Lomography and Russia-based Zenit have announced a partnership that is aiming to revive the popular Petzval lens through Kickstarter.
The popular crowd-funding website, called Kickstarter, has proven to be the launch platform of a number of successful companies. Not only that, but a lot of established firms have decided to gather the money required to build a product through this site, which has been a good idea for them.
Lomography and Zenit re-imagine the old Petzval lens to suit today’s SLR cameras
Another fortunate story is the one of Lomography, which has been a popular company well before Kickstarter’s emergence. This year, the Lomography smartphone film scanner has been funded on this platform.
Now, the organization is back on Kickstarter, but with a more important project: the resurrection of the Petzval lens.
The design has been made in collaboration with Russia’s Zenit, which will also manufacture the optic in its home country.
Joseph Petzval revolutionized portrait photography in the 19th century
The Petzval lens has been developed in 1840 by a math professor bearing the same name: Joseph Petzval. This product has completely revolutionized portrait photography, as it managed to achieve a f/3.5 aperture. Having a wide aperture makes photos display an impressive bokeh. At the time, it created amazing effects, while reducing exposure times by as much as five stops.
Nevertheless, this lens produces some optical flaws, such as vignetting. However, the narrow depth of field combined with a lot of vignetting can result in magical effects.
New Petzval lens to work with Nikon F and Canon EF SLR cameras
Lomography and Zenit have revealed that the Petzval lens has been re-designed for use in today’s shooters. The product will be compatible with Nikon F and Canon EF cameras, both analog and digital.
The exterior will be made out of brass, just like the original version, and the settings will be controlled manually. This means that there is no autofocus support, while photographers will also have to change the aperture by hand. The aperture slider is named a Waterhouse system, which should not be very hard to use.
The Lomography Petzval lens will feature an 85mm focal length and an f/2.2 maximum aperture, which can be reduced to f/16. Additionally, it will be able to focus from a distance of one meter, while its field of view will stand at 30 degrees.
Kickstarter campaign has met its goal, shipping begins in late 2013
Its price has been set at $300, but only 100 early birds have managed to buy it for this amount. Now, users can get it at $350 and $400 or higher.
The new Pentzval optic will go on sale in February 2013 for $499, meaning that you should secure a unit right now or you will not regret it later. It is worth noting that the first batch will ship by the end of 2013.
Lomography and Zenit have already met the $100,000 goal. There are about 29 days left until you can get the product on Kickstarter and it would not be a surprise if the campaign reaches $1 million by the time it ends.