Zeiss Otus 1.4/55 Lens Debuts for Digital SLRs with 35mm Sensors

Zeiss Otus 1.4/55 Lens Debuts for Digital SLRs with 35mm Sensors


Thornwood, NY—The Zeiss Otus 1.4/55 is the first lens in a family of professional lenses designed for “imaging performance that has hitherto only been seen with medium-format systems,” announced Zeiss. The lens was created to work with digital SLR cameras with high-resolution 35mm sensors.

Otus is the Latin name for a type of owl known for its excellent vision in darkness, and according to Zeiss, this lens is engineered to produce sharpness, high image contrast and no visible chromatic aberrations, making is suited for advertising, fashion and studio photography.

“Our goal was to bring the best standard lens for SLR cameras onto the market. The Otus 1.4/55 delivers outstanding sharpness and contrast rendition all the way into the corners of the image. The only way we could achieve this was through the complex Distagon optical design, which until now has only been found on wide-angle lenses,” said Christophe Casenave, product manager, Zeiss Camera Lenses. “Thanks to the low level of longitudinal chromatic aberration, there are no visible aberrations. So an illuminated harbor scene by night with many light sources in front of and behind the actual focal plane appears close to reality, without displaying complementary, color contrast edges. The excellent performance delivered by Otus is constant for all shooting distances. Its high performance with an open aperture also makes this lens a good choice for close-ups or portraits.”

The Otus 1.4/55 has a completely new optical and mechanical design, which was developed taking into account the special requirements of high-resolution DSLR cameras. The lens is equipped with a floating elements design with 12 lens elements in 10 groups, including a double-sided aspheric lens and six lenses made of special glass with anomalous partial dispersion.

The performance delivered by the Otus 1.4/55 is especially obvious with night shots, added Casenave. Because the Otus 1.4/55 is an apochromatic lens, longitudinal chromatic aberrations are corrected by its lens elements of special glass with anomalous partial dispersion. The color defects are therefore lower than the defined limits. Bright/dark transitions in the image, and especially highlights, are said to be rendered with no colorful artifacts.

For portraiture, thanks to the lens’s maximum aperture of f/1.4, photographers can play with the depth of field and create a smooth bokeh. It also features a large angle of rotation, which allows for fine variations when focusing—qualities only possible in a metal barrel. Its design as a manual focus lens allowed the engineers to work with smaller tolerances during the construction. The lens’s metal barrel, with an easy-to-grip focus ring, makes it geared for the everyday situations of professional photographers. The yellow labels on the scales, which are borrowed from the professional Zeiss cinema lenses, also contribute to better visibility.

The Zeiss Otus 1.4/55 will be available with F bayonet and EF bayonet at the end of October. The recommended retail price will be $3,999. Additional focal lengths will follow. zeiss.com