[S-series] Lomo LC-A Minitar-1 2.8/32 Art Lens – Lomography review

Hi Lomographers,

Good morning! Today I’m back here to talk about Lomography’s remake of a classic optics. It is the LC-A Minitar-1 2.8/32 Art Lens aka the lens on a LC-A compact film camera. In case you don’t know what’s a LC-A: click here.


I’ve been longing for a LC-A for a long time now. I wanted one to know why and how it achieved its cult status among Lomographers or the casual street photographer who’s got money to burn via film, if you catch my drift.

But because its a camera that’s achieve cult status, its pricing is steep. Therefore, I just can’t justify the purchase of one, unless I win the lottery, I’ll just ‘whack’ all the lomo-cameras and Pentax 67II etc etc etc. I love film cameras, how they look and how each and everyone of them has their own character, even if you load the same medium into them, they still come out looking drastically different. Its like magic.


And so I heard Lomography made a lens based on the fixed lens on a LC-A, I just have to get one… Well, I can’t justify the purchase yet again.. So I emailed them and ask if its possible for me to loan one for a couple of weeks. They agreed and so here’s the loan copy at my door! Let’s open that tastefully designed box and dig in!


It was a small box, so I expected the lens to be small too. But I was still surprised when I opened it. This is smaller than my ‘small’!! Its like a miniature lens model someone made during their free time. I thought this was a prank!


Then I open the lens cap and saw the optics..

Oh my goodness, its real…


Yeah, let me put aside all that drama. The controls are simplified, the aperture ring has a tiny nub for you to turn. The ring rotates smoothly without any stops, so most of the time, I’ve no idea whatsoever what value I was on unless I check the dial.

Focusing is done with the outter nub and the focus throw is super short. The scale only has 4 values, 0.8m (min), 1.5m, 3m and INF (Infinity). If you need to fine tune your focus, you’ll find it challenging with such a short focus throw. But do know that this lens is build for other purposes rather than shooting in a studio, so most times I’m totally fine with its controls.


The lens is really really tiny, I have to emphasize that point, because I really haven’t seen a lens this small made for full frame cameras..


See how it measure up with my Voigtlander Super Wide Heliar 4.5/15 III and Zeiss Batis 2/25? Both lenses were not really big compared to those DSLR zoom lenses, but the Minitar-1 looks like a miniature abomination borne out of the other 2 lenses…well I meant it in a good way. 

Its made of mostly metal and yet weighs next to nothing. I couldn’t find any info about its weight, but I think it hardly matters right? On my A7II, I think my M-mount adapter is bigger and weights more than this lens..

One thing I don’t like would be the metal screw-on lens cap. For one, its really small. Like a local 50 cents coin, and the screwing-on part is like what-the-heck? Try screwing a coin onto the lens, I bet you 8/10 times you’ll drop it. So I just kept the lens cap at home and go out with the lens naked all the time, like a true exhibitionist lens.

Here are some boring specs I got from the official site:

Focal Length 32mm
Aperture f/2.8 – f/22
Lens Mount Leica M-mount
M-mount Frame Line Triggering 35/135
M-mount Rangefinder Coupling Yes
Closest Focusing Distance 0.8m
Filter Thread Measurement M22.5×0.5
Construction Multi-coated lens, 5 elements 4 groups


So I’ve already told you how this thing works, but for me when I’m out shooting with this lens, I usually just ‘zone focus’. That’s like me putting on a generally middle of the road aperture like f4 or f5.6, then I left the focusing nub on 1.5m or 3m. Then I just go out and snap away.


When you meet situations when you need to dial to INF, just turn it all the way down. Then once you’re done, just turn it back to the focusing distance that you’ll most likely use.

This way it just makes you stop thinking too much about all the technical stuff like what aperture you should be using and whether is it in focus and so on. You just go out and shoot with just your eyes and your instincts. You see a scene, you feel intrigued, you snap, and you move on. Simple. Its blazingly fast and really fun to shoot this way. Too bad for the really loud shutter slap of my A7II, if not I’ll be out in a crowded place and snap at those clueless buggers going about their daily routine.

The Sony A7II doesn’t even have a mirror in it but when I take a picture, Claire could hear it like 3 metres away, in a crowded street. She likes it that way though, so she will know when I take a picture and she can adjust her poses. This loud noise is so not stealthy, I get lots of stares when during our travels when I try to take some street photos thanks to that. I kinda miss my Canon 6D that I sold off, its got a ‘silent shutter’ function that I love. I hope the next A7 budget model will address this issue… the A7r  series are too expensive and the file size are too big for a casual hobbyist like myself.

Ok back to the Lomo lens, its got the potential to be the ultimate street shooter’s lens IMO.


