a full 10/10 across the entire frame even on the 42MP A7RII by f5.6. Note that whilst the centre remains strong to minimum focusing distance of 0.3m, the extreme corners are good by ~2m don’t really come on song til >5m as noted before.

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Close range, f2, center crop

Resolving power of course isn’t everything – there are other optical characteristics that define the performance of a lens, some much more difficult to define but yet highly visible. Vignetting is of course present given the lens’ speed; this is a mechanical limitation on the size of the front element. There is around 1.5 stops in the corners and this is of course easily corrected. I notice some trace secondary longitudinal chromatic aberration on very high contrast edges, though much less than with any other wide lens I’ve seen. Lateral chromatic aberration is almost entirely absent. Distortion is also impressively low – a little over 1% – given the speed of the lens, and follows a simple curvature that is easy to compensate for in post.

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Center crop, f1.4

Whilst I find the 28 Otus does not quite have the same ability to ‘slice a subject into planes’ as its longer 55 and 85mm siblings, I attribute that more to the nature of the focal length than the optics. Again like it siblings, it does have the nature towards somewhat nervous bokeh if you have a high frequency subject that’s very close to the focal plane – this is a consequence of the aspherical elements and an unavoidable tradeoff when attempting to maximise both speed and performance. If there’s one weak point in the 28 Otus’ performance, it’s with wide apertures, strongly backlit subjects and not much subject-to-background separation – this can exacerbate both visible fringing and nervous bokeh. In all fairness though, I cannot think of any wide lens that excels under these circumstances.

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All of the Otus series lenses employ an elaborate layering of coatings and baffles to minimise reflections, maximise transmission – and thus both micro- and macro- contrast – and there is no question that Zeiss have been successful here. The 28 has the same ‘bite’ as its 55 and 85 siblings, and there is a very strong family rendering. It’s difficult to describe exactly, but I’d classify it as highly transparent, tending to slightly cool, with good saturation and a clean/sharp rendition rather than a smooth one. If this fits your style – it does for mine – you’ll probably never need to buy another lens in this focal length again. Assuming your bank and back can take it, of course.

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Construction quality is first class, as with the other Otii; all mechanical movements are internal to the lens, which does not change external dimension when focused (nor does the front element rotate). There is no environmental sealing, but I’ve used all three of them under unpleasant conditions and not found any issues to date. Looking at a half-cut lens, there’s so much baffling and sun complex helicoid arrangements that I suspect water is going to have a tough time penetrating anyway. It’s also interesting to note that in places (specifically, towards the front of the barrel as it flares outwards to accommodate that 95mm filter – necessary to avoid vignetting) is some air space between the helicoid and the external wall; I suppose this will help for both impact protection and thermal expansion (!). Don’t laugh, if you shoot with one of these things in tropical sun for a few hours, expect it to get very warm indeed. Lastly, the focusing ring’s smoothness is revealed: the part rides on several teflon roller bearings, similar to the Master Prime line of lenses. That aforementioned focusing ring can be a little too featureless/smooth at times – I found adding a small indexing tab to it helped enormously in being able to instantly gauge the focused distance, as well as for something to grab. It’s also worth noting that the 28 – again, similar to the 55 and 85 – exhibits very little focus breathing; something which videographers will undoubtedly appreciate.

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Extreme corner crop – it’s sufficiently well corrected to cause moire in the extreme corners of a relatively low contrast subject. Hats off.

Given the non-final state of engineering, I believe it is perhaps a little premature to form a decisive conclusion – however, it is clear that already the 28 Otus has no competitors – and at the expected price and size, it’d better not. The bit that troubles me is deployment: this is a lens that takes up two ‘normal’ slots in a bag (the 85 can still be shoved into one) and cannot be casually deployed with the expectation of reaching maximum potential. This is a deliberate lens, and I think the images I’ve shown here reflect that. That means attendant tripod, possibly LCD magnifier and DSLR body, further elevating weight. You can of course use it on an A7RII, the lens really needs a tripod mount (even for a D810) and the weight of the whole combination is putting a risky amount of torque on the camera body’s mount. I suppose this is also true of all of the other Otii: though the theoretical envelope of the lenses is about as wide as it gets – any aperture, pretty much any distance. Do we have a new reference king? No question. But like a formula one car, making the most of is going to require a little planning and skill. MT

Most of these images were shot during the Chicago Masterclass last month – I have one final place available for the Tokyo Masterclass in three weeks; booking and information here. Images in this review were processed using Photoshop Workflow II.

The Zeiss Otus 1.4/28 can be pre-ordered here from B&H.


Ultraprints from this series are available on request here


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Images and content copyright Ming Thein | 2012 onwards. All rights reserved


  1. Hello Ming. Excellent review. I´m considering buying some Otus and Milvus lenses, (18, 25, 35, 55, 85 and 135), to use in my film Nikon cameras (F2 Titan, F3T).
    Are these lenses designed with only digital in mind?. Are they equally good for color slide film?
    Thanks for your time.
    Juan José

    • My ownership of Nikon film SLRs didn’t overlap the Milvus, but the Otuses are definitely fantastic on both film and digital. Digital is much more demanding than film in any case – so what works well there will work just fine on film…

      • Thanks Ming for your quick reply. I asked my question because when Rodenstock released digitar HR lenses they were prvided with a clear filter to screw on the rear of the lens when used on film. The lenses were designed with the CCD glas protector of the digital backs in consideration.

  2. Lee Saxon says:

    Fascinating and tempting, thanks. Any experience with the Nikon 28/1.4 (which I believe with the Otus and new 28 Lux are the only three 28/1.4’s ever)?

    • The Nikon 28 was legendary, but to be honest…nothing that special, IMHO. There’s also a Sigma 30/1.4, which might be close enough to count, too.

