1840 Petzval lens reborn for DSLRs

1840 Petzval lens reborn for the digital age
Practice your Victorian poses now - no smiling, kids

The Lomography Society has announced the reintroduction of the Petzval portrait lens for DSLRs, and is seeking funding via Kickstarter to bring it to full production.

The 85mm lens has a maximum aperture of f/2.2, a brass barrel and uses a Waterhouse aperture set - a series of disks with holes of different sizes. The aperture options include f/2.2, f/4, f/5.6, f/8, f/11 and f/16. There are no electrical contacts and focusing is strictly manual only.

Although the optics have been re-engineered to suit Canon and Nikon DSLRs, the lens is claimed to replicate the characteristics of the famed 19th century portrait lens, with good centre sharpness, noticeable vignetting, high-contrast, deep colour saturation and a swirly bokeh effect.

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1840 Petzval lens reborn for the digital age

Because of field curvature, there is a sharp transition from the central sharp area to the out of focus edges in images captured with the Petzval lens. This makes the lens especially attractive for portraits.

Lomo has turned to optical specialists at Zenit in Russia to redesign and construct the new Petzval lens. It will have a 30 degree field of view and closest focusing distance of 1m. The lens will be constructed from four elements in three groups, and will use a gear rack focusing mechanism and 67mm filter thread.

1840 Petzval lens reborn for the digital age

The lens is available for pre-order exclusively on Kickstarter.com, and funding is being sought, but it is set to retail for £399/US$499.

Current forecasts indicate that the first lenses will be ready for delivery from February 2014, but this is only an estimate.