October 25, 2014, 03:21:10 PM

Author Topic: Lomography's Petzval Lens - RLPhoto's First Impressions  (Read 1007 times)

RLPhoto

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Lomography's Petzval Lens - RLPhoto's First Impressions
« on: April 07, 2014, 06:09:03 PM »
*Double Facepalm's Face.

Once I took the petzval outside for 30 minutes, I knew this was going to be a love-hate relationship.

Kickstarter funded a New Lomo Petzval Lens designed for 35mm Cam's last year and I signed up for the limited run from serial # 50-200. I paid 500$ for the lens and some neat other accessories that come's with the lens. I also have my name engraved on it so that means re-selling is out of the picture. (which I won't ever sell it because its also a personal lens for keepsakes.)

Sooooooooooooooo... With delays from the project, I got mine today and here my first impressions of this Petzval lens.

Build Quality - 3/5

-This lens has some heft when you pick it up and it feels like a tank being solid brass parts. The lens hood is also solid brass and screws off the front with precision threading from the fine machining. The thumb screw is very fine with no grit and the waterhouse plates slide in with a nice click. The machining is elegant and all the part fit together like a finely crafted classic Victrola.

-However, This lens has openings and gaps all over it asking for dust to enter it's innards. The waterhouse plate gap, the gap around the moving front element, the large gap between the rear element and the mount. Don't expect this lens to remain dust-free for long and definitely avoid water. The plate can slide out accidentally if you turn to a portrait shot too quickly.

Image Quality - ?/5

-It sucks everywhere but the center. Sharp this lens is not but it's passable IF you get focus IF you frame Center or IF you stop down.

-IF you hit focus... This was one of the hardest lenses to get focused because even with liveview, if you frame off-center, it will look OOF because of the field curvature. The knob is smooth but IF you can get lucky to move the tiny nuance you need. (A bigger knob would have helped alot.) I threw away 90% of my frames due to OOF and this lens can be a handful if you subject is moving the slightest.

-IF you stop down, Its much easier but this is not the lens for stopping down.

-IF you can hit all these check boxes, wow you can get some really stunning bokeh. It's not a prevalent as the LF petzval but with a brenzer menthod, I believe this lens can be stunning. I have some very nice shoots coming up soon, and I will report back with more images once I get this lens into the field.
« Last Edit: April 07, 2014, 06:11:07 PM by RLPhoto »

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Lomography's Petzval Lens - RLPhoto's First Impressions
« on: April 07, 2014, 06:09:03 PM »

RLPhoto

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Re: Lomography's Petzval Lens - RLPhoto's First Impressions
« Reply #1 on: April 07, 2014, 06:12:56 PM »
Some sample B&W shots taken wide open @ f/2.2.

BL

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Re: Lomography's Petzval Lens - RLPhoto's First Impressions
« Reply #2 on: April 08, 2014, 12:18:43 PM »
Wow, what an interesting lens!  I'm actually quite bummed to have missed out on this, but it's nice to know it's available for pre-order now.

I was reading around for more reviews on this lens, and it would appear later lenses might have optimized optics and some of the mechanical workings of the lens (based on this user's review)

http://www.ephotozine.com/article/lomography-x-zenit-85mm-f-2-2-petzval-art-lens-review-24105

Quote
The lens tested initially, was a very early sample of the lens, with a two-digit serial number. Lomography invited us to test a later sample, as they are convinced it will perform better. The original Kickstater page does state that, 'The lens as well as its accompanying lens hood will also undergo small design changes,' so we will take a look at what has changed on this second sample provided.

Quote
The second sample supplied has a serial number of 4262 and the exterior is much the same as the original sample tested, except that the brass finish appears to have been polished to a shine. Focusing is much smoother, with enough resistance in the mechanism to prevent the lens elements from moving inside the barrel when the lens is tilted. The focus mechanism still has a very short throw though, so accurate focusing can still be quite tricky, although it is much easier than with the first sample tested.

Quote
Sharpness in the centre of the frame is much improved at every aperture compared to the first sample. In fact, sharpness in the centre is quite respectable, being good in the centre at f/2.2, very good at f/2.8 and excellent at f/4. Sharpness towards the edges of the frame is poor at fast apertures, but this is to be expected due to the effect this lens produces. To really see the effect, backgrounds with lots of regular detail are required, such as patterned wallpaper, or light shining through tree branches. Without this, images lack the swirly look the Petzval lens design is known for, which limits its overall usefulness.
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RLPhoto

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Re: Lomography's Petzval Lens - RLPhoto's First Impressions
« Reply #3 on: April 10, 2014, 09:16:18 PM »
I have the serial #108. It's perfectly passable wide open in the center and it give that look from the old design. Even @ f/8 the edges still aren't very sharp. Here is a f/8 Frame and the edges still have some of that swirl in them.

BL

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Re: Lomography's Petzval Lens - RLPhoto's First Impressions
« Reply #4 on: April 11, 2014, 04:26:54 PM »
I think the only thing holding me back is the issue of weather seal, or lack thereof.

that, and something tells me before the month is out, I'd lose the ability to shoot f5.6, f11, and f16 lol
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Drizzt321

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Re: Lomography's Petzval Lens - RLPhoto's First Impressions
« Reply #5 on: April 11, 2014, 05:19:08 PM »
Nice! Thanks for sharing. When I saw it, I thought seriously about backing it...but decided I should do something else with the money.
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Re: Lomography's Petzval Lens - RLPhoto's First Impressions
« Reply #5 on: April 11, 2014, 05:19:08 PM »