  3. Steve Pelton says:

    Hello Ming,
    I would appreciate your comments regarding using this lens for dusk/night shots of city lights from a helicopter. I currently use Zeiss 21mm distagon and/or Nikon 14-24 2.8 on an 810. Due to vibration of the helicopter I must shoot with shutter speed above 1/125 which means I crank the ISO to 6400. I would love a lens that does not suffer from soft corners and coma and gives me an extra stop to bring down the noise level. Reading through your review I surmise the Otus may fit the bill, and I would be grateful to hear what you think. Thank you, Steve

    • It might fit the bill, but focusing is going to be tough without live view – it will focus past infinity and there is a bit of field curvature. I suppose once you define your focal plane you could just tape the ring in place – bumping it a bit would be disastrous…

    • You might consider trying the new Nikkor AFS 24mm/1.8G. It has pretty flat field, autofocus, coma is essentially gone by f/2.8 and pretty low wide open, and it’s fairly flare resistant. The 24mm/1.8 is pretty lightweight, so it lacks the inertia the Otus 28mm/1.4 would add to the system. I’ve no idea if the trade-offs would work for you, you would want to test it before relying on it.

  4. Ming, I’ve been contacted by Adorama that shipments have arrived (as of 07 February 2016). Getting mine soon. Can’t wait for your full blown review, when you get around to it!

    • Err…that WAS the review. I’m really not sure what else there is to add?

      • Haha. Maybe half my bad. In your second paragraph you mentioned that the 28 that you shot was not 100% final versions and that you’ll update the review once you get your hands on the production lense.

    • I received the Zeiss 28mm today (February 8th, 20167). It is not as large as I imagined. It is “fatter” than the others, but not as tall as the Zeiss 135mm APO, for example. It comes with an elegant box, indeed, which for that money it should.

      I have no photos to show anyone, yet. I can say it will not take any extension, which I would expect from a wide-angle lens. I can use the K-1 Ring on it, which is 5.8mm extension, but I doubt that I will often. One thing: it is very hard to focus, again a feature of many wide-angle lenses. I have not been able to get control of it… yet. It is heavy. The focus throw is not very long, which I don’t like. Will update as I have something that I am happy with. First impressions is that this Otus is not so obviously useful in my work (close-up nature photography) as the previous Zeiss APOs, but I am sure this is a problem on my part.

      • I’m not surprised it’s hard to focus especially with optical finder. Fast wides are usually very difficult to accurately focus on SLRs, and worse on DSLRs which have inferior viewfinders to those on film age cameras. I remember having some difficulty with a Nikkor 24mm/2 AIs lens on my Nikon F4 20 years ago, and that was with a P screen with micro-prisms and a split image center focusing aid. Leica rangefinders have a slight advantage on focussing accuracy with coupled fast wideangle lenses, but that’s no help with an Otus 28mm. Live View is probably the way to go on any f/2 or faster 24-28mm lens shot near wide open (or even stopped down a bit).

        • Live view is definitely the way to go with the 28 Otus. The DOF transition just isn’t abrupt enough even with a more modern modified screen.

  5. Prakash Arunachalam says:

    Great to read this. Wonder if there will be an Otus in the ultra-wide angle, close to 15mm. Any data on this?

  6. Don Cipote says:

    28mm f1.4 cropped in 1.2x mode nearly equals to 35mm f1.6. This might be a fantastic dual-lens on high res sensors. Do you think so?

    • Yes, except for the size…you really have to need what it can do for you in the corners at full coverage and full aperture to justify it.

  7. Simply wonderful Images. It rarely happens any more to me, but some but a wide smile on my face 🙂

  8. Hi Ming, nice article and photos here.
    I’m shooting Nikon and I now have my wide angle needs covered by Nikon 16-35mm f4, but recently, after reading so much of this website, I have been contemplating adding a more compact solution when I’m not shooting wedding or events and just want to have fun. For my budget I can choose either Zeiss 28/2 to aid D750, or the Ricoh GR. What would you suggest? Thanks!

  9. Jefenator says:

    Going beyond full frame as I ever knew it. (The Leica S system seems like a close neighbor to the north…)
    I can’t even imagine using such a lens with a thin mirrorless body on a tripod without mounting via the adapter. (I use a Metabones adapter with a nice, beefy foot for my heavy-ish Leitz macro lenses and the whole setup balances quite nicely. Otus lenses probably deserve the Novoflex…)

    • Definitely. But the results more than challenge the S – frankly I’d go so far as to say a D810/Otus combination delivers tangibly better results.

      Otuses on a mirrorless body frankly need a tripod collar on the lens itself.

  10. Richard P. says:

    “It was my mother she always used to say it was too much car for me to handle. I couldn’t handle the V8.” – David Starsky 😆

    Too much lens for me. Better that I spend that extra cash on courses. But for those who can make proper use of the Otus – enjoy!.


  11. Wow! 8B31048 is a beauty! The corner crops are incredible. It would be interesting to see the same shots on a GRII as an illustration of the value of the last 1%. Thanks for sharing you thoughts about newest member of the Otus flock!

    • Sadly not possible since I sold the GR. But the difference is there even before you downsize the D810 files to match, and I believe the Otus will do the same even on a 5DSR. It’s got resolving power to spare on the Nikon.

  12. To echo what other already have said; Very nice images.

    I am also impressed with the quality of the extreme corner crops. Simply mindblowing. I’m also impressed with how well you utilize the 28mm focal lenght. I personally struggle to create nice images with it, and I prefer the 50-85 range for better subject isolation(not necessarily for shallow DOF, but to get closer)

    • Thanks Ørjan. 28 was a bit of a problem for me too, but I shot heavily with it for a year and found myself eventually liking what it did for foreground emphasis and context whilst retaining some semblance of a natural perspective – albeit one of participation. Isolation comes from taking a lot of care with keeping your immediate background behind the subjects clean. It’s different enough that I think there’s enough room in the bag for a 50/85 to go with it.

  13. ”If you’ve not felt anything lacking in your images, then I suggest you stop reading here and save yourself a lot of money, because chasing perfection isn’t cheap…”
    Why should I/we stop reading if I don’t feel anything lacking in my images and why do you presume that after reading your article the natural thing to do is to go spend money on this thing? It’s like saying, stop looking at the Ferrari brochure and save yourself a lot of money. Who do you think we are, a bunch of equipement freaks unable to controll our spending habits? Of course the lens is almost perfect, for that money it better be, but your pictures are not have any more meaning, story, soul or whatever you call it. Most of the rich users will use it to produse technicaly superb empty soulles images, it’s kinda sad, but it is good for Zeiss :). The way you wrote it is simply degrading and possibly insulting to many, yes you just suggest, but you assume too much .


