Daily Inspiration #358 by Martynas Milkevicius – “A Slow Setup”

Hey Steve and Hey to all!

I found your site quite recently on world-wide net and I find it very refreshing and much more exciting than other more “technical” websites. Loads of interesting read, interesting opinions from a variety of people and of course top class photography!

So the reason I decided to write and submit some of my images for Daily Inspiration is the review of Fuji X Pro 1 (a.k.a. X Slow One). Very high IQ, but very slow. Sounds exactly like setup I am using at the moment – a Canon 5D Mark II with a set of Carl Zeiss ZE primes (Zeiss 21mm F/2.8 Distagon T* ZE, Zeiss 100mm F/2 Makro Planar T* ZE and Zeiss 35mm F/1.4 Distagon T* ZE). Manual focus is slow (even with Canon’s EG-S Super Precision Matte Focusing Screen and extremely unreliable focus confirmation function) and mostly using the Live View for precision critical focusing. I also must say that 5D MKII auto focus is also very slow and often unreliable – with Canon’s EF 50mm F/1.2 L USM it was pretty much a nightmare and image quality was also not there (reason why I switched to Zeiss glass). So basically it sounds very much as Fuji – isn’t it? (not quite…you can not manually focus the Fuji like you can the 5D with Zeiss primes).  Is just that Fuji size and weight is way less than my setup. And as I often do 20+ mile hikes for landscape photography it really made me think of lighter and easier to carry setup without sacrificing much of the image quality (which is the most important to me and for my way of shooting). So what one can shoot and get with such a slow setup – here are few examples (and more on my website www.martynas.org):

And thanks to you for your inspiring reviews and stories and superb images!


Martynas Milkevičius


  1. Really superb shots. They make you stop and wonder: where, why, how?!

    Thanks for sharing them with us all!

  2. Superb photos. I really like the way the the textures in the first two photos compliment each other, and the way the wave and water reflections compliment each other in the second and third photos. Keep up the good work. I’ll be visiting your website.

  3. Wow, you have some wonderful pictures on our website. I am very impressed. Absolutely great work. Every picture has its own beauty, stile and harmony. There is a lot of love, work, passion and patience behind your photos. Keep it up, you are great!

  4. I read Steve’s blog daily and have never commented on various photographer’s works until now. I must say your work is exceptional. I went to your site and bookmarked it to show my fellow friends/photographers what REAL photoraphry is all about. Few can shoot B&W as good as you (although the color on your site is exceptional also). I look forward to future posts!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  5. Photos like this make me continue to love and believe in photography. I hope that one day i can have photos like this.

    Great Job!

  6. Hi Martynas,

    marvellous shots! I recognized the fantastic bokeh of the 35mm f1.4. I use 35mm f1.4 and 85mm f1.4 Zeiss ZE on 5DmkIII for most of the shots now. I switched from the Canon AF to these just to get the wonderful Zeiss render and colors. Just a small suggestion: I switched from 5DmkII to mkIII just for catching MF with Zeiss. AF confirmation is much precise and OK even with 85mm f1.4 wide open (anyway an expensive solution, I know, but now my ratio of in-focus shots hav raised a lot).


  7. Really nice work, really nice!

    Your shots most importantly (to me anyway) really show an incisive & thoughtful brain behind the camera which is what photography is all about as opposed to people who daftly equate good photos with the camera/lens used.

  8. Stunning photographs. I would say this but don’t rule out the OM-D. I have just spent a day with 20 photographers almost complaining that the results are two sharp for portraits. It is light and very fast. Btw, I do work for Olympus….

  9. Great photos. But some of our regular commentators think they are only equal to some rather ordinary past portfolios. The problem seems to be that describing the very ordinary with over-the-top effusive praise, complete with the I’m-a-nice-guy “thanks for sharing”, leaves no language for something that is much better.

  10. Quality photography as shown here and on your website – your landscapes are absolutely breathtaking with your capturing of the light.

    I have bookmarked your site, and will return for further viewing.

    Love your dog portraits, by the way.

  11. The first and last photo won me over!

    I have a friend that kinda has the same setup as you do, only that he uses the Ziess 50mm f/2 (great piece of glass!). I used his camera for one day and I must admit that focusing manually makes it more challenging…and more fun with even greater satisfaction when you nail the end results!

    Once again great photos, thanks for sharing!

  12. @Martynas: These are absolutely beautiful, and show what can be done with a good camera and good (well; in this case, excellent) glass, as long as you have the vision and know what you’re doing.

    The make me think of when I got my Contax S2; a camera apparently meant for the “deliberate” photographer. Martynas’s images show that’s he deliberate. He doesn’t mind the slowness (too much), as long as he gets the image he envisages.

    Just one tip: the D700 (5DII’s old competitor) has quite good, fast, (auto-) focus. I use more or less the same set-up (28 and 50 MF Zeiss) with the D700. The struggle between AF and MF is fustrating and inspiring, in equal measures.

  13. Martynas, congratulations on some absolutely stunning photography. I love 5 and particularly 6. But all the images are stunning.

    I have also had a look at your website which is absolutely inspirational – I really aspire to be able to make images even half as beautiful as these.

    Thank you so much for posting…

  14. Wonderful shots. Especially the last three shots. I true inspiration. Tough I would not agree with the poster that talks about limitations of equipment. It’s a full frame DSLR with Zeiss lenses!

  15. Your images show that it is possible to get great results in spite of equipment limitations. Sometimes slowing down is a good thing.

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