About this project
Thank-you so much to all our great backers who have helped make the Petzval Lens Kickstarter project a huge success!
To find out more about the Petzval Lens, head to the Petzval Lens Microsite. If you would like to hear when the Petzval Lens becomes available from the Lomography Online Shop, please add your email address to our Google Form.
Please Note: Before any lenses are shipped out to anyone else, all Kickstarter orders will be fulfilled.
TIME - The company says it’s the perfect portrait lens — its optics produce a vignetting effect that leaves your subject in focus, surrounded by a pleasingly blurry background. - They do, indeed, look beautiful.
Uncrate - Photos using this lens were known for their crispness, strong color saturation, terrific swirly bokeh effect, artful vignettes, and narrow depth of field. Those same qualities are front and center for a new generation of photogs now, thanks to the Lomography Petzval Lens.
Endgadget - Most Petzval lenses today are defective because of age and not optimized for modern cameras, so Lomography set out to reinvent the lens for the 21st century. […]Are you as intrigued as we are?
Gizmodo - Now, the retro-fanatics at Lomography have re engineered the lens from the ground up for today's Canon and Nikon cameras. And the photos are incredible.
Digital Photography Review - What’s (really) old is new again in their latest Kickstarter campaign, an effort to bring the centuries-old Petzval lens back into production. The ‘New Petzval’ lenses look an function much like the originals with a brass exterior, and would be produced in both Canon EF- and Nikon F-mounts.
Introducing The Petzval Portrait Lens
In the 19th Century, the vast majority of photos were shot with the extremely popular Petzval lens. The lens was invented by Joseph Petzval in Vienna in 1840 and had a huge impact on the development of photography. Photos shot with a Petzval lens are immediately recognizable for their sharpness and crispness, strong color saturation, wonderful swirly bokeh effect, artful vignettes and narrow depth of field. The totally distinctive look of Petzval photos is all about the fantastic lens design that gives you the satisfaction of the instant optic experience that goes far beyond using photo editing software and filters.
For this Kickstarter project, we are reinventing the Petzval Lens for 21st century photographers and videographers. It doesn’t matter whether you shoot analog or digital; the brand new Lomography Petzval Portrait Lens is designed to work with Canon EF and Nikon F mount cameras. So, for the first time, you can easily get the fantastic Petzval photographic look with 35mm analog cameras and DSLR cameras too. This will bring with it a whole new world of possibilities; from shooting Petzval photos with your 35mm SLR or DSLR, to creating amazing DSLR movies with the lens!
The Petzval Portrait Lens is a high-quality glass optic; it's a must-have lens for anyone looking to enhance their creative potential and turn every photo into a timeless artwork.
Expected delivery date of the lenses is on February 2014. However, we are confident to have the first 1000 lenses shipped out by December 2013.
The retail launch price of the lens is currently planned as $499/€499 and the Special Edition at $599/€599, so you can make some great savings by backing us on Kickstarter! When the lenses are ready, you'll be able to pick whether you want a Canon or Nikon compatible Petzval lens. Each lens looks absolutely fantastic attached to DSLR cameras and analog cameras!
Please note: The Petzval shots shown here are either from an old Petzval lens or the first working prototype, which is of extremely high quality. However, we are still working on a few minor details, especially perfecting the Bokeh effect that makes this lens so special.
The lens as well as its accompanying lens hood will also undergo small design changes. Rest assured that you can expect an extraordinary lens upon completion of the project!
The Re-revolution of Portrait Photography
Why are we bringing back the Petzval two centuries after it was created? Well, we’re not just looking to re-build the lenses; we have re-designed and re-engineered the optics to work with a whole new generation of cameras!
The original Petzval lens was a truly revolutionary invention. The speed and performance of Petzval's design was especially well suited for portrait shooting and helped give birth to commercial photography as we know it. And just as Joseph Petzval turned the world of photography on its head in 1840 when he first invented the lens, the brand new Lomography Petzval Portrait lens promises to do the same in the 21st Century by giving you truly incredible effects on a whole range of modern SLR cameras.
