Thoughts on the Lomography x Zenith New Petzval 85mm F2.2 Lens.

Aloha guys!

Time to update this super backdated entry. Hehehe. Sorry, been extremely busy! 🙁

Anyway a while ago Meerly Wang from Lomography Singapore sent us an invitation to try out a new beautiful piece of art lens – the new Petzval. The new Petzval lens is a stunning reinvention of the legendary Petzval Lens which was first conceived in Vienna, Austria almost 175 years ago back in 1840 by Joseph Petzval!! It was then reinvented for use with the Canon and Nikon DSLR via a Kickstarter project which had the support of over 3000 backers in Year 2013. Thanks to all the backers, Lomography had the opportunity to successfully reinvent the Petzval lens for the 21st Century. (:

Meerly went on to share with us some of the characteristics of the Petzval lens which is perfect for portraits where you want your subject to be the center of attention. Twenty top wedding photographers were handpicked to try out this legendary lens and to be featured in for Lomography Petzval Artists – Singapore Wedding Photographer Series. Here’s a short feature of Raymond’s thoughts about using the Petzval lens;

After doing more read up on the lens and review of the yummilicious photos, we decided to give it a try, however we were only given a limited number of days. Below are some of the images from our little try-out. To be honest, our schedule was packed to the brim last year end and as much as we wanted to try it on wedding shoots, we didn’t have the time we wished we had to give it a good go and a full detailed review. We actually requested for extension but unfortunately this lens was hot stuff and they had other photographers waiting in line for it.

From what we know, the new Petzval lens features premium glass optics and is manufactured in Russia by Zenith – a company with a long and distinguished history in lens making. The new Petzval comes in two colors – the Brass and Black. While we personally feel the brass one was sexy, we didn’t had our chance to use it. The set we got was a black one which functions exactly the same way as the brass version. After all color doesn’t matter, it’s what’s inside that counts ya? Hehehe.

Okies, picture time!


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Testing out the Waterhouse special aperture plates with the tear drop shaped for tear drop bokeh. Like it pretty much.



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Trying out the star shaped aperture plate in this image. We were hunting for black background with lights to best bring out the effect and here’s what we got.


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Here’s one image of Dua Pao, the friendliest and most manja cat in the neighbourhood! Shot this with the star shaped aperture plate. Can you spot the stars in the background?


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More of the magical tear drop. Makes it kind of romantic isn’t it?


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Night time, under extreme low light condition with the star aperture plate. The light sources are pretty far away, so it’s quite a challenge to spot the starts but they are quite tiny. (:


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A quick portrait of Ivan the groom on his wedding day. Guess it was quite a memorable day for him and Doreen. Special use of the Petzval lens for a portrait shoot of them, and even Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong shook their hands to congratulate them during their dinner banquet. (:


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One of the happy bride!


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To see the full potential of the swirly bokeh, we have to put the subject in the center.


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Other non wedding related images.


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Ryan! Doubt anyone will ever owe Ryan money after seeing this photo of him. Muwahahahaha!


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One of the most dedicated and best in the field – Douglas from XD Studios!

Unlike old Petzval lenses which will usually work only with larger format analogue cameras, the new Petzval lens in 85mm focal length is designed to work with Canon EF and Nikon F mount DSLR. To add on, this new Petzval is a heavyweight champion! It’s reeeeally heavy, really solid! Imagine mounting this on the already heavy Canon 1Dx, the total combined weight makes my wrist/hands a little unhappy but Raymond was ok with it since he’s trained for years from shooting hundreds of weddings already. -.-” Aesthetically it sits nicely on a full-frame camera and doesn’t look too funny.  Then me being itchy hand tried mounting it on my Olympus OMD using a Canon to Micro four third adapter but boy it was heavy on the front side. Hahaha! And of course it affects the cropping now that it’s on the mirrorless micro four third camera. But I quite like how the colors turned out, really.

Before you auto shooters get too happy, this is a fully manual lens so there are no electronic contacts or mechanisms inside. Manual lens are sexy. Manual cars are sexy too. It’s a different feeling altogether shooting or even driving in auto vs in manual. Manual takes skills, lots of patience and practice. Since the Petzval is running on manual mode, aperture and focusing must be changed manually using the special Waterhouse aperture plates provided. We had a set of the aperture plates for our testing, and the plates take you from F2.2 all the way to F16. It’s easy to use – you just have to slot in the plate for the effect you want to achieve.

As mentioned, patience is one of the key factor when you’re working with this lens, and with enough practice, the images output gives superb detail and beautiful colors. Some say the Petzval’s color rendition can rival images taken with Canon L lens. Muwahahaha! Well we’ll leave it to you guys to explore and find out for yourselves. The main thing of this lens is of course the swirly creamy bokeh which is obvious when you shoot at anything wider than f5.6. But we somehow feel that we were forced to center our subject on most cases to achieve the optimum effect of the bokeh, with a very sharp center.

All in all, we feel that the new Petzval is a unique lens with a classic look, beautiful effects and  loads of fun! Enjoy the lens, and enjoy photography! (:



Enquiries/Bookings: contactme AT raymondphang DOT com


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