While I know this quality thing can be affected by the camera and the setting used, I can’t be bothered to do a scientific study on this topic. So I’m just gonna list my equipment and show the photos I took, you be the judge. 

  • Sony A7II camera – set to ‘A’ mode and ISO between 100 – 3200
  • Hawk’s Factory M-E mount adapter with close focusing helicoid ver.5
  • erm, if it matters.. Topo Design Camera Strap with Peak Design Anchor Links

Below are some photos I took over the week with the lens:













Well I like bokeh so I like shooting wide open at f2.8. The thing I noticed is that even at f8, the vignetting is still there. And at f2.8, you can see the obvious lost of sharpness in the corners. But everything in the centre is still really sharp IMO.

I especially like the swirling bokeh effect when the background is really messy as seen on the 5th image.

Overall this lens is not a high-end performer, hence the moniker ‘Art Lens’. That must have been an indication that this is a flawed lens. But to me, the lens isn’t flawed, the ‘flaws’ are its ‘character’. Just as how i loved the soft focusing Zeiss C-Sonnar 1.5/50 lens, I love this Minitar-1 Art Lens already.

Alas, its a loan unit, so I have to part with it real soon. It will definitely be in my shopping list though, when I got the money to burn.

Cheers people, hope you enjoyed my writing.

Simon Tey

Video: Japan, Hakone Tokyo Day 1: Our Airbnb at Miyagino & Dinner at Odawara Fish Market Den!

Travel on Airbnb and get S$40 in travel credit! Click here! 

I’m sure you guys have already read the posts written by Simon. Today I’m here to share the videos. Might as well break them into individual days so that it’s easier to watch right?

You can also read the below posts here:

[S-series] Tokyo-Hakone Travel Journal Part 1: Arrival in Hakone and Odawara Castle 
[S-series] Tokyo-Hakone Travel Journal Part 2: Exploring Hakone 1/2 – Sengokuhara, le petit prince museum, owakudani black eggs (Image-intensive!)
[S-series] Tokyo-Hakone Travel Journal Part 3: Exploring Hakone 2/2 – Sightseeing boat, Hakone Shrine, baby wishing tree, (Image-intensive and excess words!) 
[S-series] Tokyo-Hakone Travel Journal Part 4: Going back to Tokyo, Ichiran Ramen, Cat Cafe Calico and Sensoji! 
[S-series] Tokyo-Hakone Travel Journal Part 5: Last day in Japan, The Roastery by Nozy Coffee, Yoyogi Park and Blue Bottle Coffee. 

So here’s the clip for Day 1, we bought limited express tickets to Hakone Yumoto, then went to our Airbnb at Miyagino, and then Odawara to visit the Odawara castle and had dinner at Odawara Fish Market Den! I highly recommend this place for dinner!

During the journey to Hakone, we also laughed alot in the train. Videos allow you to know more about us and how lame we are LOL! So pls watch it! haha.


[S-series] Tokyo-Hakone Travel Journal Part 1: Arrival in Hakone and Odawara Castle 

Travel on Airbnb and get S$40 in travel credit! Click here! 


Watch the video of our day 1 here:

[S-series] Tokyo-Hakone Travel Journal Part 2: Exploring Hakone 1/2 – Sengokuhara, le petit prince museum, owakudani black eggs (Image-intensive!)
[S-series] Tokyo-Hakone Travel Journal Part 3: Exploring Hakone 2/2 – Sightseeing boat, Hakone Shrine, baby wishing tree, (Image-intensive and excess words!) 
[S-series] Tokyo-Hakone Travel Journal Part 4: Going back to Tokyo, Ichiran Ramen, Cat Cafe Calico and Sensoji! 
[S-series] Tokyo-Hakone Travel Journal Part 5: Last day in Japan, The Roastery by Nozy Coffee, Yoyogi Park and Blue Bottle Coffee. 


I rarely write about our travels, I usually just take the photos and be done with it. But wifey had been asking me to post more of my photos, because when we go out and take nice photos, its to be shared and enjoyed by whoever who enjoys my work. While its not much, my photography is always a spontaneous overwhelming urge to steal the moment. Its often unplanned and therefore, a hit or miss job. More so with the latter. That’s why on a trip like this, I usually take about 2-300 photos per day, on average. But the ones that passed my QC number at around 10%.



Anyways to cut the story short, we went on this trip on a whim and rushed through the planning. The kit I brought with me was poorly planned as well.

  • Sony a7II
  • Zeiss Batis 25mm f2
  • Zeiss Batis 85mm f1.8
  • Voigtlander Super-wide Heliar 15mm f4.5 III
  • Velbon travel tripod (flimsy old unknown model)

The heaviest lens and also the most under used one is the Batis 85… Throughout the trip, its only there in my backpack to weigh me down.. Voigtlander is a specialty lens so its understood that it will see little usage. So I’m only left with my Batis 25 to cover most of my shots, and I can’t count the number of times I wish I’ve had my Zeiss C-Sonnar 50mm f1.5 with me.



