Petzval Artist: James Nader

James Nader is a UK-based Fashion and Editorial photographer. He started his career in photography shooting with film, processing and developing his work by hand. He now works on high end fashion shoots and has photographed the likes of Dita Von Teese and Richard Branson. James still has a passion for film photography and uses it regularly. We lent him a Petzval lens to shoot with and he has kindly given us a full, in depth review of this beautiful portrait lens. Say hello to James Nader.

Photos: James Nader

Hello James, how was your experience with the Petzval lens?
When first asked by Lomography UK if I wanted to use the Petzval lens, I first thought that maybe it was not going to be possible to find time or indeed the right subject matter to do the optics justice. When it arrived I must admit it oozed quality. The box was embellished with a beautifully toned black and white warm toned image with super gold words “PETZVAL” created a feeling of luxury and quality. When I opened up the box I gasped at the collective beautiful packaging the lens was encased in. It was far more superior to the boxes that the standard Nikon lenses arrive in. It comes with a super printed booklet showing 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 D800 and my super trusty Nikon D3X for its tonality of capture.

Photos: James Nader

Where did you shoot these photographs?
I had planned to use the lens the week previously, however on my way up to Glasgow for another job I had managed to arrange this shoot in the lakes at a friend of mine who owns 15 Black Horses in Cartmel Cumbria. The weather was perfect for the shoot of a lady on horseback. I had decided that to go fully into a fashion shoot with styling and high fashion models at this stage could be too much and was not he way forward and would really could have added too much pressure to the day and thus we created a very relaxed shoot with a minimal team to accomplish some super shots.

I come from an analogue background in photography i.e. film and darkroom printing and using this analogue lens was just and addition to a great week where I had forged opportunities with film giant ILFORD who are now going to supply me with film, processing and exhibition printing for upcoming art projects in New York and so the lens just fit right into the process at hand. At the moment I do have the manual Voigtlander Nokton 25mm F0.95 for some of my work which I shoot on the Panasonic GH2 but after using The Petval lens could easily take its place or be an addition to the kit we use.

After lunch we headed out on a beautiful sunny day into the meadows of Cartmel Cumbria with Casey and the biggest horse I had seen. The brief to Casey the model was to walk the horse around and around until I found my bearing with the Petzval lens as I had not used it before. 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 dialed 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 book suggests 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.

Photos: James Nader

What do you think of the Petzval lens?
I think and so does TeamNader think that this Petzval lens is a super piece of kit, it can really be a super addition to your lens arsenal. Its robust and just says quality, however the best thing about it is exactly what it was designed to do and that is to create super shots utilising the unique Bokeh for which this lens is famed for but in addition it also has a very small depth of field and so your images could be soft very easily so make sure that you focus into the main part of your shot. If you’re 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, it’s incredibly simple operation and then this is a lens that really take up residence in your old kit bag!

I would seriously consider one of these lenses, of course shooting fashion for clients it may not be what you’re 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 too. I actually couldn’t shot video as I had forgotten the suitable SD Card for the D800. Watch this space though as this would be next on the agenda

Thank you for testing the Petzval lens out for us!

Visit James Nader's Website and be sure to follow him on twitter too!

written by hannah_brown on 2014-07-16 in #people #lomoamigos #uk #analogue-photography #lomography-gallery-store #gallery-store #tutorials #35mm-films #londonsoho #art #camera-reviews #street-photography #120-films #james-nader #petzval #eastlondon #analogue-cameras

More Interesting Articles

  • Petzval LomoAmigo: Lomokev

    written by hannah_brown on 2014-11-06 in #people #lomoamigos
    Petzval LomoAmigo: Lomokev

    By now most of you would have heard of Lomokev, one of the UK's most prolific film photographers. Based in Brighton, Lomokev loves to shoot with the trusty LC-A and his work has been featured in numerous publications and projects. We lent him a Petzval lens and asked him a few questions about what makes him tick. Here's an exclusive interview, along with a several fantastic shots by the talented UK-based photographer.

  • Petzval LomoAmigo Chris Pollard

    written by hannah_brown on 2014-12-08 in #people #lomoamigos
    Petzval LomoAmigo Chris Pollard

    Chris Pollard is a fashion photographer who, despite his exposure to the fast-paced world of runways and fashion, still has a passion for film photography. He expressed a keen interest in testing the New Petzval Lens, and we were more than glad to let him try it for himself. He shares photos ad answers a few questions in this exclusive feature.

  • Kamal Tung's Magnificent Black and White Portraits Shot with the Petzval Art Lens

    written by candilsw on 2015-03-06 in #people #lomoamigos
    Kamal Tung's Magnificent Black and White Portraits Shot with the Petzval Art Lens

    Kamal, a die-hard film photography fan, is a young, Singapore-based photographer. He is now working on a project, traveling around and shooting portraits for his friends. In this feature, he talks about how he works perfectly with the Lomography Petzval Art Lens and his passion for photography.

