In the Golden State with Milvus lenses
The American photographer Mike Nelson had the chance to test the Milvus 2.8/15 and Milvus 2.8/18 before they hit the market and shares his initial impressions here.
Every day extraordinary things happen somewhere in the world, and photography allows us to be part of them.
Surfing, diving, traveling – and capturing all that on camera. For Mike Nelson from California, photography and adventure lie very close to each other. “I want to capture moments and share them with people,” says the 24-year-old. “Every day extraordinary things happen somewhere in the world, and photography allows us to be part of them.” His passion for film crystallized during his childhood, when he used to make short films with his siblings and friends. In high school he held his first photo camera and subsequently took various courses before later really learning the photography trade at the Brooks Institute in Santa Barbara. One reason for studying there was that it offered excellent courses in underwater photography.
Mike associates ZEISS lenses with quality. “They are sharp, precise and made of high-quality materials. I can always rely on these lenses. I invest a lot of time and passion in my photography, and it’s just good to know that the manufacturer also puts in a lot of effort into offering me the best possible equipment.” So naturally his expectations of the Milvus 2.8/15 and Milvus 2.8/18 beforehand were high. And they were met: He was already enthusiastic after the first test. “The superb sharpness across the entire image range and low distortion are impressive. The lenses can more than fulfill the requirements of modern sensors and yet are still relatively compact.” Mike particularly likes the Milvus 2.8/18. “It has a considerably wider angle than a 24-70, but still delivers a perspective that looks very natural when you look at it.”
For underwater shots Mike used the ZEISS Milvus 2.8/18 on the Canon 5D Mark III in an Aquatech underwater housing, which is how he created his photo series of sea lions in Malibu. “I didn’t use any flashes or lights, but with the maximum aperture of f/2.8 I was able to capture enough light for my motifs under water.”
The standard lens shade enabled him to easily place the lens into the underwater housing without any problems. “When putting things in the underwater housing, a fixed lens shade can often be a bothersome element: the lens can’t be put in the right place, which can have a negative impact on the imaging quality. In the worst case, it even hits against the front element of the housing and can’t be installed at all. For that reason, for years I ordered specially reconstructed ZEISS 15 millimeter lenses without a lens shade for our clients. The fact that there are now models with a detachable lens shade is fantastic.”
From the start it was clear to me that this lens was perfect for night shots.
To take pictures of the sunset, Mike mainly used the Milvus 2.8/15. “From the start it was clear to me that this lens was perfect for night shots. I experimented a lot with the settings. In setting the focus, I relied completely on the markings on the lens and by doing so achieved very precise results. Also, the stop for the infinity setting fits exactly. I really liked that. The Milvus 2.8/15 is now definitely one of my favorite lenses. Although the focal length resembles that of the Milvus 2.8/18, both lenses do have their own unique characters.” And because his roots lie in photographing moving images, Mike ends our conversation by highlighting the lenses’ use for video. “Nowadays it’s important for many photographers that their lenses can be used for both photography and video. In that sense, the Milvus lenses are definitely an invaluable investment.”
About Mike Nelson
Michael David Nelson, 24, grew up along the coast of California, and became interested in photography and film as a child. The enthusiastic water sportsman graduated from the Brooks Institute of Photography, then worked for three years in the underwater department at the photo retailer and underwater photography specialist, Samy’s Camera. A freelance photographer, Nelson has sold his images to manufacturers of outdoor goods, fashion companies and private airlines. He lives with his wife in Malibu, California.