Home > The Word > Hey, the Zeiss Guy is here…

Hey, the Zeiss Guy is here…


Holy Crap! I almost forgot this thing exists. I remembered it only because I stumbled onto the WordPress app while searching the App Store. I guess the larger question is, do people still blog? They must, as I find myself frequenting a number of photography blogs as of late, but I digress…

Yep, its been more than a year since I last posted, and believe me, a lot has changed. I survived a move deeper into the suburbs, my oldest heading off to college, and oh yeah, my family has grown by 3 — in the aforementioned move deeper into the burbs.

So, what have I been up to? Well quite a bit work wise. Some of it good (incredible actually), and some not so, but you live and you learn. Anywho, what I’m excited about is my newest piece of glass. Yes, I said GLASS — get your minds out of the gutter.

While out celebrating Chick Fil-A’s entrance into the Minnesota market, I found myself at National Camera Exchange in Maple Grove, and low and behold, I see a used Zeiss 28mm lens in mint (E+) condition. The guy behind the counter said in all of his years there, he’s never had a used Zeiss come in. He isn’t the only one. I’ve only seen a few here and there on Ebay, and never on Craigslist. Simply put, Zeiss owners, by and large, keep them.

2013-10-13 18.13.57

I’m not going to get into the why of a Zeiss. If you’re a shooter, then you already know the brand is highly regarded in still photography as well as video. Plus, glass is highly subjective and personal – like religion, politics, Star Wars and Star Trek. It means different things to different people. Based on what I’ve read online, I’m a lens snob, and the Zeiss name means something to me — and I’m OK with that.

I had them put the lens on a 48 hour hold so that I could think it over. My buyers remorse is well documented, and the price tag was well outside “impulse buy” territory. The fact that I dreamt about the lens that night must have meant something. So, after a day of internet research and much justification (it’s an investment, tax write off, “buy once-buy right”, blah blah blah), at the 11th hour, the boss and I drove back to Maple Grove to procure it. The deciding factor was reading Ken Rockwell’s wonderful blog entry “How to afford anything“.

I laughed as each employee looked at it lovingly (and with envy) while placing it on the counter —- “Hey, the Zeiss guy is here”, one of them said. Zeiss Guy? I kinda like that. National Camera’s policy is all used merchandise must be in the case (and available to customers) for 30 days before it can be purchased by employees. Clearly they weren’t happy to see me. As an employee, I would have been counting the days. Yep, sucks to be them. I can imagine some sort of gladiatorial style contest between employees for any unsold stock that possibly ends in ones death, but again, I digress…

In any event, the lens is spectacular. The colors, stunning. It’s a MF lens, but I’m a video guy, so I’m no stranger to focusing manually, and actually prefer it. I’ve also put my head back in the books to learn all of the glass in my bag. Every lens has a sweet spot, and no two camera bodies are alike. So, it’s been all about the fundamentals for me. There’s a huge difference between video and photography, and it’s easy to mix up some of the concepts — for example, shutter speed is everything for stills, but by and large, a fixed value for video work. I’m a video guy first, photographer second. In fact, I would not consider myself a photographer at all. I know a few highly skilled photogs, and am in awe of their talent. Again, they’re two different disciplines that happen to share a few concepts, similarities and in the case of the DSLR, gear.

As I learn more, the better my video looks. Imagine that? Remember the rules:

1. Know where your stuff is.
2. Know what your stuff does.
3. Don’t break your stuff.

I’ve been hammering rule #2 hard as of late, and I figure a little RTFM never hurt anybody, right?

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