Let Unsplash pro Claudio Schwarz (@purzlbaum) explain which lens he used for which photo

Claudio Schwarz, sometimes known as @purzlbaum, is a person you can hardly pass by as a visitor of Unsplash – and not only because his beautiful mountain photos were selected as Photo of the Day. Among his now more than 3k uploads are the most diverse photos, which are useful in many cases.

The Swiss currently ranks 87th regarding views in the list of Unsplash’s most successful photographers, with more than 700 million views and 82th in terms of downloads at around 2.8 million.

This photo is Claudio’s most successful on Unsplash and was taken on a Sony α7R III and a SEL85F14GM lens at f/5.0, 85 mm, 1/640s, ISO 100. It was viewed more than 27 million times and downloaded more than 75k times.

Having started his now 18-year photography career with an Olympus E-500 and having used a Canon 40D, 1D Mk II and 1D Mk IV he has now been a loyal Sony shooter for about 2.5 years. His current equipment therefore includes a Sony α1 with 50 MP and a Sony α9 with 24 MP. “More for fun,” however, he sometimes carries a Fujifilm X100V as well.

Apart from the fixed lens in the Fujifilm, Claudio owns six fixed focal lengths and four zooms right now, mostly from Sony itself, but some from Samyang or Sigma. He likes to rely on the versatility that zoom lenses bring.

If you get scared now and think you can only be a good photographer with a whole range of lenses, you’re wrong. Claudio has real luxury problems:

Owning a lot of lenses often doesn’t make the decision of which lenses to take any easier. Especially when I go to places I don’t know, I often can’t decide and imagine I might regret not having a certain lens with me.

On the following pages, Claudio will tell you exactly what cameras he uses and why, what lenses he uses in which case, and has even picked out sample photos for all of them.


My fixed focal lengths all have an aperture of 1.4 except for my tilt-shift lens, so I can still get very good results in low light. I can also work excellently with depth of field.

Fixed focal length lenses

If I didn’t shoot a lot of sports, the 12-24 mm f4 G and the 24-105 mm f4 G would probably be my lenses of choice. You can cover a lot of ground with them. The fast lenses 24-70 mm 2.8 GM and 70-200 mm 2.8 GM I use in indoor sports mainly because of the low light conditions. Most of the time, however, I shoot sports with the 105 and the 70-200.

Zoom lenses

I can’t thank Claudio enough for the work he put into this article. Just the fact that he photographed each lens so beautifully and looked up examples is not something that can be taken for granted. All images used here are free to download from Unsplash in full resolution.


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