Pixel-peeping photographers who like to assess the quality of their lenses by shooting images of brick walls and test cards should probably look away now. Lomography has launched a Kickstarter campaign to help bring a modern version of a Daguerreotype Achromat lens from 1839, complete with its "ethereal aesthetic," to your modern DSLR or mirrorless camera.
The Daguerreotype Achromat Art Lens, which has already secured its US$100,000 Kickstarter funding target several times over, follows in the footsteps of the New Petzval, the Petzval 58, and the Minitar-1 Art lenses by being a modern Lomography take on a vintage optic.
This time around the inspiration comes from the very start of practical photography, and the world's first photographic optic lens. As the name suggests, the Daguerreotype Achromat Art lens is a reinvention of the sort of lens which featured on the Daguerreotype camera, and was the first to capture a photo of a human, in Paris in 1839.
In reinventing the lens, Lomography has set out to bring back the ethereal aesthetic of the original achromat design, which gave images a powerful natural glow, while also producing a more versatile and modern lens. As with the Petzval lenses, the Lomography Daguerreotype Achromat Art will feature a brass or black finish, and the handcrafted manual lens will have a focal length of 64 mm.
The optical design of the reworked lens reportedly means that it will produce the iconic soft focus at F4 or wider, allowing photographers to use this aesthetic artistically. However, images taken when it is stopped down to F5.6 and beyond can offer sharp results with deep contrast.
A Waterhouse Aperture plate system (where aperture plates are inserted into the lens) is again used to control aperture from F2.9 to F16, and Lomography has created Lumière and Aquarelle aperture plates to create different background effects. Lumière gives more dotted backgrounds, while Aquarelle gives an almost watercolor paint effect.
The Daguerreotype Achromat Art Lens will be available in Canon EF or Nikon F SLR mounts, and therefore be compatible with a multitude of other cameras via converters.
It will currently take a Kickstarter pledge of US$450 to secure a Daguerreotype Achromat Art Lens. With the funding target already secured, if everything else goes to plan, the lenses should start shipping in August.
You can check out the Kickstarter video, complete with examples of what the lens can do, below.