First Short Film Shot with the 55mm ZEISS Otus Shows Off the Lens’ Superb Quality

Our reviewer Colin Peddle is currently the envy of the rest of the PetaPixel staff (including, wouldn’t you know it, the Editor in Chief) because he gets to play around with the ZEISS 55mm f/1.4 Otus that has everybody in the photography world salivating.

Well, this video won’t help with all the salivating, so get a napkin ready. Put together by photographer and cinematographer August Bradley, it’s the first ever short film shot with the $4,000 lens and does a great job showing off what a scharf lens it really is.

Bradley decided to shoot the video when he was told that he and his team would have early access to the lens. According to the video’s description, he drew inspiration from a tour he was given of the company’s factory in Jena, Germany for Zeiss Cine Lens Day.


The ideas in this film are based on my experience at Zeiss Cine Lens Day, where invited cinematographers from around the world toured the Zeiss lens manufacturing facility in Jena, Germany. In addition to manufacturing a wide range of lenses (a process that is both highly mechanized and also involves a significant hands-on human touch), Zeiss makes planetarium projectors and watching the stars in the Zeiss Power Dome had an impact on this short piece as well.

When I approached artist David Lovejoy about building a scene with his elaborate fantasy lens machines and planetary sculptures for a Zeiss-inspired project, he was excited and explained the coincidence that it was the Zeiss planetarium projector at Griffith Observatory that inspired him in the first place to create these pieces of sculpture.

We love this video because, not only does it show off the ZEISS lens’ chops (something Colin is becoming intimately familiar with… initially skeptical, he sent me a text yesterday asking for permission to publish a love poem to the Otus on Valentines day…) it also transports us into a beautifully-constructed fantasy world of ZEISS photo gear.

We don’t know about you, but we think that’s pretty cool. As always, let us know what you think of the video in the comments down below.

(via planet5D via The Phoblographer)

  • Adam Cross

    Very nice. as expected.


    Sadly, the end viewer will yawn and prefer an Instagram-like filter

  • Mark Houston

    For $4000.00 it better be a fabulous lens….I would like to see a similar video shoot with maybe a Nikon or Cannon lens to see if the Ziess is really that much better in real world shooting.

  • Vin Weathermon

    It was beautifully done; I am not a movie maker but can anyone tell what the characteristics of this lens are from the video itself? Is it the ability to rack focus better or ??

  • Adrian Soriano

    If an identical video was shot with any other good lens, would we be able to see any difference?

  • das


  • saa

    meh… prefer the merrill look!

  • Matt Wheeler

    So, uh, nice lens, but ridiculous vid. Show this lens being used in a moderately realistic way that most people would see, as opposed to some abstract fine art film with awkward, cheap sex music in the background.

  • fsjal

    What is your “moderately realistic use” of this lens then? A video about checkerboards?

  • Matt Wheeler

    I mean show it being used in a method that would appeal to the general market of people this is meant to target; I think it would’ve been best used to show daily life, somewhat documentary style (but super short), that just gives a full view of the way it would work in a naturally lit environment full of people, or even inside of a mall or museum or something. This vid is well done, I won’t deny that, but I feel like the companies that plan on purchasing this lens intend on using it to create materials the average consumer would see; like advertisements and movies and TV shows, as opposed to an artistic cinematography project (not to say it can’t be used there).

  • chip renner

    If there are any people out there who have way too much money & want to feel good you may give me this lens for the good karma it will bring.Thanks!!!