Cameras like the Nikon D800 have pushed the resolution of current lens designs right to the limits and in many cases beyond. Start testing a collection of Nikon lenses on the D800 and you quickly realize that you really need to pair it with A-grade optics in order to tap into the power of the amazing sensor. Carl Zeiss has decided to take what they call a 'no compromise' approach to their latest Distagon deisgn, the Otus 55mm f/1.4, in order to create a new range of lenses that better suit these high megapixel monsters. The lens will be available in October in both Canon and Nikon mount for the hefty price of $4000. Whilst those who are used to still camera lenses will baulk at that price, those who have used cine primes like Zeiss Master Primes or Zeiss Compact Primes will be more used to this kind of price. In fact it's essentially the same price as a Compact Prime. I've played with one of these lenses myself and although it was pre-production, the images did look to be stunning. I've no doubt that this lens is going to raise the bar of what's achievable with the D800 and whatever Canon's next high MP camera is. The one slight problem for some is that the lens is manual focus only and as such the market for its usage is quite limited. Some portraiture might be possible, but studio fashion with ever-moving models is going to be tough. Where this will be embraced is the landscape photography market and Zeiss have already promised more Otus lenses including a wide angle. Given the abnormally large size and weight of the lens compared to most 50mm lenses, it's not something you are going to carry around 'just in case' either. You would normally expect a 50mm lens to be the smallest in your bag but this thing is much heftier than even a 24-70 f2.8.
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