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Your Lens Questions Answered By A Zeiss Master

By Kishore Sawh on September 24th 2014


There’s something about Matt Granger that tends to get people’s opinions to be on the stronger side. If you take a look at the comment section of many of his videos, you’ll see what I mean. Anything from accusing him for fetishizing Asian women, to applauding him for just saying what he feels like without much thought to consequence, it’s all there. I tend to fall on the more favorable side of the fence, however. I like that he doesn’t pander to many, and sort of plucks us out of our PC, vegan, no E numbers photo-commentary diet. This behavior made me quite interested in seeing what would come from interviewing Zeiss Master Scientist, Dr. Hubert Nasse.

Dr. Nasse is a foremost authority on lens design and all things regarding optical wizardry. Having his background cemented with experience in physics and microscopic lens technology, his talents and hard earned knowledge are now put to work with Zeiss. You may have seen videos with him before as he discussed some recent Zeiss glass such as the 55mm f1.4. In this candid interview, Nasse is doing less direct marketing, and more shedding light on so much about lenses we all wish we knew. As a consequence, this may be the best bit of marketing Zeiss could’ve ever done.



Have you ever wondered why 50mm primes are almost always so small compared to other primes? He’ll explain. Perhaps you’ve been under the misapprehension that primes are always sharper than zooms? Well, he’ll delve into why some zooms in the middle range can, in fact, be sharper than primes. This should have some of you die hard Canon 70-200 shooters nodding sagely as you think about how gorgeous that lens deals with the 135mm range. It’s also interesting to hear his thoughts on the progress of optics, and what he thinks is to thank for the advancement.

I was torn on whether to actually write out some of the answers to the questions above, but I really would like you to watch all 36 minutes of this interview. Debate on lens tech and behaviors really fuel discussion between photographers, when, truly from my experience, most photographers really know very little about the subject, though they may use them to great effect. It’s like how an F1 driver knows little about the cars they drive compared to their engineers, but the engineers can’t set record lap times at Imola. Nonetheless, it’s an enlightening conversation, and have no fear about the discussion being over your head, because Nasse really breaks down the dialect and explanations down to their most easily digestible denominator, as only a master could.

For more from Matt Granger head over to his YouTube feed and website.

Images are screen caps from featured video, and Zeiss’s website.

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A photographer and writer based in Miami, he can often be found at dog parks, and airports in London and Toronto. He is also a tremendous fan of flossing and the happiest guy around when the company’s good.

Q&A Discussions

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  1. Aaron Cheney

    Great interview!

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  2. Robert Lüthje

    Great article, I personally really enjoy Matt Granger’s videos.
    Thanks for sharing this interesting interview!

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    • Kishore Sawh

      I have to say he has grown on me over time to where I do find a lot of value in his videos now. I’m glad you found this informative Robert. Cheers

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  3. Chuck Eggen

    Hat’s off to Matt Granger for a great interview. I can’t tell you how much I learned in his interview. It’s one of those epiphany moments. Understanding why some lens exhibit this and not that. I didn’t know about the compromises made to favor one capability over another. I’m now more informed when looking at my next lens purchase. Also glad to hear about my Zeiss 100mm. I knew it was a great lens but had no idea the man that built the Otis would consider it one of the best.

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    • Kishore Sawh

      Chuck, I’m with you there. I have perhaps a little more knowledge that average when it comes to lenses, but still was so much to be had from this one interview. Love to see this sort of passion.

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  4. Clare Havill

    Very interesting video.

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  5. Peter McWade

    Very interesting and educating. I love learning technical stuff. Helps understand the lens and how it interacts with film and the glass itself. Too bad the sensors don’t react like film. But I don’t think I’ll ever go back to film.

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  6. Barry Cunningham

    Great interviewee with wonderful combination of technical information and historical perspective.
    Old nerds frequently have a lot of insight.

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