A couple of weeks ago, we introduced you to David Hennen and the beautiful holiday short films he took with his motorized LomoKino. This time he took us on a trip to Turkey, accompanied by our Neptune Convertible Art Lens System. Check out his photos below and read his thoughts on our exceptional lens system.
Lomography has been bringing exciting and crazy lenses to the market for many years now, opening up visual possibilities that are not achievable with traditional offerings from other manufacturers. Unfortunately I never had the chance to try one of these lenses, so I was very excited when Lomography offered me to test their Neptune Convertible Art Lens System. The timing was perfect because I had already planned a ten-day long trip to Turkey.
The lens set consists of a lens base with aperture and focus ring and three lenses with focal lengths of 35 mm, 50 mm and 80 mm. The set came for a Canon EF mount and all the photos were taken with a Canon Eos 5, an analogue film camera from the 90s.
The test is divided into pros and cons, so let's start with the pros:
I had honestly expected blurred edges and swirly bokeh, similar to the Lomography Petzval lenses, so I was more than surprised that contrast, colour rendition and sharpness are above average. Even better than with my favourite Canon lens, the 40 mm f/2.8 pancake. The image is distortion-free and sharp from corner to corner, even with an open aperture.
The Thalassa 35 mm f/3.5 art lens
35 mm is my favourite focal length for landscapes and cityscapes, so it was not surprising that I took most of my photos with this lens and I really have to say, that I haven't had this much fun with a lens in years. It's built entirely of metal (like the other two lenses) and the weight and size feel great. Visually it has a vintage feel to it, I can't really describe it, but it makes the photos look more exciting than what I'm used to with other lenses. In my opinion, the 35 mm lens alone makes it worth it to buy the whole Neptune set.
Flange focal distance
The flange focal distance is the distance between the film/sensor and the lens. In a nutshell, if the flange focal distance is set correctly by the manufacturer and you turn the lens to infinity, then it is indeed infinitely sharp. This is not the case with the vast majority of photo lenses. I know this might sound strange, but the perfectly adjusted flange focal length of the Neptune lenses is a complete game changer for my type of photography. I set the focus ring to infinity for 98% of the photos and could completely trust that my landscape shots would turn out perfectly sharp.
For the current price of 399 EUR, you only get one lens from the competition, which I think is a good deal.
Now to the cons:
I have no way of checking whether a photo is really sharp on my analogue Canon Eos 5. I have a viewfinder magnifier but I didn't have time to use it on a portrait snapshot and got a blurry photo. This is of course no problem for digital photographers or cameras with a split image viewfinder.
Personally, I have no real use for an 80 mm lens, I would much rather have had a 28 mm wide-angle in the set, so 28 mm, 35 mm and 50 mm. I think all portrait photographers will disagree with me on this point.
Sometimes if you shoot towards the sun without the sun in the frame, a kind of lens flare or fog will appear over the image and have the potential to ruin a photo. However, this has only happened to me twice in three films. I can even imagine that this is an exciting effect for lomographers.
In my opinion, the advantages of the Neptune set clearly outweigh the disadvantages and I would buy the set for the incredible Thalassa 35 mm alone, not to mention the price.