  14. Ming, are these pictures unprocessed JPG straight out of camera? They look impressive.

    • No, I never shoot camera JPEG. There is no way the camera can guess what tonal presentation you want, and you’re throwing away most of your information – which entirely defeats the point of a high resolution system. It also makes no sense to comment on and present images that aren’t final – you cannot make a meaningful call on whether the whole system ‘works’ or not unless you try to reach full output intent.

  15. I just saw some tests online showing the performance of the new Canon 35mm 1.4 II. Looks to be on par with performance of the Otus 55mm (better than Sigma Arts). Any chance you’d try it out and comment? Thanks!

    • Sure, if somebody is going to send me the lens, a body to test it on, and pay for several days of my time*…:)

      *I’ve stated here I sold the 5DSR some time ago. I’ve also stated countless times that I have no interest in or use for the 35mm focal length. On top of that, I’ve also stated that I can no longer get loan equipment without having to pay import duties. This site does not make me money. The opposite, in fact. Sorry, but it makes no sense for me to review this lens. However, I am happy to approach this as a normal paid assignment for a client providing such a client exists. You can even own the rights to the resulting images.

      • Oh didn’t realize you sold the 5D. But great site. Cheers!

        • And the only reason I can be objective and comprehensive about anything I review is because a) I’m not paid in any way to say anything, which means there are no ads but also no revenue; and b) I actually use it under a far greater variety of circumstances than a ‘reviewer’ would. But that means there is also a finite amount of stuff I can buy, use and write about. I’m sure you understand one has to prioritise…

          • Get some ads. No one cares if you have them. Your recommendations and credibility won’t be called into question if you have evidence to support your positions (such as your images). That’s the beauty of lens & sensor reviews.. the proof is in the images. I don’t know what the commission is on a Zeiss Otus, but its probably worth it if even a few people buy them through your links.

            • No, it isn’t worth it. The reality is it’s $30-$40 a lens. I make perhaps $200 a month in referrals, $300 in a good month. That barely covers hosting and bandwidth costs for the site. I might live in the third world, but I don’t think that’s worth a week of work, and it will never be.

              • Graham Parker says:

                Lloyd added his review of the Canon 35mm f1.4 II today I see, and said it’s “certainly no Otus” but he’d recommend it.

  16. Just curious, what’s on the focus ring in that first picture? 🙂

  17. Thanks much! Very impressive images.

    I just wanted to raise the point of the 1.4 aperture – not just with the 28mm but also with the other Otus lenses.

    One of the reasons for having a 1.4 lens is to shoot it wide open, but that shooting style kinda interferes with the idea of using the lens on tripod, with LiveView etc. in a more contemplated setting than low-light-handheld-wide-open. Would love to see a 28 / 2.0 with these qualities, but less than half the size of the 1.4.

    I am surprised that Zeiss believes that a big/heavy 1.4 is a more compelling/commercially viable offer than a hand-holdable 2.0 (in all Otus focal lengths).

    Am I missing something? Can we only get to this level of optical excellence at 1.4 and not at 2 or 2.8?

    • Apparently f1.4 is what excites the gearheads. Photographers agree that smaller is better because we can deploy them under more situations (and not worry about carry on limits). I agree that smaller/slower is better, and have fed that back to Zeiss. Maximum aperture isn’t just for depth of field though – all things equal, a well designed f1.4 will perform better at f2.8 than an f2.8 wide open…

      • I am going to banish myself from gearhead-dom forever when I say that I really like the little Canon pancake 40mm f/2.8 lens as a walkabout lens. I still like reading about lenses that I would never own. I must say that your photography makes wonderful use of the characteristics of the Otus 28. My personal interest in Otus is likely to be the winged variety – there’s a raptor hospital and education center nearby, and although most birds are New World natives, a few of the permanent inhabitants are Old World birds, perhaps from zoos.

  18. For my style of outdoor shooting, I find the Leica lenses better compromises because of their size, although the performance may fall short of the Otuses, particularly when it comes to aberrations at the widest apertures. On the Sony system, one or two of the Zeiss / Sony lenses are exceptional, and some even have AF, too, which make them more practical in some situations, but they still tend to be bigger than the Leicas. The Otuses are surely tripod-only lenses, in which case the f1.4 maximum apertures are less compelling.

    • I don’t disagree, though none of the Leicas or Zeiss branded Sony lenses even come close performance-wise – even when stopped down.

      • When you say performance wise, we can’t be talking about resolution / sharpness, because I suspect than the Leica / Zeiss lenses probably out-resolve even the Sony A7r II sensor from f2.8 or f4, in the centre, if not in the corners. What distinguishes the lenses, in my view, is the aberrations wide open, the waviness of the focus field, and the qualities of the background rendering, including the steepness of the contrast falloff between what is in focus and what isn’t. But in the end, the question is the existential one to which you periodically allude: do you have the lens with you? Just as people are prepared to pay a lot more for a mobile phone connection than a land line, so I find that I a, prepared to accept the limitations of Leica lenses because they are a practical travelling proposition, despite the price and quality variation of hand-built equipment. Of course, if you are on assignment to get a particular photo of a particular subject, and know what lens is required, the Otuses will give you a better starting point, so long as you don’t need AF. But you will get better results from a Batis, with Eye AF on a Sony, than with an Otus on almost any camera.

        So you were right to impress on Zeiss that f1.4, which doubles the required volume of glass, to get the same result over an f2 lens, may be the wrong direction of travel.

  19. Great images Ming! I also really like images 8B30100 and 8B30968 too on your flickr. Glad to see some excellent images with this lens to see what it can do! Should be nice to have this lens for your Tokyo trip.
    DSC1563 in your flickr stream is a nice cinematic type image with the lens. How do you find it for cinematic style shots?
    I definitely want this new Otus. I tried your preorder links but it does provide any buttons to preorder it that I could see. How can we preorder it?

