Monday, October 7, 2013

Zeiss Introduces a New Normal!

Something interesting has happened to lenses and cameras. It turns out that high-pixel-count digital sensors are a lot more demanding of their lenses than the needs of film ever were, and for most camera companies, their latest camera sensor's resolutions have blown past the ability of their lenses to resolve fine details. In other words, new lenses need to have much higher resolution to match the needs of the digital sensors in the current cameras, not to mention the sensors of the future. For instance, when Nikon introduced the D800 and D800E, they also published a short list of their lenses that would best work with these two cameras. Not all Nikon lenses have the resolving power to take advantage of this new 36 MP sensor.

So this means that lens manufacturers are going back to their drawing boards, or CAD programs, and inventing entirely new lens designs that are able to resolve image details like never before. And Zeiss is one of those companies. Zeiss has created a new lens called the Otus 55mm f/1.4. It's fairly big for a "normal" lens, weighing more than 2 pounds, but it does have 12 elements in 10 groups, so there is a lot of glass in there. Resolution has been optimized across the field of view, even at the open apertures and at any distance. The mechanical construction has been brought to its highest possible standards. Zeiss' goal with this lens was to create the highest quality lens in the world. Only time will tell if they succeeded.

The Zeiss Otus 55mm f/1.4 lens will be available in Nikon and Canon mounts and will sell for just under $4000, which makes it one of the world's most expensive normal lenses. By the way, Otus is the Latin name for a type of owl that has excellent night vision.