I am absolutely loving the new Petzval 85 lens from #Lomography, and so glad I rented one! I absolutely HAVE to add this to my arsenal someday. This lens is a reimagining of the original design from 1840, built in Krasnogorsk, Russia, and has an absolutely incredible bokeh and control.

My wife Emily makes for a beautiful subject too! <3

But first, a little photographic history, summarized from Lomography themselves. The daguerreotype, in which it took about 10 minutes to create a portrait, was announced in 1839. French optician and microscope-maker Charles Chevalier designed another lens for Daguerre’s first photographic camera, but its working aperture of F/15 was not fast enough. In 1840, Chevalier designed another, which was a combination of two cemented achromatic lenses. He managed to bring down the aperture to F/5.6, but it lacked sharpness.

The lens by Joseph Petzval was designed as a double achromatic objective lens that had four lenses in three groups. It had almost no distortion, a focal length of 160mm, and with an aperture of F/3.6, it was about a stop and a half faster than the 1840 design by Chevalier!

This reimagining is an 85mm lens, at F/2.2 - and it is completely manual. The wheel does manual focus, so it’s helpful to do a bit of ‘focus breathing’ yourself and shoot in quick bursts, but it’s actually also manual aperture - the metal inserts in the other pictures are what open and close the aperture and let in more or less light! 

I can’t wait to be able to use this one again. If you’re looking for something unique in terms of portraits or headshots, and you’ve got some patience…let’s set up a session and use this one! :) I only wish their 85mm was full compatible with Sony’s E-mount and didn’t require an adapter/downsize to APS-C size. 

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