The new Lomography Petzval lens has great color saturation and high contrast. The resolution of the focused area of each photo is extremely high. Thanks to the new and improved Petzval optical design, the Lomography Lens has a large f/2.2 maximum aperture; it's very hard to find older Petzval lenses which have an aperture larger than f/3.5. Because of the large aperture of the new lens, you'll get photos with a very narrow depth of field, and when shooting with the aperture wide open, you'll get a beautiful vignetting effect in your shots.It's the ideal portrait lens!
A Mind-blowing Lens Effect
Most modern lenses are designed to minimize field curvature, so you’ll have the whole image in focus. But the Petzval lens design gives its photos a totally different optical effect. You’ll get an area which is very sharp at the focus of the photograph over a narrow field. There is then progressive vignetting towards the non-focused areas; this helps draw the viewer’s attention to the crisp and focused area of the photograph.
It's because of the early large aperture optic design of Petzval that photos taken with the lens will have this beautiful, swirly bokeh effect in the background. The best way to get a sense of this effect is to check out some photos taken with the first working prototype of our New Petzval Lens and an old Petzval lens from the 19th century! These quirky, creative and unique effects from the lens have endeared it to a whole new generation of photographers. Using the Petzval lens is totally different to just adding a filter to your shots in post-production; it’s about achieving a real optical effect caused by the lens attached to your camera.
An Engineering Breakthrough
The new Petzval Lenses is designed and constructed by a team of optics specialists at the Zenit factory in Russia, together with Lomography. Zenit are master lens manufacturers and have the skill to build the Petzval lens for use with today’s SLR cameras. There are very few companies worldwide who still have enough knowledge of optics to complete a project such as this.
Reinventing the Petzval is no easy task and we have had to start from scratch to bring this project to life. The teams at Zenit and Lomography have worked together to re-draw, re-calculate and re-measure the original 1840 Petzval lens to make it work with a whole host of modern cameras, whilst retaining the characteristic effects that made the original Petzval famous. We have sourced new production materials, created a faster lens than the original Petzval and one which has smoother focusing too. The new Lomography Petzval lens will be built from brass (just like the original Petzval lens) and features premium Russian-made glass optics.
The Story of The Original Petzval Lens
When the original Daguerre & Giroux Camera was introduced in 1839, it used a lens designed by Charles Chevalier. This camera marked the very beginning of modern analog photography and was of fundamental importance. But Chevalier’s lens had several problems. It had a slow, small aperture of f/15; this meant that even in bright sunlight, exposures could take 10 minutes or more.
Joseph Petzval was a Professor of Mathematics at the University of Vienna and worked on a rival lens design which was introduced in 1840 (by the way, as well as being the place where Petzval lived, Vienna is the home of Lomography!). At f/3.6, Petzval’s large aperture design was about 20 times faster than the Chevalier lens and produced photographs which were extremely sharp at the focused area.
Obviously, the original Petzval lens was designed in order to work with the cameras manufactured in the 19th century. Most of these cameras were large-format analog cameras. It’s extremely hard to find a Petzval lens today which works easily with smaller format cameras. The new Lomography Petzval Portrait lens changes all this and allows you to enjoy the magic of the Petzval lens optic using your analog or digital SLR camera.
Petzval In Motion
One of the most exciting features of the new Petzval Portrait Lens is that, for the first time ever, it’s possible to easily shoot DSLR movies with the Petzval optic effect. Achieving the beautiful and distinctive results the lens gives is very, very hard to achieve in post-production; with the new Petzval lens, it becomes as easy as attaching a new lens to your DSLR!
