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Lomography remake classic Petzval Portrait lens

If you are interested in photography then this Kickstarter campaign from Lomography will certainly get your attention. The company are remaking a classic lens from the 19th century known as the Petzval. The lens was well known for its instantly recognisable image style combining a swirly Bokeh effect with a high level of sharpness and lovely colour saturation.

The only lens which I can find to have similar characteristics is the F/1 Leica 50mm Noctilux, which costs a small fortune (You can pick one up second hand in good condition for around the £4,000 mark as the new Leica f/0.95 50mm has replaced it). The new Lomography Petzval Portrait Lens is constructed from brass, like the original and features premium glass optics made in Russia. The company don’t seem to be painting the brass (unlike Leica) so it will certainly stand out when mounted on the front of a Nikon or Canon camera.
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The F/2.2 maximum aperture is not breaking any ground in 2013, but it is significantly better than the f/3.5 rating of the older Petzval lenses. When opened all the way, the Bokeh and vignetting is rather unique.

The aperature is controlled by a Waterhouse aperture system, which gives options between f/2.2 and f/16. The lens has a focal length of 85mm making it ideal for portrait photography. You might be able to get away with some street photography too, although many people would prefer 35mm or 50mm for this.
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The lens is being built at Zenit’s factory in Russia. Lomography paired up with Zenit to create the new lens from scratch, aiming to improve focusing and speed over the original design.

It will work with both Canon EF mount and Nikon F mount cameras. Video content created with the lens would certainly be very distinctive as well.

A Kickstarter campaign has proven the popularity of the lens already – visit here. They needed to raise a whopping $100,000, but so far it is standing at $690,785 with 28 days to go. There are various pledges offered with the lens available for a $350 pledge. They say they should start shipping them in February 2014. The company website is available here.

Kitguru says: stylish and well priced, but I am not so sure of the naked brass appearance!

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