Sunday, January 26, 2014

Landscape Shooting with the Zeiss Otus 55mm f/1.4 (Review Part II)–Unedited Forest Photos


Copyright (c) Ron Martinsen - All Rights Reserved

This image has been edited but only sharpening was due to resizing

Normally when I review a lens, I try to incorporate the review into my everyday life events as a photographer. I don’t usually seek out special locations or go too far out of my way beyond hiring the occasional model. However, this lens is very different and it warrants very special treatment. You can see my review with bookshelf test shots and more at MINI-REVIEW: Zeiss Otus 55mm f/1.4–Is It Really That Good? (Canon 50mm f/1.2L comparison), but this article is about seeing what this lens can do out in a beautiful forest with no help from Photoshop or Lightroom

Zeiss 55mm f/1.4 Otus Distagon T* Lens
Zeiss 55mm f/1.4 Otus Distagon T* Lens
This image came from B&H probably via Zeiss

Real World Sample Images

I enjoyed shooting with this lens so much I decided to pack up my Canon 1D X, Gitzo GT1541 (the perfect travel/hiking tripod) with the Arca-Swiss Monoball Z1 sp head into my StreetWalker Pro backpack and head out for a rare chance to shoot just for fun. I had no client, family or objective – just walk and shoot what looked interesting to my eyes.

You can download them and view them out for yourself, but you may not print, edit, or otherwise use these photos beyond that. You must delete them after viewing as all images featured in this article are Copyright © Ron Martinsen – ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

These images come from my Canon 1D X with zero post-processing, but they are the in-camera JPEG’s so it does do a little bit of internal processing. I did turn off all noise reduction just to avoid any softening of the images. I was also using the Landscape picture style for nearly all the shots, and my white balance was set to Shade.

Click here to see the gallery where I’ll store all my test images, and you’ll notice that all the shots here are featured numerous times because I shot them at various apertures.

Click any of the images to see the full-size in-camera original.


Canon EOS-1D X, f/11 @ 55 mm, 0.8s, ISO 100, No Flash


Canon EOS-1D X, f/11 @ 55 mm, 1.3s, ISO 100, No Flash


Canon EOS-1D X, f/8 @ 55 mm, 1.3s, ISO 100, No Flash

If possible, I tried to limit myself to no more than f/8 simply to show off the sharpness of this lens


Canon EOS-1D X, f/11 @ 55 mm, 2.5s, ISO 100, No Flash

Anything after f/11 gets soft so when I wanted sharpness and DOF this was my go to setting


Canon EOS-1D X, f/11 @ 55 mm, 2.5s, ISO 100, No Flash

I got some nasty flare here despite the very big hood that was attached
Click here to see an edited version


Canon EOS-1D X, f/1.4 @ 55 mm, 1/30, ISO 100, No Flash

Click here to see an edited black and white version


Canon EOS-1D X, f/1.4 @ 55 mm, 1/30, ISO 100, No Flash

See the top of this article for the edited version


Canon EOS-1D X, f/1.4 @ 55 mm, 1/30, ISO 100, No Flash

The bokeh on this lens rocks!


Canon EOS-1D X, f/4 @ 55 mm, 0.5s, ISO 100, No Flash

In case you haven’t figured it out yet, I dig moss and ferns <g>


Canon EOS-1D X, f/1.4 @ 55 mm, 1/15, ISO 100, No Flash

While I took shots at multiple apertures, this lens caused me to love wide open


Canon EOS-1D X, f/1.4 @ 55 mm, 1/50, ISO 100, No Flash

I had f/11 & f/16 versions of this, but I preferred the shallow DOF leading to the bridge
Wide open under exposes by a stop but I liked the mood here as it matched
the lighting of this scene when I took it (sun had already set)


Canon EOS-1D X, f/1.4 @ 55 mm, 1/50, ISO 100, No Flash


Canon EOS-1D X, f/1.4 @ 55 mm, 1/30, ISO 100, No Flash

This shot was about the fern, but I included the cool scenery
While I did this shot in all apertures, this was still my favorite


Canon EOS-1D X, f/9 @ 55 mm, 1/3, ISO 100, No Flash

This is a shot I also did at f/1.4 with a focus on the distant tree,
but unfortunately the details of the tree were lost but the rest of the photo was cool

Want to shoot with me here?

I’ve taken about 1% of the amazing shots that are possible in this forest, yet I got these after only a couple hours in the forest (and about 45 minutes of walking – round trip). I have these and many other beautiful places to shoot near me, so if you are interested in hiring me for one on one or small group private training please contact me! I’ll make sure you get shots like these or better, and we’ll have a lot of fun talking about photography while we are at it!

Conclusion

If you’ve paid attention to the camera settings, you’ll see that f/1.4 darkens the image by a stop and after f/11 things start to get soft probably more due to diffraction than the lens itself. The D800E’s lack of a optical low pass filter will probably be help it to be able to go deeper beyond f/11 with much better results, but I’d suspect f/16 is still soft. The sweet spot for this lens is definitely f/4 – f/5.6, so when I wanted maximum sharpness I favored f/5.6.

You can see my review with bookshelf test shots and more at MINI-REVIEW: Zeiss Otus 55mm f/1.4–Is It Really That Good? (Canon 50mm f/1.2L comparison), but this shoot today just made me love this lens even more. In fact, the biggest complaints I have are the obvious lack of automatic focus (because I’m a people photographer), the price (ouch), and the fact that it is so sharp that it screws up your workflow because you have to avoid sharpening until the final resize because creative sharpening will easily over sharpen these images.

Yeah, it’s that good! If you can afford it – get it!

Where to order

Zeiss 55mm f/1.4 Otus Distagon T* Lens for Canon EF Mount
Zeiss 55mm f/1.4 Otus Distagon T* Lens

Click here to learn more or order either the Canon or Nikon version on the B&H web site. If you enjoyed this article, I strongly encourage you to purchase from them as this wouldn’t have been possible without their support!

Where to rent with a discount

Can afford this lens? Me either – ha, ha! It’s still fun and worth checking out, so rent it and have your day of fun with it too!

My friends at BorrowLenses.com and LensRentals.com both offer discounts on my discount coupon code page where you can rent this awesome lens.

Here’s the pages that link to this lens on their web site:

Remember, to visit my Discount Coupon Code page for this and other discounts!

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