It's All in the Lens — Refining the Art of Bokeh with the new Petzval 55 mm f/1.7 MKII

Bokeh — we've encountered the word before in many articles here in the Community and outside. This photography term has a polarizing effect on photographers, splitting the lot between those who love it and those who, in a tame description, are just not fans of it. If you're reading this article, then it's safe to assume that you like the idea of having bokeh in your shots or in the most conservative sense are intrigued by it.

Credits: raywychin

What some people consider a “gimmick”, others see as an aesthetic. Bokeh can be used to give images a visual flair. It can be used to give emphasis on the subject and make it stand out. Bokeh can add character to the simplest of objects by giving them a soft and dreamy background. The “blur“ and “haze” that the Japanese word boke stands for does make an interesting effect and understanding how they can affect your photos can make all the difference.

Beyond the Blur — Understanding Bokeh

There's more to bokeh than blurs and taking out-of-focus shots. Bokeh is produced by deliberately creating soft and delicate blurs in the background of a shot. It is done by shooting with a wide-open aperture and focusing primarily on the subject. This technique puts emphasis on the subject and adds depth to the image by creating an artistic “backdrop“ for the shot. One way to achieve this is to use a lens wide a wide-open aperture and a field curvature that helps in creating beautiful swirly backgrounds.

And while blur is a big part of the bokeh charm, it doesn't stop there. The quality of blur also comes into the equation. Simply blurring your background won't do. A remarkable bokeh effect also makes sure that the blurring in the background adds to the overall quality of the image, not work against it. Many prefer the soft and dreamy bokeh of the Petzval lenses so much that our Community is filled with great bokeh shots.

Credits: klive0420, danika, nataliaromanova, sertacy & andrejrusskovskij

Seeing Bokeh Through the new Petzval 55 mm f/1.7 MKII Art Lens

The Petzval Art Lens Family were made exactly for this type of unique photography. Designed to be able to shoot at wide-open apertures and use different aperture plates to create different distinct bokeh shapes, the Petzval Art Lenses give your photos a signature look which is truly one-of-a-kind. The aesthetic that Joseph Petzval created in the 1800s continues to this day with the help of these art lenses. The Petzval Art Lenses did not only pay homage to the swirly bokeh of the past generation and also refined it to what it is now.

The Petzval Art Lenses open up doors to a unique viewing experience due to its composition. The human eye has a great visual perception, meaning that it has an excellent depth of field. In simple terms, bokeh doesn't register quite well when seen through the naked eye. This is where Petzval Art Lenses shine with its unique lens elements as it helps the human eye to recognize bokeh once a photograph is taken.

© Birgit Buchart, Harimao Lee, Apostolos Tsolakidis, Danny Nedkova, Peter Obermoser, Yuya Sugimoto (All Photos were taken with the new Petzval 55mm f/1.7 MKII)

Optics, in fact, play a crucial role in capturing bokeh. The artful swirls and delicate orbs that register on film or digital screen can compliment, accentuate, and put emphasis on seemingly mundane subjects. Another great thing about bokeh is that it can make the background a vital component of an image. It doesn't simply make the background more interesting, it also helps in making the background an important visual component, an actor in a supporting role, if you will.

The new Petzval 55 mm f/1.7 MKII is the latest addition of our Petzval Art Lenses. This lens is built from the ground up, retaining the classic optical design by Joseph Petzval but also utilizing modern optic glass elements, coatings, and assembly methods. This is to ensure that its classic signature look is preserved while allowing it to work well with high-resolution Mirrorless Full Frame Camera systems.


The Petzval 55 mm f/1.7 MKII is created with discerning photographers and filmmakers in mind. This versatile 55mm art lens brings the unique look of Joseph Petzval’s original lens to full frame mirrorless cameras. This art lens is designed to allow full creative flexibility, with its 7 levels of Bokeh Control and Dual Aperture system. Its optics are optimized to retain the signature swirly bokeh without compromising image sharpness where it counts. It is an indispensable addition to your creative arsenal. Pre-order yours now in our online store.

written by cheeo on 2019-05-23 #gear #blur #bokeh #swirl #petzval-55

New Petzval 55mm f/1.7 MKII Bokeh Control

Introducing the New Petzval 55 mm f/1.7 — the first Lomography Art Lens designed specifically for the ever-growing mirrorless market. The Petzval 55 mm f/1.7 features refined optics, a sleek industrial design, and a better-than-ever bokeh control system. We’ve added a delicately smooth focusing ring and a new stopless aperture diaphragm for video functionality, making the Petzval 55 mm f/1.7 more flexible than its predecessors.

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