The Waterhouse Aperture System
The new Lomography Petzval Lens works using a traditional Waterhouse aperture system. With this design, your lens comes with a set of stops (also known as diaphragms). Each diaphragm is drilled with a hole of a different size; these sizes correspond to the f-stop or aperture. So if you’d like to shoot with f/4 aperture, you select the f/4 diaphragm and insert it into the aperture slot of your lens; if you’d like to shoot with a f/11 aperture, you select the f/11 diaphragm and so on. Here are the aperture options for the Lomography Petzval lens:
Lens Technical Specifications
- Focal Length: 85mm
- Maximum Aperture: f/2.2
- Apertures: Waterhouse aperture set, up to f/16
- Image Circle: 44mm
- Field of View: 30 degrees
- Lens Mounting Profile: Canon EF and Nikon F
- Electronic contacts: No
- Closest Focusing Distance: 1m
- Focusing Mechanism: Gear Rack Focusing
- Lens Construction: 4 Elements in 3 Groups
- Filter Thread: 67mm
- Max. Diameter x Length, Weight: 120mm x 85mm x 80mm (Please note: This is an estimate based on the first working sample)
- Weight: 500g (Please note: This is an estimate based on the first working sample)
Help Us To Time-Travel
We are thrilled to be working on this project and can’t wait to start using the new Petzval lens on our contemporary SLR cameras – We hope you’re as excited as we are!
We would love for you to support us on this mission because we really need your help to make this dream come true. By backing this Kickstarter campaign, you’ll help us perfect the final lens design and fund the first production of lenses in Russia. We will keep you updated on the development process every step of the way. With our current schedule, we plan to have the first lenses manufactured and ready for delivery in February 2014 (please note this is an estimate only; we unfortunately cannot guarantee this delivery date).
For your support in helping make the Petzval project a reality, we have set up a very enticing selection of rewards exclusively for our Kickstarter pledgers! Browse through a selection of rewards below:
$15-100+ – Choose between a variety of special rewards from the Lomography Online Shop. Plan to pledge, but can't commit to a big amount? We'll reward you with fashionable buttons and commemorative photos taken with the Petzval lens for a minimum $15. Other pledge tiers in this bracket have very attractive film or camera packages you don't want to miss.
$300-400+ – Thank you for your confidence in this project! You'll get the Petzval lens for an awesome introductory price - sent straight through your doorstep once production has been completed.
$500+ – If you pledge $500 and beyond you'll reap exclusive rewards that we won't be offering outside Kickstarter. You have the option to get your name engraved across this beautiful lens, and get to own one of the first 200 produced in the world. Fancy something different? Match your (D)SLR's pristine black body with a Black-painted Petzval lens that's in very limited quantities. You'll also get your name engraved on the lens as well.
$1000+ – Welcome to the big league! If you pledge an amount of $1000 and above, you'll receive one of the first produced Petzval lenses (numbered 6-10, see pledge details), get your name or message engraved on the lens AND a special Lomo LC-A+ 20th Anniversary Edition camera!
$2000-2500 These higher tier rewards are only for the photographic elite. Not only will you get the first 5 produced units of the Petzval lens, you'll also be treated like a King (or Queen) with a Petzval-themed trip to Vienna and Slovakia!
$200,000 – We will send every backer a set of small commemorative Petzval photo prints.
$300,000 - We will send every backer a specially made cleaning cloth designed to keep your Petzval lens in pristine condition.
$400,000 - We will send every backer a unique cotton bag to store your Petzval lens and other goodies in whilst on-the-go.
$500,000 - We will send every backer an exclusively crafted leather pouch to safely house your Petzval lens.
$1,000,000 - We will send every backer a shiny front brass lens cap with internal felt lining to protect your precious Petzval (D)SLR Art Lens!
$1,300,000 - We will send every backer the following: 3 additional Waterhouse plates, 2 with a special shape which we will still decide together with our backers (with a questionnaire) and 1 which you can adapt yourself.
$1,400,000 - We will send every lens backer a camera strap crafted from leather & cotton which features the Petzval logo!
For those who pledged on the lower tier rewards without the Petzval lens, unfortunately we cannot send out the bonus stretch goal rewards tagged $300,000 onwards.
We are Lomography. Usually, we keep busy by designing and manufacturing a whole host of analog cameras, films and accessories. If you'd like to find out more about us, we'd love to be your friends on Facebook, Tumblr and Twitter; plus you can subscribe to our newsletter to hear all our latest news.