    • It might need to go back to the mothership before then, unfortunately.

      Works well for cinematic so long as your subject doesn’t mind!

      I guess the retailers haven’t listed it as the final price isn’t confirmed yet – sorry, you’ll just have to come back when it’s available; you can always use the general link to B&H or Amazon in the sidebar. Thanks! 🙂

  20. Unlike the 85mm, the 28mm focal length is a lens that begs to be carried in a bag, but with the size and weight issues, one has to kick out 2 strong performers for what seems to be a temperamental choice. With many 28mm lenses cleaning up by f4 – 5.6 and this lens losing the cinematic and 3d feel of the Hollywood Distagon, which has been one of the main reasons to use one of these lenses, I think I will end up passing on this lens and wait for a UWA Otus that has equal or improved IQ.

  21. That first extreme corner crop was all that was necessary to convince me :p

  22. This is a very even-handed review Ming, as it should for a lens that asks so much from the photographer technically and physically. The images however are wonderful and definitely advocate a strong POV. Well done!

    As you know, I tried the 85 Otus and though it’s an amazing lens, there’s nothing in my work that justifies a lens like that. I’d love to have one as an example of the state of the art but it’d just be a garage queen. The 85 Milvus however is another story …

    • Like every high performance product though, it’s very easy to get puzzling and disappointing results – I suppose this is the nature of chasing the last fraction of a percent of performance…

    • I was going to add to my post above — if only I could afford one…….. then I still wouldn’t get it, as like Andre there’s nothing in my work that justifies it (and my back complains enough just carrying the 24/58/85 1.4 Gs!). Hats off to Zeiss for what they’re accomplished, though; the difference in performance between this and the Nikon 24mm is clear to see in crops, even as web size JPGs. Absolutely love the final image too, Ming.

  23. Jorge Calzadilla says:

    Any word from Zeiss on future expansion of the Otus line? I sold all the Nikkor AF lenses back when the 55mm Otus was released. From 15mm to 135mm is now covered by Zeiss zf.2 lenses and I couldn’t be happier despite having to manual focus ( It’s not that bad)

  24. Good review, Ming, and a lens I would buy if I could afford it. I can’t really see the problem with hand holding it though. I removed the tripod mount of the 80-200 AF-S years ago, and that’s an even heavier lens.

  25. This lens seems to be ridiculous in several connotations of the word:)

    Again I’m amazed by what you do with this focal length. Beautiful shots!

    • Yes – but somebody needs to make it!

    • The size and weight of it is probably required for the level of quality achieved by the Otus 28mm. But I just added up the mass of the four full frame 28mm lenses I use (Leica 28mm/2.8 ASPH, 28mm/2 ASPH, Nikkor 28mm/1.8g, Zeiss 28mm/2 ZF.2) and guess what, they all together weigh almost exactly as much as the Otus, 1,360 grams. None of them is as good as the Otus, but they are all very good within their limitations. If Zeiss released a 28mm/2.8 ZF.2 with flat field and Apochromatic correction, sized about the same as the classic 25mm/2 ZF.2 or smaller, even if it was expensive, I would by that instantly. But I think I might be in a minority of a minority of photographers who would want that.

      • You’re not. Looking at the comments on this and other Otus posts, and the Milvus post, there’s definitely a demand for it. I’ve asked them for it – and the response has been ‘we’ll see…’ – so I wouldn’t give up hope just yet 🙂

        Personally, I would prefer slower/lighter simply because most of the time I work stopped down – and I’d much rather have all of the lenses with me than f1.4 in one focal length.

        • I see some posts from like minded people on forums, that’s true. But I don’t see products aimed to fill our desires for small high quality lenses for Canon and Nikon DSLRs. It’s as if this market segment is assumed to be satisfied by Leica, Sony and other mirrorless makes. While I like my Leica equipment a lot, it’s not as versatile as my D800E. And Zeiss seems to be going in the bigger and better direction only with the Milvus and Otus lines. I’m sure they are great, but the size and weight gains totally turns me off. Were’s the spirit that led to the C Biogon 35mm/2.8 ? Bring it back please Zeiss!

          • I just wrote an e-mail to Dr. Hubert Nasse of Zeiss on the desire for some smaller Zeiss lenses like Apo C Distagons 28mm/2.8, 35mm/2.8, and an Apo 85mm/2. Maybe something will come of it some day. We can dream of a little Falco series, eh?

            • Thank you, and absolutely – the day we stop dreaming is the day we might as well give up. 🙂

            • Good. Tell Mr. Nasse, while up in the mountains lately hiking for hours I was contemplating superfluous Zeiss f-stops in my bag…and that a stitched panorama with pics from an m43 lens seemed suddenly to be good enough. Really no enthusiast with a sane mind would carry 2-3kg alone for lenses for hours. There IS a market for small slow glass for the landscape photographer, especially around the 18-28mm focal length.

              • You might want to look into the 21 Loxia if Sony gets their act together with the new firmware…

                • I take it you have never tested the 21 Milvus as yet? Apparently same formula as the 21 Loxia but designed for ZF.2 and ZE mounts.

                  • That’s not right, the Milvus 21mm/2.8 is optically the same as the ‘classic’ 21mm/2.8 Distagon design used in the ZF/ZE lens. The barrel and coatings are improved in the Milvus version. The Loxia 21mm/2.8 is a far more compact Distagon design that is optimized for cameras with no mirror. It can’t be adapted for SLRs, with its rear elements too close to the sensor to clear a mirror, but could be adapted for the ZM line for Leica mount, though the 21mm/2.8 Biogon ZM already covers that focal length, albeit with corner color cast issues for digital M cameras.

                    • Thanks for the reality check. I was wondering if the Milvus version is much improved over the classic version. I would love to see a 21/2.8 or 21/2 Otus, but that may not happen . . . at least for a while.