Gora Station of the Hakone Tozan Railway. This is the terminal stop where we will be taking the Tozan Cablecar up to Sounzan Station tomorrow. Well that’s for the next post.



What a peaceful place, our bnb was at Miyagino Town. On the map it looks really close, but I neglected the terrain, the short cut from Gora to Miyagino involves multiple narrow flights of stairs that nearly sent me to my Maker, as I carry both our luggage and negotiated those endless, crumbling stone steps… This tranquil river is the exact opposite of my mental state.


And finally some rest in our traditional Japanese home styled bnb. Tatami floors are awesome, they gave us that peaceful zen feeling unlike those cold hard tiled flooring in our HDBs. I just lay down on the tatami and stayed there for like 30mins while Claire dolled herself up.



We next spent an hour on a local bus all the way to Odawara, on which we dozed off and missed our stop. Ended up walking an extra 5mins to Odawara Castle. By then every’s closed, so no visiting the castle and no shopping for medieval Japanese souvenirs…


Escape the castle.


And stumbled into a forest of hydrangea.




And after a little while, the sun begins to set. Guess we should move on to dinner.


Odawara Fish Market Den (小田原 魚河岸 でん)


And here’s our dinner place, after walking for half an hour. Claire found this place online and as the temperature turned Southwards, we welcomed the large bowls of piping hot miso soup with lots of scrap fish meats inside. 100 yen each if you bought it with a rice bowl. I’ll let Claire tell you about how awesome this place is. Stay tune. 

Odawara was a small town that we didn’t have much time to explore properly. I believe they have much more to offer, but our highlight for this trip is exploring the Hakone area. That will come in my next post. For the night, we ransacked the snacks section at the 7-11 in our bnb area and went to sleep early.

Signing out for now.


[S-series] My favourite lens: The Tiny Carl Zeiss C-Sonnar T* 1.5/50 ZM

Hi good people,

The Zeiss Fanboy strikes again.

Zeiss lens made for the Leica M-mount will have a ZM behind its long name.. And lenses were made with different lens elements and configuration. Usually they name their lenses according to the configuration like “Planar” or “Sonnar” or “Biogon” etc. SO anyways, today I will talk the Carl Zeiss C-Sonnar T* 1.5/50 ZM. And I really love it.

Before I decided I wanted this lens, I got myself Zeiss Planar T* 2/50 ZM but I could never get back the same vibe from the Planar lens with my previous system. I read lots of reviews for 50mm lenses and found limited information about the C-Sonnar 1.5/50. But the images created using it was overflowing with character. I caught on with the retro film photography look and this lens delivers that.


Firstly, the build quality is very good as expected with all Zeiss lenses, all parts were made with precision, no loose shaky parts found. The body is made of all metal construction and it feels very sturdy in my palms, even though its super small compared to DSLR lenses. Its slightly shorter than my previous Planar 2/50 ZM but a little broader in diameter. In my opinion, I’d rather my lenses were all short and fat. Because if its slim but long, it will become an odd shape when mounted on a camera, that would affect its portability when I stuff them in my bag. Maybe its because I like to stuff them in sideways instead of facing down, if you all know what I mean.


The lens was super compact weighing at about 250g. We live in an age where big cameras equates pro-photog(rapher), so the modern lenses were all big as hell. Not all big things are good is what I’ve learnt over the years. Ignore what your natural instincts say. Large natural occuring appendages can cause excessive pain as well, just some random knowledge I read online.


Do not let the diminutive size fool you, because it delivers amazing pictures full of old school film photo vibes. At f1.5 to about 2.8, your subject will take on an other worldly glow that’s actually the lens not being able to correct the blown out highlights. And after f2.8, at least in my copy of the lens, the focus would shift. Not a big problem to me. Although this lens has its flaws, I find its flaws appealing. I read online about people cracking their head between Zeiss C-Sonnar 1.5/50 and Zeiss Planar 2/50 lenses. Most people say to get the Planar one because its sharper, and nothing beats an interesting scene with a sharp lens, instead of playing with differential focus with the slightly larger aperture on the Sonnar. From the above sentence, they meant that the Planar design is sharper, and I can attest to that because I used to have the Planar too. But I ditched it for the Sonnar design. I am intrigued with the unpredictability and flawed old school film photography, and the Sonnar presented me with an option to replicate the same flaws of film photography physically instead of using some fancy software to create that unique film look. Anyways, after f4, the lens will become tack sharp like most other boring lenses.

The bokeh was buttery smooth IMO and I really can’t ask for more.

