Petzval 55 mm f/1.7 MKII First Impressions with Taylor Antisdel

Taylor Antisdel is a Brooklyn-based filmmaker, cinematographer and photographer with a knack for low light. We asked Taylor to switch out his gear for a night and find out how the Petzval 55 mm f/1.7 MKII works out for him and his work.

Portrait of Taylor Antisdel by Katherine Maxwell (not taken with the Petzval 55 MK II)

Name: Taylor Antisdel
Location: Brooklyn, NY
Occupation: Freelance filmmaker / Cinematographer / Photographer
Website: taylorantisdel.com
Instagram: @taylor_antisdel

Welcome to the Lomography Magazine, Taylor! Please tell us a little bit about your photography background and work.

My preoccupation with cameras started when my parents encouraged me to capture our Christmas celebrations with the family VHS camera. I remember this beautiful liberated feeling, being able to float around the party with the perfect excuse to eavesdrop on all of the adults' conversations. Since then, things haven’t changed much. I use the camera to eavesdrop - to explore new places, meet new people and listen.

Taylor Antisdel with the Petzval 55 mm f/1.7 MKII BC

There are a lot of exciting things to capture when you’re out in the streets. How do you keep up with all the action?

I love walking alone at night, when there is a little less action, and finding nice pockets of street light. Silhouettes are really exciting to me.

Could you tell us your experience using the Petzval 55 mm f/1.7 MKII Bokeh Control?

Using the Petzval was a fun experience. The lens required me to slow down and be a bit more deliberate while shooting, which I quite enjoyed. The center of the frame is really sharp, and it does a nice job of focusing the viewers' attention to the subject. Additionally, the surrounding bokeh is gorgeous and any instance where the surrounding areas had neon, and flashing or blinking lights, became really interesting compositions. For video, it became a bit difficult to pair with focus motors due to a few issues, such as the drag and the proximity to the lens mount on the camera. Just very different to the gear I normally use. However, I did have some nice results setting a focus distance and working in that zone. With a little bit of movement, it made some of the dance pieces we shot quite dynamic.

Taylor Antisdel with the Petzval 55 mm f/1.7 MKII

How does the new Petzval 55 Art Lens help you in your photographic style?

I am excited to revisit this lens on a project centered around portraiture. It encouraged different compositions than I am used to, due to its unique central focus. Additionally, it was a real blessing how fast the lens was, it allowed me to shoot at night and in the lower-light situations that I am drawn to.

Taylor Antisdel with the Petzval 55 mm f/1.7 MKII

Any tricks or techniques that you would like to share for street photographers shooting with the Petzval 55mm f/1.7 MKII Bokeh Control for the first time?

Look for neon or busy lights and use them to frame around your subject. The swirling bokeh outside the center focus becomes really unique and dynamic.


The Petzval 55 mm f/1.7 MKII is created with discerning photographers and filmmakers in mind. This versatile 55mm art lens brings the unique look of Joseph Petzval’s original lens to full frame mirrorless cameras. This art lens is designed to allow full creative flexibility, with its 7 levels of Bokeh Control and Dual Aperture system. Its optics are optimized to retain the signature swirly bokeh without compromising image sharpness where it counts. It is an indispensable addition to your creative arsenal. Pre-order yours now in our online store.

written by birgitbuchart on 2019-05-25 #gear

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