                    • They’ll probably make it an f1.4 APO and it’ll have a beach ball front element 😛

                    • The Biogon is great if you’ve got offset microlenses and can fix or live with corner casts, but not good at all for regular digital. The telecentric Distagon designs are much better (but can sometimes have a slightly wavy plane of focus).

                    • Scott Devitte says:

                      Hi Ming. You mention here that the the Loxia 21 2.8 could be adapted to leica m. Do you know if this is going to be happening? It would be a real boon to us Red Dragon shooters as you can use an M mount on Dragon but not E. Small, relatively light, high quality wides are very difficult to find. I could see Zeiss moving a lot of these for gimbal and Heli usage.

                    • Err…no, I don’t recall saying that. I’m pretty sure it can’t be because the rear element is close to the mount, and the flange distance is quite a bit shorter than M. You may well have to use a 7R2 or 7S2 for that instead.

                    • There is a Biogon 21mm/2.8 in Zeiss’ ZM mount, but I’m not sure how suitable it is for video work. The older Biogon design has extreme ray angles in the corners which can cause color casts and unsharpness in many digital cameras.

                    • Not recommended on short flange mounts. The new 21/2.8 Loxia is much, much better.

                  • It’s the same formula as the previous 21 ZF Distagon, not the Loxia. If you put them side by side you will see they cannot physically be the same – the Milvus has an extra front element and completely different flange to sensor distance.

  26. Zeiss is obviously showing off with the Otus line, but I can’t help thinking that a 28mm f2 or even 2.8 with this kind of optical quality would be far more useful/preferable, not to mention smaller, lighter and less expensive 🙂

    • You’re not the only one. Both Lloyd and I have asked them for smaller, lighter and slower…

      • Has anyone tried the fabulous Leica 28mm f/2.8 Elmarit-R Version 2 (with floating lens element and a built in hood) which has field curvature but at 435g is easy to walk around with? [If for Leitax SLR conversion, need to be aware that there are two rear shroud variants – must get one with the flatter/smaller shroud around the rear element to avoid interference with the SLR’s mirror as discussed on FM threads 1347100, 940360, 980892, and 1180877.]

        • Can’t say I have. Wonder if it’ll hold up on the 36+ sensors?

          • I’m thinking that the Leica 28mm f/2.8 Elmarit-R Version 2 might be a terrific walk around lens for travel on a high resolution mirrorless body that with an EVF to use for precise magnified manual focusing; perhaps the best 28mm lens for this. The 28mm Otus (thanks for your review!) seems a bit closer to optical perfection, but clearly so large and heavy as to be utterly impractical for walking around with a camera when traveling.

            You asked about using the Leica 28mm f/2.8 Elmarit-R Version 2 on high resolution sensors. In the process of choosing lenses that were in consideration for purchase, I kept notes about each of them with all the various comments I ran across on the web over the past few years (obviously comparisons are prior to the 28mm Otus). This includes a number of recommendations specifically addressing the performance of the Leica 28mm f/2.8 Elmarit-R Version 2 on high resolution cameras. (Sorry, I didn’t keep track of which website each comment came from) …

            Leica 28mm f/2.8 Elmarit-R Version 2, collected comments:
            “Stellar, a wide aperture wonder, excellent, favorite, simply exceptional, a superb lens in all ways, best 28mm lens, fantastic, nothing beats it, only about 3,700 of these lenses in existence, very hard to find, the lens everyone raves about, considered by many to be the best 28mm lens ever (and perhaps the best Leica R lens), simply the best you can buy, superb lens, it is amazing – corner sharpness and contrast wide open, produces absolutely stunning colors, a keeper, good luck finding one, really is a ‘landscape’ lens, great corner-resolving abilities, stellar but hard to find and expensive, one of the best lens I own [Pham Minh Son], outstanding!, a wonderful lens, the standard recommendation for stellar, fantastic – very expensive and hard to come by but a great performer, beautiful, such stellar performer, simply exceptional, the great one, one of the best landscape lenses, greatest option for landscapes, awesome, I still marvel at the corners at wider apertures, stellar performer, fantastic, if you like that flat dreamy look (or use a Zeiss 21 if you like 3D), phenomenal, small and very sharp, exceptional, the finest DSLR lens ever, a great and extremely sharp lens – really like and enjoy using with Sony A7r, the best 28mm lens available for an unmodified Sony A7 series camera, best all around lens for street – floating elements superb at all distances – not great for flat subjects due to curvature of focus, excessive amount of field curvature [Lloyd Chambers], exhibits tonal and color subtlety (very different than the Nikkor 28/2 and prefer it to the Zeiss ZF 28/2), unbeatable really – compact color tonality and gradations that are ‘painterly’ – in a class of its own, color fidelity is second to none, very-very good lens and small, the finest (d)slr lens ever, if money is no object – the best 28mm there is, small and just unbeatable, no doubt a winner, brilliant – almost impossible to improve upon, the best 28mm retrofocus of all, a winner – all-sharpness, resolution, clarity and colors – nothing beats it, a knockout at any distance, a “perfect” lens, images look fantastic, lovely macro, an awesome lens to have, a superb lens for landscapes, good glass shows no distortion at 28mm, perfectly sharp at all apertures and little or no distortion – Love it!, works perfectly on the Sony A7r from wide open – works beautifully, the lens of choice for the Sony A7r, best performing 28mm lens on the Sony A7r, performs wonderfully on the Nikon D800E, a stunning performer on the D800E, a great lens for sure and working perfectly with the Nikon D800 – full open the effect of a moderate field curvature is visible in the extreme corners but less so at f/4 while at f/5.6 and f/8 the lens is sharp center to corners and outresolves the sensor – shows the usual transparency of the best Leica lenses, step up to the R 28mm f2.8 Elmarit V2 when you need sharp corners for things such as landscape work, shines on the Sony A7R which lacks an anti-aliasing filter, does suffer from field curvature which can be frustrating for landscape photography as the edges may not be sharp near infinity unless you stop down a lot, the slight field curvature is not concave as happens with most lenses but convex so the little trick to have an image completely in focus at infinity is to set the lens between the 5 meters and infinity marks and stop down with f/5.6 being enough in most cases, the only lens that can maybe compare with a Leica M9 and a Summilux 50 ASPH, the light bulb went on when I got the Leica R 28 Elmarit II – sharp corner to corner wide-open; that’s why you pay 5 to 10 times as much for the Leica, in the league of the Zeiss Distagon 21/2.8 in terms of price and performance across the frame, the level of detail this lens shows is astonishing, an amazing lens – great corners, the best SLR 28 on the planet (barring 3D from the ZF), a proven performer on the Sony A7r and it may be the best performing SLR/DSLR lens in this focal length, isn’t that big and it’s pretty sweet, nothing like it for all around work, a stellar lens – one of the best wide angle lenses for SLR, the best SLR 28mm lens ever made bar none.”

