We last spoke to UK-based photographer George Devereux when he tested out the Petzval 85 Art Lens and talked to us about his love for film photography, which you can read about here. George is now back with a new series of portraits, this time using the Daguerreotype Achromat 2.9/64 Art Lens.
How did you find shooting with the Daguerreotype Lens?
As was the case with the Petzval the presentation and design of the DA lens is sublime and really represents its unique vintage style. I almost didn’t want to take it out of the box! For those not accustomed to either the Daguerreotype or Petzval, the lens is a very striking brass-bodied manual focus lens that comes with individual aperture blades that slot into the top, making it manual aperture also, similar again to the Petzval.
Top tip, for those wanting to stay somewhat inconspicuous and not be showered in attention from those photography-minded people passing by, I’d recommend buying the black version, as this does attract a lot of attention.
Times are tough for film right now, as I’m sure many are aware, and so this time around I decided to shoot more digital than my previous article with the Petzval. For me, this ended up being a benefit, as one must rely on manual focus, for which I was able to use the focus peaking of my Nikon Z6 II and not solely relying on my admittedly poor eyesight. It also meant I could see the results I was getting right away, which was great, because not only does this lens provide a uniquely lovely bokeh, but also a particular pop to the colours which I’d have been unaware of otherwise, and would probably have put down to a certain film stock I may have used.
What did you choose to shoot?
I decided to shoot portraits with this lens, partly because I don’t know how to shoot anything else, and partly because I wanted to compare the bokeh and lens effect with the Petzval, mostly to see if it was a similar effect at a 64 mm focal length instead of 85 mm, and to see what completely unique character the lens had to it. I couldn’t have been more pleased with the results.
The lens retains the swirly bokeh that I love so dearly from the Petzval - although this time I also had some unique aperture blades to mix things up too, which adds what I’d describe as a ghostly bloom to the images that can be maximized with the use of a nearby flash or bright sunlight. It’s a bit more of a challenge to use than an auto-focus lens, but the results I think speak for themselves, and fit my wavey-vintage dreamy vibe so well.
I’m typically a big fan of filters and things like crystals to create some in-camera effects instead of simply using Photoshop, but I’ve never found anything before that can produce the effect that this lens does.
Any tips on using this lens for other photographers?
Because of the effect of this lens, my recommendation to those using it would be to utilize the focus-peaking feature of many mirrorless cameras that I mentioned earlier to guarantee you hit what you intended. Alternatively if you’re using a DSLR, it may be worth using live-view and zooming in slightly to better see your focal area. If you’d prefer to use the viewfinder, a tip I use with most manual focus lenses is to stick the camera into continuous shooting and slightly move the focus ring while shooting multiple images to be extra sure you get what you want. Of course, if you’re shooting film then you’re probably used to manual focusing, but hey, if you miss and end up with your subject slightly out of focus, you can just pass it off as being intentional and arty – that's what most of us do.
Like other Lomography products, be them lenses, cameras, or film, the Daguerreotype lens will attract those photographers that are looking for something a bit different from the normal “pin sharp” clinical lenses of the modern era, and instead provide a character closer to vintage lenses, but with an even more exaggerated and whispful feel, not just in the final images, but in its very use. Highly recommended.
As for me, I’ve had a little hiatus on shooting as I’ve been relocating, however I’m raring to get back into the swing of shooting, so to anyone that likes my style, stay tuned and follow me over on Instagram to keep up.