This lens was always on my Sony, almost like its welded together even though there was a time when I have up to 7 lenses. I only use the Sonnar for everything. But alas, I got myself the 2 Batis series and they were so much better than the Sonnar in everything except for the size and ‘glow’ that I had to part with it when I’m doing work. When I’m not working, I’ll bring The Sonnar out with either my Sony or the film Voigtlander R3M body. The lens doesn’t come with a pouch and lens hood, and to make the glow less distracting at larger apertures, I would recommend getting a hood.

In conclusion, I think you either love or hate this lens, depending on what you want in your life… I mean photographic style. I like those muted, low contrast, slightly faded style because I like to act like a hispter, if only I actually look like one.. But I’m not, unfortunately. Anyways I thought of putting together a list of Pros and Cons about this lens. But then I realised I will probably put all the point under both pro and con, because its very subjective, my pro is a con to another and vice versa.

So without further ado, I’m gonna say bye.

Simon Tey

[S-series] Lomo’Instant(ly) Wide(r) Awesomeness! 


Pardon me for I can’t stop raving about Lomography’s products. I find their products are playfully trendy, if that description even works. Its toy-like cameras tells you to stop taking it so seriously and just play. And play is what I did with a spanking new Lomo’Instant Wide from Lomography.

If you guys were following my series, you would’ve know that I got onto their Kickstarter bandwagon when they released the Lomo’Instant, and subsequently the excellent Lomo’Instant Automat. Both were based on the Fujifilm Instax Mini film format. In between these 2 cameras was the Lomo’Instant Wide which at that time, I didn’t have enough spare cash to burn for it. But I never stopped lusting for it. The wide was based on Fujifilm Instax Wide format, so the all the films are still in production and readily available to us, which is great. Today, I fill up the gap in between my Lomo’Instant and Lomo’Instant Automat with this:


So many ‘lomo’ in my previous paragraph… This camera is quite easy to use, the front has a lens with manual focusing with 4 distance markings. Just follow the pictorial markings and its quite self explanatory. Then there’s the shutter button. That’s basically it from the front that you can control. There’s also a selfie mirror, real helpful when framing for a selfie.

On the back, there’s the power switch when you can use to choose between auto mode or bulb mode. Then above it is the exposure compensation toggle. Only 3 settings, +1/0/-1. But with the unpredictability of polaroid, I think this helps me get the right exposure, sometimes not, but well that’s how it is with film. Above the toggle, there’s the multi exposure (MX) button and the flash on/off button. Both with its own indicative LED.


In actual usage, when I brought it out, its size and weight were quite intimidating. Its bigger than my Sony a7II (of course that depends on which lens I had on it), I was a little taken aback due to that. That negative feeling lasted until my first polaroid developed. There is a really big difference in the resulting image when its 2X bigger than the standard Instax Mini. The wide format looked so much better and capture so much details. Its like comparing a full frame sensor to a medium format sensor.

It was quite straight forward to use: Put it to auto, guess the exposure compensation you might need, then just snap. The auto flash is intelligent enough to know when to fire, unlike some other polaroid camera I had long ago with flash that fires every single time I took a photo… Due to that, I always leave the flash on auto and fret not at whether I will look like some pervert with a big camera flashing all over the place.


There are also accessories to go with it. There’s the Ultra Wide Lens with its own viewfinder, a Close Up Lens, and a Splitzer. The Splitzer is a device that when used with the MX mode, you can expose different parts of a single polaroid, like making a collage. I have the most use out of the Ultra Wide Lens because I can make better wefies easily with wifey!

I am very happy with this camera, also thanks Lomography for letting me have the Lomo’Instant Wide. I would’ve love to review everything they have on their catalog if that’s a possibility in future. For now, I’m loving all my Lomo’instant(s). Lets go out and shoot more.


– Simon Tey

[S-series] Fujifilm X100T = Stealth.


This is another post about photography gears.

I recently sold some of my camera gears to get myself a smaller camera I can carry with me everywhere, without sacrificing too much picture quality of course. I’ve developed quite a taste for big sensors ever since I’ve gotten my first full frame digital camera. Whoever told you APS-C vs Full frame (FF) have minimal difference is lying. Just like when my friends say I’m rich, they are all liars (LOL). I save for my gear and I sell old gear for new gears. Lots of gears.

So I welcome my newest family member in my photographic gear household: Fujifilm X100T.