            • Glowing praise, but I’ve seen similar about lenses that really don’t deserve it. Read through the Leica hype and it’s concerning that none of these comments appear to have a technical background or quantification; frankly using an A7R as a comparison camera speaks volumes: you can’t tell anything about the lens’ resolving power if the camera’s shutter is already creating double images…

              That said, I’m happy to be proven wrong – except I can’t seem to find any full size samples that justify it.

              • Kind of a “Catch-22.” No fully qualified professional can afford to invest the time, effort, and expense needed to re-evaluate and re-review rare lenses that are no longer in production with the newest high resolution sensors, no matter how excellent these lenses might be … and wonderful photographers who might love the performance of their rare expensive best lenses can’t post full size image samples online because they would be immediately stolen. Very frustrating! Yet we rely successfully on the collective opinions/ratings of non-experts when buying products on Amazon, and when evaluating dealers on eBay, etc., so using the collective opinions of photographers who actually own these rare lenses and write about them online seems like the best currently available (albeit imperfect) source of evaluations.

                Wonder if the camera bounce problem due to the Sony A7R shutter (the effect of which is subject to the magnification provided by the lens, and proportional to focal length) actually is of a large enough angular excursion to still be a significant fraction of a pixel width with a 28mm focal length lens? Anyway, glad that the revised A7R II can eliminate this shutter bounce issue with the use of an electronic first curtain.

                • Also, there are lots of complaints, for example, about dismal performance of most wide angle rangefinder lenses on mirrorless cameras, so in contrast the apparent absence of negative comments about the performance of a wide angle SLR lens now that higher resolutions sensors are commonplace might suggest that photographers continue to be delighted as they had previously commented.

                  • Or inexperienced. I’ve seen enough files from people who think they are happy with the images they’re getting until I show them say one of the corner crops in this article (for instance).

                • Agreed, though it’s funny, because I do it and here we are – I guess either I’m not fully qualified or professional 🙂

                  Again skeptical of amazon and ebay reviews simply because most of those aren’t expert or objective.

                  A7R shutter: yes, it’s even more noticeable with wide lenses since small details get completely obliterated. The camera body/image plane gets shaken by the same absolute amount regardless of FL.

        • Lee Saxon says:

          Well I’m having an out of body experience. That last thread was started by me. Except I have zero recollection of ever buying this lens or whether I returned it or what.

      • Dirk De Paepe says:

        That would be Loxia. Unfortunately not for DSLR.

    • Agree. Zeiss says as fast as possible for DSLR lenses. If we want small then we have to go with the Loxia’. I’d find small high IQ DSLR lenses much more practical. This Otus line is to show Zeiss’ capabilities to the main stream customer since only Ming Thein and some of the very best really know how to use such a tool and are willing to carry such a heavy piece. Nevertheless a very good read and tempting to have something that technically advanced in reach.

      • They’re not for me. I’d prefer f2.8 and physically smaller so I can actually carry more than one for extended periods…(not to mention pass onboard weight limits!)

    • Seriously impressive results. I also agree that a 28mm f2.8 or f3.5 that was sized more like the Contax 28/2.8 would make it into more people’s bags.

  27. Thanks for the review Ming.

    Great pictures!

    Given that the sheer length, weight, and narrow tolerance for focusing error, this seems like a tripod lens (though is there somewhere to attach a collar?). But then, if it is a tripod lens, I wonder if I’d rather wait (in vain?) for a tilt-shift lens to be produced to this level.

    For once I don’t feel the urge to go buy. Perhaps if and when there is a suitable camera body to get the most from it. But the ergonomic cost of deploying this makes me wonder if I’d bother.

    But I admire Zeiss for making this and look forward to trying one out some day.

    • No problem. Yes, it is a tripod lens – I dread to think how much larger a TS version would be; remember that if you need shift, you need to increase the image circle, and in turn you need a lot more glass…

  28. Gerner Christensen says:

    My Goodness these images are fantastic Ming. So nice to see how you sang in Chicago with this incredible tool.
    This review is of course on the highest level as usual. You are talking about the essentials and leaving all irrelevant fill words out. Thanks a lot.
    No way I can handle this lens, but how I came to love the 28mm focal length so much is to me unbelievable. It was simply the acquisition of the Q that pushed me down from the 35 into the 28 territory. What an experience 🙂

    • Thanks Gerner! Thankfully it is not a 35 Otus 🙂

      • Agree, Gerner. Thanks to Ming, I now see 28mm as the news 35mm lens. That is to say, I see a well corrected 28mm as a better all around wide angle optic than the classic 35mm. Similarly, I see a well corrected 21mm as the new 24mm. I formerly believed that a good 24mm was the widest lens that could be employed semi casually (you ALWAYS have to use with SOME care) without extreme risk of inducing distortion issues. Now I see a well corrected 21mm will do for my shooting desires.

        • I think you need to use care with any wide; even a 28. But a 28 is quite a natural perspective, I find. 21 is about the widest I can go before finding no matter what you do, the lens screams ‘WIDE’ because of the geometric distortion.

          • Dirk De Paepe says:

            I totally agree. That’s why I’m so glad that Zeiss didn’t come up with a Loxia 15mm, but a 21 instead. BTW, Ming, indeed the pics are fantastic again. Sometimes I simply forget to mention, since I’m so used to it. But let me put this clearly: your style has inspired me the most of all today’s photographers. Need I say more?… 🙂

            • Not at all – thank you, I’m flattered 🙂

              As for 15mm – they’ll point you to the massive Distagon…I am even more glad the Otus is not a 15mm – imagine how large a 15/1.4 APO would have to be!

