Object of Desire: Petzval Lens

April 16, 2014

By Dan Havlik

What’s old is new again with the resurrected Petzval Lens from Lomography. Invented in 1840 by Hungarian mathematician and physicist Joseph Petzval, the lens sparked a revolution in portraiture thanks to its ability to handle wide apertures and short exposure. But with Petzals now difficult to find (but still beloved), Lomography decided to bring the innovative optic back with a successful Kickstarter campaign that raised nearly $1.4 million. The reborn Petzval is now manufactured in Russia by Zenit and features a brass body and an insertable Waterhouse diaphragm for changing aperture, making it look like something you’d find at a steampunk convention. Images captured with this new Petzval have an artfully contemporary look with crisp sharpness; juicy color saturation; dramatic vignetting; and swirly background bokeh. The 85mm lens is being offered in Canon EF and Nikon F mounts for analogue and digital cameras. As we went to press, the new Petzval was only available for pre-order (it was slated to ship in May 2014) but it will come as a kit with a bunch of goodies, including a book, experimental aperture plates, a cleaning cloth, a leather pouch and a brass lens cap.                                    

Price: $599


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