Lomography 85mm Petzval Lens

A couple of weeks ago, the opportunity came up to purchase a lens I had wanted for a really long time at a massive discount (thanks to my job): the Lomography 85mm f2.2 Petzval lens. The newly designed Petzval lens was released in 2013, funded by a Kickstarter campaign, and is based on an Austrian lens which originally came out in 1840. Ideal for portrait photographers, the allure of the Petzval lens is the unique design that results in a swirly bokeh effect.


The lens came in a beautiful box with a book of photographs and various accessories. It’s made of brass, and the aperture is set by removing and inserting metal plates – you can also buy aperture plates of different shapes. The focus is set by turning a ridged ring on the side, instead of the focus ring being set into the lens body, and – as I discovered on my first outing with it (a wedding!) – it can be a bit tricky to get your focus perfect. Once you get the hang of it, though, it’s really worth it.

I asked one of my friends, Amber Burton (who also modelled for Parallel issue 5), if she’d be up for modelling for me so I could have a play with the lens! She said yes, so we met up on a very grizzly and cloudy afternoon to get some snaps. She met up with another of our friends, Charlotte Lipscombe (blog here) who did her makeup. Below are the photos that I got. I’m really happy with them, and can’t wait to use the lens more and expand my portfolio – it’s really got me buzzing to get some more shoots organised.


I also managed to get my hands on a filter I’d been hunting for for years. I’d never known how to search for it: I knew I wanted a kaleidoscope effect, but the only things I could find under that search criteria were lens adapters for mobile phones. Eventually I went on a massive online hunt that lasted several hours, finally discovering that what I was looking for was a prism filter. I managed to find one on eBay that was the right filter thread for my 50mm and 40mm lenses. Below are the photos I got using the prism filter. I really liked the results of this filter, and I think it’ll be perfect for some photos I want to get for the next issue of my magazine, Parallel. The only thing I could really fault with these images is the chromatic abberation, but I think that this is inevitable when you’re diffracting light in this way.


Thanks for reading! If you’re based in Norwich and want to set up a portrait session, just get in touch and we can get something organised.