After posting 5-Frames with a Zeiss Otus 55mm sometime ago, a few people asked whether I’d mind sharing the results on other emulsions – so I thought ‘great idea!’, then got totally side tracked for a few years and forgot all about it. Thing is, good lenses have been able to out-resolve film for decades, so there’s really not that much point to this, except that it’s fun and it gives me an excuse to shoot film. So, here are some shots with the Zeiss Otus 55mm and Otus 85mm on several 35mm film emulsions.
Camera-wise, everything was shot on a Canon EOS 1V with EC-S screen for manual focus, and lens-wise it’s either the Otus 55mm or 85mm, noted under each shot.
I haven’t had much actual shooting time, so my subject matter has been limited to my family, city, and some random stuff around the house (flowers, anyone?), but it’s still been enjoyable. Images are mostly unprocessed, apart from a slight s-curve on the levels. I shot everything wide open, since virtually every 50mm and 85mm ever made gives great results stopped down.
I’ve made notes under each image, but here are some general thoughts:
- Film bokeh is really nice. It’s not just out of focus like digital – it’s blown-out and fuzzy like an over-cranked amp.
- A super-sharp lens on a super grainy film isn’t a complete waste of resolution. The results can be pretty cool.
- The bright, crisp, saturated nature of the Otus lenses made all the colour film stocks look more similar than expected.
- Not sure if anyone could tell that these were shot on good quality lenses if you didn’t tell them first, but I personally think that these images have a unique quality to them. Different even from my other Zeiss lenses.
If you’d like to know anything about a specific image, feel free to ask in the comments.
And if you’re wondering about the reference to owls in the title, the current Zeiss lineup of Batis, Milvus, Loxia, Touit and Otus lenses are all named after birds. Otus are named after owls, presumably for their brilliant eyesight, and the teeny tiny brain required to pay these prices for manual focus lenses.