TThe lens was kindly sent out by Lomography UK to use on any type of person shoot and when it arrived I must admit it oozed quality and retro feelings. The box embellished with a beautifully toned black and white warm toned image with super gold words “PETVAL” created a feeling of luxury and quality and a htrow back to the classier times of SLR photographic advertising. It came with a super printed booklet announcing its heritage and this itself printed on uncoated paper all combined created a sumptuous look of quality.
I opened up the tissue paper inside of the box and there it was, a beautifully formed brass covered lens just waiting to be used, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on this bad boy! and it comes ready in two types and for Nikon or Canon digital cameras.
I used both the Nikon D850 and my super trusty Nikon D800 for its tonality of capture.
CCasey the model was to walk the horse around and around until I found my bearing with the Petzval lens. I had not used it before so needed a little tech time! At first I must admit working out the optimal f-stop for the day was a little tricky. (The Petzval lenses use F-stops which are not dialled into the aperture ring on the lens itself but controlled by small black metal plates which all come as part of the package and all have the relevant hole drilled to effectively create your aperture range by allowing only the relevant light for the f-stop ) these are loaded into the lens itself almost like slides.
The best f-stop to create the classic Petzval swirl is the F2.2 slide and once loaded the camera controls the speed and ISO is controlled manually as the lens is completely manual. A little trial and error in shooting as it was the first time with the lens and it all settled in nicely. I could then concentrate on the manual focus and at creating something which had a nice composition and balance to report back on. Focus is delivered by a small brass dial under the lens which sets your manual focus very easily.
The weather was perfect for shooting images of a lovely lady on horse back. A full on fashion shoot with styling at this stage was too much not being confident with the Petzval lens
BBest thing about this lens it is it does exactly what it was designed to do, creating super shots utilising the unique swirly Bokeh for which this lens is famed for. In addition it has a very small depth of field, images feel soft very easily so make sure that you focus into the main part of your shot. If your shooting up close to a face then make sure it is the eyes which are in focus and the rest will pop. This shallow depth of field can be a super way of shooting and that coupled with the sharpness of lens.of course shooting fashion for clients it may not be what your after all of the time but certainly editorially if you are shooting anything that just needs something different then this lens would be suitable for not just shooting but possibly for video also. I actually couldn’t shot video as I had forgotten the suitable SD Card for the D800 so cane teal let you know about that. Watch this space though as this would be next on the agenda