Lomography raises more than $1M for production of New Petzval lenses


We’ve previously reported on Lomography‘s attempt to crowd-source funding to bring the centuries-old Petzval lens back into production via Kickstarter and it seems like they’ve done well, raising more than $1 million, which is more then ten times their original target of $100,000.

The ‘New Petzval’ lenses look and function much like the originals with a brass exterior, and the aim is to produce it in both Canon EF- and Nikon F- mounts. The lens is expected to be available next spring. 

With brass lens barrels and hoods, Lomography’s New Petzval lens will be sold for Canon and Nikon SLRs.

Why bring back the Petzval? Lomography is promoting the way the swirled bokeh it creates draws focus to the center of the frame, the only part of the image in sharp focus. Petzval lenses of yore were notable for having the widest apertures available at the time, speeding up the amount of time required to create a Daguerrotype from 10 minutes to 30 seconds.

A cynic’s view might be that Lomography is trying to push the rejection of 173 years of lens development and improvement as a creative choice, rather than marketing-driven ludditism.

The New Petzval lenses incorporate some modern design updates, starting with a larger f/2.2 maximum aperture. The aperture can be changed using the included set of diaphragms (known as Waterhouse stops) to achieve different stops. Zenit, a lens producer based in Russia, has partnered with Lomography to produce the lenses.

The New Petzvals are planned to launch at $499. The campaign continues, and if you contribute to Lomography’s Kickstarter a new-old Petzval can be yours for a mere $300 pledge when they start shipping. 




Good to know that the perpetrators of this project immediately identified the most appropriate lens (or perhaps I should say “lense”) manufacturer for this premium product: Zenitar. No one could possibly argue that they are not the No. 1 lense manufacturer in Krasnogorsk. As the delirious owner of one of their “legendary” 15mm Fish-eyes I can confirm that this new, must-have, pre-brassed, er, lense, is likely to share the FE’s “stellar” performance – in the sense of stars flatteringly bokeh-d by a miasma of industrial atmospheric pollution.
Sadly I’ve become too impoverished to “invest” in a Pestsval lense however I continue to enjoy the benefits of my little Krasnogorski which, even as I write these words, sits next to me on the floor, holding the door open (at F8.)
Let’s hope that they pay sufficient attention to the “unboxing experience”. My 15 FE came with a little sump-oil in the box. I assume this was intended for long term maintenance however it made the box a bit squishy.


You get soon 1000000000* photos on the web with the same look and feel:)


Why only Canon EF- and Nikon F- mount, and no Pentax and Sony A-mount? Not a smart thing to do, exluding a number of potential customers for no good reason.


Price will be the killer. I can get a lens with swirly bokeh for $5.


AF-which is not very suitable for this lens, isnt it?


as i said. must be available with universal t2-adapter-mount. we could then mount it on contax ax and have AF!


I will get one , i ‘m not a hipster or fade person just a guy with 20 yrs of real photo experience in msking selling images and teaching at a college level and see it as one more tool to use to create interesting images ..that’s it .. At a certain point it’s not about F stops or sharp focus or whether looks weird or not .. It’s about can it help Me achieve a look I want and think it will so I ‘m in ..


Krasnogorsk is not what it was in the past. Everything has been sold or stollen in the past 15 years. If you really want good piece of Russian glass it has to be from 50-80s era. For this money you can have solid piece of Lomo Cine OKC glass like 75/2 or 100/2, slap on a focusing helicoid and have yourself a gorgeous state of the art Double Gauss lens with beautiful bokeh.


I look forward to picking one of these up for next to nothing on ebay after most people have tried it and gotten bored with it. I think $175 is the right price point for this interesting but over-priced novelty.


I’m getting one because they’re made in Krasnogorsk

Don Kiyoti

Sooo funny, all the comments by people who cannot possibly imagine why someone else might want to make or have a brass Petzval lens! “But it looks wierd!” “But the bokeh is bad!” “But it’s for hipsters!” Good grief, people – at least TRY to have an open mind. If you can’t do that, I guess go back to shooting your beach sunsets, flowers, bugs, and empty park benches.


Anyone else who thinks that brass barrel looks really weird with modern DSLRs?


Nah, they blend right in with the camera body. I’m not sure what you’re suggesting!


