Proving it's not just Lomography which can give a vintage lens a modern makeover, Lensbaby has announced its latest bit of glass, the Twist 60. The new lens is said to be true to an 1840 design by Joseph Petzval, but has been designed to be used with modern full frame DSLRs. It can be used to create images with swirly background blurs and enhanced vignetting at wider apertures.
The Twist 60 isn't the first time Lensbaby has made the old new again. Previously there's been the Velvet 56 lens, which was built like classic mid-20th century portrait lenses. However, this time around Lensbaby is looking further back, right to the same lenses which inspired the Lomography Petzval Art lenses.
As such, the Twist 60 will be capable of producing the striking subject separation and swirly background blur, which has a habit of dividing photographers. This effect, along with vignetting, will be more pronounced the closer the 12 blade diaphragm of the lens is to its F2.5 maximum aperture.
The Twist 60 lens has a 60-mm focal length and consists of four elements in three groups. It features a black anodized metal-body with gold anodized aperture ring (you are not using aperture plates like on the Lomography Petzval lenses). It has a 46-mm filter thread, and a minimum focus distance of 45 cm (18 inches).
Lensbaby says the Twist 60 will come in Canon EF, Nikon F, and Sony E lens mounts and is recommended for use on full frame cameras, where you'll get the full effect of the swirly blur. It will also be available as a separate optic, for use in the Lensbaby Optic Swap System, such as the Composer Pro series.
The Lensbaby Twist 60 lens is due to start shipping in May, and will be priced at US$280. The Twist 60 optic will be available at the same time, for $180.
You can check out a promo video for the Lensbaby Twist 60, complete with examples of the vintage swirl, below.