Lens review

Carl Zeiss Otus 55 mm f/1.4 ZE/ZF.2

18 November 2013
Arkadiusz Olech

11. Summary

  • solid, huge and stylish casing,
  • sensational image quality in the frame centre,
  • excellent image quality on the edge of the APS-C/DX sensor,
  • good image quality on the edge of full frame,
  • good correction of chromatic aberration,
  • brilliant correction of spherical aberration,
  • imperceptible distortion,
  • moderate vignetting on the APS-C/DX sensor,
  • off-focus images very pleasant to the eye,
  • very good work against bright light.


  • huge vignetting at the maximum relative aperture on full frame.

As you see the Zeiss Otus 1.4/55 had just one single flaw, the huge vignetting. On the one hand I don’t know any 1.4/50 class lens which wouldn’t feature a high vignetting level on full frame; on the other hand the physical dimensions of the Otus suggested that it would dominate in that category. Only that it didn’t.

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The performance in all other categories is indeed a list full of advantages. It starts with a fantastic resolution in the frame centre, progresses through great results on the edge and the lowest level of distortion in this class of equipment; it finishes with a very good work against bright light. It is really more than enough to deserve “The Choice of the LensTip.com Editorial Team” badge.

Carl Zeiss Otus 55 mm f/1.4 ZE/ZF.2 - Summary

Still the choice of the editorial team is one thing, and the question whether that team could afford such a lens is quite another issue. I am aware it could be a source of a long and passionate discussion – after all the fact that the price of the Leica Summilux-M 50 mm f/1.4 Asph is similar to that of the Otus can be a good argument, especially that the Otus fares significantly better than the Leica. Still some won’t be persuaded, no matter what.