Lomography, partly responsible for keeping analogue photography alive, has a keen eye for nifty old lenses. They brought back a couple of Petzval lenses, a Soviet-era Jupiter, and now, they've got their eyes on the Daguerreotype Achromat.
Lomography is taking to Kickstarter once again for this project and the project has hit over 200 percent of its funding goal and barrelling towards 300 percent -- all in one day. Coming to the lens, the Daguerreotype Achromat is a 64mm F2.9 lens that was first seen in 1839. The lens was used in daguerreotype photography, an early process that involved sensitising shiny surfaces and developing the exposed image using mercury vapours — sounds as mad as a hatter, doesn't it?
The lens is available in Nikon and Canon DSLR mounts and Lomography is also shipping additional lens adapters for Sony NEX and Alpha cameras, Fuji X-series and Micro 4/3 cameras. Users get to pick between a black coloured lens and another finished in brass.
The first thing you'd notice about the lens is the aperture. While most lenses feature a bunch of aperture blades, which gradually block light from entering the camera, the Daguerreotype uses what are called Waterhoues Apertures. These are little card like inserts that can be plugged into the lens, thus reducing the amount of light entering the camera. Lomography has taken things a step further by introducing apertures in creative shapes. The result is some interesting bokeh.
The lens is a special one because it was not only the type of lens that used to capture the first daguerreotype photograph, but it also had a very unique optical quality. In wider apertures, the lens would give the subject a dreamy appearance. It also produces some lovely swirly bokeh.
Lomography expects to start shipping the lens as early as August and wants to deliver at least 3,000 lenses by December 2016. Currently, all the early-bird options are gone and at the time of writing this article, the lens could be picked up for a minimum of $450.