The Zeiss Milvus sequence is a well-liked selection for photographers and videographers who get pleasure from an actual guide focus lens with an extended focus throw, top-end construct, and unique optics. The 1.4/25 ($2,399) is the widest f/1.4 entry within the sequence. Its optics aren’t as clinically good because the Otus 1.4/28 ($4,999), however it delivers crisp outcomes, particularly when stopped down somewhat bit. It is price a glance when you’re a fan of guide focus lenses, however not as strong a worth because the $850 Sigma 24mm F1.4 DG HSM Artwork, which is extra of a crowd-pleaser and our Editors’ Alternative on this focal size.
The Milvus 1.4/25 ($2,399.00 at B&H Photograph Video) is not a light-weight optic. It suggestions the scales at 2.6 kilos, measures 4.8 by 3.8 inches (HD), and helps 82mm entrance filters. The barrel is steel, and flares out a bit towards the entrance factor. It is completed in black, and ships with a petal-style lens hood, additionally black steel, that is reversible for storage. Should you’re unclear on Zeiss naming conventions, bear in mind that the lens is a 25mm f/1.4 design with full-frame protection.
Like different Milvus lenses, the 1.4/25 is protected against mud and splashes. It is obtainable for Nikon and Canon mounts. Each provide digital aperture management, and the Nikon model features a bodily aperture ring so you should use it with movie our bodies or a contemporary mirrorless digicam by way of an adapter. The aperture management may be set to show freely for video use with an included software.
The guide focus ring occupies third of the barrel. It is lined in clean rubber, extra comfy to show in chilly climate than naked steel. One of many hallmarks of the Milvus sequence is an extended focus throw, which is a giant plus for video use. The ring turns a full 180 levels, with arduous stops on the minimal focus distance and infinity, so you may make gradual, clean focus racks when recording video, and dial in focus with precision when capturing stills.
Focus respiration, a change within the angle of view of the lens as focus is adjusted, is seen, however the impact is properly managed. It is arduous to note for minor modifications in focus. Each cinematographers and photographers will admire the main focus distance scale, which is marked in imperial and metric models, and matches with a corresponding depth of subject scale, marked at f/4 by way of f/16.
The Milvus focuses to 9.9 inches (25cm), measured from the sensor airplane. That allows you to get fairly near topics, however as a result of the sphere of view is so huge, do not count on macro outcomes—the utmost magnification is 1:4.8. However when you’re capturing at a large aperture you may actually blur out backgrounds when working nearer to your topic. The picture of raindrops above was shot with focus set pretty shut, whereas the picture that follows under was centered on the buildings above.
Picture High quality
I examined the Milvus with the 45.7MP Nikon D850 within the lab and within the subject, and likewise with the 42MP Sony a7R III within the subject.
The lens scores properly on Imatest’s center-weighted analysis, notching 3,229 traces per image top. That is higher than the two,750 traces we need to see at a minimal when testing with a high-resolution physique just like the D850. The common rating is not the entire story, nonetheless. The middle space of the body may be very sharp, 4,333 traces, however as you progress away the decision drops. We see about 2,300 traces within the mid components and periphery of the body, which is a bit mushy. For a lot of pictures depth of subject will conceal this, however when you’re capturing huge landscapes, slim the aperture.
There is a normal enchancment at f/2, 3,601 traces on common with 4,840 traces on the heart, and about 2,600 traces all through the remainder of the body, nonetheless a bit mushy. At f/2.8 we begin to see robust efficiency kind edge to edge, with a median 4,170-line rating and a really robust 3,600-line exhibiting as you progress away from the middle.
The candy spot for decision begins at f/4—the common is a tack-sharp 4,573 traces and the outer edges lag solely barely behind (4,295 traces). The sharpest outcomes are at f/5.6 (4,812 traces) and f/8 (4,790 traces). At f/11 there is a slight drop in readability (4,329 traces) and, whereas we see a drop at f/16, diffraction is properly managed and the lens nonetheless resolves 3,929 at its narrowest setting.
There’s somewhat little bit of barrel distortion, about 2 %, which is pretty modest for a wide-angle f/1.4 prime. It is simply eliminated utilizing Lightroom or related software program. A scarcity of evenness in illumination is extra troublesome. At f/1.4 the corners are noticeably dim in contrast with the middle, lagging behind by 6.1 stops (-6.1EV). Sure, you may brighten them, however brightening the intense differential can introduce noise to a picture.
Narrowing the aperture brightens the corners. At f/2 the differential is -3.8EV, and at f/2.8 it is -2.4EV. The deficit is far much less at f/4, -1.5EV, and drops to about -1.2EV at narrower settings. We take into account -1EV to be negligible for many real-world photographs, so the vignette is barely an actual concern at wider f-stops. The darkening is kind of seen within the picture under, which was shot at f/1.4; check out the highest left nook.
Zeiss lenses, that are designed in Germany and manufactured in Japan, carry a premium price ticket, and the Milvus 1.4/25 is not an exception. At near $2,400 it is a hefty buy. But when your work is constructed round true guide focus lenses and the advantages they ship, it is a strong performer. It would not match the far more costly Otus 1.4/28 in edge readability at its widest aperture, however delivers glorious heart sharpness huge open and is crisp from edge to edge when stopped down only a bit. We’re sticking with the Sigma 24mm F1.4 DG HSM Artwork as our Editors’ Alternative, because it’s an distinctive worth and likewise a really robust optical performer. However when you favor guide focus, and perceive that the Milvus would not ship Otus-level perfection at its widest aperture, it’s best to take into account including the 1.4/25 to your package.
The Backside Line
Guide focus followers in search of a quick, wide-angle prime will love the Zeiss Milvus 1.4/25, however there are extra inexpensive autofocus lenses on the market.