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Lomography launches another Kickstarter campaign for new Petzval lens

Create: 05/31/2015 - 20:44
The Petzval 58 Bokeh Control lens

If you liked and supported the Petzval 85, then Lomography is hoping that you'll do the same for the Petzval 58.

In the past year, the Petzval lens has become popular in certain photographic circles.

Lomography already has an 85mm lens in black or brass for the Canon and Nikon mounts. Now, it is following up with the Petzval 58 Bokeh Control Art Lens – a 58mm f/1.9 lens with the "bokeh control," which is a small lever that extends from the barrel and allows you to control the out-of-focus part of the image.

Developed in 1840 by Joseph Petzval, it was a very high-speed lens at a time when exposures were often marked in minutes rather than fractions of a second. The construction of the original f/3.7 lens was two doublets with the aperture control between them. The Kictkstarter campaign page (see link at the bottom) includes the history of the Petzval lens.

Photos taken with a Petzval lens can show extremely round out-of-focus highlights, which are similar to what you see from some of the older Tessar lenses. An example from Lomography's site is shown to the right and also is illustrated in its promotional video below.

Like its predecessor, which also was created through a Kickstarter campaign (in 2013), the new lens elements are made from "premium Russian glass" and is built by hand. It will be available in brass or black and in the Canon and Nikon mounts.

Lomography hopes to begin shipping the lens in December 2015. As of May 31, the campaign has far exceeded its $100,000 goal. It currently has raised about $550,000 from more than 1,000 backers. The campaign will remain open until June 26.


Introducing the Lomography Petzval 58 Bokeh Control Art Lens from Lomography on Vimeo.

About the Author

Mike Elek is a longtime journalist and was one of the original editors for The Wall Street Journal Online. He also has worked as a reporter and editor in Pittsburgh; Philadelphia; Vineland, N.J.; Poughkeepsie, N.Y.; New York City; and Hong Kong. He is a U.S. Air Force veteran. He shoots with film and digital cameras.