The Zeiss Otus 100mm f1.4 is a high-end medium-length telephoto lens corrected for full-frame sensors and out there in Canon EF and Nikon F mounts. Launched in Might 2019, it becomes the fourth within the acclaimed Otus collection, joining the prevailing 28mm, 55mm and 85mm fashions, with all sharing the identical f1.4 focal ratio and uncompromised strategy to image high quality.
With an f1.4 focal ratio the new Otus 100mm f1.4 additionally joins the Sigma 105mm f1.4 Artwork and Nikon 105mm f1.4E because the brightest lenses on the 100-105mm focal length, though crucially the Sigma and the Nikon take pleasure in autofocus whereas the Otus, just like the others within the collection, is guide focus only.
To be included into Zeiss’s acclaimed Otus collection of top-notch lenses it ought to have wonderful optical performance and construct quality. This all comes at a worth although: 4500 EUR / 5000 USD may be consistent with the opposite Otus lenses but continues to be extremely expensive in comparison with rivals.
The Zeiss 100mm f1.4 Otus can also be fairly shut in focal size to the 85mm f1.4 Otus. To seek out out whether or not the new 100mm Otus is something greater than a minor variation of an present lens I tested it on the 46MP Z7 body towards Zeiss’s own 85mm f1.4 Otus, Sigma’s 105mm f1.4 Art which is my current reference 105mm lens, and Nikon’s 105mm f1.4E ED. So in the event you wish to understand how the model new Zeiss 100mm f1.4 Otus performs, you’ve come to the appropriate place! PS – when you’re interested within the different Otus lenses in Zeiss’s line-up take a look at my in-depth evaluations: Zeiss Otus 28mm f1.4 review / Zeiss Otus 55mm f1.4 review / Zeiss Otus 85mm f1.4 review.
Details from the catalog
As standard I’ll have a look at the technical knowledge of the Zeiss Otus first. I’ve rated the features with a [+] (or [++]), when it’s higher than common or even state-of-the-art, a  if it’s normal or simply common, and [-] if there’s an obstacle. For comparison I’ll use the Nikon 105mm f1.4E (“Nikon” for brief) and Sigma’s 105mm f1.4 Artwork (“Sigma”).
Measurement (diameter x length): 101 x 126mm (4.0 x 5.0in), the lens hood adds 49mm (with a diameter of 107mm) which provides a complete size of 175mm (6.9in). The Nikon is 95 x 106mm with the lens hood adding one other 47mm (111mm diameter). The Sigma is 116 x 129mm, the lens hood adds 43mm (with a diameter of 128mm). 
Weight: 1307g (46.1 oz) plus 107g (three.four oz) for the metallic lens hood. The Nikon is 979g, the lens hood adds another 55g. The Sigma is available in at 1496g plus 104g for the carbon fiber lens hood and 123g for the removable tripod collar which adds as much as a complete weight of 1723g. [-]
Optics: 14 parts in 11 teams vs 14 parts in 9 teams for the Nikon and 17 parts in 12 teams for the Sigma. This can be a complicated design for a primary lens and accommodates 9 special dispersion parts and one aspherical lens component. The Nikon has no aspherical parts, the Sigma has one. [+]
Closest focus distance is 1.0m (three.3ft) with a magnification of 1:8.6. A magnification of 1:10 is achieved at a distance of 1.15m. The Nikon does 1:6.7 at zero.92m in guide focus and and achieves 1:10 at 1.26m whereas the Sigma goes to 0.94m with a magnification of 1:7.7 in guide focus. It achieves 1:10 magnification at 1.18m distance. 
Filter-thread: 86mm which in all probability means that you’ll want a brand new filter set. The Sigma is even worse with its 105mm filter thread whereas the Nikon takes cheaper 82mm filters. [-]
Picture stabilization: No. That’s about par for the course on giant aperture primes. Sadly at a focal length of 100mm and with in the present day’s high resolution sensors it’s fairly challenging to keep away from blur/shake with hand-held photographs. Use 1/200 sec to be on the protected(r) aspect or use a tripod. Canon has confirmed which you can construct f1.4 primes with image stabilization and not compromise picture high quality for it. But use any of these lenses (by way of adapter) on a contemporary mirrorless body from Nikon or Sony and get sensor-based picture stabilization “for free”. 
Auto focus: No, all Zeiss Otus lenses are guide focus solely. The Nikon and the Sigma supply autofocus with manual-focus override by simply turning the main target ring. [-]
Covers full frame/FX or smaller. Similar with the options. [+]
Worth: 4500 EUR (incl. 19% VAT) / 5000 USD. The Sigma has a road worth of around 1300 EUR / 1600 USD and the Nikon is around 2000 EUR / 1900 USD. [-]
The Otus comes with no lens pouch however a metallic lens hood is included, reversible for transport, and the lens caps are just like Nikon’s. The Nikon comes at the very least with a gentle lens pouch. The Sigma is the most effective outfitted: It comes with a nice padded lens case and a strap, the lens hood is included, made out of carbon fiber to scale back weight and a rubberized front phase to stop dings and scratches from setting the lens down on the lens hood. And Sigma added a removable tripod mount with an Arca-Swiss fashion interface. [-]
Distance info shouldn’t be relayed to the digital camera, the lens delivers a worth of zero.01m whatever the distance you choose. This disables a few of the superior exposure-related stuff e.g. a Nikon physique can do although the lens does have electrical contacts and communicates some EXIF knowledge with the physique. The Nikon and the Sigma relay subject-to-camera-distance. The Canon EF-mount version of the Sigma can also be suitable with the lens aberration corrections obtainable in current Canon bodies to compensate for vignetting, chromatic aberrations and distortion. 