I always wanted one of the Fujifilm X series cameras. Okay, maybe I had one, I used to have the X-Pro 1, but at the time I wanted a compact system and X-Pro 1 wasn’t compact enough in my POV. Then I lusted for the X100, then X100S, then X100T.. I know, there’s a new and improved version in the form of X100F now but I can’t afford it. Period. Now I’ve got this little gem in my hands, I’m still trying to get used to it after using my Sony for too long. The good thing is that the X100T offers lots of options in terms of customization. There are a few buttons which you can set to do certain things, and the general ergonomics is good despite being so small, so short of physical infrastructure. The small foot print also means I can bring it everywhere effortlessly, so I’ve technically upgraded my everyday camera from my mobile phone minuscule 1/3in sensor to an APS-C sensor. A major jump in general image quality.

To be honest, I haven’t used this camera enough to do a review, it will only become a rewriting of official specifications with devoid of personal opinions after use. I can only highlight a few points that I immediately noticed after I got it.


Firstly, I really must say the film simulation is generating awesome looking Jpegs direct from camera. But the RAW is so flat it demoralized me. I guess I’m too pampered with my Sony A7II and whatever auto setting I activated on my Lightroom, everytime I import photos onto my computer, the Lightroom automatically apply a filter to all my photos and they look awesome in all the FF glory, or was it the camera that applied the filter before importing? I remembered something called ‘Picture Style’ and I chose ‘Vivid’ on camera. Anyways when I import it I can always see this flat original image change to a more vivid looking one, something for me to begin with.

But my main purpose of this small camera is mainly because of convenience, lens on my Sony can be quite large and most times I rather carry a lighter backpack everywhere when I’m not shooting, I insist on having a camera on me, phone is a poor excuse to me, so X100T it is. Its so light and compact in comparison to my main camera, and the tiny 23mm f2 lens (about 35mm in FF) delivers sharp images with a moderate amount of bokeh. I say this because I’m comparing with my main camera, FF gives more bokeh with the same lens if you know what I mean.


So now you can see through my ramblings that this X100T will never replace my main camera. But well it does add lots of convenience to my lifestyle needs. For one, its shuttle is absolutely quiet, its almost silent! Especially when it decides to use the electronic shuttle instead of the mechanical one. Its like a mean stealthy machine, if I can get the focus correct that is. Its generally speedy in good light, hunts in dim light like almost all the other cameras in the market. So to be even more stealthy, I usually set my own shuttle speed; easily adjustable from a knob on the camera, and I’ll pre-set my focus to a range like 1m to 2~3m away from me aka zone focusing. That way, I don’t have to fiddle with all the setting, when I see the condition is right, I pick up the camera, snap, go. All in less than 4s, during NS I learnt that an average human will take about 4s to react to something, so if I do everything in less than 4s and escape, whoever my subject is will not have time to react. Cool right? but I’m still too shy to do it to real people, so i do that to plants. Also living things what same what…

Well to sum things up, X100T is a speedy, stealthy machine for those random moments you wanna capture, and mobile phones ain’t gonna cut it. I’m a sucker for image quality and the 16MP APS-C sensor on the X100T is almost the limit here. I’ll continue to find new ways to utilize this awesome new tool of mine, and I’ll share more photos soon.

*Disclaimer: I used my own money to buy a X100T, even though I sounded almost like I work for them, unfortunately I don’t…Whatever I said is my own opinion. I do hope that they would gimme something new to test though, like say the GFX 50S? No harm in dreaming right?

Cheers people,

Simon Tey


[S-series] Gear Review: Daguerreotype Achromat 64mm f2.9 Art Lens by LOMOGRAPHY


We recently got an invitation to try the Daguerreotype Achromat 64mm f2.9 Art Lens by LOMOGRAPHY!

I was full of expectations to receive it, I always liked these vintage (or vintage looking) photographic gears. The ‘jewels of yester-years’ with all the mass produced stuff we have in modern times, these vintage, often hand-made, cameras and lenses are all the more valuable in the eyes of people who appreciates them.

Lomography revived the old design of one of the first camera lenses ever made for an image capturing device, Daguerreotype is a type of photographic method and this lens is designed for that sort of camera by Charles Louis Chevalier. I got acquainted with the handling of the lens, and off I go shooting with it.

Design and Handling:


My first shot… the lens… surprised me with its softness, that was my first impression, I think that’s why its called an ‘Art Lens’ its a specialized lens and image quality isn’t one of its specialty.. Manual focusing with it was quite a challenge wide open, because its so soft I couldn’t tell whether it was in focus or not.. It gets better when I slot in the apertures.. Yes I said ‘slot in apertures’.

The aperture system was different from the usual lenses I’m used to, it uses a ‘waterhouse aperture system‘ according to the Lomography site. Basically, you have a number of metal plates with holes cut in it, so you slot them into the designated hole on the body of the lens like a waterhouse gate. Each plate has its own aperture value inscribed on it so adjusting your aperture will be all the slotting in and out hole, instead of turning the aperture ring. Lots of holes ya? (Check them out below)



But one of the best features is the patterned holes; the lens came with a set of rounded holes plates like fireworks and pointy holes like stars, refer to my examples below.



