black-Petzval lens

When Lomography launched their Kickstarter campaign for the classic Petzval lens, some of the shooters here at Lowepro took note. Unlike most modern glass, the Petzval lens is very sharp at subject focus, then progressively vignettes towards the non-focused areas. The areas that fall out of focus have swirly bokeh effect in the background, especially when shot wide open at f/2.2. (And who would really stop down this lens, anyway?)

The folks at Lomography are partnering with the optical designers at the Zenit factory in Russia to recreate and modernize this classic design that was so popular in the late 1800s. The new Petzval portrait lens will be available in early 2014.

Once mounted to a Canon or Nikon DSLR, portrait photographers will be able to achieve a look that would be difficult to recreate with another optic, or even in post production with image editing software. One of our team members here at the home office, David, commented,

“I was full of excitement when I learned about the Kickstarter campaign to manufacture a new line of DSLR-compatible Petzval lenses,” wrote David. “These lenses are ideal for portrait photography and have remarkable sharpness and off-focus effects. Major-brand lenses of similar speed, focal length and optical quality are priced quite a bit higher, so I am eagerly looking forward to using this lens. It will be a prized addition to my gear.”

And David isn’t the only one here interested in this glass. We’ll see who else shows up with one in their bag come next spring.

Derrick Story is the Photography Evangelist for Lowepro.


About Derrick

Derrick Story is a professional photographer, writer, teacher and photography evangelist for Lowepro. He has authored several digital media books, including his latest, The Photoshop CS4 Companion for Photographers and The Digital Photography Companion (O'Reilly Media, publisher). Derrick is a Senior Contributor for Macworld magazine where he writes a digital photography column, and he's a regular presenter on the popular training site, Online, Derrick has formed a virtual camera club called The Digital Story ( that's open to all photography enthusiasts. The site features weekly podcasts, daily posts, training videos, and reader-submitted photos. You can reach Derrick at


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