Carl Zeiss Otus Distagon T* 1.4/55 lens: Is It The Best Ever Made?

February 19, 20131 Comment

Dr. Hubert Nasse, Staff Scientist at Carl Zeiss talks about a new dimension in photography.

The new Carl Zeiss Distagon T* 1.4/55 is touted by Dr. Nasse in the video as the “the best 55mm ever made” Thats a bold statement to make but coming from Zeiss it just may well be. I’ve always liked Zeiss optics and the 85mm ZF is a favorite of mine. This new lens has 12 elements and is much larger than a 50mm ZF by three times. Dr.Nasse claims it’s optically as good as a medium format lens. Wow! So how much will “the best 55mm ever made” cost?” EUR 3,000 or $4000 US. Still interested? All I know is I want to try it!

Here is a FAQ from Zeiss.

Zeiss 55mm Distagon T 1.4

The Best 55mm Ever Made

What is meant by “high-end SLR lens family”?

This is about lenses for full-frame (36x24mm) SLR cameras with manual focusing capability. This family of lenses is geared towards delivering uncompromising image quality for demanding users. The lenses are perfect for high-resolution, full-format digital cameras with more than 30 megapixels such as D800. The combined performance approaches that of medium format systems. If you shoot with the largest aperture, cameras with smaller number of pixels also benefit from much better image contrast.

Will it be a family or just a single lens?

It will be its own family of lenses independent of our current ZE and ZF.2 lenses.

What focal lengths will be available?

Currently, we are developing three prime lenses, with more in the planning stage. We are not ready to reveal them at this time.

How much will the lenses cost?

Since the lenses are more demanding in terms of material selection and construction than our previous ZE and ZF.2 lenses, the price level will be higher. We are expecting prices around EUR 3,000.

For which bayonets will the lenses be available?

They will be available for EF bayonet (ZE) and F bayonet (ZF.2).

Where will the lenses be made?

The lenses will be manufactured in Japan. They will be developed in close consultation with our longstanding global production network of trusted partners in the optical industry to ensure that the lenses’ actual performance corresponds to their theoretical optical design performance.

What does “uncompromising image quality” mean?

The new lenses will achieve extremely high image quality throughout the entire picture including edges even at maximum aperture. At the same time, chromatic aberration is extremely low.

How come 1.4/55 is considered a Distagon type despite its standard focal length?

Due to the high performance required, we were looking for a fresh approach. It is true that the Distagon type is predominantly found in wide-angle lenses. This is because wide-angle lenses also require additional design effort in terms of number and arrangement of lenses. Since we were aiming for the best possible imaging performance for the new family of lenses, we decided to manufacture the 1.4/55 as a Distagon. Due to the number and arrangement of lenses, this lens unit is slightly larger in size and weight but uncompromising in its performance.

When will the first lens come to market?

The expected arrival is autumn 2013.

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I'm a broadcast DP In San Diego. I enjoy sharing what I'm working on and testing new equipment. This blog is also part of giving back. I've learned so much from so many people.

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