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Bringing a 160 Year Old Giant Petzval Lens Back to Life

1/22/2020 ISO 1200 Magazine 3 Comments

It was a normal Saturday afternoon in November when I just walked into a flea marked. I met some friends there and looked a little bit around. At the end I bought this Gasc and Charconnet 500mm petzval lens. If you are as old as I am and have seen the movie “Big trouble in little China Town”, you know the Quote from Egg Shen: “But that’s how it always begins. Very small.” I think that is how my projects always start. Mostly I ask myself a month later, what I got myself into again. It was a bit easier this time. By the way, Gasc and Charconnet was founded at about 1860 in Paris and manufactured lenses under their name until 1880 when they changed to the name Laverne.

As mentioned in the video, Haumberger Fertigungstechnik Gmbh made the threaded ring that I needed for the lens. I can strongly recommend them, if you are in the need for something like that.

For a better understanding how to measure focal length and aperture I added this little graphic for you.

The first wet plate portrait I took with that lens (I’m sure this lens could tell lots of stories what it have seen before) with this Lens was from Prof. Dr. Sobotka.
As the president of the photographic society and lots of knowledge about this topic.

As a pohotographer here in Austria I can strongly recommend to become a member of thethe photographic society. With a membersheep you can benefit from lecutres, exhibitions, knowledge from other members and lots more. I enjoy this membership a lot. Use this form to become a member:

He seemed to me like the Austrian Einstein of photograohy and with this idea in mind I did the portrait. You can find more information about mr Sobotka here:

I felt in love with this unique look this lens produces. It forces you to look at the center. For me it is a new tool that I can use to generate unique and special portrait. Lets see what I do do with it on the next portrait.

You may also like: How to Make a Darkroom Timer/Thermometer with a Klockis

About Markus Hofstaetter:

Professional photographer for wet plate, portrait, events and virtual tours. You can find more about my work on my website, my blog, on Facebook, on Instagram or on Youtube

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Anonymous said...

Very cool !

Thank you!

Anonymous said...

Maybe lens has some internal reflections - painting inside with matt black might have positive effect??