"Seize the Moment in Cambodia." Angkor Wat photo tour experience with Zeiss Milvus lenses.
"Although photography for me is basically not about equipment but about observation and capturing "the moment" technical excellence always played an important role, at least in my book of pictures."
Words and Pictures by Michael Klinkhamer.
Blurry and grainy images can and do have a certain value for atmosphere but there is a special beauty and excitement going on in real sharpness and high resolution details with a certain visual excellence in the way some pictures can speak to you.
Somehow, it's the magic of photography to be able capture both.
Subject matter is always paramount and the moment of capture and good composition will further determine the successful outcome of a special photograph or failure, with the right kind of glass mounted on your camera you have made the first right decision.
Just before I organized this workshop at the Angor Wat temples, I was invited to be the new Zeiss Lenses Ambassador for Cambodia by W&H Investments https://www.facebook.com/wnhinvestment/
This opportunity to work with the latest versions of one of the best lenses manufacturers in film and photography in the world was of course irresistible and fun to delph a bit deeper into my shooting habits and venture into a high level of equipment.
Available during this adventure in Cambodia where the compact Zeiss Milvus 35mm f/ 2.0 and the impressive beast the Zeiss Milvus 85mm f/1.4 lenses.
|Zeiss Milvus 35mm f/ 2.0 and the impressive beast the Zeiss Milvus 85mm f/1.4 lenses.|
|Zeiss Milvus 35mm f/ 2.0|
|Zeiss Milvus 85mm f/1.4|
Please check my exciting Cambodia Photo Tours for 2016-2017.
What's In the bag:
Nikon D610. Release date October 2013. I got mine in 2014, after trading in the 2008 Nikon D3.
Pro: Newer camera, twice the resolution (24 mpix), half the weight.
Cons: Lesser build quality, lesser viewfinder, some more noise in the high ISO's, and slower frame rate and autofocus.
The D610 still produces 5-7 frames per second and since I am out of the highspeed race car and motorcycles photography for now, I don't mind.
The Nikon D610 delivers high resolution full frame 35mm images and also works great as a HD movie camera. The lesser weight is something you will certainly take in consideration at 35c-45c working temperatures and long shooting days of exploring in the tropics.
Together with the Nikon D610 and the Zeiss Milvus 35mm F 2.0 and the Zeiss Milvus 85mm f/1.4 life through the lens was looking beautiful, clear and sharp.
This Essay's of Angkor Wat were all shot with this configuration, all shot in NEF/ RAW.
Some subtle editing in Lightroom, but trying to maintain the pure native renditions of the Camera and lens files in order to maintain that famous almost cinematographic Zeiss look.
All images were shot hand held for maximum flexibility.
The pictures presented here in the blog are in low res 1500 pix and 72 dpi for copyright reasons.
High-res files of 5,688x3.797 pix at 300dpi are available for licensing.
Please enjoy and scroll down to see some more real life examples of the Zeiss 35mm and 85mm.
A day at Angkor Wat with the Zeiss Milvus lenses and Nikon D610.
What is a photograph these days?
Is it a picture on Facebook or Instagram or on a blog or website? Yes, both and No, not really.....
If that Facebook picture post or Instagram thumbnail is the end user's goal any sort of camera or good mobile phone like the IPhone or LG-4 or Samsung will do and is more than enough for most people.
And as a proof of that, we have now hundreds of millions of pictures floating around on the internet and cyberspace.
Everybody is a photographer these days. But not everyone is a master photographer.
Or is a "real photograph" a real physical photo print? A4-A3-A2-A0-A0+ a real photo print, printed on fine photo paper or fine art inkjet photo material printed with a high end printer.
Then matted and framed to be mounted in a gallery or at your home or office space?
A different playing field than facebook or Instagram for sure.
Over the last decennia photography has changed so dramatically that it's hard to tell where it's going.
You have to make up your own mind about that.
Most photographers want to be serious with their work and eventually progress into some sort of craftsman or craftswoman. Being able to pre-visualize and make personal images with a 'real' camera and a set of good lenses. For this you need a good DSLR Camera of sorts and learn how to get things right, with all the digital options we have at our disposal.
Within this image/ camera/ internet revolution we have so many options of camera's and lenses.
This is for most people already a hobby to figure out what they really need and are willing and able to buy.
