Otus 1.4/28 on tour with Iron Maiden
John McMurtrie, Official Photographer of Iron Maiden, about his experiences shooting with the Otus 1.4/28 on tour.
by John McMurtrie
I get asked to try new photographic kit more frequently these days but the majority of offers I pass on because I love the equipment I use and I firmly believe in the expression ‘if it ain’t broke don’t try to fix it!’!
But when I was asked if I wanted to try out the new ZEISS Otus 1.4/28 I instantly said YES! Why? Well ever since I started my photographic journey, maximum sharpness has always been my goal and even back in my student days everyone knew there were good lenses and then there was ZEISS and wow this lens doesn’t disappoint.
The first thing that struck me was the clarity through the viewfinder and how bright everything was with it’s f1.4 open aperture. It makes composition so much easier and I was definitely noticing what was in and what wasn’t in the frame before pressing the shutter. Focusing is a delight as the lens focus ring moves effortlessly and I genuinely loved not having Autofocus. I realise this is a bold claim but whilst using the Otus 1.4/28 I found myself positioning the subject on a focus sensor in camera, pressing focus lock and recomposing which is totally unnecessary with a manual focus lens. I had to tell myself to stop doing it and then you realise your normal technique is losing more shots from wasting time having to control the Autofocus. Obviously that isn’t the case with a 200mm lens when shooting fast action but with a shorter focal length lens focusing manual is a delight and that is exactly what this lens is. I love it!
Secondly the build quality is superb. All metal exterior construction including a metal lens hood! It was raining at the show I shot with the Otus 1.4/28 and I was told the lens would be fine and it operated faultlessly throughout. I also really like the smooth sturdy feel of the lens. So the lens feels good on the camera, is easy to operate and is bright in the viewfinder, but the most critical factor for me is sharpness. When I am shooting live concert photography the majority of the time I will shoot between f2.8 and f4. Because the lens isn’t stopped down I am relying totally on the optical resolution to be 100% sharp not just in the middle but in all 4 corners of the frame. I shot over 800 pictures using the Otus 28mm and every frame is sharp throughout. My fear of losing shots because of having to focus manually were misguided and I don’t think I missed a shot throughout the concert. Pyro explosions, 80,000 fans going crazy and the lead singer leaping around the stage were all magnificently crisp and full of colour! I also got to use the lens in bright daylight and I was impressed how perfect the contrast is captured without any chromatic aberrations. The blacks have a better density than I am used to on my other lenses and the colour is vibrant and the images look punchy! ZEISS have built their reputation on outstanding quality and the Otus 1.4/28 maintains that!
Scream for me Otus you ROCK!
About John McMurtrie
John McMurtrie is an award winning British music photographer and the official photographer of Iron Maiden. He is well known for his striking portraits of musicians and he regularly shoots for various popular music magazines.