Is This the Ultimate Portrait Lens?

The fight for making the best premium portrait lens normally comes down to a few properties: a short telephoto focal length, a wide aperture, stellar sharpness (even wide open), and great bokeh. This lens offers all four of those things, often in spades. Is it the ultimate option for portrait photographers? This excellent video review takes a look.

Coming to you from Christopher Frost, this great video review takes a look at the Zeiss Otus 100mm f/1.4 ZE lens. Like most Zeiss lenses, the Otus 100mm f/1.4 is manual focus only and extraordinarily expensive, but with that price tag, you get the Zeiss experience: sharp images almost completely free of aberrations and beautiful out-of-focus backgrounds, all brought together by strong contrast and beautiful colors. It is, without a doubt, a lens designed and built with no compromises in mind, thus the stratospheric price, but many photographers who use Zeiss lenses absolutely swear by them. I have been lucky enough to shoot with this lens a few times and can definitely attest that the images it produces are special; Zeiss even goes so far as to advertise the lens as giving "the medium format look." It certainly is not for everyone, but for any portrait photographer who wants one of the best options out there, it is worth a look. Check out the video above for Frost's full thoughts. 

Alex Cooke's picture

Alex Cooke is a Cleveland-based portrait, events, and landscape photographer. He holds an M.S. in Applied Mathematics and a doctorate in Music Composition. He is also an avid equestrian.

Log in or register to post comments

Is there even such a thing? Every major manufacturer has at least one exceptional lens, in fact, third-party 'budget' options are getting up there with some of the best. Unless there was a direct apples-to-apples comparison of the same scene, there are very few people that would see or even care about the additional $2500 cost/benefit that Zeiss brings to the table.

I'm one of the people you mentioned. US$ 2,500.00?!?!?
I'm out!

I don’t have the ultimate portrait lens, I love to start the shoot with my Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR II and during the shoot change to my Sigma Art lenses, a 50mm f/1.4, 85mm f/1.4 and my 135mm f/1.8…..

I always have all these lenses in my pelicase….
Love all of the lenses and what they give me and the model!