The Lomography Petzval Portrait Lens project has been conceived by our dedicated in-house development and design team; the entire project has been spearheaded by the Lomography founders Matthias Fiegl, Wolfgang Stranzinger and Sally Bibawy.
We are currently celebrating our 20th anniversary. In our 20 years so far, we have a strong track record of developing many different cameras, films and accessories independently. For example, last year we released the Belair X 6-12, which is a new and breath-taking 6x12 medium format camera. We also introduced the groundbreaking Lomochrome Purple Film which converts natural tones of your photo into new eye-popping hues. Looking further back, we have also produced cameras such as the Spinner 360° which can take 360° panoramic shots on 35mm film, the LomoKino which is a 35mm movie camera and the Diana F+ which is a reinvention of a cult classic 1960s camera.
You can find out more about our history and the products we produce on our website http://www.lomography.com/about.
Are you a business owner or retailer? Interested in stocking the Petzval lens or our other products in your shop? Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
The Petzval lens will be available for most countries throughout the world. Unfortunately however, backers from Brazil or Russia will have to pay an extra 100 USD for shipping the lens. Lomography will not be held liable for any additional shipping and customs duties that may occur in these countries. This is because we will not use our local logistics hubs in these countries, and these items will be shipped from the the USA.
For our backers in the USA, most people don't need to pay any additional shipping costs. However, backers who live in the States of New York or Illinois do need to pay Sales Tax. For backers from New York, please add an additional 8.875% onto your pledge amount to cover local sales tax. For customers in Illinois, please add an additional 9.5% onto your pledge amount to cover local sales tax. So for example, if you live in the State of New York and pledged for the $400 reward, please add an additional $35.50 onto your pledge amount ($35.50 is 8.875% of $400) to cover New York Sales Tax. If you haven’t added this additional sales tax yet, don’t worry it’s easy to do. You can edit the amount you pledge right up until the project ends on the project page.
For backers outside the USA, please note that we charge an additional $40 for most pledges to cover shipping and other costs. For our backers in Europe, please note that your Petzval lens will be shipped from a local hub. We also have logistics hubs in the following locations: Turkey, Hong Kong, Japan, Korea, Taiwan and Thailand. If your country is not listed here, we are afraid there may be some extra importation duties to pay on delivery.
If you have a specific question about shipping, please just write us a message!
View some of the sample photos in full resolution below. Click on the photo to enlarge. Enjoy!
Further Reference On Petzval Lenses
The Use of Historic Lenses In Contemporary Photography by Paul Lipscombe (Book available for purchase on iTunes)
A History of the Photographic Lens by Rudolf Kingslake
http://antiquecameras.net/petzvallens.html - Gives background to the Petzval story
http://camerapedia.wikia.com/wiki/Petzval_lens - For more information on the Petzval lens design and development
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Petzval_field_curvature - Gives information on the Petzval lens effect
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joseph_Petzval - For more information on Joseph Petzval
Risks and challenges
Whilst we are extremely confident about this project and have a clear production plan in place, we have to be realistic about the risks and challenges we are likely to face along the way. The most important of these is the task of recreating the features and unique effects of the original Petzval lenses, whilst also making them work for today’s analog and digital SLR cameras. Our manufacturing partners at Zenit are incredibly skilled optics technicians, but this is a project which is different from anything we or they have done before. We have already made good progress in planning the new lens and have a first working prototype, however several issues could arise further along the product development path and we are ready to deal with these.
We are committed to making an object of quality with the new Petzval Portrait lens, and for this reason don’t want to rush the manufacturing process. We would like to spend time to create something truly special for our backers. At the current time we are confident to have the first new lenses ready for delivery in February 2014. We are confident that production will actually run quicker than schedule and we will be ready to deliver earlier than this date, hopefully by December 2013. But we also have to be honest and say from the start that these dates are an estimate only; there is always the chance unforeseen problems can arise which could push the project back. If you help Kickstart this project, rest assured we will work tirelessly to deliver a lens of beauty, a creation which will deliver the classic Petzval effect and an object you will absolutely love for many years to come!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter