While walking around a flea market, Markus found a huge 500mm Petzval lens, produced around 1860. It was in a pretty bad condition, but Markus had an idea. He bought this rare gem, restored it, and took some fantastic portraits with it.
“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,’” Markus writes on his blog. Just like his projects always start, this one also seemed like something small in the beginning.
It was a normal Saturday afternoon in November and Markus bought this old lens at the flea market. It was produced by Gasc and Charconnet, which was founded at about 1860 in Paris. The company manufactured lenses under their name until 1880 when they changed the name to Laverne.
Markus devoted his time and efforts to bringing the lens back to life. Haumberger Fertigungstechnik Gmbh made the threaded ring that he needed for the lens so he could use it on his large format camera. The first portraits he took were of Dr. Sobotka, the president of Austria Photographic Society.
In the video below, you can see a bit more about the lens restoration and shooting portraits with it:
Even though 500mm sounds like a really long lens, when used on Markus’ large format camera, it’s around 43mm 35mm-equivalent focal length. “That means, you get the Bokeh from a 500mm F4.5 on a 43mm view,” Markus tells me. And that sounds fantastic.
Here are the crop factors Markus calculated, along with a little graph he made for better understanding:
“A plate in the size of 180x240mm has a crop factor of 0.15. 210x270mm – crop 0.13 and my other plates 300x400cm are crop 0,086 .
My 220mm Petzval on the 180x240mm plate is like a 28,6mm lens on full frame.
My 360mm Voigtländer Universal is like a 43mm Lens on a 210x270mm plate or a 31mm on a 300x400cm plate.”
Take a look at some more photos:
Markus is an avid photographer, focused mainly on portraits and collodion wet plate process. This medium has brought him many awards, and he just recently won the Best of Nation Awards 2020 for Austria. Restoring and using the 160 Petzval lens is only one of his great projects, and I can’t wait to see what he will do next. You can check out more of Markus’ work on his website and follow him on Instagram, Flickr, and YouTube.