Macro Lenses & Cakey Loveliness

Posted by Christine Smart on

Recently, I was very lucky to be offered a Zeiss 50mm Milvus lens to try out.
From the moment you pick it up, you know that you're holding some serious kit. The weight is 875g (so not for the fainthearted!) but the build quality is stunning.

Zeiss 50mm Milvus Lens - Manual Focus lens, great for Macro Photography

I'll be honest, I already have a macro lens which produces fantastic results, so I was wondering how much better this could actually be considering the price tag is almost £750 more than my current lens.

Looking around my website you'll see that my photography focuses (pardon the pun) mainly on landscapes and the great outdoors...
...and wildlife when I can get them to stay still long enough!
However, every now and then I like to change things up a little and try something that takes me out of my comfort zone.

Still life is something that I've dabbled with in the past and do enjoy. It can certainly be a way to keep the creative juices flowing when you've planned a landscape day but the weather has other ideas.

This was one such day.

Having seen some amazing food photography by a super talented lady called Donna Crous on her Facebook page 'Eighty20Nutrition' I was inspired to head to the kitchen.

I won't try to pretend that I was lucky enough to stumble across a yummy looking cupcake that just happened to be there. In my kitchen there's always a yummy looking cupcake lurking somewhere!

Not having anywhere near Donna's talent for food photography I was mainly looking to see how well the lens picked up on the smaller details.

Full size cupcake taken using the Zeiss 50mm Milvus Lens 

112% magnification of the full size cupcake image showing the amazing detail this lens captures

Crop of the previous image magnified to 112%


The Zeiss Milvus lenses are manual focus only and as I'm used to placing trust in the accuracy of auto focus I was looking forward to seeing how much of a challenge this may pose.

My first attempts were of course a little dodgy, but I expected that.
I soon got to grips with handling the lens and actually found that I really liked the additional control that manual focus allowed.

Full size cupcake taken with the Zeiss 50mm Milvus Lens


Crop of cupcake magnified to 112% to show the amazing detail captured by the Zeiss 50mm Milvus lens

Crop of the previous image magnified to 112%


Due to the nature of macro lenses you normally only get a shallow depth of field but at least with manual control you can choose your point of focus with much greater accuracy.
I experimented using it with my camera on a tripod to see if that helped with either steadying the shot or more accurate focusing but was very surprised to find that I actually preferred the freedom that hand held shots afforded.
As the lens has a fixed focal length of 50mm I had to reposition myself to compose the shot and that wasn't really practical with the camera on a tripod.

Without further a do...the results.

I was well and truly blown away!
Some of the chocolate decorations on top of the cupcake where no bigger than 5 or 6mm in size yet the detail this lens captured was superb
(to give you some context, the cupcakes are quite dainty and only 6cm across).
The images have had minimal editing in post processing with some adjustment to levels and exposure but NO sharpening has been added.

Full size cupcake taken with the Zeiss 50mm Milvus Lens


Cropped section of the previous image magnified to a whopping 123% showing the amazing detail captured by the Zeiss 50mm Milvus lens

crop of the previous image, magnified to a whopping 123%


So, I came to the conclusion that I want one of these lenses.
I won't be giving up my current macro lens as it does have auto focus which is great for capturing images of insects and things that you don't have time to manually focus on, but I have started saving up towards a Zeiss lens.

If you're considering a macro lens for yourself, I would take a serious look at this one.
full details can be found by clicking the link below:

Do visit your local photographic retailer before making a purchase as they'll offer help and advice as to the best equipment for you.
If you live in the North Wales area, Cambrian Photography is your one stop shop for all things photographic and all their products are available to purchase online.
If they haven't got it in stock, they'll almost certainly be able to order it for you.

It's well worth taking a look at the Facebook page Eighty20Nutrition if you're looking for some foodie photographic inspiration of your own, there's also some great recipes too.


Please feel free to comment and share this post. Look forward to hearing from you!

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