Lomo raises $1m on Kickstarter to bring back antique lens

Lomo raises $1m on Kickstarter to bring back antique lens
The Victorians obviously got something right

The Lomography Society has revealed that it has raised over US$1 million (around £650,000) on its Kickstarter page, which it set up in order to raise funds to revive a classic 19th century portrait lens.

The Petzval portrait lens has a focal length of 85mm and a maximum aperture of f/2.2. It uses a Waterhouse aperture set - a series of discs with holes of different sizes including options such as f/8 and f/11. There are no electrical contacts on the brass design and focusing is manual only.

Optics have been re-engineered to fit Canon and Nikon DSLRs, but it is claimed that the lens will replicate the characteristics of the original lens, which hails from 1840. Good centre sharpness, noticeable vignetting, high-contrast, deep colour saturation and a swirly bokeh effect are all to be expected.

Lomo raises $1m on Kickstarter to bring back antique lens

Lomo asked optical specialists Zenit in Russia to redesign and construct the new Petzval lens, which will have a 30-degree field of view and closest focusing distance of 1m (3.3ft).

Huge support

The lens is available for pre-order through Kickstarter. Funding was first asked for at the end of July, but with 18 days remaining on the countdown clock, Lomo has managed to not only attract the original $100,000 request, but 10 times that goal, reaching the staggering $1 million target thanks to more than 2,500 backers.

It is expected that the lens will retail for around £399 / US$499. It was originally suggested that the lens may be ready from February 2014, but perhaps with the extra funding, production can be hurried along.

Stay tuned for more availability updates.

Amy Davies

Amy has been writing about cameras, photography and associated tech since 2009. Amy was once part of the photography testing team for Future Publishing working across TechRadar, Digital Camera, PhotoPlus, N Photo and Photography Week. For her photography, she has won awards and has been exhibited. She often partakes in unusual projects - including one intense year where she used a different camera every single day. Amy is currently the Features Editor at Amateur Photographer magazine, and in her increasingly little spare time works across a number of high-profile publications including Wired, Stuff, Digital Camera World, Expert Reviews, and just a little off-tangent, PetsRadar.