Lens Rehousing  -  Petzvals

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Petzval Lenses

The origins of the Petzval lens date back to the early 1840s. The original design was by Joseph Petzval and consisted of two doublets, one either side of the iris assembly. It is believed to be one of the first portrait lenses to exist. Due to the basic optical design and the limited elements within the lens, it created an unusual effect in the background when focussed of a subject closer to the lens. This effect can only be described as ‘swirling bokeh’. It gives the appearance that out of focus background is creating a circular effect, especially noticeable when there is a busy background (such as foliage). As optical designs improved, these effects were removed from photography lenses to produce a more ‘life-like’ image.

However, fast forward to modern-day digital sensors and high contrast images, it produced a demand for something different. Photographers were after a more ‘artistic’ flare to their images and something that could be captured in camera. A Kickstarter program was set and Lomography took on the challenge to re-create these artistic lenses. Designed for the artistic photographer, these lenses were created with a vintage feel, manufactured out of brass with a rack and pinion style focus movement. Furthermore, the lenses came with an array of different shape aperture blades that could be ‘posted’ into the lens to create different shaped bokeh.

TLS recognised the unique characteristics of these lenses so took on the project to offer a full cine housing for these to be used in film and cinematography. During the rehousing process, TLS install a new 16 blade iris assembly with a matt-black anti reflective coating on. Therefore, the cinematographer has the choice to use this lens at multiple aperture settings in the way they’re used to working. The outcome is two characterful lenses that can be used to enhance certain scenes within cinematography. The 58mm and 85mm are perfect focal lengths for making them portrait shots more special.

Interview with Robbie Ryan BSC

Robbie Ryan BSC, Cinematographer, talks about the 'Poor Things' film production and why the TLS Petzval lenses were chosen and used for this spectacular quirky comedy.

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'To inspire through innovation, passion and quality'
'To inspire through innovation, passion and quality'