I’ve not used it in anger yet, so this is just a reaction to the physical object.
The lens arrives in a very nicely packaged box, with an instruction manual, and a quite impressive booklet of photos. Although I found the writing style in the booklet a little dubious, it saved itself with ideas on how to get the best out of the lens, and, most of all, it was dominated by some very impressive photos.
The lens itself is hefty, and feels solid and reliable. The test shots I took worked exactly as I expected with my Nikon digital SLR. I’m going to hold back on making any further comment on the lens until I’ve been out on a shoot.
The lens case is a beautiful piece of soft suede. It’s glorious to hold and play with, and certainly could be used to great effect if you need to perform when taking photographs. However, I don’t think it’s particularly practical. Having said that, this lens is not a lens to use in a rush, so the slow touchy–feely nature of the suede lens bag (for that’s what it really is) isn’t, in itself, a problem
The lens comes with aperture plates. To set a particular aperture, you insert a plate into the lens casing. This is quite different to modern lens, but has the aesthetically interesting consequence of allowing you to shape your bokeh. That’s good.
These plates are small, solid, individual pieces of flat metal. They are not attached together. The obvious place to keep them is in pockets in the lens bag. The problem is that I don’t trust them not to fall out of the bag. The bag design doesn’t feel secure enough to prevent lens plates shaking loose and dropping out when some small misfortune decides to strike. It’s going to take an effort not to lose one or two over the years. The bag doesn’t quite do it for me. That’s bad.
I’m going to find a solution for the aperture plates so none will get lost, maybe involving a small keyring, and keep the bag for the show.
UPDATE: what a frustrating week! I took a couple of photos (including the one shown here), and promptly came down with a fever. This two events were not connected, I hope! I was knocked out for a few days of wind and sun and shortening days, then was locked in an office. This long weekend is, so far, grey and rain and more grey. I *will* explore this lens, but … but …well, but effing sod it!