Lomo To Resurrect 170-Year-Old Lens Design

At some point in the recent past, Lomo went from being the resurrector of crappy Soviet-era plastic cameras to a niche manufacturer of some very interesting lo-fi photography kit. Today’s surprise is that Lomo will be making the Petzval lens, a lens invented in 1840 in – yes – Russia.

The new Petzval lens will be made to fit Canon and Nikon bodies, and has been given multi-coatings on its optics to avoid the weird color shifts that nobody cared about back when all photos were black & white.

The obvious feature is the brass body, but there’s more to this 85mm lens than that. The lens has a maximum aperture of ƒ2, perfect for today’s love of shallow depth-of-field. The design also gives some crazy swirly out-of-focus highlights (aka bokeh) and will vignette the photos as if you’d already run them through Hipstamatic.

Focusing is by rack and gear, which means you turn a knob on the side instead of twisting a ring on the barrel, and there’s even a (67mm) filer thread. Finally, you need to swap in different-sized rings to change the aperture – no easy-to-use iris here.

I think it’s pretty great that Lomo is moving away from just film (which is a real pain to use) and mixing digital with old-school tech. The only kicker might be the price: The Petzval Kickstarter campaign (yeah, I know) starts at $300, but is sold out at most price levels already, so it looks like you’ll have to wait and pay maybe $500 when it ships next year.

Or I guess you could trawl old antique camera stores for an original Petzval lens. Good luck!

About the author

Charlie Sorrel Charlie Sorrel is the Reviews Editor here on Cult of Mac. Follow Charlie  on Twitter at @mistercharlie.

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