New Lomography Petzval 58mm lens announced: hands on review

Lomography has just launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund the manufacturing of their new Petzval 58mm lens. The Petzval lens is based on a 170 year old design and it produces a super soft bokeh (blur) effect. The lens is totally manual which means you have to set the pace of your of photography a little slower and in the digital instant age that’s always a good thing. The 58mm Petzval is compatible with Nikon and Canon DSLR mounts as well as some Sony, Olympus and a few other mirrorless cameras.

portrait take on the lomography petzval 58mm

Portrait of Dave Sawyers taken with the prototype 58mm Petzval lens. Click image to enlarge.

lomography 58mm petzval lens

At the start of this year I was given the opportunity to shoot with one of a few prototype Petzvals and I must admit I thought it was a great lens; you may notice some of my images on the Petzval 58mm Kickstarter page. This is a review of sorts but you must bear in mind I was using a prototype. All the photos on this page where shot with Petzval 58mm and Canon 5D mark 3.

Brighton Pier taken with the lomography petzval 58mm

Brighton pier at dusk, the 58mm Petzval lens is just good or portraits. Click image to enlarge.

Brighton Swimming Club member Bob taken with the lomography petzval 58mm

Portrait of Brighton Swimming Club member bob. The spherical blurring pattern of the Petzval is really apparent in this image. Click image to enlarge.

At the end of 2014 I reviewed the 85mm Petzval which is the first version of the modern Petzval and I got great results. Because of the 85mm focal length I found it a bit tricky for portraiture as you have to put a little distance between you and your subject. The new lens has a focal length of 58mm which makes it much easier to get up close and personal with your subjects. Like the older Petzval you can change the aperture by physically adding and removing aperture rings, unfortunately when I borrowed the prototype I did not have rings so all my images are shot at f/1.9.

My little Matilda taken with the Lomography Petzval 58mm

Because the über shallow depth of field you get with the Petzval 58mm shooting kids can be tricky as they tend to move about at bit. I did manage to get this shot of my Daughter though. Click image to enlarge.

Taken with the Lomography Petzval 58mm

We took that frogspawn home and they all hatched and turned into frogs. They are now happily living in the Grad parents pond. Click image to enlarge.

Apart from the shorter focal distance what really sets this lens apart from the previous version is the ability to change the bokeh / blur pattern. The Petzval is known for its spherical blurring pattern and with the 58mm version you can change how spherical that pattern is with the new bokeh dial. As it’s a totally manual lens I can’t say what the bokeh control dial was set to for each of my photos as there is no EXIF data but while shooting I found myself tweaking the bokeh dial to achieve different results each time.

Lomography Petzval 58mm bokeh blur settings

The Lomography Petzval bokeh blur settings, this image is of and out of focus grid of coloured post cards. 7 is the most spherical and 1 is the most normal bokeh pattern.

taken with the lomography petzval 58mm by Kevin Meredith

Martina Watts of Brighton Swimming Club.  Click image to enlarge.

Starling memeration murmuration from above taken with the lomography petzval 58mm

Shooting a fast moving starling murmuration was a little hit and miss with the 58m Lomography Petzval but did manage to capture some nice shots with in the end. Don’t think the uptake in the nature community will be that big 😉

If you hurry to the Petzval Kickstarter page you can get the lens for $450 which is steal, unfortunately in the time it’s taken me to write this blog post the $350 super early bird lenses have all gone and they have already hit their funding target. Hurry hurry if want this at a good price!

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2 Responses to New Lomography Petzval 58mm lens announced: hands on review

  1. Dorian Limb says:

    Is it English your mother tongue?, if yes, what a horrible grammatical errors.

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