Architecture, Interiors, Technology

Architecture with the Zeiss 35mm PC-D

There are plenty of people who would suggest that you can’t shoot architecture with a 35mm and you need a 24mm or wider.  I used to be in that camp too some extent but I have found that with a shift lens on a full frame body you can do a lot with a 35mm lens. It helps that I’m beginning to ‘see’ in 35mm for the first time in years thanks to starting my Little Chef project with the Zeiss 35/2.8 on a Sony A7r – partly because it’s a retro sort of field of view, typical of the compacts available in the chain’s 1980s heyday, and partly because it’s still my favourite lens for the system in terms of overall ‘feel’.

As well as having this very special lens I’m also lucky enough to live in a vibrant city with some amazing architecture and architectural events. So, when this year’s serpentine pavilion coincided with the launch of the V&A Museum’s new entrance I decided to challenge myself to shoot them both exclusively with the Zeiss PC-Distagon on a relatively new-to-me Canon full frame body.

This session was also the first time I’ve really shot architecture with intent for some time and I enjoyed both the lens and the challenge, though it’s slightly flawed. Having a very short throw between ∞ and 3m is bonkers in a lens that will be primarily used for critical shooting of buildings. Other than that the lens certainly wasn’t a limitation, easily matching the 50 Megapixel sensor of the Eos 5Ds when it was properly focussed and held steady – the latter being key as resolution increases. In all honesty I would place the Zeiss ahead of the Canon 35/2 IS for sharpness but perhaps that is to be expected as the Zeiss lens is designed for critical sharpness and low distortion where the Canon is more of a street shooter. The other issue is that when the PC-Distagon flares it’s not the nicest flare I’ve ever seen – one image in the Serpentine set shows this very clearly.

Architecturally both buildings are superb, although I do think that there is a lack of seating space in this years Serpentine Pavilion as the structure itself doesn’t have the perching places that some of the others have, so it’s not as enjoyable on a busy, sunny day as some of the earlier ones.

First gallery is of the V&A Exhibition Road Quarter, by Amanda Levete Architects and the second Gallery is of the Serpentine Pavilion, designed by Diébédo Francis Kéré…

Gallery One – V&A Exhibition Road Quarter & Entrance.

Gallery Two – 2017 Serpentine Pavilion

Architecture, Books

A Simple Pleasure!

I know it’s been too quiet around here lately, life has caught up with me on a number of levels over the last little while and I’ve just not had the energy to dedicate to photography or blogging. Thankfully we managed a really great holiday in France & Spain over the last couple of weeks. More about the trip and some images will follow but not until I’ve been able to get the film processed, as I shot entirely with my Contax 159MM & a few of my Zeiss lenses.

We got back yesterday evening and while Mooching around in Artwords Bookshop on Broadway Market I found myself looking at the familiar to me cover of the book Designed for the Future: 80 Practical Ideas for a Sustainable World, on page 117 of which rests the image below… Taken with a very un-Contax Canon Eos 1Ds and 17mm TS-E with a fair bit of shift on.



Cuban’s – 15 images

Just for fun, and since Ming Thein’s latest post reminded me of my own trip to Cuba, I’m posting some of my shots from a Light & Land workshop I did in there a few years back… I exhibited these couple of years back and made a couple of print sales too.

For the record, I took an Eos 1Ds and the Holy Trinity of Canon L glass. If I did the same trip I reckon that about 75% of it could be done with the Zeiss FE 35 & 55, supplemented by a 135 and my 24mm TS-E.

Cuba 15 5441267985

Cuba 14 5441871796

Cuba 13 5441872076

Cuba 12 5441268887

Cuba 10 5441269357

Cuba 11 5441872722

Cuba 09 5441873270

Cuba 08 5441873522

Cuba 07 5441270151

Cuba 06 5441270337

Cuba 05 5441874246

Cuba 04 5441270871

Cuba 03 5441271149

Cuba 02 5441874962

Cuba 01 5441875248


03.03.14 -> Channel

Over the Weekend I was pondering the possibility of switching from Canon to the Sony A7r. There’s a lot of conflicting opinion out there over whether the high resolution of the A7r can be maximised with adapted lenses. While the jury is still, to some extent, out it does seem that there is a tangible benefit from using the sony with the Canon TS-E 17 & 24mm lenses. Resolution aside the Sony sensor appears to offer better colour depth and solves the issue of the absolutely bonkers over saturated reds Canon’s DSLRs  produce (OK this can be useful but often you have to knock them back in RAW processing).

In the end the offer I got for my 1D x from Park Cameras  has tipped me over the edge and, as of today I’m no longer shooting a Canon DSLR. I walked out of the shop with the Zeiss FE 35/2.8 & 55/1.8 ZA lenses, and will be back in there later this week to pick up the A7r body. My Metabones Smart Adapter III should also arrive this week. Thankfully I can play with the new Zeiss glass on my NEX-6 until the A7r arrives. Below is my first with the 35/2.8 on the NEX, since I’ve only managed a couple of frames I’ll hold fire on commenting on it’s performance until I’ve shot a bit more.



Gear, Technology

02.03.14 -> Sitting Thinking

It was one of those days… we were supposed to drive up from Hastings to London, but the car was leaking oil so we ended up on a train and a bit grumpy, so the only photograph I took on Sunday was the one below while having lunch and a coffee during a weekend of Existential Camera Angst… Last year I fell and destroyed my Trusty old Eos 1Ds, my insurers new for old policy meant I acquired a brand new 1D  x body. Since I shoot a lot of architecture and static subjects with manual focus lenses 14fps and blazing autofocus are not priorities. I’ve also enjoyed using the I’d picked up earlier in the year NEX-6 for it’s lightness and near pocketable size. That said the Eos’s low light performance is pretty darned good, and I’ve shot some nice stuff with it.

On the 28th I went into Park Cameras shiny new London store for a look and asked what they’d offer as trade-in on the 1D x. basically, they made an offer I found hard to refuse, so I spent much of the weekend been pondering making the change to a Sony A7r and Metabones adapter for my Canon TS-E lenses. Meanwhile my wife was looking to the balustrade on the cafe stairs as an inspiration for our flat…

Leon, Kings Cross

Leon, Kings Cross


09.02.14 -> Horsey

A new ornament in our house, I wasn’t quite sure what to exect when my wife texted me the other day to say she’d bought a fairground horse… thankful it’s not too large! Shot taken with the Zeiss 85/1.4. I love the bokehof this lens. This was at f/2 to give a bit of leeway with the DOF, as the Eos 1Dx doesn’t have a split image.

Fairground Horse

Fairground Horse

Gear, Photography

30.01.14 -> For Sale

Sort of a filler to my Photo-a-day project; it’s an eBay product shot, but it’s still a photo and it had to be done!

I just put my scruffy old 28mm AE version up for sale as I’ve replaced it with a nicely priced new MM version from Cameraworld who, it seems don’t really have much of a clue about pricing up Contax lenses. Worse they aren’t consistent about it and, as well as having some good prices e.g. I just missed a 35-70 for £111, they often have ludicrously high ones too e.g. £700+ for an 85/1.4. Since I’m so far behind with posting these, the auction is over already, so no link.

28mm f/2.8 Distagon AEJ

28mm f/2.8 Distagon AEJ

Product shot taken with a Canon Eos 1Dx & 24-105L