What do you get when a master cinematographer gets his hands on the “the best DSLR lens on the market today” the Zeiss 55mm f/1.4 Otus Distagon T*? August Bradley’s “Zoetrope Optika,” that’s what!

We’d heard about August shooting a short film with the Zeiss 55mm f/1.4 Otus in a previous planet5D article.

When August called to ask if planet5D would like to premiere his film, we were thrilled!

August Bradley is a Los Angeles-based filmmaker and photographer with a reputation for creating powerful images and compelling stories by his use of lenses and filters, to create in-camera effects.

He shot this concept film, “Zoetrope Optika” with the #1 lens available today according to DxO – the Zeiss 55mm f/1.4 Otus. In its review, DxO Labs says,

“The new Carl Zeiss Otus 1,4/55, mounted on the Nikon D800, is categorically the highest performing standard-type prime in our database. With a DxOMark lens rating of 45 points, and a 29P-Mpix Sharpness score, the Zeiss Otus achieved the best results the labs have ever seen.”

planet5D is excited and proud to present this exclusive world premiere of August Bradley’s “Zoetrope Optika” shot with the Zeiss 55mm f/1.4 Otus Distagon T* Lens and the Sony F5.

"Zoetrope Optika" A Zeiss Otus Lens Concept Film

The Zeiss 55mm f/1.4 Otus Distagon T* Lens up close and personal


Scene from "Zoetrope Optika" by August Bradley

Scene from “Zoetrope Optika” by August Bradley (click for full size!)

“Zoetrope Optika”



"Zoetrope Optika" A Zeiss Otus Lens Concept Film

August Bradley steers the Sony F5 with Zeiss Otus Lens

Shooting “Zoetrope Optika”

From August Bradley:

We had early access to the new and innovative Zeiss Otus lens and wanted to work with it on a short concept film. This is the first short film shot on the new lens (it was shot shortly before the lens was released).

The ideas in this film are based on my experience at Zeiss Cine Lens Day, where invited cinematographers from around the world toured the Zeiss lens manufacturing facility in Jena, Germany. In addition to manufacturing a wide range of lenses (a process that is both highly mechanized, but also involves a significant hands-on human touch), Zeiss makes planetarium projectors and watching the stars in the Zeiss Power Dome had an impact on this short piece as well.

When I approached artist David Lovejoy about building a scene with his elaborate fantasy lens machines and planetary sculptures for a Zeiss-inspired project, he was excited and explained the coincidence that it was the Zeiss planetarium projector at Griffith Observatory that inspired him in the first place to create these pieces of sculpture.

As always, these projects are created by teams of people with a lot of talent and passion. Our entire creative team was exceptional, it was a privilege to work with all of them.

More gear details: Shot in 4k RAW on Sony F5 with Sony R5 raw recorder.

Behind the Scenes Stills from “Zoetrope Optika”

Zeiss Otus lens_August Bradley Image 6

Looking down on the Sony F5/Zeiss Distagon T* Otus 1,4/55 ZF.2 lens combination

"Zoetrope Optika" A Zeiss Otus Lens Concept Film

August Bradley sets up a shot for “Zoetrope Optika” A Zeiss Otus Lens Concept Film

"Zoetrope Optika" A Zeiss Otus Lens Concept Film

The lens DxO Labs rates as the best DSLR lens currently on the market

What do you think about August Bradley’s short film? Are you going to use the Zeiss Otus Lens on your future projects? Share your thoughts with others by commenting on the planet5D forums!

(cover photo credit: snap from August Bradley)