Kevin Meredith, more popularly known as LomoKev, is a photographer based in Brighton, England who gained notoriety for his use of the Lomo LC-A and his lomographic style of creating images. Aside from a plethora of personal and commercial projects, he has also conducted workshops on photography, written and published photography-related books, and participated in a few exhibits. With his evident passion for photography, it comes as no surprise that he was selected to test a prototype of the New Petzval 58 Bokeh Control Art Lens.
What was your first impression of the New Petzval 58 Bokeh Control Art Lens?
I had used the 85mm Petzval before so I felt quite familiar with already. It’s a great lens for street portraiture as people are intrigued by it so it’s a great ice breaker. The shorter focal length is great as you don’t have to get so close to your subjects. The new bokeh control is great new edition.
What camera setup/s did you use with the New Petzval 58 Bokeh Control Art Lens?
I only had the prototype for a few days so I only used it with my Canon 5D mark iii. If I had it longer would definitely used it with my Canon EOS 1 film body which by the way you dirt cheap these days, less than £100 so if get a Petzval you might as well get yourself a cheep film body, the Petzval aesthetic goes great with film.
How was your experience shooting with it? Did you encounter any difficulties?
The prototype I had did not come with the aperture plates so this meant that I was shooting at maximum aperture so my DOF was very shallow and judging focus manually on a 5D is really tricky as the camera was not really designed for that. I tend to focus and then shot a few shots slowing moving forwards, that way you always get one shot that is spot on. Unfortunately the 5D does not have focus peaking but if you have Sony A7 or Olympus OM-D focusing will easier. That said it’s not that hard.
Tell us about the photos you took, and why you chose to photograph the subjects with the New Petzval 58 Bokeh Control Art Lens.
I was lucky that when I had the Petzval the starlings where in Brighton on mass so it would of been rude not to shot them. Previously when I used a Petzval I only shot portraits as it’s so suited to that but this time I shot the starlings and few landscapes. The main bulk of what I shot was the members of Brighton Swimming Club as they are such and photogenic bunch and at the time I shot them they were swimming in the golden hour.
Which photo is your favorite and why?
The portrait of Dave Swayers of Brighton Swimming club (he is the one with the handle bar moustache). He is the most photogenic person I know.
Have you used the Lomography Petzval 85mm lens? If yes, how was your experience shooting with it? How does the New Petzval 58 Bokeh Control Art Lens compare with the Petzval Lens 85?
I have. I found the 85mm focal length a bit tricky for portraiture as you have to put a little distance between you and your subject. The new lens makes it much easier to get up close and personal with your subjects. And the Bokeh control adds just that little bit of extra creative control to.
What do you like best about the New Petzval 58 Bokeh Control Art Lens, or what do you think is its best feature or functionality?
The looks and that goes for the 85 petzval to. People are so indifferent photography these days so for me if you shooting strangers it really helps if you have something like a petzval as it’s a real ice breaker!
Now that you’ve tried the New Petzval 58 Bokeh Control Art Lens, what kind of projects, shoots, or subjects would you like to use it for in the near future?
Some kind of portrait project. Shame it’s not water proof as would like to take into the sea with the Swimming Club!
What advice would you give to first time users of the New Petzval 58 Bokeh Control Art Lens?
Don’t be tempted to shoot with the aperture wide open all the time, use the 1st aperture pate. Once you have focus move the camera back 1cm then take several shots as you move 2cm forward. That way you will be guaranteed to a sharp picture. That’s not very helpful if you are shooting film but if that’s the case don’t worry, I tend to find people are little more forgiving when it comes to softness if film photos.
The New Petzval 58 Bokeh Control Art Lens will be available in black and brass finishes and compatible with Canon EF and Nikon F analog and digital cameras, plus tons more using adapter mounts. Swing by our Kickstarter page to learn more about this project and help us make the New Petzval 58 Bokeh Control Art Lens a reality. The first delivery of lenses is currently planned for December 2015.