A familiar face around the Singaporean Lomography community -- blogger, photographer, and composer Chester Tan is back to share with us his Petzval 58 Bokeh Control Art Lens experience.
Please tell us about the concept for this shoot.
Unlike most photography assignments where I start with the concept before selecting the photographic gear, the Petzval 58 is the motivation of my shoot concept. The lens conjures images with such unique surreal mood that draws me to experiment my shots to capture that mood. Looking through the viewfinder helps me to look at my subjects in a different light. And because of the imperfect sharpness compared to the modern lenses, I have greater leeway in experimenting intentional out-of-focus. It is a memorable journey down the rabbit hole, and given more time with the lens, I would travel deeper to create more unworldly images.
After testing the Petzval 85, what do you think of the Petzval 58 Bokeh Control Lens?
The Petzval 58 appears to be sharper than the Petzval 85. The field of view also works better for APS-C sensors. The biggest advantage on the Petzval 58 is the ability to control the intensity of bokeh effect. As a result, it is easier to create the Petzval bokeh swirl effect on the Petzval 58.
Any advice for first-time Petzval 58 users?
The Petzval lens handles differently from 20th-century lenses. It is certainly less ergonomic since the focusing ring is a small knob at the bottom of the lens instead of a focusing barrel. But this unique experience aligns perfectly with the analogue, somewhat unpredictable result.
First-time Petzval users should familiarise with the overall handling of the lens, practice on manual focus, and finally, the various bokeh level. Users have to adjust the shooting pace, take your time to compose the image and get the right focus.
Any advice on how to fully utilize the Petzval 58?
The Petzval 58 works best when shooting with complex background, as it will bring out the swirly bokeh effect. Subjects must be on a single plane and preferably in the middle of the frame, as that area is the sharpest at large aperture. It is also possible to use the Petzval 58 as a normal lens with sharp corner-to-corner result by increasing the aperture number, hence it is quite a versatile lens.
Camera: Samsung NX1
Lens: Petzval 58 Bokeh Control