Saturday, August 02, 2014
This past winter I bought a Petzval lens reproduction from Lomography through a crowdsource project they ran. There were some delays and when the lens came it came minus several of the bonuses Lomography promised. Two of the missing bonuses were of no consequence to me (a camera strap and a canvas bag) but I also did not receive the special shape Waterhouse Stop set that was promised and that I did care about. Despite writing to Lomography, both through the crowdsource site and directly however have produced no result. I still do not have the promised special shaped stops. I would think twice before dealing with Lomography again.
The lens is well made with a nice brass finish, modified from the original design to fit directly on modern Canon or Nikon cameras (mine is the Canon version) and produces images with pleasant depth of field as well as fall off of sharpness toward the corners which gives a vintage look to the images. It is quite sharp in the center and overall sharpness increases with smaller stops since you are only using the center of the lens. Operation is strictly manual. The Waterhouse Stops simply drop into a slot in the lens barrel. Since the opening is perfectly round, unlike a variable diaphragm which works on movable leaves, the out of focus areas are pleasantly blurred. The camera controls the shutter speed and focusing is achieved via a rack and pinion on the bottom of the lens. The lens was promoted as a portrait lens and it is undoubtedly good for that but I bought it primarily to use for flower photos. Photographing individual or small groups or flowers shares a lot in common with portraiture as this group of images demonstrates
I wish the Waterhouse Stops fit a touch more snuggly or had some mechanism to hold them in place other than just gravity. Working in the field I'm concerned about dropping and losing one of them. I've tried using a hair band to hold the stop in the slot when I turn the camera on its side but I'm not entirely happy with that solution. Also the suede case Lomography provided for the lens and set of stops is virtually useless. It is awkward to get the lens into the case which is a poor fit. The case is a flat rectangle that opens via an overlap down the middle of one side and the stops are simply put into a pocket on the inside of the case. I can see that I will have to make my own case for the stops, something with slots for each stop rather than dumping them together in one too large pocket. I'd prefer that they be sorted by f/stop for ease of selection. I'll probably end up buying a Neoprene pouch, a round one, like the lens, to store the lens in.
This group was shot in the field behind my house, Spotted Knapweed above and below are two images of Yellow Daisies, a cluster of Butter and Eggs, a Rough Fruited Cinquefoil and a Plantation Lily that is in one of our flower beds. I converted the last to B&W because I thought that suited it best.