NPhoto - - Gear Zone -

The lens pro­duces mi­nor bar­rel dis­tor­tion, lit­tle vi­gnetting and min­i­mal colour fring­ing, even in im­age corners on a full-frame body. Fring­ing gen­er­ally goes un­no­ticed any­way due to the sig­nif­i­cant amount of blur­ring to­wards im­age corners. Cen­tre and edge sharp­ness start to in­crease at around f/4 and f/5.6 re­spec­tively. How­ever, the lens gives its de­sired ef­fect at wide aper­tures, so you’ll usu­ally shoot in the f/1.6 to f/2.8 re­gion. Look­ing more like a trum­pet than a cam­era lens, the Pet­z­val 85mm Art Lens is a crowd-funded col­lab­o­ra­tion be­tween Lo­mog­ra­phy and vet­eran Rus­sian firm Zenit.

The lens takes its de­sign cues from Joseph Pet­z­val’s Vic­to­rian op­tic, and suit­ably enough, it looks like some­thing you’d buy at an an­tique fair, with its brass bar­rel and a geared rack­fo­cus­ing sys­tem that fea­tures a thumb­screw. A black ver­sion is also avail­able, but it’s more ex­pen­sive at around £550/$700, and doesn’t look like it’s been re­cy­cled from a shell casing.

The ‘Waterhouse’ aper­ture set is sim­i­larly an­ti­quated: you in­sert plates near the rear of the lens to stop down from the wide-open aper­ture of f/2.2 all the way to f/16 in sin­gle f-stop in­cre­ments. Spe­cial aper­ture plates for shap­ing de­fo­cused el­e­ments are also avail­able. The num­ber of glass el­e­ments used in the lens isn’t spec­i­fied, but the se­cret for­mula en­ables a sharp area at the cen­tre of the im­age, with vi­gnetting and a swirly bokeh ef­fect to­wards the edges.


The lens isn’t blind­ingly sharp at the cen­tre, but gives a beau­ti­ful look to por­traits. The vi­gnetting is sub­tle on FX cam­eras and neg­li­gi­ble on DX ones. Sim­i­larly, the swirly bokeh is re­duced on a DX body, but still looks fab­u­lous.

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