Wow, what a wonderful experience visiting Japan for the first time. Unfortunately due to the colder temperatures I was there about 1 week before the cherry blossoms were in full bloom. Overall, it was an excellent trip and I came away with great memories and few favorite images.
All of these photos were taken hand held with the Nikon D810 + Carl Zeiss Otus 55mm 1.4. I had planned on bringing my underwhelming Vanguard Altra Pro 263AB but the more I've used it over the last 1.5 years the less I like the tripod...don't get it. I definitely need to invest in a better tripod very soon! The Black Rapid Sport strap did help tremendously because this set-up is pretty heavy (4.07lbs/1850g).
The Otus 55mm 1.4 is an amazing lens that is very easy to use on the Nikon D810. When you put that glass in front of Nikon's 36mp sensor it has the ability to produce amazing files. I wasn't concerned about the manual focus on the lens based on my previous experience with Zeiss glass in Iceland. The focus confirm feature on the Nikon is very easy use. In case you are unaware of this feature, it allows you to confirm in the viewfinder when your subject is in focus.
Is this a travel lens? Yes and No.
If you are able to avoid crowded places and not have to walk all day then this is a great lens. It would have been a dream to use this in Iceland where I could take my time and compose the shots I wanted relatively close to my car. Zeiss doesn't sell this as a travel lens of course but more of a studio/commercial/landscape option for those using a camera like the D810.
Overall, I'm happy with this set up but would want to use it primarily for my studio portrait work and bring the smaller but exceptionally capable Zeiss Distagon T lenses for extensive travel/walking/crowded scenarios like the photo above (Harajuku).
One more image to show taken in the studio with the Otus 55mm.
Have you had a similar experience with this set up? What about your photography trip to Japan? Any questions? Let me know...