Petzval Lomography Lens Unboxing


The New Re-design Petzval Lomography Art/Portrait 85mm Lens

Nikon mount Petzval lens.

Petzval lens on Nikon camera.

If you are looking for sample photos from Petzval lens, feel free to drop by my collection of photos here.
Or if you are interested on the Special Edition Petzval Lens in Black, here is the first look at the lens.

Everything start off with Joseph Petzval (January 6, 1807 – September 19, 1891), a mathematician, inventor, and physicist, who designed the Petzval portrait lens back in year 1840.

The Lomography group (community that dedicated to analogue photography) take the initiative, through Kickstarter with over 3000 backers (in year 2013), they reinvented this lens for modern digital camera (only available in Canon EF and Nikon F mount as off Mar 2014, capable to support up till full frame digital sensor). Although it can fit into modern digital camera, this lens has no electronic contact to the camera. Therefore, both aperture and focus needs to be control manually thought the lens. Hence, the aperture number will not be recorded into your photo EXIF.

This lens is a 85mm crafted from brass with high premium quality optical glass lens, as they claimed. To be frank, it is still unable to compare with the new Sigma 35mm f/1.4 Art glass quality, but good enough for a lomography lens. The key feature of the produced images are strong color saturation with artistic vignetting (although vignetting is one of the lens weakness) and most importantly, the swirly bokeh. Due to these characteristic, it is suitable for portraits where it brings the attention to the center of the image with bokeh and vignette at the corners.

The lens mount (Nikon mount for my version) is build from metal and meant to last. Not like some of the low cost lens in the market where lens mount is build from plastic part.
There is a red dot on the mount which surely assist when mounting the lens to camera. However, the tolerance of the lens mount isn’t super precisely measured. During the removal of the lens from camera body, there are a few times I over turn and I need to turn counter clock wise slightly, in order to detach the lens from the camera mount.

This Petzval lens is designed, constructed and manufactured by the Zenit factory in Russia. As understand from Wiki, they are skillful in manufacturing lens even for modern SLR camera.


  • Focal Length: 85mm
  • Maximum Aperture: f/2.2
  • Apertures: Waterhouse aperture set, up to F/16
  • Image Circle: 44mm
  • Field of View: 30 degrees
  • Lens Mounting Profile: Canon EF and Nikon F
  • Electronic Contacts: No
  • Closest Focusing Distance: 1m
  • Focusing Mechanism: Gear Rack Focusing
  • Lens Construction: 4 Elements in 3 Groups
  • Filter Thread: 58mm
  • Lens Hood: Yes, build from brass
  • Lens Cap: Front (brass), Back (plastic)
  • Weight: ~500g
  • Diameter x Length, Weight: 120mm x 85mm x 80mm
The parcel from DHL.

The parcel was delivered by Lomography group from HongKong for my region.


The long waited mystery in a brown box.

Here are all the goodies that come with the lens.

  • 5 commemorative Petzval photo prints (shown in photo below)
  • unique cotton bag (shown in photo below, top right)
  • exclusively crafted leather pouch (not shown here, inside the box)
  • 4 additional Waterhouse plates, 3 with a special shape and one blank (shown in photo below, top right)
  • camera strap crafted from leather and cotton crafted Petzval logo (shown in photo below, top center)

Tang!!! It comes with all the freebies.


Top view of the cool lens’s box.

Box side view

Side view which contact all the lens specification and serial number.

Box bottom view

The bottom view printed the contend of the box.

Inside the box.

Finally, the first view of the real Petzval 85mm lens.

You need to manually control Petzval lens aperture using these interchangeable plates, they called it Waterhouse stop. It is a metal with a hole (aperture size) that control the amount of light into your camera. There are 7 of them in f/2.2, f/2.8, f/4,f/5.6,f/8,f/11, f/16 aperture hole.

These plates need to be dropped into the lens barrel in order to control the light. The bad thing about this is, the plate isn’t hold tight when you insert it into the barrel. It might fall off if you rotate the lens 180 degree over (which is unlikely during shooting). However if you do not keep the lens properly in your bag, the plate might fall off from the lens turn here and there.

Beside the lens cleaning cloth, it also comes with a exclusively crafted leather pouch (for sure not for the environmentalist) to safely protect your Petzval lens.

The accessories

It comes with waterhouse aperture stop, leather carrying case specially design for Petzval lens and lens cleaning cloth.

Lomography camera strap crafted from cotton and leather.

Lomography camera strap crafted from cotton and leather.

Leather pouch crafted with Lomography Zenit

Leather pouch crafted with Lomography Zenit Art Lens

Petzval lens front view

Front view of the lens which is engraved with the huge Petzval logo and name.

Petzval lens right view.

Side view where you can see the other side of the focusing knob at the lower left.

The focusing is performed through this big headed screw, which sticks out at the bottom of the lens barrel. It is a full geared mechanism in which it move the glass in a very short throw, from 1 meter focus distance to infinity, with about one full turn of the focus knob. The damping mechanism is well designed and once you remove your hand from the focus knob, it hardly move. This is a really smooth focusing experience and suitable to use for video shooting.

Petzval lens back view.

Engraved with the serial number (mosaic-ed) and the manufacturer location, Krasnogorsk, Russia.

Petzval lens left view.

Personal request to engrave with “Joseph Petzval Portrait Lens Reinvented in 2013”.

Front lens cap.

The front lens cap which is also made from brass, which is really cool.

Rear lens cap.

Plastic rear lens cap.

petzval barrel zoom

The inner barrel movement when focusing from infinity to 1 meter.

The lens hood which is made from brass as well, can be removed. The way to remove the lens hood is by un-screw it. Yes, it is not like the common lens hood that we have on the modern lens, which is using hook to lock the lens hood to the lens body. Petzval lens is using screw type mechanism to attach the lens hood. Turn keep turning the lens hood and it can be detached from the camera.

You can see the inner barrel movement far to near, once you remove the lens hood. Beside, you can fit a 58mm lens filter at opening of the inner barrel, after remove the lens hood.

The Petzval lens parts.

From left to right, the rear plastic lens cap, the Petzval lens body, brass lens hood and the front lens cap.


This is the focusing knob mechanism

Vintage look of the Petzval lens large screw headed focusing knob mechanism.

The Petzval lens focusing knob construction.

The Petzval lens focusing knob construction.

The focus distance indicator and waterhouse plate for Petzval lens.

The focus distance indicator and waterhouse plate for Petzval lens.


The specially crafted wordings on the lens to remark the ‘birth’ of this new Petzval lens.

Nikon mount Petzval lens.

Nikon mount Petzval lens on Nikon full frame camera.


Here is a quick update on some of the sample photos taken with Petzval lens.

Check out my open box the black special edition of Petzval lens as well.

Special Edition Black in Color Petzval Lens

Special Edition Black in Color Petzval Lens


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