So you read my previous posting on my Zeiss 50mm and my history with Zeiss lenses.  Ever get that feeling when you try something that it’s a match for you?  That’s how I felt with Zeiss lenses.  It wasn’t about being expensive lenses and the build-quality..  When I was using them, I just think how natural it feels using these lenses.  That’s why my eyes just roll whenever someone starts talking about how this gear is better than that gear.  And it happens a lot in photography.  “Just use what you like!” is what I tell people.

So I’m a big fan of my 50mm…  But it could be better.  Possibly a lot better…  And now Zeiss is coming out with a super high-end 55mm lens this year!  From what I’ve been reading, it seems like this is a lens that is not only an upgrade to the current 50mm, but will bring a whole other level of performance for lenses!  I’ve heard from other parties that this 55mm is THE highest performing DSLR lens ever!

When I read about prototype-testing and such, I always take it with a grain of salt.  But there are two things that are leading me to believe that these reports are true:  size and PRICE!

If you look at this lens…  It may be the biggest 50mm lens I’ve ever seen.  It’s AT LEAST twice as large as my current 50mm. It may be bigger than my Canon 28-135mm zoom lens when it’s in it’s short-range.  Part of the reason of this size increase is because of the number of glass elements in the lens.  The current lens has 7 glass elements.  The new lens has 12 elements.  Almost TWICE the number of the previous lens!

Now what we’re really waiting for…  How much?

Canon has been raising the pricing on all their updated lenses.  Sometimes by a small amount, and sometimes by a large amount.  Most would agree that the latter is more typical.  With all that I’ve been reading about this lens, I knew it would be expensive with the additional lens elements, size and technology.  After all, the newer 35mm and 85mm Zeiss lenses are much more expensive than their 50mm brother.  And while good, they look to be a match with this new lens…

$4,000….  That’s the number I’ve been mostly commonly hearing.  Which puts it out of reach for all but the top, full-time professional photographer, serious-amateur or latest dot-com millionaire newbie…  For a 50mm, it’s definitely one if not the most expensive 50mm lens for a SLR/DSLR ever.

The problem with this lens is that to get the most out of it, you need a sensor with tons of megapixels.  You’ll see improvements with it with your typical high-end DSLR for sure..  But let’s great honest here.  You can do an easy and quick improvement with images via Lightroom with a much lower-end lens.  Really, you need something like a Nikon D800 to get the most out of this lens.  And a Nikon D800 is not for me.

Canon’s previous professional flagship, high-resolution camera, the Canon 1Ds Mark III, was the go to camera for fashion, landscape and wildlife photography.  I would STILL consider getting this camera.  It’s a pro body, a decent 5fps and superior AF than my Canon 5D Mark II.  ISO is lousy but for my fashion work, I rarely go above ISO 400 anyway.  For what the camera does, it’s impressive for a 4-year old camera.  That’s what I love about Canon’s pro cameras..  They are certainly great cameras even with 4-year old technology.  I know pros using 8-year old pro Canon cameras as their main units..  8 megapixels!

There have been intensified reports of Canon releasing a new big megapixel camera in 2014.  I wouldn’t be a bit surprised.  This makes total sense to me and have been saying so in any forums that talk about this.  Canon really needs a camera that upgrades the 1Ds Mark III.  I LOVE the new Canon 1DX..  I got to play with it when all the camera manufacturer reps showed up at Keeble and Shuchat in Palo Alto one weekend.  Pro body, incredible ISO performance and an AF system that few can match…  And it’s WICKEDLY fast!  12FPS?  Nothing touches that!  But at 18MP, it simply isn’t enough for many photographers who need a high megapixels for print-size and detail.  Rumors have this new camera at either 38MP or 50MP.  My opinion is if you’re gonna go big, you REALLY gotta go big..  So I hope 50MP is what Canon goes for.

I got a feeling that Canon told Zeiss what they are up to and that was a motivating factor for them to produce the new 55mm.  Investing all this money into a lens for 1 camera doesn’t make sense.  And the Nikon while great, is NOT a pro camera.  Not really.  But two?  Sure.  And sensors are only going to get higher megapixel’d and better.  So Zeiss is simply investing in the future.

Would I get this lens?  That’s a tough call.  I know I won’t make any significant camera equipment purchases until 2014.  I guess the only reason, and I mean the ONLY one reason to purchase this lens, is if Canon does come out with this big megapixel camera and I manage to buy one of them.  I’ve heard that the new Canon big-MP camera will cost around $10,000.  Which is totally reasonable for what it will be able to do and the what Medium Format cameras cost.  The camera and lens would be a GREAT long-term investment for my business that’s for sure.

Inspiration for this and the last blog entries came from this video…  Enjoy!


About the author

Ricardo Gomez is a Fashion Photographer based in New York City.

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