Not weird, ridiculous


I’m sure this will be popular with some photographers, but for the majority it’ll be an irrelevance. I love looking at old photographs because they mark an era of discovery and innovation. However, photography is where it is now by a consensus of generations of photographers demanding better imaging products that give the results they want. The bokeh is pretty grim, the ‘super sharp centre’ did not make itself apparent in the video and the smug presentation makes me want to vomit. Each to their own i say, but I’ll be sticking with 21st. century gear. I hope Zenit do well out of this.


Bokeh looks absolutely horrendously hurtful to the eyes to me. YUCK! Sort of like the bokeh you get from the Canon 135L at f/2…. after you drop 3 times, hit it with a sledge hammer, and put it in a glass furnace for 30 seconds and partially melt a few elements. 🙂 But to each their own.


Never mind. I see it’s 85mm.


Did I miss the focal length? Anybody know what it is?


I like the idea of this, I would love to get one, but I’m not falling for the whole romanticism of the original lens. Give me the same thing with a modern focusing and aperture mechanism and I’d probably consider one at $300. It may look like and work like something from the era, but I don’t consider than an advantage or a necessity in a new lens.


Looks like another fad, hyped up by hipsters. Just use Alien Skin Bokeh 2 for all your fancy bokeh needs. 🙂


or, to replicate this scenario, simply drop your lens off the roof a few times 😉

that should, perhaps, make the bokeh as ugly and harsh, with luck


as always, best customers are those who have no knowledge.
a pain in the face for Canon/Nikon professional services.


beautiful. I’d like to make some lights in a similar design.


“… raising more than $1 million, which is more then ten times their original target of $100,000.”

Money is, at the same time, the scarcest and the most abundant resource in the world.


If everyone on the internet donated you a penny, you’d have about 24 million. Power in numbers.


This seems like a killer deal. You get the public the pay your production costs, and then you get them to pay for the product. I need to find a business idea to take advantage of this. If you played it right, it could be 100% profits.


I highly doubt it they will make a good profit out of this deal otherwise investment bankers already jumped in. If they could make about 10% profit they should be laughing….


But they got FREE money to cover production. Are you implying that $1000000 will only cover 1/9 the cost?




The public? No, there are apparently quite a few interested buyers who have put up money to fund the project in exchange for an actual product. Lomography still needs to deliver that product before they can consider that they’ve made any profit. Yes, crowd funding reduces some of the risk of launching new products (in that you know you have some buyers out there) but it does not make it any easier to launch a successful product. Also, the upfront development and promotional costs are still all born by the company. You can’t have a Kickstarter campaign around a napkin sketch.


is this lens even patented? if not….i think i will see it on ebay auction very soon (if lomo can sell this). Item location, Shenzhen, China or Hong Kong, China….LOL!!! costs me $50 + free shipping and maybe a lens bag and lens cap says Canon/Nikon depends on the mount.


From a production perspective, it is very close to ideal. You create a prototype and nail down your production costs. Price up the smallest efficient run (say, 300) have a guaranteed pre-order of that amount. It covers basic materials and tooling. After you hit that, you’re into profit on each lens. For every 2-4 pre-orders over the base, you can produce an additional for retail sale without being out of pocket.

Honestly, at this point – if I were them – I’d produce at most an extra 100. They’ve got enough pre-orders and guaranteed money to fill a pretty large chunk of the market, and pocket a tidy sum for their work. Do the run, make the few extras for stragglers, and pack it in. At least, that’s what I’d do.


Mind you, initially they were hoping to raise $100,000.
So the good news is that they got enough money to manufacture these things. The bad news is they’ll probably wont meet the demands and those who are not in the first 100-200 will have to a wait for a long time or live with some shoddy quality stuff.


And how did you conclude that? Do you know the capacity of all their vendors or something that the rest of us don’t?


You can fool some of the people all of the time.
But there’s one upside — at least it’s not being
developed using tax money by the Defense Department.

If it were such a wonderful idea, the Chinese/Koreans would
have made these with T-mounts, barrel controlled f-stops,
helical focusing and sold them for less than $99 dollars delivered. Look how much CAT 500mm lenses are selling for on ebay — amazing that anyone would think that this paperweight would cost more to produce.
And wait until they learn what a ‘waterhouse stop’ is.

Source Article from http://www.dpreview.com/news/2013/08/08/lomography-raises-more-than-1m-for-production-of-new-petzval-lenses