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I've been looking into the wide angle range of lenses to get as close to the medium format look as possible, and the Zeiss Otus 28/1.4 was a reasonable starting point. After a test, however, I think there's better corner performance on the market.

Are there any similar 20-30 mm lenses that have the large aperture but perform better? Manual focus is no deal breaker to me: what I'm really looking for is some lens without any visual artifacts (even under harsh conditions) that has the sharpness/contrast/MC/... similar to the 55 and 85 oti.

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    The corner performance of the Otus series is superb. It's just not flat field all the way out to the edges which means when focused carefully in the center of the frame the edges of a flat test target will be slightly out of focus. That's not the same thing as saying the corners are soft! Is what you are planning on shooting always perfectly flat and perfectly lined up perpendicular to the lens' optical axis? – Michael C Dec 10 '16 at 15:31
  • As focal lengths become shorter uncorrected/partially corrected field curvature becomes more of an issue when shooting flat test targets perfectly aligned with the camera. This is because as the focal length becomes shorter the radius of the field curvature becomes shorter as well and the wider angle of view includes a larger portion of that more or less spherical shape. – Michael C Dec 10 '16 at 15:35
  • Please see this question/answers for more on lenses with uncorrected/partially corrected field curvature. The example photos linked in the accepted answer demonstrate the difference between soft edges/corners and curved field of focus. photo.stackexchange.com/questions/83070/… – Michael C Dec 10 '16 at 15:39
  • See also: photo.stackexchange.com/questions/73687/… – Michael C Dec 10 '16 at 15:40
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    @user55789 What are you shooting that requires a flat field WA lens? – Michael C Dec 11 '16 at 12:08
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Disclaimer for newer users: sharpens of final, real image rarely depends on lens performance in test conditions. More importantly, test conditions (flat chart shooting) is not a real-world photography, your subjects rarely have perfectly flat surface.

Also important: your question seems to be an XY problem. You ask "what lens is best in relation to parameters a,b,c" instead of "what tool is best for photographing d,e,f". If you ask second question, answer might very well be "a microscope" or "flatbed scanner for $100".

In order to find sharpest lens that corresponds to your preferences, you need to review published or generate your own test data. Luckily, some websites accumulate such information, for example, www.the-digital-picture.com, see here for comparison of Zeiss 28/1.8 and Nikkor 24/1.4.

Some other site, popular DxO mark, does similar job, plus provides averaged "score", that supposedly will take into account all type of aberrations and other issues of lenses. This can have limited usefulness, since final score can consider some aberrations worse than other, while you might think otherwise. See here for comparison between Nikkor 24/1.4 and Samyang 24/1.4

You will have to review, or generate yourself, test shots and all these lab metrics, in order to get a full picture.

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