Sponsored by ZEISS
ZEISS is known for its precise optics that capture distortion-free scenes, and the Milvus family offers nine lenses (from f/2.8 15mm–f/2.0 100mm) to satisfy the discerning eyes of professional photographers. Here, three photographers dish on their favorite ZEISS glass.
Drew Gardner has had a wildly diverse career that has propelled him into many different fields, from photojournalism, to creative portraiture, to 360-degree virtual reality photography. But when he’s in the studio, he enjoys being in complete control of the technical aspects of the shoot—starting with his choice of lens, which these days has been a ZEISS Milvus f/2 100mm.
“I was recently working as the director of photography on a video shoot where we filming a complex and detailed chemical process. It had to be shot in 4K to ‘futureproof’ the content,” he recalls. “The cameraman and I were struggling to capture a particular part of the project with the macro lenses he was using.”
Frustrated by the quality of the output, Gardener switched to the ZEISS Milvus f/2 100mm. The Milvus line can perform with high-resolution cameras with minimal coma, astigmatism and spherical aberrations. “It resolved detail the other lens simply couldn’t,” he says. And, Gardner says, not only is the Milvus 100mm macro a great macro lens, it also excels as a mid-range telephoto lens. He explains: “Last year I was lucky enough to photograph the amazing Catalan Human towers in Vilafranca and I captured [the] moment of celebration just after one of the teams had successfully built a challenging human tower.”
Topher DeLancy’s work is filled with sunlight, and ZEISS keeps light where it should be with its T* antireflective coating that prevents stray light from affecting the image field. For DeLancy’s candid approach to his lifestyle photography, nothing is more important than having the right lens at the right time when those unpredictable, telling moments arise.
“Recently I was on a family shoot in a beautiful Japanese minimalist garden in Costa Mesa, California,” he says. “They needed family shots, pictures of their new baby, and portraits of the dad, who is a music professor at a local college. The versatility of the ZEISS Milvus f/1.4 85mm allowed me to drop aperture to 1.4 to get beautiful portraits of the dad, and [then bring it up to] 2.0 to get sweet candids of the mom and baby loving each other.”
It all went perfectly—until the three-year-old bumped his ZEISS Milvus 85mm f1.4, causing it to drop 3 feet onto the concrete below. Unbelievably, there was very little damage. “There is now the tiniest dent in the robust metal casing of the lens, but no glass was broken,” DeLancy says. “I’ve had lesser quality lenses that literally shattered when dropped into a cup holder [in my car]. DeLancy says because of their versatility and durability, the Milvus line “won’t be leaving my bag anytime soon.”
“Photography is an excuse to take myself to places I might not otherwise go,” says travel photographer Lloyd Chambers, and on those adventures the ZEISS Milvus f/2 100mm is his go-to lens. “I remember shooting straight into the sun at sunrise the day after Thanksgiving morning at 0°F, high up in the White Mountains of California. Very few telephoto lenses can be shot into the sun at all due to veiling and/or ghosting flare. Making it more challenging, deep blue mountain shadows contrasted beautifully with the intense orange sunlight—a contrast essential to preserving the eye-popping appeal of the shot. I doubt that any other lens would have delivered so well.”
Chambers says that though the f/2 100mm is a macro lens, it is “superb” for subjects at a distance. “[There’s] no field curvature, no focus shift, no distortion and unrivalled bokeh, and it delivers richly saturated colors with very high contrast,” he says. “No other lens in its range can pull all that together.”
To find a ZEISS dealer near you, please visit www.zeiss.com/photo.