Lomography Daguerreotype Achromat 64mm f/2.9 art lens
$499 (around £400) www.lomography.com
As this month’s Big Test makes clear, there’s no shortage of conventional portrait lenses, but here’s an alternative that’s anything but conventional. Lomography has taken the design of the world’s first photographic optic and reworked it to provide fun, creative effects that are particularly suitable for portrait photography.
At its maximum aperture the Achromat produces atmospheric soft-focus effects, but stop down to f/5.6 or smaller and you get images with deep contrast and razor-sharp definition. Aperture is controlled by slotting small aperture plates into the lens, with each plate corresponding to a specific aperture size. Use the Lumière plates for images with a soft, even glow, or go for the Aquarelle plates if you want out-of-focus areas to have a textured, watercolour look.
With a minimum focus distance of just 50cm, the Achromat is also ideally suited to creative macro photography, whether you want to blur out the background or keep everything sharp. Whatever your chosen subject, though, you’ll just have to bear in mind that it’s a strictly manual affair, so you’ll need to experiment with exposure.
First impressions_ You’ll probably have to experiment a bit to get eyecatching results with this lens, but it should nonetheless provide plenty of scope for fun and creative portrait, macro and still-life photography.
The Achromat 64mm art lens is available in brass or black finishes, with black costing an extra $100 (around £80)