It is said that the round ones will smooth the skin tones and achieve a soft focus glowing effect, best used for portraits. And the pointy stars will give a better resolution and colour rendition, better for general usage IMO. I can see the subtle difference when I use either of them holed plates, but what interests me most is the bokeh they produced. When there are bright lights in the bokeh of my photos, the lights’ bokeh will reflect the shape of the aperture holes used. I think its damn cool, and that’s why I went hunting for scenes that give rise to these bokeh effects.



Conclusion and Thoughts:

Whats there to talk about the image quality (IQ) etc right? This is a lens not made for its IQ but for the special effects it creates. In real life usage, I neglect to say its made of brass and it weighs me down. I used it on my a7II and I would appreciate a battery grip on my setup because the lens is in DSLR mount and my adapter extends its centre of gravity further away from my camera body, it gave me achy wrists due to my previous injuries so I’m more prone to achy wrists.

I found out that there’re 3 main types of modes depending on which aperture blade you use or the lack of one.. When using the pointy stars or the rounded fireworks, it gives…

It is said that the round ones will smooth the skin tones and achieve a soft focus glowing effect, best used for portraits. And the pointy stars will give a better resolution and colour rendition, better for general usage IMO.

I quote myself. LOL. Then when you’re using the normal single hole aperture blades, you get a swirly out of focus area around the centre of focus. I find it convenient that a single lenses can offer you 3 types of special effects, I know its a love-hate relationship with effects, some love it and some hate it. I for one, would love it at times.. I wished our modern lenses has a switch on them for which we can switch between an ‘art mode’ to ‘normal mode’.. check out the effects in my samples below:

Pointy aperture blades



Round fireworks aperture blades




No aperture blades




And for demonstrating how a normal lens will look like, the following is taken with Zeiss C-Sonnar 50mm f1.5 ZM (AKAMYFAVOURITELENS).


And there you have it. If you ask me would I like to own this lens, well my answer is “Hell Yes!” for the flexibilty of being able to create art effects, I’d add this to my kit, even though I probably wouldn’t use it as a general purpose lens.. For it is, after all, an Art Lens.

For more info, check out Lomography’s Daguerreotype Microsite.

You can buy your own at their online shop.

That’s all I have now, cheers people.

Simon Tey
This post is brought to you by Lomography. 


[S-series] Gear Review: Carl Zeiss Batis 25mm f2 lens + some shots of our Melbourne trip

Travel on Airbnb and get more than $20 in travel credit! Click here! 

Check out our Melbourne trip vlog here!


I’m a Zeiss fanboy, when I had a Canon DSLR I worked hard and got myself a 3 piece Zeiss prime lenses as my ultimate kit. Now with my Sony, I’m trying to build a kit with as many Zeiss lenses as possible. They were just too good. After buying and selling, experimenting with Voigtlander, which are generally more affordable, I became even more convinced that I need more ‘Zeiss’ (zest) in my life. I initially thought I would just make do with Voigtlanders due to my limited funds, but while they were good, the Voigtlanders are just a different type of animal in the same forest.. erm.. I’m not even sure what I just said.. I meant even if it has the same focal length and max aperture value, it renders differently due to a lot of different reasons, like the lens elements used and coating etc.

Long story short, I took the plunge and gotten my first Zeiss after changing to my current Sony system. It was a Zeiss Planar ZM 50/2 lens, but I’m not sure whats wrong, it didn’t have that same look I had when I was still using Canon 6D and the Planar 50/1.4. Feeling a little disappointed, I went after another lens, this time round its the Zeiss Biogon 21/2.8 ZM. Then I sold my Planar and got the C-Sonnar 50/1.5 ZM (my favourite). And THEN AGAIN I sold my Biogon and bought the Batis 25/2… The Batis shall be the star of this post today.


I brought it on our trip to Melbourne, Australia.

Design and Handling

At first I was a little worried, the size was really intimidating, a 67mm filter thread lens on a mirrorless camera looks a little off balance. Size and weight was an issue for me because I am the type who keeps my pack on all the time and I’m always on my feet. But the weight surprised me, it weighs as much as my little C-Sonnar with adapter despite being almost 2x larger.

The body is made of metal, or so I read.. When I’m holding it, it doesn’t feel metallic. Then when I fit the lenshood in, which is made of plastic, it feels like the whole lens is made of plastic. But I’ve seen people scratched the bottom of the lens because that’s always the point of contact to whatever surface you set your camera on, the scratch looks metallic. LOL.


