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Reader Comment: Zeiss Milvus 25mm f/1.4 vs Nikon AF-S 24mm f/1.4 (manual focus vs autofocus)

Get Zeiss Milvus 25mm f/1.4 at B&H Photo.

See my review of the Nikon AF-S 24mm f/1.4G ED in diglloyd Advanced DSLR and my review of the Zeiss Milvus 25mm f/1.4 in Zeiss DSLR Lenses.

David T writes:

Hard lens to consider without AF! When I had Nikon I enjoyed the 24mm f/1.4 for street, some portraits and the occasional landscape. I wish Zeiss would get into the AF game.

I just don’t see the use case unless you are shooting from a tripod or using it for video.

I can’t imagine they sell many of these a year.

DIGLLOYD: Zeiss is a niche player, so of course they don’t sell many lenses compared to Nikon.

Usage statement about sums it up: “street and portraits”. The right tool for the job. Of course, the classic masters never had autofocus. Moreover Sony Eye AF is amazing, and blows away what any DSLR can do as for hit rate on the iris of the eye (95% or better), so the wrong tool for the job comes to mind also: DSLR autofocus is that wrong tool.

IMO, the Nikon 24/1.4 is an aging design that is long overdue for an update. I cannot get excited about its “good enough” performance, and I would prefer the Nikon 24mm f/1.8G. See my Nikon wishlist.

For landscape where autofocus is needed for focus stacking (a huge plus), I’d rather shoot the Sigma 12-24mm f/4 DG HSM Art. Autofocus is hugely helpful for focus stacking for landscape, or any other kind of focus stacking.

There are effective ways to shoot manual focus lenses using Live View and a loupe; see my discussion and videos in part one and part two of my Zeiss Lenspire articles:

Below, the focus stepping support of the Nikon D850 would have been very nice to have. The mediocre performance of the Nikon 24/1.4 might have made me skip the shot versus the Otus 28/1.4, which maintains exceptional performance from MOD to infinity. Full-res version in Zeiss Otus 28mm f/1.4 Examples: Focus Stacking.

White Rocks to Distant Sprinter
f9 @ 1/13 sec focus stack 5 frames, ISO 31; 2017-11-07 16:26:12
NIKON D850 + Zeiss Otus 28mm f/1.4 APO-Distagon

[low-res image for bot]

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