  • Shop News

    Sprocket Rocket Flash Bundle

    Sprocket Rocket Flash Bundle

    Sprocket Love: The Sprocket Rocket is the world’s first wide-angle camera dedicated to sprockets. It shoots 18 panoramas on a standard 35mm roll and exposes the whole width of film including sprocket holes. Use its dual winding knobs for easy multiple exposures and generate perfect nighttime shots with the bulb setting.

  • Scott Brasher Chases Fashion in the Streets of New York with the Petzval Lens

    written by antoniocastello on 2015-03-09 in #people #lomoamigos
    Scott Brasher Chases Fashion in the Streets of New York with the Petzval Lens

    Scott Brasher is a fashion street photographer based in New York City. His work has been featured on many media outlets while working with brands like Cover Girl, MTV, Reebok, and Target, among many others. But before this, Scott started shooting in the streets of Williamsburg, Brooklyn, capturing its daily urban fashion. Last month, he took the Petzval Lens to the streets of New York to photograph scenes at the famous New York Fashion Week.

  • Shooting the Petzval Lens with Ian Taylor

    written by givesmehell on 2015-04-29 in #people #lomoamigos
    Shooting the Petzval Lens with Ian Taylor

    Canadian-born Ian Taylor is a full-time photographer specializing in kids and development work. It all started when his five siblings started having children at the same time he was into photography. This passion then spiraled into something amazing, and now Ian works primarily with kids, shooting them when they are in their purest form. Based in Asia, Ian has agreed to share this amazing series of photos he shot with his Petzval Art Lens in Cambodia and Thailand. He also shared with us some of his insights and views on photography.

  • The Bokeh Effect and James Petrozzello

    written by givesmehell on 2015-05-18 in #people #lomoamigos
    The Bokeh Effect and James Petrozzello

    James Petrozzello is a New York based photographer currently residing in Brooklyn. He is a full time photographer and has shot portraits of Mick Jagger, Bill Clinton, Wane Gretzky, and Shaquille O’Neal, among others. He took a different approach to shooting with the Petzval Lens and tells us of his unique but interesting series of photographs in this interview.

  • Shop News

    LC-Wide Elite Kit

    LC-Wide Elite Kit

    The LC-Wide Elite Kit gathers all the accessories you would ever need for your Lomo LC-Wide.

  • Petzval LomoAmigo: Dale McCready

    written by hannah_brown on 2015-02-18 in #people #lomoamigos
    Petzval LomoAmigo: Dale McCready

    Dale McCready is a cinematographer working in the film/ TV industry and has worked on programmes such as Doctor Who and Merlin. He was one of our supporters for the Petzval Kickstarter campaign and recently used the lens to film for a new BBC drama, which is due out in March. Dale kindly shared some of his Petzval photographs with us and talked about his love for this lens. Read on for the full interview.

  • Analogue Tribes: Film Photographers in a Digital Age

    written by hannah_brown on 2014-06-05 in #lifestyle
    Analogue Tribes: Film Photographers in a Digital Age

    UK Portrait photographer Anton has been working on a series of films about film photography. In his first film he talks to film fanatic Lomokev about his work. Watch it in full after the jump.

  • Camo Takes The Petzval Art Lens To Shoot His Very Personal Series

    written by antoniocastello on 2015-04-06 in #people #lomoamigos
    Camo Takes The Petzval Art Lens To Shoot His Very Personal Series

    Camo is one of the most popular fashion photographers from Colombia. His works have been published in many fashion magazines around the country, and last year he was in charge of shooting Colombia Moda, one of the biggest annual fashion shows in Latin America. But Camo has a very personal series of photos that were shot at his home in Bogotá.

  • Shop News

    110 Experiment Kit

    110 Experiment Kit

    With this bundle, you can choose a camera, film and accessories to spice up your 110 shooting experience!

  • Petzval Artist: Thai Wedding Shoot by Arat aka Huge

    written by hannah_brown on 2014-07-11 in #people #lomoamigos
    Petzval Artist: Thai Wedding Shoot by Arat aka Huge

    Arat Komsawadichai aka Huge is a photographer from Thailand who is passionate about film photography. He used to be a regular at the Lomography Soho store and would often hang out in the shop and help customers out just because he's so crazy about film! Arat recently had the opportunity to shoot his brother's wedding using the Petzval Lens and LomoChrome Purple film, yielding fascinating results.

  • Duffman and the Art of Shooting Perfect Petzval Portraits

    written by shhquiet on 2015-03-23 in #people #news
    Duffman and the Art of Shooting Perfect Petzval Portraits

    Say hello to Duffman, a 20-year-old photographer based in Frankfurt, Germany. He started taking film photos when he received a Diana F+ camera for his 16th birthday. Now he uses the Petzval Lens for capturing really impressive portraits. Get to know more about him after the jump!

  • Singapore's Vincent Huang Shoots with the Lomography Petzval Art Lens!

    written by edwinchau on 2015-02-27 in #people #lomoamigos
    Singapore's Vincent Huang Shoots with the Lomography Petzval Art Lens!

    Vincent Huang is a Singapore-based photographer specializing on bridal and corporate photography. In this feature, he talks about his work and experience incorporating the Petzval Art Lens into his workflow, and showcases some of the resulting romantic photographs.