Lomography Lens - anyone using these?

Started 3 months ago | Discussions thread
Paul P K
Paul P K Contributing Member • Posts: 640
An aquired taste

I am Bowie wrote:

A friend of mine is using a Petzval 85mm Lomography lens on his FujiFilm and it produces some unique bokeh on portraits and full body shots.

His copy is yellow brass with a focus knob, but there seems to be many other types of these lens:

https://shop.lomography.com/en/lenses

The one he has is available for my D750 and they seem inexpensive enough on eBay for me to give it a try.

Has anyone here actually used ANY first hand experience with these Lomography lens to give an opinion on them?

My two fixed portraiture lens in the 50 to 90mm range are the Nikon 60mm Micro and the Tamron 90mm VC SP - thats about as close as I have to compare with the Petzval 58 and 85mm offerings.

Got my copy of the 2.2 85mm Lomo Petzval lens shortly after it became widely available in 2014.

Wasn't a GAS driven purchase, had been looking for a similar lens for use on a DSLR. as I'm a great admirer of 19th large format (only format they had back then) portrait photographers like Julia Margaret Cameron and Lewis Caroll (the author of Alice in Wonderland)

Went for this lns after during several years having worked my way through several lenses/lens types (Nikon PC tilt/shift, Lensbaby, Lomo Holga plastic fantastic 8/60mm etc), even if it had the wonky aperture plates rather then a 'normal' iris aperture, and the just as exotic Gear Rack Focusing

Due to the (primitive) lens construction only the center of the lens is, especially when used wide open, sharp, with that sharpness severely decreasing going towards the corners. So when your subject isn't in the center of the image, you either risk it to out of focus, or make the frame of the shot extra wide to have it in the center, and crop afterwards.

Lens has a 'swirly bokeh' background rendition when used wide open/nearly wide open, which diminishes the more you close down the f stop. It's not the only option on the market for that, eg Mitakon, Lensbaby and Helios offer lenses which will give similar results.

The 'swirly bokeh' , loss of sharpness outside the center of the image, and compared to the nowadays, thanks to their extreme sharpness and contrast, highly regarded lenses like Zeiss, Baris etc (apologies if I misspell the names, only 'know'them from reading about them), definitely not 'sharp' rendition make it an aquired taste.

Nevertheless I went for this particular lens in addition to my other 'normal' portrait lenses like Canon FL 1.8/85mm, modified pre AI Nikon Auto Nikkor 2.8 135mm and Nikkor 85/1.8 H Auto NKJ, Nikon 1.4 85mm AF D,  2/135mm DC and 1.4 58mm AF-S

The gear rack focusing takes getting used to especially on a DSLR in landscape mod, as the focusing knob is a bit too close for comfort to the body, but is a lot easier to work with on a Z body thanks to the added distance caused by the FTZ (I made a DIY bracket so I can use it more comfortably, and focus more easily/faster in portrait mode on a monopod)

So IMO it's no a lens for every day use, or for all types of subjects, but with portraits it can deliver IMO quite good results.

Here are a few pictures I shot with it

Castlefest 20140803 Nikon DF Lomo Petzval 2.2 85mm f2.2 1/125 ISO 100

Fantasyval 20140614 Nikon DF Lomo Petzval 2.2 85mm f2.2 1/1250 ISO 100

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