Petzval Kickstarter: Hipster photography reaches new heights with 1840 all-brass lens

view gallery VIEW GALLERY

New York-based photography specialists Lomography have already raised five times their goal to manufacture an all-brass camera lens from 1840.

A Kickstarter campaign has been launched to bring back to life one of the oldest modern camera lenses. Invented in 1840, the Petzval is famous for taking unique pictures that Lomography – the company behind the campaign – say are “near impossible to achieve using Photoshop and filters”.

Launched yesterday with funding ending on August 24 the campaign has already raised more than $500,000 – five times its goal – with just under 1,500 backers.

Photos taken using the Petzval lens are distinctive because of their narrow field of focus and ‘bokeh’ effect that makes objects in the background appear blurred in a circular pattern.

  A photography taken with the Petzval lens

 

This is due to the lens’s large aperture and 85mm focal length which means that only a small portion of the image is completely in focus. Whereas modern lenses are designed so that the whole picture is in focus, the Petzval lens effectively blurs the edges of the image, drawing the eye towards the centre and creating captivating portraits.

When the Petzval was first introduced it revolutionized photography. The Daguerre & Girouz Camera (the first ever mass-produced camera, introduced in 1839) had a long exposure time meaning early photographers had to wait up to ten minutes to take shots even in bright sunlight. The Petzval, by comparison, was twenty times faster and produced photographs with a much sharper focus.

The shallow field of focus makes for engaging portraits

 

The redesigned ‘Lomography Petzval’ will work with both digital and analogue modern cameras and fits on to Canon EF and Nikon F mounts. Lomography are hoping to ship the first 1000 lenses to backers by December 2013 before they put the Petzval up for general sale.

Lomography: An analogue movement

If anyone was able to launch such a campaign it's Lomography. Not only have the analogue photography specialists already had one succesful Kickstarter campaign (for a smartphone adaptor to scan 35mm film) but they first made their name with the reinvogration of a classic analgoue camera.

Launching twenty years ago as a photographyic community, Lomography was born out of the discovery of the Lomo LC-A camera by a group of Russian students. The students loved the quirky and unpredictable photos produced by the cheap plastica camera, and sought out other models produced by the now-defunct LOMO company.

The Diana F+ is perhaps the most well known camera associated with the company. This 1960s design classic soon became a cult hit, with its heavily vignetted snaps beloved of fashion photographers and camera nerds alike.

Embraced by celebrities from Elijiah Wood to Neil Gaiman the Lomography movement continued to grow and grow, and with the introduction of apps such as Instagram and Hipstamatic the aesthetic behind the cameras hit the mainstream. Sepia tinted, blurred, scratched and messed up photos became the norm.

In part the Lomography movement can be seen as a rebellion against the digital clarity of modern cameras. As sharp focus and perfect colour-reproduction became the norm they also became boring, flat, and artificial. Young consumers now associate authenticity with the 'unpredictable' looks of filters - ignoring the fact these are generated by algorithims, as routinely regimented as possible.

The irony that Lomography's attempt to rediscover an analogue and spontaneous mode of photography has been hijacked by a mass-produced digital world of computer-generated filters is probably not lost on the project's founders but hey, who really cares when the pictures look this good.

 

Suggested Topics
PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebooksA superb mix of recipes serving up the freshest of local produce in a delicious range of styles
Life and Style
ebooksFrom the lifespan of a slug to the distance to the Sun: answers to 500 questions from readers
Arts and Entertainment
'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvOnly remaining original cast-member to leave long-running series
Arts and Entertainment
Game Of Thrones
Uh-oh, winter is coming. Ouch, my eyes! Ygritte’s a goner. Lysa’s a goner. Tywin’s a goner. Look, a dragon
tvSpoiler warning:The British actor says viewers have 'not seen the last' of his character
Sport
The Etihad Stadium, home of Manchester City
premier league

The Independent's live blog of today's Premier League action

News
Rumer was diagnosed with bipolarity, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder: 'I was convinced it was a misdiagnosis'
peopleHer debut album caused her post-traumatic stress - how will she cope as she releases her third record?
Life and Style
Couples have been having sex less in 2014, according to a new survey
life
Voices
Holly's review of Peterborough's Pizza Express quickly went viral on social media
voices
Sport
Radamel Falcao was forced to withdraw from the World Cup after undergoing surgery
premier leagueExclusive: Reds have agreement with Monaco
Arts and Entertainment
musicBiographer Hunter Davies has collected nearly a hundred original manuscripts
Sport
A long jumper competes in the 80-to-84-year-old age division at the 2007 World Masters Championships
athletics
Arts and Entertainment
tvReview: 'Time Heist' sees a darker side to Peter Capaldi's Doctor
Life and Style
Walking tall: unlike some, Donatella Versace showed a strong and vibrant collection
fashionAlexander Fury on the staid Italian clothing industry
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Gadgets & Tech

    Graduate BI Consultant (Business Intelligence) - London

    £24000 - £30000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Graduate BI Consultant (B...

    Service Delivery Manager (Product Manager, Test and Deployment)

    £40000 - £55000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Service Delivery Manager (Product Ma...

    Technical Product Marketing Specialist - London - £70,000

    £50000 - £70000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Cloud Product and Solutions Marketin...

    Trainee Helpdesk Analyst / 1st Line Application Support Analyst

    £18000 per annum: Ashdown Group: An established and growing IT Consultancy fir...

    Day In a Page

    Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

    Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

    Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
    Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

    Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

    The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
    The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

    Scrambled eggs and LSD

    Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
    'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

    'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

    Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
    Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

    New leading ladies of dance fight back

    How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
    Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

    A shot in the dark

    Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
    His life, the universe and everything

    His life, the universe and everything

    New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
    Reach for the skies

    Reach for the skies

    From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
    These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

    12 best hotel spas in the UK

    Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
    These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

    Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

    Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
    Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

    Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

    His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam