Recently, a team of photography nerds asked Kickstarter to fund their dream recreating a legendary but now defunct 19th Century camera lens for Digital SLR cameras.
Most modern lenses are designed to minimize field curvature, so you’ll have the whole image in focus. But the Petzval lens design gives its photos a totally different optical effect.
You’ll get an area which is very sharp at the focus of the photograph over a narrow field. There is then progressive vignetting towards the non-focused areas; this helps draw the viewer’s attention to the crisp and focused area of the photograph.
Needless to say, it’s really cool. The Internet loved the idea so much so that it kicked in almost $1.4 million even though the organization behind the lens, Lomography, only asked for $100,000. You can still purchase one for just $400.