Lens review

Carl Zeiss Otus 28 mm f/1.4

14 August 2016
Arkadiusz Olech

11. Summary

  • solid, huge and stylish barrel,
  • brilliant image quality in the frame centre,
  • excellent image quality on the edge of the APS-C/DX,
  • good image quality on the edge of full frame,
  • very good correction of longitudinal chromatic aberration,
  • negligible lateral chromatic aberration,
  • moderate distortion,
  • nice out of focus areas,
  • good performance against bright light.


  • huge vignetting on full frame,
  • a bit too high coma in the corners of full frame.

The Zeiss Otus 1.4/28 illustrates two things. First: if the optics specialists have a free rein when it comes to the physical dimensions and the price they can construct amazing things which are able to break records in several categories. Second: it becomes clear that producing lenses as fast as f/1.4 is very difficult indeed. Even if there are no limitations concerning the dimensions and the price the chances are you won’t be able to correct everything anyway. What’s more, even a top-of-the-range lens can have such a spectacular slip-up as the huge vignetting, especially surprising as the Otus is a huge instrument.

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Two previous Otus series devices deserved the ‘Editor’s Choice’ badge. We try not to fling those awards around; one serious slip-up or two smaller ones and the lens loses its chances to be given one. That’s why the Otus 1.4/28 is the first lens from that line-up that won’t be awarded the distinction. Of course it doesn’t mean it is a bad lens, quite the opposite. It is easily the sharpest instrument among the wide angle primes we’ve tested so far.

Finally let me pass over its price with silence – after all in good company you don’t discuss money. However, if you want to discuss that aspect in spite of everything check the price of the Leica Summilux-M Asph 28 mm f/1.4 first.