  29. Great review Ming. Are there any photos of this lens on the A7RII we could have a look at?

  30. Samuel Jessop says:

    Hugely impressive, and such an inspirational piece of kit. Referring back to your reviews of the 645Z and 5DSR, it seems to me that these lenses far outweigh the benefits of moving to a larger sensor.

    I am interested in your thoughts on 28mm. If you had the choice of a 24mm with stellar performance or a 28mm with maybe 7/10 of the performance by comparison, which would you go for? I would only have the option of carrying one. On a similar theme, I hadn’t realised that you only carry one Otus with you at a time. Understandable, and I appreciate the commitment to a perspective that this gives you.

    • Thanks. Yes, I’m inclined to come to the same conclusion: you could use one of these on a D810, or a 645Z with inferior lenses and come to much the same point. You might even be slightly up on resolution with the 5DSR (providing dynamic range didn’t land up being a limitation otherwise).

      I don’t understand your question. Surely it would make more sense to get the stellar 24, and compose as though it’s a slightly flexible 28 (or trim down to 28) especially if the 28 would be compromised?

      Practically, you don’t want to be playing musical Otuses in the field…or carrying the better part of 5kg in glass alone.

      • Samuel Jessop says:

        Sorry for not being clear enough. I am still unsure whether I will be able to move to a Sony system next year, but regardless the options for Sony and Fuji still favour Batis 2/25 or the XF 16/1.4 in comparison to the FE 28/2 or XF 18/2.

        This would be part of a travel kit, so I would only be picking one wideangle. I prefer the 28mm view but the 24ish (or equivalent) is the better lens for both systems. I value your insight, and I am aware that you are well aware of the compromises involved in lens selection.

  31. Hello Ming, thanks for the review. looking at the corner crops i wonder what aperture is used.. or did i miss it?
    This lens is so big , it seems to be the last in the Otus line ( maybe a 35mm).
    I would appreciate it if Zeiss introduced a new (solar?)-line with F4 lenses with the same excellence- smaller, cheaper, even more flare resistant, corner to corner sharp.

  32. You have one mistake in your text: The correct latin plural of otus is oti, not ‘otii’ as you wrote, there is no need for a second ‘i’ as there is no ‘i’ in the nominative singular. For reference see here or here . Apart from that you make wonderful photos, I couldn’t do it better.

  33. Couple of questions: Have your tried to use any minimal extension with this lens, like the K-1 Ring and, if so, is it helpful to get closer? Would you suggest using video-style rails and a lens supporter for the front of the lens to help distribute the weight? And finally, you mention, I believe, using a split prism lens on the D810. How is that done and where would one get it… and.. would this be helpful for close-up work? Thanks for any answers on these.

    • Not tried extension tubes, nor would I use rails – the lens flares beyond the body bottom. Split prism – you take your chances by ordering from and hope it fits. Be prepared for some DIY, planarity issues, insufficient shims, mirrors that need aligning etc…

    • I have the rare K1 ring, and use it sometimes on my Nikon bodies. The aperture indexing lever should work, but the electronic contacts will not reach. The only thing I use the K1 ring to do, is to take portraits. On short telephoto, or longer, lenses the PK-11 works better, but again no electronic contacts. The ones I have are very solid, and a little tough to get on and off the lens. instead of updating these ancient designs, Nikon just introduced different macro/micro lenses.

      Guide at link. The K1 only gets you 5.8mm extension, while the PK-11 gives you 8mm. K1 has no AI lever, while PK-11 has one.

      • Wide-angle lenses can’t take any extension, or the smallest possible, which is the K1 Ring at 5.8mm. Experts have tried to make smaller ones, but failed, You might be able to shim something, but about 5.8mm is near the limit. It remains to see if the 28mm can take even that.

        • The K1 is well made, but to be expected from a different era. Tried it on a 28mm AI-S I have here, and the working distance is quite short. The old AI-S is substantially shorter than the 28mm Otis. Film/sensor plane to subject with a K1 ring is just under 20cm, and the K1 on the 28mm AI-S lens gives about 10cm distance. I suppose an Otis should work with the K1, though it would be a challenge to use it. If the aperture tab is long enough, then it may reach past the K1, but it does not on most of my old Nikkor lenses, meaning stop down metering.

          As for shorter extension, the National Geographic shop did that with a wide angle Nikon AF-S lens. One photographer, whose name escapes me at the moment, had a favorite lens modified at the mount. Kenji Yamaguchi is the name of the lens master. I suppose Zeiss may be willing to modify a mount to get closer focus on an Otis.

          • You could try adding shims to the mount and using extended screws?

            • Yes you could, but I probably won’t do that. You could not do much better than the K-1 Ring extension that Nikon offers, no matter how you tried. And, as we all know, wide-angle lenses can’t really take much extension; we are just too close to the subject. I have the other recent Zeiss APOs (the two Oti, and the 135mm APO) and they are the best lenses I have ever used. I probably will get this new Otus 28mm, unless it is just too expensive. I will just sell the three Nikon PC lenses that I have, which IMO are not corrected well enough for me to use anyway. I wish that Zeiss would now make an Otus macro lens, like the Voigtlander 125mm f/2.5 APO-Lanthar, which I still use once in a while. Meanwhile I will “extend” the lenses I have for my close-up work and consider the Otus 28mm, once they announce the price.

            • I found that National Geographic video interview again, in case anyone would like to see that.

  34. Isn’t this the ideal lens for Winogrand style street photography? 😉 Imagine carrying this mounted on a Nikon D810 on the vibrant streets of NYC trying to get some up close candid pictures with zone focus! Lol.

  35. I wonder if the Zeiss samples were really shot with this lens or maybe they went out of their way to create worst-case results (including unoptimal camera and focus misses). That would actually be fair for most people (including me).

