Zeiss has long had the reputation of being a premium lens manufacturer. With a build quality that’s second to none and overall image quality that can blow the competition out of the water, it’s easy to see why the brand has a loyal following. But in the age of ultra-fast autofocus systems, Zeiss remains in its Milvus range at least, curiously manual focus only. While you might think this would put photographers off, the reality is that those who use these lenses do so for the aforementioned reasons – and that’s enough.
The Zeiss Milvus 25mm f/1.4 was released in 2017, two years after Zeiss launched the Milvus range of manual-focus only, prime lenses designed for use with full-frame DSLRs. The series consists of 11 lenses ranging from 15mm all the way up to 135mm making it an incredibly comprehensive line-up. The Milvus 25mm f/1.4 is the fourth widest lens offering a more traditional wide-angle field of view. The lens is available in two mounts: ZE for Canon EOS and ZF for Nikon F.
The lens itself is quite large, due to the large maximum aperture and the fact that it features 15 elements in 13 groups, making it a much more complex lens than its immediate competition. This helps to produce the excellent image quality this lens is capable of. Another welcome feature is the aperture diaphragm with nine rounded blades, for pleasing bokeh when open wide and 18-ray sun stars when stopped down.
Built to withstand the rigours of professional use the Milvus 25mm f/1.4, like the other lenses in the series, is sealed against dust and moisture. Designed for shooting stills and video, videographers will also be pleased to hear that the aperture ring can be made stepless simply by rotating a small screw embedded in the lens mount.