Zeiss 85mm Lenses Compared


Viktor Pavlovic has released an excellent comparison of the the Zeiss Otus, Milvus, and Planar 85mm lenses.  What we found most interesting was the conclusion that:

Stopped down to f/2.8 and smaller it [Planar] comes actually very close to Otus and Milvus, and most professional photographers won’t shot portraits at wide open aperture anyway.

So whether or not the Otus or Milvus is worth it to you depends on how much you really need to shoot at F1.4 and how much you are willing to deal with the extra cost and physical size and weight of the Milvus and Otus.  Don’t get us wrong, we want both an Otus and Milvus, but we have no doubts that a Planar in the hands of a competent photographer can produce excellent results.

These are of course manual focus lenses and trying to focus them on a Nikon or a Canon body is a pain.  You require a tripod and a loupe and the camera to be in live-view mode to really focus properly.  Mirrorless cameras like the Sony A7 series do better with manual focus lenses but the Otus and the Milvus are huge on the Sony bodies and do not balance well.  So there is no perfect solution to focusing these lenses presently, just compromises on either side of the fence.