*Double Facepalm's Face.
Once I took the petzval outside for 30 minutes, I knew this was going to be a love-hate relationship.
Kickstarter funded a New Lomo Petzval Lens designed for 35mm Cam's last year and I signed up for the limited run from serial # 50-200. I paid 500$ for the lens and some neat other accessories that come's with the lens. I also have my name engraved on it so that means re-selling is out of the picture. (which I won't ever sell it because its also a personal lens for keepsakes.)
Sooooooooooooooo... With delays from the project, I got mine today and here my first impressions of this Petzval lens.
Build Quality - 3/5
-This lens has some heft when you pick it up and it feels like a tank being solid brass parts. The lens hood is also solid brass and screws off the front with precision threading from the fine machining. The thumb screw is very fine with no grit and the waterhouse plates slide in with a nice click. The machining is elegant and all the part fit together like a finely crafted classic Victrola.
-However, This lens has openings and gaps all over it asking for dust to enter it's innards. The waterhouse plate gap, the gap around the moving front element, the large gap between the rear element and the mount. Don't expect this lens to remain dust-free for long and definitely avoid water. The plate can slide out accidentally if you turn to a portrait shot too quickly.
Image Quality - ?/5
-It sucks everywhere but the center. Sharp this lens is not but it's passable IF you get focus IF you frame Center or IF you stop down.
-IF you hit focus... This was one of the hardest lenses to get focused because even with liveview, if you frame off-center, it will look OOF because of the field curvature. The knob is smooth but IF you can get lucky to move the tiny nuance you need. (A bigger knob would have helped alot.) I threw away 90% of my frames due to OOF and this lens can be a handful if you subject is moving the slightest.
-IF you stop down, Its much easier but this is not the lens for stopping down.
-IF you can hit all these check boxes, wow you can get some really stunning bokeh. It's not a prevalent as the LF petzval but with a brenzer menthod, I believe this lens can be stunning. I have some very nice shoots coming up soon, and I will report back with more images once I get this lens into the field.