In July, Lomography partnered up Zenit and launched a Kickstarter project to recreate the original Petzval lens, a 19th century invention by Hungarian mathematician Joseph Petzval. This Kickstarter really took the cake: we’re talking about over $300,000 more than its original goal in just a month. Four months, 3,379 backers, and a whopping $1,396,149 later the company is shipping out the first 500 lenses to its backers and now has made them available to the public for pre-order.
To recap, a Petzval lens is designed to deliver a unique optical effect, producing photos with a sharp center and a swirly outer area along with vignetting added into the mix. While claiming to keep the trademark Petzval look and to deliver the same optical effect as its 1800s counterpart, this newer version is sleeker and smaller–built to fit with our modern-day SLRs. With a focal length of 85mm and a maximum aperture of f2.2 (as opposed to the original’s f3.5), it features a gear rack focusing mechanism for videographers, uses the traditional Waterhouse aperture system, and has a field view of 30°.
Lomography’s Petzval lens includes seven aperture plates (since it’s using the Waterhouse system) and four additional experimental aperture plates. You will also get a leather case and some other goodies for $599 for a brass version and for $100 more for the black version. You can get them with either a Canon EF or a Nikon F mount. They’re available for pre-order now with an estimated delivery date of May 2014.