The people at Lomography have built a business around promoting and selling lo-fi cameras and accessories. What's (really) old is new again in their latest Kickstarter campaign, an effort to bring the centuries-old Petzval lens back into production. The 'New Petzval' lenses look and function much like the originals with a brass exterior, and would be produced in both Canon EF- and Nikon F- mounts.

With brass lens barrels and hoods, Lomography's New Petzval lens will be sold for Canon and Nikon SLRs.

Why bring back the Petzval? Lomography is promoting the way the swirled bokeh it creates draws focus to the center of the frame, the only part of the image in sharp focus. Petzval lenses of yore were notable for having the widest apertures available at the time, speeding up the amount of time required to create a Daguerrotype from 10 minutes to 30 seconds.

A cynic's view might be that Lomography is trying to push the rejection of 173 years of lens development and improvement as a creative choice, rather than marketing-driven ludditism. However, the Kickstarter project has already exceeded its funding goal, three times over, so it doesn't appear that such cynicism will hinder its success.

The New Petzval lenses incorporate some modern design updates, starting with a larger f/2.2 maximum aperture. The aperture can be changed using the included set of diaphragms (known as Waterhouse stops) to achieve different stops. Zenit, a lens producer based in Russia, has partnered with Lomography to produce the lenses.

The New Petzvals are planned to launch at $499 US. Contribute to Lomography's Kickstarter and a new-old Petzval can be yours for a mere $300 pledge.