The design is sleek and futuristic. The OLED DOF meter was cool and its original intentions was good, but to me it sometimes gets in the way especially at night or in dark places. It distracts me or exposed me to my subject, like initially the passerby wasn’t looking at me with my camera, but immediately took notice when the OLED lights up… Other than that, actual usage was good and its easy to read. I missed the old school styled lenses though with the knurled metal focus ring (its a rubberized ring on the Batis) and the DOF markings laid out along the ring.. I’m old fashioned.

The lens is big compared to the Leica M-mount lenses I’m very used to now. I think its about the size of a standard DSLR lens and so turning the focus ring and holding it is easy. I sometimes worry though, because it tapers down to a narrower diameter to fit the mount on the body, it gives me a feeling like that’s the weak point. So when I handle the lens I made sure I cradle the body like it’s a human baby..

Other than the rubber(?silicon) focusing ring, there isn’t any other control for us to fiddle on. The lens is like a no frills lens, mount it on, point and shoot. Easy. I do miss the aperture ring, I always feel its easier to turn an aperture ring than to turn the damn thumb wheel to change the aperture value. But well, gotta move on with the times, even the focusing is fly-by-wire, electronically adjusted.

Well I am pleasantly surprised though, my previous experience manual focusing with a mirrorless fly-by-wire lens *cough*fujifilmxpro1*cough*, there is a lag time before it actually starts focusing. Although at that time, mirrorless manual focus still isn’t very well developed, but that lag time was the reason why I ditch that previous system after 1 month and went on to get the Canon 6D, which was a great camera. Back to my current set up, apparently the technology has caught up and so when I use the lens, I put it on ‘DMF’ mode on my Sony. To be honest, I have no idea what ‘DMF’ stands for, I only know I can manually fine tune my focus after AF. And when I turn the focusing ring, the MF motor immediately engaged and move according to how I turn the ring. So cool! But still not quite cool when compared to mechanical focusing, nothing beats that.


Good for wildlife

Anyways on my Sony a7II, its surprisingly well balanced in term of weight, so its all in the mind now because when I see the big lens it just naturally gives off an ‘unwieldy vibe’, its like when I’m holding the camera with my C-Sonnar 50mm + Hawk’s factory adapter on (same weight as the Batis 25mm), i can swing it around like nobody’s business with no problems. But if I switch to the Batis 25mm I feel like if I swing it around, the camera might take flight.. carrying my wrist with it as well.. Then there will be a trail of blood and the ‘new’ extreme end of my arm will be spraying blood with every heartbeat… Okay okay pardon my wild imaginations..

Image Quality, Flare/Distortion/Vignetting/Chromatic Aberration 

Its a Zeiss, known for its micro-contrast and colour rendition. Sometimes, even though my shot was slightly blur, the resulting picture still look sharp on my computer.. till I ‘pixel-peep’ them.. I think its largely due to the micro contrast that helped give us an illusion of sharpness. I’d say its sharpness is excellent in the centre at f2 and through out the frame by say f4. The DOF transitions and bokeh the lens creates was smooth and buttery in my opinion. I love it!


Good for close-up as well!

Flare is very well controlled, unlike my C-Sonnar. Even though my C-Sonnar lens was good, seems like they made leaps on their coating technology, that’s why the Batis doesn’t show much lost of contrast when I included the sun in my frame.

There is a little bit of distortion, be what do you expect with a wide angle lens? Every wide angle lens will have it. Its easily corrected on Adobe Lightroom.

Chromatic Aberration is subtle.

FYI, the sun is in the frame, behind some clouds though..

The vignetting is pretty obvious at f2 but disappears almost entirely by f4. I’m not bother by it at all though, because I rather welcome the vignetting effect and would usually add them on most of my photos in post-processing. So its like minus 1 step in my workflow. LOL.

Boring Specifications

Focal length 25 mm
Aperture range f/2 – f/22
Focusing range 0,2 m (7.9 ″) – ∞
Number of elements/groups 10/8
Angular field, diag./horiz./vert. 82° / 72° / 51°
Coverage at close range 124 x 187 mm (4.9 x 7.4″)
Filter thread M67 x 0,75
Dimensions (with caps) 92 mm (3.6″)
Diameter of focusing ring 78 mm (3.1″)
Weight 335 g (0.74 lbs)
Camera mounts E-Mount

Taken from Zeiss Singapore


I still remembered Zeiss lenses almost bankrupt me 3 times. Once when I was getting the Planar 85/1.4 for my Canon 6D long ago, once when I squeeze my piggy bank for the Biogon 21/2.8 ZM, and lastly when I bought the Batis 25/2… Because these purchases were never in my ‘master plan’. So the funds have to be squeezed from elsewhere to enable me to buy the items. Those were tough times…

More sample photos:



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But it seems I never learn my lessons. Now while I’m still recovering from the damage from Batis 25/2.. My eyes are set on the Batis 85/1.8.. Someone save me from this disease…
Compulsive Buyer,
Simon Tey
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[S-series] New Lens from Lomography again. Stop the poison already!