Aperture ring: sure (Nikon ZF.2 model only), so you’ll be able to management aperture from the lens on a modern Nikon F-mount DSLR. Use the Otus by way of FTZ adapter on a Nikon Z physique and the aperture ring loses its perform. The aperture is actuated mechanically not electronically like with the Nikon or Sigma. [+]
Sealing: no rubber-grommet at the lens-mount. I asked Zeiss about their Otus lenses being “hardened” for the elements. They replied that the enclosure of the optical groups effectively seals the lens towards dust and moisture. However still: with no seal between the lens and the physique there’s the danger of moisture getting in there. The Nikon solely has climate sealing at the lens-mount while the Sigma provides additional special weather-sealing throughout the construction. 
The rating within the “features-department” is 5[-]/5/3[+]. So the lens doesn’t seem well-featured. Its major downsides being the worth, lacking autofocus, the considerable weight and measurement, and the need to use 86mm filters. So only extraordinary optical efficiency will make the new Zeiss Otus fascinating to anybody.
There are not any different 100mm f1.4 (or f1.Eight) lenses obtainable for Canon, Nikon or Sony house owners. So you both have to go slightly longer (105mm) or shorter (85mm).
- There’s Nikon’s 105mm f1.4E ED from their line of professional giant aperture primes. This lens has excellent picture high quality and is smaller and lighter than the new Zeiss. It prices additionally less at around 2000 EUR. For more details see my Nikon 105mm f1.4E ED review. The 5% distinction in focal size is nearly negligible.
- Sigma has the 105mm f1.4 Art lens. It is the largest and heaviest lens on this range at 1.7kg (inc lens hood and tripod collar). It presents wonderful optical performance. For more details see my Sigma 105mm f1.4 Artwork review.
- On the shorter aspect there are an abundance of 85mm f1.4 lenses of which perhaps the only stabilized lens in this group, the Canon EF 85mm 1.four L IS USM for around 1500 EUR/USD and the optically wonderful and equally costly Zeiss Otus (guide focus solely, 4000 EUR) deserve special mentioning. See my Zeiss Otus 85mm f1.4 review. However you lose 15% attain with a 85mm lens as in comparison with 100mm focal size which is equivalent to cropping 28% of your pixels away.
- Sony house owners also needs to contemplate the Sony 85mm f1.4 G Master which performs very properly, although costs just a little greater than the Sigma. See my Sony FE 85mm f1.4 G Grasp review.
- Canon mirrorless house owners also needs to contemplate the Canon RF 85mm f1.2L USM which sports a brighter aperture than the others right here; see my Canon RF 85mm f1.2L USM review for extra details. There’s also the 13 yr previous Canon EF 85mm f1.2L II USM which is native to DSLRs or adaptable to Canon’s mirrorless cameras.
As with all other Otus lenses I can only say: should you can’t handle to correctly focus manually you higher overlook about this lens, skip this review to avoid being contaminated by the superior image quality, and head over to various lenses that provide autofocus. However in case you are utilizing this lens adapted on a mirrorless physique like the Nikon Z or Sony Alpha fashions, focus peaking and a magnified viewfinder make it straightforward to focus exactly. It just takes more time than with an autofocus system. And to be trustworthy: Even with all of the autofocus lenses I exploit, I virtually all the time verify for good focus, as a result of with less than excellent targets there’s all the time a chance the digital camera pulled focus to a special spot than you meant it to.
The main target ring has no slack/play between its movement and the focus-action and a throw of 315 levels, which is right for accurate focus extensive open. The main target ring is straightforward to grip even with gloves though it has no construction. It moves very smoothly and could be operated with one finger. It has exhausting stops on each side of the space scale so you understand exactly whenever you’ve reached one or the opposite finish of the main target vary. However the exhausting cease on the far finish is a bit past infinity so that you star-gazing photographers nonetheless need to seek out actual focus manually if you want to capture the Milky Means in all its sparkling glory.
As you pull focus, you’ll notice some focus respiration: the picture turns into more magnified at closer focusing distances. When I adjusted focus from infinity to 1.15m on the new Zeiss Otus, I measured a 11% improve in magnification. This is very seen and won’t please videographers. The Zeiss 85mm f1.4 Otus and Sigma 105mm f1.4 Art improve magnification by 10% resp. 13% and the Nikon 105mm f1.4E even by a whopping 28%.
Build high quality
The lens has 9 rounded aperture blades and the aperture ring has half-stop clicks up to f11, although there’s no clean step-less choice that videographers would have appreciated. To operate the aperture from a Nikon F-mount DLSR merely set it to f16 where it’s routinely arrested with a small latch/button. The lens is built like a tank with a totally metallic outer barrel, metallic innards, and a metallic lens hood that fits seamlessly on the lens-front and doesn’t rattle. This full-metal construct is frowned upon by some fearing issues at sub-zero temperatures. But I examined the earlier 55mm f1.4 Otus coming from an evening within the deep-freezer and neither did my bare fingers stick with the cold metallic surface nor did the focus-action develop into too stiff. Working the lens at -22 levels Celsius (-8 levels Fahrenheit) was no drawback in any respect and I anticipate the 100mm f1.4 being no totally different on this regard.
The design is gently curved even with the lens hood hooked up and the surfaces are all clean and straightforward to wash apart from the rubber focus ring. All-in-all holding and operating this lens conveys a feeling of nice craftsmanship and strong high-quality construct that is in-line with the other Otuses and exceeds some other lenses I’ve ever touched.
Next take a look at my high quality outcomes.
Examine costs on the Zeiss Otus 100mm f1.4 B&H, Adorama or WEX!