Roddy Williams – An ongoing portfolio

Whitchurch Road


I recently had one of those brain fevers in which one becomes obsessed with a specific desire or idea. In some individuals this may lead to an injunction or legal action, but fortunately in my case this sort of thing usually involves inanimate objects.
The inanimate object of my desire has been for quite a while, a Zeiss lens. I have an old Zeiss lens which I use on my digital Olympus, but I have none for my Nikons. Serendipitously, last week I spotted a near mint used Zeiss Planar T* 50mm ZF.2 for sale on the marvellous mpbphotographic for substantially less than its original price.
It’s difficult to describe what it is about these lenses that is different. Some may find them awkward, as the ZF.2 firstly (at least on the Nikon D300s) needs to be locked in at F16 before it responds to the Aperture command dial, and the focus is entirely manual. At F1.4 the quality is not marvellous, but stepping down this lens produces magical images with nice detail, lovely bokeh and a wide range of tones. There is a certain retro look to the images also.
This takes a lot of getting used to but the results once one has got the hang of it are quite marvellous. It comes into its own with people and portrait shots, but even with random shots like this, which was more or less the first exterior shot I took with it, it shows at least the potential of what one can do.
Also, it does force one to make choices about aperture and focus that would be normally dealt with by the Auto options on one’s camera, and it can only be a good thing to get out of one’s comfort zone and explore new worlds. I plan to leave this lens on my camera for a while, so there will hopefully be progress, which I will post here.


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