I’ve recently just received news on a new art lens available now for regular purchase after a successful Kickstarter campaign (more than 2000 backers!) awhile back. So if you missed it now’s your chance to grab one! If your pocket is deep enough of course.

Featuring the Daguerreotype Achromat 64mm f2.9 lens, quite a mouthful of a name there. Its based on possibly the first ever lens design by Daguerre and Chevalier, when cameras were just a wooden box with holes.

This art lens is called such because of the ethereal quality it exhibits in the photos through this lens, yet keeps the sharpness of your subjects crisp. The images will look as though a veil of mystery has shrouded over it, or rather, around your subject which remains in focus. Honestly, the lens itself is an art, the uninformed would thought you’ve just fitted a tin can onto your camera, but people in the know, like me, truly appreciates the aesthetics of the lens body, and the images it creates.

It uses what they called a ‘Waterhouse Aperture Plate’ system, you basically slide the plates into the designated slit on the lens and they will serve as your aperture blades. Check out the whacky shapes they’re in, Those shapes are the reason you get to make special effects like soft glowing images and interesting bokeh. Its experimentation is all the fun.

Words are cheap, check out the sample photos below, credits as stated below the images.


Focal Length: 64mm ·Maximum Aperture: f/2.9 · Apertures: Waterhouse aperture stops, up to f/16 · Lens Mounting Profile: Canon EF, Nikon F and Pentax K* · Closest Focusing Distance: 0.5m · Focusing Mechanism: helicoid · Image circle: 44mm · Field of view: 37 degrees · Filter Thread: 40.5mm · Electronic Contacts: No · Lens Construction: 2 elements in 1 group *Compatible also with a large range of other cameras using adapter mounts

Get them while stocks last people! from the below links. Don’t say I bojio!

Lomography Online Shop Link:

Lomography Daguerreotype Achromat 2.9/64 Art Lens Microsite:

Simon Tey

[S-series] My photography has become stagnant.


Its weird, I still like to take photos, beautiful stuffs that other people haven’t already taken if possible. You see, instagram is filled with nice photos taken by people all around the world now that its really hard to be original. Sure we can do our own editing to show how we see the scene, same scene which probably a thousand others already documented.

When I first start off on this hobby of mine, I envisioned it to be a medium to document my life with Claire, yes honest, with my wife. Because I’m not into selfies and i take random objects that seemingly has nothing to do with me. Since my wife has brought me all the happiness and grief into my otherwise boring, ‘hermit-like’ way of life, its like colours on a plain monotonously gray canvas. I feel these times are memorable and would want to immortalize it even though there are more times in the future.

Recently due to a change in our priorities, Claire and I haven’t gone out to explore and do photo-walks for many months now. And my poor camera only sees actions when doing those obligatory OOTD shoots and product shoots for social media.. These shoots were short and everything is staged according to requirements given. Its different because its something we’re tasked to do.

Even though it provides some practice for me and further develop my eye for beauty (honestly I don’t even wanna look at how I edit my photos in the past, horrible), its does not satisfy my thirst.

My thirst, is to rub on insect repellent and plunge into those greenery and find a haven within, the grass as the my carpet, trees as my walls, the sky as the ceiling and bugs as…my co-inhabitants… its a shared world after all.. Therefore, I need to give myself another good excuse, like perhaps to test out a new lenses… which often means I need to dig into my piggy bank.. SO I can go immerse myself into the greenery.

Anyways, as Claire has already broadcast for me on her fb.. That loudmouth said I bought a new lens, contrary to what my beliefs were, I went for a big, fat autofocus lens this time round.. I got the ZEISS Batis 2/25, a really fat autofocus full frame lens for my a7 mkII, did I mention fat? I’m in need of high definition resolution you find in good modern lenses, technology = resolution unfortunately. Older lenses = good character = impaired resolution. I’m sick of my old lenses giving me so-so resolving power so I need to get a modern update, and being a fan-boy for Zeiss lenses.. I got one of their Batis-es. (probably not the last.)

Anyways I got it for almost a month now but haven’t really have the time to go out and explore the wild yet, so I’ve spent the money and came back to square 1. This sucks. Hopefully I can put it to good use when we go for our year end trip. After which I would be writing up a review post for the said lens. I still love my older manual lenses deeply, but I can’t deny the convenience that the af lenses gives.

In conclusion, I think the hectic lifestyle we now lead is detrimental to my not-so-artistic pursuit. Me and Claire agrees that we need a break from all these once in a while, we’ll have to go come out with a schedule now. cheers.