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This very rare lens is currently for sale. I recently sold my 16×20, and I no longer have a camera to use it with, and there is no sense in holding on to this masterpiece when another photographer could be enjoying it. If you see this page, then the lens is for sale. The moment that it sells, the page will be taken down. I am selling the lens for $3900.00 USD and that includes shipping. Send payment via PayPal to my email address [email protected]

QUICK FACTS: ULF 450mm F4.5 French Petzval, Circa 1850’s, Brass Plated, Internal Aperture Control, ULF Coverage @ Infinity TBD (11×14, 8×20, 16×20)

HISTORY: This very old mid-19th century Petzval lens comes from the absolute most exclusive French lens-making workshop: Derogy.  

Getting a Derogy Petzval lens from the 1850s with ULF coverage is a dream come true for me.  I also plan to use it on my 8×10 camera for collodion dry plates and making kallitypes.  I think the 450mm focal length is really nice for landscapes on the 8×10 and 8×20, so I am pretty excited about that too.

It is a heavy lens (about 4000g/8.8 lbs), so use our lens support system for this lens. 

The Derogy Petzval lens is a variant of the Petzval lens, named after its designer, Charles Derogy. Derogy was a French optician who worked in the mid-19th century and was well known for his innovative lens designs.

In the mid-1850s, Derogy created his version of the Petzval lens, which was designed to improve upon some of the shortcomings of the original design. One of the main improvements was the reduction of field curvature and astigmatism, which made the lens more versatile and suitable for a wider range of photography.

The Derogy Petzval lens was also noted for its high-quality construction and attention to detail. The lens was made with the finest materials, including high-quality glass and brass, and was meticulously crafted by hand.

The Derogy Petzval lens quickly gained a reputation for being one of the finest lenses of its time. Its improved design and exceptional quality made it a popular choice among professional photographers, particularly in France.

One of the most notable users of the Derogy Petzval lens was the French photographer, Nadar. Nadar was a pioneer in aerial photography and used the Derogy Petzval lens to capture some of the first aerial photographs in history.

Today, the Derogy Petzval lens is considered a rare and valuable collectible. It is prized by collectors and photographers alike for its exceptional quality and historical significance.

If you are a photographer or interested in learning about analog photography, I have an Analog Photography Membership Community that is the only community of its kind where you can learn and explore analog photography in depth. I also have an extensive training library of video workshops and guidebooks if you prefer to download the videos and books for offline use.


Derogy’s workshop was one of the very early fine lensmakers in Europe and he achieved high respect for his lenses spanning decades. 

I believe the Derogy French Petzval is extra special and has an extra x-factor over the traditional Petzval lenses.  

Like most mid-19th-century lenses, this lens does not have exterior engravings on the outer sleeve, like the later lenses do, but it has fine writings on the front achromat objective, with the maker’s name. This is one of the largest Derogy Petzval’s ever made. 

The lens has a focal length of 450mm at a speed of F4.5 which was an engineering marvel in the mid-19th century.

It will cover 11×14 for sure and maybe even 14×17 on portrait distance, and it proudly comes with fine Petzval characteristics that we all know and love from this unique period.

I’ve tried it at infinity on my 16×20, and it definitely vignettes. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing depending on my creative intentions. I’ve mainly used it for closeup work in the studio so far, and it is a very special lens.

This lens came in a really nice and authentic condition, the brass has a warm golden lacquer and shows only minor wear. I feel inspired just looking at this lens. I think about all the photographers over the last 175 years that used this lens before me.

The rack & pinion mechanism is complete and still working. The glass is absolutely lovely; it is very clear and shows only minimal cleaning marks and dust specs, which is amazing for the age of this lens. This won’t affect the image quality at all. This lens is in incredible condition for being about 170 to 175 years old. 

Petzval Lens Design

The Petzval lens is a historic lens design that has made a significant impact on photography. This unique lens is named after Joseph Petzval, a Hungarian mathematician and physicist who created the lens in the mid-19th century.

Petzval designed the lens in response to a challenge by the Viennese camera manufacturer, Voigtländer, who asked him to create a lens that would provide a larger aperture and a sharper image than existing lenses. Petzval’s design was revolutionary and quickly became the standard for portrait photography.

The Petzval lens is characterized by its large aperture, shallow depth of field, and swirly bokeh. The lens design consists of two doublets, which are made up of two lens elements each. These doublets are separated by an aperture stop and a field stop. The design of the Petzval lens allows it to achieve a larger aperture and a faster shutter speed than other lenses of the time, making it ideal for portrait photography.

The Petzval lens was first introduced in 1840 and quickly gained popularity among photographers. Its unique bokeh and shallow depth of field made it ideal for portraiture, and it quickly became the lens of choice for portrait photographers. However, despite its popularity, the Petzval lens was not without its flaws. Its design was complex and difficult to manufacture, and its field curvature and astigmatism made it difficult to use for landscapes and other types of photography.

Despite its limitations, the Petzval lens remained popular throughout the 19th century, and it continued to influence the development of photography well into the 20th century. Many modern lenses, including the famous Helios 44-2 lens, are based on the Petzval lens design.

Today, the Petzval lens is considered a historical design, but it remains a popular choice among photographers looking for a unique and distinctive look. The lens has been adapted for use with modern cameras and continues inspiring new generations of photographers.

If you are a photographer or interested in learning about analog photography, I have an Analog Photography Membership Community that is the only community of its kind where you can learn and explore analog photography in depth. I also have an extensive training library of video workshops and guidebooks if you prefer to download the videos and books for offline use.


Height: 27cm (10 1/2″)
Width: 12cm (4 3/4″)
Weight: 4000g (8.8 lbs)

As for the lens, there is no serial number anywhere. The early French lens makers didn’t engrave most of their lenses back then, and the concept of serial numbers wasn’t standard operating procedure yet. But looking at its layout and the fact that it wasn’t engraved, it can surely be dated back to the late 1850s to early 1860s.

If you want to dive more into the early French makers, check out the book by Corrado D’Agostini: Photographic Lenses of the 1800s in France. it is expensive if you can even find a copy, but a good source of information on this lens. I have a copy of all three of Corrado’s lens books and I cherish them.



Hole for lens board ~ 129.5mm

Lens Cap Outer Diameter ~ 141.5mm

Derogy 450mm F4.5 (Left) – Dallmeyer 3B 290mm F3 (Right)

Derogy Camera-Wiki

Derogy Rapide No 4

Dating Derogy Lenses on LFPF

A ton of history and good info at this link to include here.