Dark (@posterize) is a Thai fashion photographer and owner of RooftopStudioBangkok. He is a longtime Lomo LC-Wide fan and recently he took this fantastic series of fashion photos with our Petzval 55 f/1.7 MKII Art lens.
Hello, and welcome to Lomography Magazine! Please introduce yourself to us.
Hello, my name is Dark. I graduated from the Faculty of Communication Arts, Film Production Major. Currently, I own a small studio called RooftopStudioBangkok, work as a runway fashion photo journalist for ThaiCatwalk.com and also organize some events and PR.
How did you get started in photography?
It started when I was young, when my family bought me first SLR film camera. My father and my uncle studied photography. At that time, they asked me to study photography as well but I wanted to study architecture. In the end, I couldn't finish studying architecture and I had to come back to study Communication Arts. So, I had to use camera for study and for work too, then I found that I could take other styles like commercial work. I started to learn about lighting. I became interested in fashion runway photography and I started to find how to do that. Then I took photos for events. When I got bored of digital photography, I came back to use film photography. Personally, I'm happy experimenting with film, multiple exposures and trying new things, waiting the result of photos is the funniest part. Nowadays, I still enjoy using the Lomo LC-Wide camera to travel. Don't think, just Shoot!
Could you please tell us about the concept of this shoot?
I was going to shoot a wedding in Hong Kong, so I thought I'd buy a lens from Lomography HK. However, I wanted to get used to it first so I invited the model to test it with first. Mainly, I wanted to get used to it before taking it to Hong Kong. Another thing is that I wanted to experiment with digital cameras and do color grading. During the shooting test, I focused on the background to make bokeh and move the model further away from the background to bring out the depth of field. I also experimented with finding different swirl bokeh levels. The result is very impressive.
What do you love most about the Petzval 55 f/1.7 MKII Art lens ?
I've actually been following the Petzval lens since it was a Kickstarter project years ago. But at that time, there were no lenses for mirrorless cameras, it was still a model for DSLR cameras. So I hadn't decided to use it yet. I tried looking at vintage lenses and also liked them, but they couldn't control the bokeh as strong or soft like the Petzval lens. Just by adjusting the control ring, you can shoot with stronger bokeh by increasing the depth and adjusting the f-stop. It's not like a typical 50 mm lens. Once you've tried it, you'll feel that it can push the distance between the background and the model really well. In the past, if would like to shoot with bokeh, I could DIY and put it on the front of the lens. It's not durable but the Petzval has an aperture plate built right in. (The build quality of this Petzval 55 is better than some of the more expensive lenses.) Nowadays, in the era of mirrorless cameras, every camera already has live-view and peak focus, which will help make focusing easier as well.
How was the experience of shooting video with this lens?
It's awesome! If you're tired of using digital camera's lenses that give you normal video, here's the answer! When you're using the same lens, the result is the same. So I usually choose vintage lenses for personal work. I have quite a few in my collection. Each vintage lens has a different character. After trying the Petzval 55 lens, if you can control focus, the photos will be sharp, with dreamy swirl bokeh that allows you to control the depth. If it was an EF mount, I'd try it on my Black Magic Pocket Cinema Camera 6K too. I have the Petzval 55 with RF mount, so I tested it on the EOS R6 Mark ii. If I have video shooting work, this is the lens that I definitely have to carry in my bag.
Do you have any advice for people who would like to use this lens?
I often recommend it. Hurry up and get used to it. Then you will be able to shoot photos with effects that cannot be achieved with other normal lenses. People who had never heard of the Petzval before saw my photos from this lens and they were always impressed by it. You should try out both photo or video. I guarantee that if you try it, you will definitely like it. It's not as difficult to use as you think. A little trick is from me is you could use it with a variable ND filter. This will allow the Petzval to control the exposure more easily for adjusting the shutter speed.