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Uber Lens: Zeiss Otus 85mm f/1.4 APO-Planar offers Unprecedented Performance

Zeiss Otus 85mm f/1.4 APO-Planar (about $4490) for Nikon or Canon. THANK YOU for using this site’s links to pre-order.

Zeiss Otus 85mm f/1.4 APO-Planar

In Guide to Zeiss is my in-depth review of the Zeiss Otus 85mm f/1.4 APO-Planar, with 29 pages of coverage including many f/1.4 to f/16 aperture series with HD and UltraHD images for visualization (with large crops and most in both color and black and white versions), technical coverage of various sorts, notes and commentary for context.

The 85mm focal length is ostensibly for portraits, and there the Otus 85/1.4 APO-Planar delivers the most transparently beautiful imagery I have ever seen on a DSLR. Well, it does so in every case, not just portraits.

But that sells it short, because the Otus 85/1.4 delivers a transparency that rivals or beats everything I’ve tried and not in any single way—every way. Including medium format Leica S, and the best Pentax medium format lens, the 90/2.8 macro.

The 'transparency' of its imagery comes from strict control of all aberrations along with the best color correction I’ve ever seen in any fast lens, trouncing the color correction of lenses like the Leica 70mm f/2.5 Summarit-S.

Leica M Summilux or APO-Summicron lenses? The Otus delivers far superior color correction with far less field curvature and higher correction for all aberrations and ultra low distortion, and with no focus shift either. It’s not even a contest when one considers the 75mm or 90mm f/2 APO M lenses—they fall well short. The only M lens that can approach it (not match it) is the one-stop-slower 50/2 APO-Summicron-M ASPH, a very fine lens indeed. But I’ve never seen the transparency and sheer beauty if the Otus even with Leica’s best M lens. And f/2 is not f/1.4 and flare control is another subject.

The Otus 85mm /1.4 APO-Planar sets a new standard all its own.

Portrait with Sunflowers
Nikon D810 + Zeiss Otus 85mm f/1.4 APO-Planar @ f/4
Early Yellow Aspen
Nikon D810 + Zeiss Otus 85mm f/1.4 APO-Planar @ f/1.4
Riparian Medley Lit by Canyon Walls in Early Morning
Nikon D810 + Zeiss Otus 85mm f/1.4 APO-Planar @ f/1.4
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