A Nikon or Canon? Fuji or Pentax, and what size? What lens?
The many choices are overwhelming.
Since my move to Cambodia I started to do also different kind of pictures and a different kind of subjects than before when I was working for 'glossy car' magazines and luxury brands.
Here in Cambodia my work became more personal if you like. More photojournalistic and more about people.
What did not change is my quest for image quality. Although I like to experiment with the Instagram filters or the plug in filter in my Lightroom App, I prefer to keep a certain look of dimension, clarity and perfection.
Normally I use Nikkor Lenses. I own the pro line of Nikkor f/2.8 lenses from 12-24mm and 24-70mm to the 70-20mm.
They are good, super fast autofocus and very reliable and produce outstanding quality.
The Zeiss Milvus lenses are just on a more superior level but without the fast AF.
Can you actually see the difference?
Yes, when you get everything right in a picture then you will see the difference, perhaps a 20-25% increase in overall more micro sharpness clarity and contrast and color.
Quality differences are hard to define, it's very that special Zeiss cinematographic look and feel of the materials used that get's me going.
The Zeiss Milvus lenses are a high end tool for the very demanding photographer.
So, this is where the Zeiss Milvus lenses come in.
The Zeiss Milvus lenses family are the 'realistic' version of the benchmark Zeiss Otus lenses.
They perform in real life conditions as good or at least 95% as good as the Zeiss Otus lenses that trade for double the price almost.
Zeiss Otus 85mm f 1.4 costs $4.499,- vs the Milvus version costs $1.799,-
Zeiss Otus 55mm f 1.4 costs $3.990,- vs the Milvus version is $1.199,-
These Otus and Milvus lenses are an updated versions of a long history of these focal length prime lenses and the built quality of those Carl-Zeiss lenses I used to handle on the Hasselblad.
Designed in order to yield the full kind of high camera resolutions available now
For example the Nikon D810 or Canon D5 mark4 and their optical quality are made to perform with the latest full frame high resolution cameras for now and the future.
In other words you pay some more now but the lenses will outlast your current camera and are ready for the next couple of 5-15 years of development in camera sensor resolution development.
What I found personally with the Zeiss Milvus lenses is that they are not perfect, neither are you all the time. But when everything does come together during a photoshoot, they will give you a cinematographic magic look and feel, a perfect deep and intense rendering of your images and they squeeze every detail out of that shot, eyelashes or structures so amazingly clear while being also soft and tender and creamy background bokeh.
Especially the Milvus 85mm f 1.4 lens is a real challenge and an amazing tool.
During this workshop at Angkor Wat the stone carvings and structures and light and atmosphere of the temples and the images I did are a perfect example for the kind of photography work they are made for; Landscapes, details, stills, portraits, natural light, architecture.
They are not good for sports, fast moving subjects or just shooting action from the hip.
These Milvus lenses force you to slow down and get it right.
A very enjoyable and rewarding almost meditative experience.
Yes, the Zeiss Milvus lenses perform almost like a painter's brush.
I constantly produce prints that are for sale at the famous FCC-restaurant gift shop in Phnom Penh, and on line and this is just to keep a track on the quality and desirability of those pictures in prints.
Since 2013 I held three photo exhibitions in Phnom Penh and in all shows the printing process gave me the most joy.
When you go over and study the surface of a fine art image that you have seen already many times, just to find the subtle details, like the light, the grain, the point of sharpness and how a picture develops into something bigger and more meaningful on a A3+ printed size is a very rewarding experience, and I believe the sole purpose of the digital DSLR camera's.
I try to get those pictures out of their digital confinement and make them alive in your hand and available to the public to see and enjoy.
Verdict; the Zeiss Milvus lenses are extremely well built, all metal, and with a smooth rubberized focus ring, weather sealed and professional tools.
The image quality and look of the pictures is superior, no need for a lot of post editing.
They can produce their own native magic image quality, as long as you stick too some basic photography rules.
All you have to do now is to go out there with your camera and explore, look, learn and see, and last but not least, Print!
If this all sounded too technical and clinical I agree, sure, let's show some pictures!
Perhaps join me in Cambodia for a photographic workshop, course or safari adventure,
I host a daily photo tour in Phnom Penh and looking forward to meet you there.