Photography became a very significant part of me at the beginning of the 90s, when I was an Art freshman. Naturally, back then I had to use manual lenses. I did use autofocus lenses every now and again, but even then it was always my preference to focus manually. I like to focus manually; it allows me to "feel" the photograph I shoot, the lens, and the work I put into capturing the right frame. As a beginner photographer it took me some time to find the path I like – landscape photography and art photography – and I shot various animals and birds, among other things. I used manual focus even when taking these pictures, including mirror lenses with a focal length of 500mm! If you know this lens you certainly know how difficult it is to focus it manually, and yet I always managed to do it, and to do it quickly.
This is why when I first began using the Zeiss lenses, the manual focus not only did not interrupt me, on the contrary, it became easier to use than ever before. The focus ring has a wide range of movement in the Zeiss lenses. Unlike lenses by other manufactures which lose focus with every millimeter movement, it is easy to focus accurately and quickly with the Zeiss lenses.
One other feature that makes it easier to focus is the sharpness of the lens – the relation between resolution and contrast. The lens is so clear and sharp, the image is flawless, and the whole focusing process is easy and quick. Thanks to this, even the focus verification mechanism of the body works better, and it seems that the lens facilitates that to a great extent.
Nikon D800E. Zeiss Milvus 35mm f/2 @f/5 @1/40 @ISO-3200 @Filter- Green
Prime lenses have a different focal length each and it feels natural for me to use them, since it is similar to our everyday vision. Wide angle lenses, such as 18 mm or 21 mm, are equivalent to our vision when looking at the open scenery. Our eyes quickly scamper to both sides so that we can see and appreciate the whole scenery. The 50mm lens is equivalent to the vision angle of anyone with a pair of eyes in his head, The 85 mm lens is equivalent to our focused gaze when looking at a face. The 135 mm would also serve the same purpose while it is also equivalent to the width of the angle and to how we "zoom" when observing a distant object in the scenery.
What would the 28mm lenses and the 35 mm lenses be good for? They are best for urban photography or indoor photography. When we walk about in the city our gaze is blocked by buildings on both sides of the street. This narrows our angle of vision, and this is the exact angle of vision in these focal lengths. The same happens within a church or inside any building. If we don't turn our heads to the right and to the left we "see" with a 35mm lens, which is why it makes it logical and natural for me to use the 35mm lens. This way I can shoot what I perceive in reality.
Nikon D800E. Zeiss Milvus 35mm f/2 @f/4.5 @1/15 @ISO-4000 @Filter- Green
Nikon D800E. Zeiss Milvus 35mm f/2 @f/4.5 @1/2 @ISO-640 @Filter- Green
Lately, I've been getting headaches from too much color being everywhere; it disrupts my sight and creates a visual mess in the picture. I cannot say it is like that in all cases, however, in most cases I prefer to use monochrome. When shooting inside churches, which usually have a limited spectrum of colors, I don't see a good reason to use color. Especially when it comes to very old churches, such as the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in the Old City of Jerusalem. The Church covers the area where, according to Christian tradition, Christ was crucified, buried and resurrected. Much of the Church remained the way it was when it was first built, during the 4th century AD, especially the walls in the bedrock.
Hundreds of visitors enter the Church every day – tourists, worshipers and archeology lovers arrive from all over the world. So, while shooting there, it must be taken into account that the place is crowded. When shooting in a place with so many people, it is important to include them in the picture. It conveys the uniqueness of the site, especially when people are constantly moving about. What is also unique to this Church is that it is poorly lit. It actually enhances its beauty, which is why it was my choice to let the dimness be in the pictures.
Not only is it naturally dim inside the Church, it is not possible to use flash there. Therefore it is essential to use high ISO and low aperture speed, and no tripod of course. When shooting without a tripod, a lens that is a little heavier that the plastic lenses on the market is only an advantage. It helps keep the balance between the weight of the body of the camera and the weight of the lens, while allowing me to remain stable even in low speed, as can be seen in the pictures taken there.
It is problematic to achieve a high quality with digital black and white photography, because a third of the pixels in the sensor (all the green pixels) are useless and the picture is more noisy and colorful. This will not happen with this lens, thanks to the sharp contrast. It demonstrates almost no difference in noise level between color photography and black and white photography. Sometimes there is no difference at all. With this lens I enjoy black and white photography much more. The lens transmits so much information to the sensor that even with a 36 black and white mega pixel sensor, the end result is pictures with hardly any noise. All the pictures included in this article didn't undergo any procedure and you see for yourselves how well they came out.
Nikon D800E. Zeiss Milvus 35mm f/2 @f/5 @1/125 @ISO-1600 @Filter- Green
Lenses that have a focal length wider than 50 mm would result in showing the space as distorted. However, this lens controls the distortion efficiently and my axis are aligned. Looking at the pictures, you can spot the floor and the walls. This is where you would normally notice a distortion created by the lens. And as you can see, the lines are straight, and there was no need to fix or adjust any of the pictures. It is self-evident that tremendous efforts have been invested into this lens so that its distortion would be minimal. For me this is ideal – I don't like to process on Lightroom, I like to shoot pictures. I rather the photographs would be good to begin with, than to process them and this lens allows me to do exactly that – to be a photographer.
Nikon D800E. Zeiss Milvus 35mm f/2 @f/4.5 @1/100 @ISO-3200 @Filter- Green
Even in black and white photography there are some chromatic aberrations. It is true that it is more difficult to notice them, but yet, still possible. They appear as a thin gray belt attached to any line where there is transition from darkness to brightness. A perfect lens that completely omits that is impossible to create; however, it is possible to come close if enough effort is invested in that direction. Here, with the Zeiss Milvus 35mm, there was obviously such as effort and the lens has almost insignificant chromatic aberration. The pictures are clear at the end of a long day in the field.
Another obstacle one encounters inside a church is the bright light coming through the windows into the dim space, or the bright light of the burning candles. This requires the lens to withstand bright flares of light that can damage the picture. This lens is coated with a special coating so that it successfully takes pictures with a large dynamic range and without them having unnecessary flaring ghosts. The Zeiss Milvus 35mm is by no doubt the best 35mm lens I ever owned.