    • I have no idea. I can’t imagine why they would want to do that though…my back can assure you that the samples in this post were definitely shot with it, though 🙂

  36. Great bit of engineering. Appears prices are approaching Master Prime levels, and weight too. I’m curious whether you can pack a travel kit under 22kg now?

    • From what I understand, we’re at a quarter of MP pricing and about half the weight. 22kg? Sure, but it depends on what my objectives for the trip are…

  37. Very enticing medium wide angle lens! I hope Zeiss also plans to do a 100mm F2/ APO Macro Otus as well. I love short telephoto macros!

    • I for one hope any macro they might produce in future has tilt – there is no point in having to stop down far past diffraction limits for sufficient DOF…

      • Yes, tilt swing capability is a wonderful feature to include on any macro optic!

        • Shift is actually less useful since you can always move the lens/camera/object up and down easily. So they could make it smaller by not having to cover as large an image circle, and mechanically simpler to boot.

  38. I’ve got the 85mm myself (Nikon mount), and for the Sony cameras use the Novoflex Nikon to Sony NEX Adapter and Novoflex Tripod Collar. I’d also love the lens itself to have a tripod collar (not sure where it would go, but yeah). Better than nothing though, this seems to work not too badly.

    The 28mm will be even more front heavy though, so even on a tripod having that vertical grip may help balance it a little more.

    • The Novoflex tripod collar didn’t look that sturdy – the ring itself is pretty thin, and looks like it would permit some pitch movements. How is it in practice?

      • Agreed, I wasn’t sure of it when it first arrived but once I put it on, I was pretty instantly convinced. Haven’t had any flex or movement to date. I can only vouch for it on the 85 of course, but I’d recommend it with both thumbs up 🙂

  39. Robert Estiandan says:

    Lovely! I’m sold! Now I have clarity. Thanks Ming!

  40. Dear Ming

    I am importing my Ricoh photos using Bridge which converts them from RAW files into DNG whether I like it or not. Some people do not like DNG files. What do you say?

    +Father Raphael

    • Ricoh’s RAW files are written/encoded in DNG format. They do not have a proprietary RAW like Nikon’s NEF or Canon’s CR2.

    • Ricoh creates DNG files natively, so you won’t be getting anything else out of it. It’s a raw format (stands for Digital NeGative) but not proprietary like the other camera makers’. In short: no reason to worry.

    • I have my cameras set to shoot DNG if they can. I wouldn’t convert the RAWs though, you never know what you’re losing in the translation. This is not the correct place to post this question either…

      • I apologize. Frankly, I was hesitant to waste your time with such a question but gave into the temptation out of frustration. Nevetheless, thank you, and others who commented.

        • My Lightroom Class discussed this last year. You shouldn’t lose information in conversion from RAW formats to DNG. DNG is an open standard that Adobe has promised to support indefinitely, and other RAW converters have access to the standards for DNG, so you can process in applications other than Lightroom and ACR/Photoshop. DNG is supposed to be archival, as much as is possible in the digital domain anyway (keep multiple backups!). So I’ve decided to routinely convert all my NEF files to DNG. I’ve had no problems so far.

          • FRA, you might want to read this:

            Lightroom 5 and 6 seem to have very good, simple conversion tools. Don’t bother to “embed original RAW file,” if you decide to go all DNG. The embedded RAW DNG files will be twice the size of the original RAW or a plain DNG files. It would be better to keep a separate set of backup disks of unconverted RAW files if you are worried about data loss.

  41. My first thought when the size and weight were revealed was “Why isn’t there a tripod collar”?

  42. Wonderful read Ming! Great to see a 28mm Otus.

  43. Michael Cogen says:

    Ming, I read your review of the OTUS lenses and the Sony A7Rii. I have used the lenses on the A7Rii without physical difficulty. However, I agree with you that the OTUS lenses are ill suited for the Sony. Not because of the physical mismatch, but as you’ve noted in your reviews of the Sonys they are not all they are cracked up to be. The lenses are just too good for these bodies. I find the best results for the Sony A7 series with the Loxia which are dedicated to the E mount and are matched to the quality of the cameras. It is a fit ergonomically as well.


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  5. […] series was shot with a variety of equipment (Leica Q, Sony A7RII, Nikon D810, Zeiss Otus 1.4/28 APO) and processed with Photoshop Workflow II, or The Monochrome Masterclass. You can also […]

  6. […] Enjoy! MT This series was shot with a variety of equipment (Leica Q, Sony A7RII, Nikon D810, Zeiss Otus 1.4/28 APO) and processed with Photoshop Workflow II, or The Monochrome Masterclass. You can also look over […]

  7. […] series was shot with a variety of equipment (Leica Q, Sony A7RII, Nikon D810, Zeiss Otus 1.4/28 APO) and processed with Photoshop Workflow II, or The Monochrome Masterclass. You can also look over […]

  8. […] series was shot with a Leica Q, Sony A7RII, Zeiss Batis 1.8/85, Zeiss FE 1.8/55, Nikon D810 and Zeiss Otus 1.4/28 APO Distagon. You can also look over my shoulder at the underlying postprocessing in the Weekly Photoshop […]

  9. […] of the year (high end, over $1500) – Zeiss 1.4/28 Otus APO-Distagon Those who have read my review of this lens will know that I have bittersweet feelings about it. On […]

  10. […] a Metabones Nikon G-NEX model, tested and found to be good with various other lenses including the Zeiss 28 Otus. However, it’s worth noting that the shorter the focal length, the more sensitive a lens is to […]

  11. […] Otus (B&H Amazon) 1.4/28 APO Distagon, 1.4/55 APO Distagon, 1.4/85 APO Planar. No picks here; you can’t better any of them in that […]

  12. […] Ming Thein tested a preproduction version of the Zeiss Otus 28mm lens. And of course he can claim this is the best wide angle lens of the world. […]

  13. […] Ming Thein tested a preproduction version of the Otus 28mm lens. And of course he can claim this is the best wide angle lens of the world. He also has a recommendation for Sony A7 camera owners who want to use the lens on their camera. The lens is so big that… […]

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