I want to start this post by stating that this is not a fancy gear review. I simply think this is a very interesting lens and I wanted to share some images and my thoughts during my time I rented it. I was also dealing with a neck injury during the rental time, so I wasn’t able to use it as much as I hoped.
First, isn’t it such a pretty lens? Photo by Lomography…
There is nothing scientific about these images, and yes, I shot handheld. I wanted to use this lens like I do my others with my everyday shooting, or how I would use it when I toss it in my purse on my way out the door to the park. Yes, if I had it longer I would have done more with a tripod as I am not an expert at manual focusing and it has been years since I have shot all manual. Funny side story, when I was a newbie, I read in a forum where several photographers said that anyone who uses auto focus was not a real photographer and had no idea what they were doing. Not having any professional photographer friends at the time to tell me differently, I only used manual focusing for quite some time. Trying to photograph kittens and kids using manual focus is a very interesting challenge to say the least! Anyway, back to the Petzval lens…
These are shots using different aperture plates from f/2.2 to f/16. They have not have noise reduction, sharpening, or any correction for vignette. And yes, a tripod would have been handy…but honestly if you are a pet, wildlife, or child photographer, you model isn’t going to be exactly the same each frame either…well, other then the times I photograph my own fat cat ;). At f/2.2 it is very hard to nail focus even using Sony’s very handy “Focus Assist” feature for manual focusing.
Now I thought I would post a couple of before and after images that I have edited…since in the real world the finished image and how happy we are with it is really the main goal!
A few more photos I haven’t had a chance to edit other then basic adjustments, but thought they showed the how the len’s swirl effect depends on the distance from the subject, as well as the distance from the subject to the background…
And just for fun I wanted to try comparing the Petzval 85 to the Canon 85 1.2 II shooting wide open with a somewhat more calm model. The Petzal 85 is the first image. Both images are unedited.
So to sum it up, this lens was a lot of fun to use! I have read in other reviews that it is not an “everyday” lens, but part of me feels that is exactly what it is. Would I use this for an entire session with a client? Absolutely not! Would I pull it out at the end of a session for a couple of unique images? Yes! And I bet if your client is the artsy fartsy type, they would love it! I have to admit that I am obsessed with sharpness. I love for my images to be so sharp straight out of my camera that I could cut myself on them…this is definitely not a cracking sharp lens. But I found myself smiling and wanting to keep playing with it. I read recently in a forum where a film photographer said they would switch to digital only when a camera with a soul was created. I laughed. But while using this lens I found myself wanting to coax it to give me exactly what I wanted. It is definitely a lens with character! Keep in mind the images above are not my best work by a long shot! As I said I was dealing with a neck injury and my hands were not as steady as they normally are. I nearly purchased this lens and actually had it in my cart three times….but in the end I decided to go with the Lomography 58mm. I really love my Canon 85 1.2 II, so I decided the 58mm with Bokeh Control would fit my needs (or wants..haha) better. It arrives this afternoon and I am beginning to feel like a creeper from stalking my Fedex guy.
Click HERE to read more about the Lomography Petzval 85. To see more reviews and information about ordering please check with B&H or Lomography. I personally used the Canon mount on my Sony a7R II with a Metabones Adapter.
A final image and thanks for reading my ramblings!