ZEISS Otus Apo-Sonnar 100mm f/1.4 T* Lens Review - Performance

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Zeiss Otus Apo-Sonnar 100mm f/1.4 T* Performance

Looking first at central sharpness, results are excellent at f/1.4, outstanding from f/2 to f/4, excellent from f/5.6 to f/11 and still very good at f/16. The edges are very good at f/1.4 and f/2, excellent from f/2.8 to f/11 and very good at f/16. Basically, the lens delivers great results at all apertures and is fully usable throughout its range.


Zeiss Otus 100mm f/1.4 MTF Charts

How to read our MTF charts

The blue column represents readings from the centre of the picture frame at the various apertures and the green is from the edges.

The scale on the left side is an indication of actual image resolution as LW/PH and is described in detail above. The taller the column, the better the lens performance.

For this review, the lens was tested on a Canon 5DS R using Imatest.


CA (Chromatic Aberration) is something we expect to be very low, as this is billed as an apochromatic design, so all colours of light should be brought to the same point of focus. Both centre and edge the results are accordingly very well controlled and there is not a sign of colour fringing in even the most demanding images.


Zeiss Otus 100mm f/1.4 Chromatic Aberration Charts

How to read our CA charts

Chromatic aberration (CA) is the lens' inability to focus on the sensor or film all colours of visible light at the same point. Severe chromatic aberration gives a noticeable fringing or a halo effect around sharp edges within the picture. It can be cured in software.

Apochromatic lenses have special lens elements (aspheric, extra-low dispersion etc) to minimize the problem, hence they usually cost more.

For this review, the lens was tested on a Canon 5DS R using Imatest.


There is a modest level of +0.57% pincushion distortion, another excellent result. This is low enough to make further correction largely unnecessary, but software could be utilised if the need arose.

Bokeh, the quality of the out of focus areas in an image, does not disappoint. Sometimes, very high-resolution lenses can be a bit severe in terms of smoothness of those out of focus areas, but this lens is very smooth indeed. Perfect for classy portraiture with nice blurred backgrounds.

Flare resistance is highly impressive and it is unlikely to be a problem. Contrast is well maintained and there is virtually no trace of artefacts and reflections.

Vignetting might be considered the one point of compromise in the lens design, is a very visible -2.6 stops at f/1.4. This reduces to -1.8 stops at f/2, -1 stop at f/2.8 and thereafter a reasonable -0.8 stops throughout the rest of the aperture range. Of course, looked at another way, a lens with razor-sharp central core, with a gentle vignetting at f/1.4 might make a very fine portrait lens. From f/2.8 onwards this effect disappears and the lens becomes as close to technically perfect as anything man-made might reasonably be.

Zeiss Otus 100mm f/1.4 Sample Photos


Zeiss Otus 100mm f/1.4 Aperture range

You can view additional images in the Equipment Database, where you can add your own review, photos and product ratings.

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1 Aug 2019 5:35PM
So few 100mm ? Well it aint much longer than 85mm, so save money and get an F1.2 Canon or a F1.4.

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