35mm – An indispensable part of everyone’s photographic tool kit

August 1, 2017 ZEISS LENSPIRE Team

The 35mm focal length can be used effectively in many shooting scenarios. We asked fine art photographer Douglas Wood to share his opinion on the new Milvus 35mm f/1.4. Douglas has lived just outside of Portland, Maine for the past 17 years. He’s been a musician for most of his life but photography has been his primary artistic pursuit for the last 10 years. The majority of his work is black and white and he’s most passionate about Maine coastal based imagery: seascape, nautical, working waterfront and nature. His work is represented by the Casco Bay Artisans gallery in Portland, Maine and the Kingman Gallery in Deer Isle, Maine.

The pictures I made with the lens feel deep and immersive to me.

When ZEISS first announced this lens and said that it included a new optical design, I was immediately intrigued. The good folks at ZEISS USA recently let me take this new Milvus 1.4/35 for a quick spin, for which I’m grateful.

barn_door_Maine_black_white lobster_and_fish_house_Maine_black_white

I’ve been a ZEISS user for a number of years and have ‘Classics’ and Milvus glass in my bag, ranging from 21mm to 135mm. Like all ZEISS lenses, past or present, the Milvus 1.4/35 is built like a tank. You take it out of the box, hold it in your hand and know immediately that this lens has been designed and built to last a lifetime. And I appreciate the aesthetic of the Milvus line too. The industrial design is sublime. The weather sealing on Milvus lenses is really nice, especially for someone like me who is regularly shooting in conditions where sea spray and fog is the norm.

great_blue_heron_Maine_black_white pathway_Maine_black_white

Focusing the 35mm is pure joy. The focus ring is smooth, responsive, precise and accurate. The Milvus 1.4/35 is a precision optical instrument: minimal field curvature, excellent color correction, superb corner-to-corner sharpness and so on. The technical performance characteristics of this lens have been documented elsewhere and not surprisingly, the consensus is that this 35mm is a stellar performer.

shelf_Maine_black_white

© Douglas Wood, Nikon D810, ZEISS Milvus 1.4/35, f/11, 92 sec., ISO 64

While I appreciate all of this, I also expect this kind of technical excellence from the ZEISS optical engineering team. It’s what they do and they deliver. What I’m more interested in when working with a new lens though, is how the images it produces make me feel. My time with this lens was short so I decided to shoot a few different types of scenes that reflects the kind of work I do. With the new optical design of the 1.4/35, what I was hoping for was the same kind of rendering that I’ve experienced with my two favorite Milvus lenses: the 1.4/50 and 1.4/85. Bingo! The pictures I made with the lens feel deep and immersive to me. As an artist, this is what I’m after. As photographers, most of us strive to put the viewer of our pictures into the scene so that they get a sense of ‘being there’. For me, the Milvus 1.4/35 does this in spades. It is the best 35mm lens that I’ve ever used. This is the one!

 

About Douglas Wood

Douglas Woods PotraitDouglas Wood has lived just outside of Portland, Maine for the past 17 years. He’s been a musician for most of his life but photography has been his primary artistic pursuit for the last 10 years. The majority of his work is black and white and he’s most passionate about Maine coastal based imagery: seascape, nautical and nature. His work is represented by the Casco Bay Artisans gallery in Portland, Maine and the Kingman Gallery in Deer Isle, Maine.

See more of Douglas’s work here.

 

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