New Emil Busch Glaukar 3.1 portrait lens launched on Kickstarter

Last week I reported about a new “Petzval-like” portrait from a German company. Today the Emil Busch Glaukar 3.1 is officially launched on Kickstarter:

In 1910, Emil Busch introduced the Glaukar, a fully corrected photographic lens, which besides solving spherical aberration, corrected coma and astigmatism was a "usable" lens. Unlike Rudolph’s Protar, which did not work properly at the time of invention because its construction required glass coatings not available at the time, the Emil Busch Glaukar lens was the first anastigmatic lens for daily portrait photography. By creating his anastigmatic lenses, Busch corrected the above mentioned faults by careful combination of the lens elements. Sharpness and artistic images were possible for the first time.

The modern Glaukar will come in the following mounts:

  • Nikon
  • Canon
  • Sony E
  • Fuji
  • Micro Four Thirds
  • Leica M
  • Leica T

Lens technical specifications:

  • Focal length: 97mm
  • Maximum aperture: 1:3.1
  • Aperture range: 1:22
  • Image circle: 43mm
  • Field of view: 25°
  • Electronic contacts none
  • Closest focusing distance: 1.5 m
  • Filter thread: 37mm
  • Max diameter: length 73mm/80mm (DSLR), approx. 85mm mirrorless
  • Weight: 410 g

Sample photos:

Emil Busch Glaukar 3.1 portrait lens sample photos

Press release:

Reinventing the Legendary Emil Busch Glaukar 3.1 Lens

More than 100 years after the Emil Busch Glaukar 3.1 was introduced as one of the most important lenses of its time, two top German photographers have reinvented this classic as a modern portrait lens that promises to be as innovative as the original. The pair has partnered with well-known optical engineer Wolfdieter Prenzel on this project in which production will mostly take place in Wetzlar, Germany, to ensure the highest quality.

Fashion photographer Benedikt Ernst and portrait photographer Firat Bagdu launched a Kickstarter campaign today to bring the Glaukar 97mm f/3.1 into the modern age.

The new Glaukar 3.1 will have the same brass appearance and silhouette as the original but will be constructed from high-end aluminum with a brass-like oxidation, which ensures the durability and mechanical precision of a modern lens. But while the new lens will look very much like the classic, the inside has been redesigned by Prenzel, completely from scratch to meet today’s high-tech demands.

But due to its specially coated lenses the new Glaukar produces a fascinating mixture of sharpness, strong colors and, along with 12 aperture blades, wonderful bokeh effects.

Ernst and Bagdu, whose clients have included Rolls Royce, Redken, Chopard, to name a few, knew what qualities they wanted in a lens. They defined the principles and joined with lens designers and manufacturers in Germany to design the first prototype.

In fact, it was the success of one of their clients, German lens maker Meyer Optik, that inspired them to start their own project. Meyer Optik has even put the pair together with key German camera contacts in Wetzlar to help support the founders.

So, while the pair are a startup, they are backed by years of industry experience.

"We have seen some campaigns in the past where old lenses were brought back for the users of today's cameras and appreciated them, but we wanted to go further and recreate a lens that would otherwise be lost,” Bagdu said.

"But at the same time, the quality of the lens must be to the highest standards as well," Ernst added. “Therefore, we are glad that we could ensure cooperation with some leading German firms.”

Manufacturing will be done to a large extent by Uwe Weller Feinwerktechnik in Wetzlar, which was formed from the merger of several firms, including the mechanical divisions of Leica Camera and Zeiss-Hensoldt. The partnership with Uwe Weller GmbH will ensure that the high-precision elements of the lens will be produced precisely to Prenzel’s design, which will include the use of top-of-the-line Schott and O'Hara glass.

The exclusive use of Schott and O'Hara glass ensures that the goal of creating the perfect portrait lens is put into practice exactly as intended.

Part of their inspiration came from the legendary Glaukar 3.1 that pioneer German lens maker Emil Busch introduced in 1910. The original Glaukar was a groundbreaking lens because it corrected for spherical aberration, coma and astigmatism – something that no other lens in daily use could do at the time. Not even Zeiss and its famed lens maker Paul Rudolph had been able to match the Glaukar since their designs required coatings not available at the time.

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  • USAFPhotog

    So you can’t get this same quality with a 100m or 50m?

    • Alexis

      This comes with the NIK Analog Efex look straight out of camera…

  • Mistral75

    It’s not Meyer-Optik Görlitz but it’s a company said to be launched by two photographers working for Meyer-Optik Görltz, Meyer-Optik has put them in touch with German camera contacts, the Kickstarter campaign is very Meyer-Optik-like and so are the prices ($2,000, no kidding!)

  • MB

    So whats left to be abused … Steinheil … Rietzschel … Heineken (it sound German enough :))

    • vriesk


  • Jeffry De Meyer

    Can’t wait for a Chinese manufacturer to introduce a box having it and the meyer optic ones with silent wave motors with a 200% profit margin for $800 after tax

  • Azmodan

    I hate the gold look, looks like someone pimped my lens. It’d be nice if they did it in silver with black highlights or vice versa.

  • Zos Xavius

    The original Glaukar 3.1 was a 200mm lens on 4×5 which gave a FoV of 50mm. I really don’t understand what they are trying to recreate here. Also since when is aluminum more durable than brass? I almost stopped watching when they said that. The original was a notable lens but mostly because of its speed. There were other anastigmats decades earlier. The zeiss Protar and Cooke triplet for instance.

    • Pure aluminum, no, I suspect that there are some silumin alloys that are harder than brass. Now in curious!

  • TinusVerdino

    The lens isn’t sharp. A cheap Helios 44 will give you better pics.

    • Zos Xavius

      If they used the same formula as the original the helios is practically modern in comparison. Haha that’s saying something when a helios is actually the better lens. Do note that I love the 44M-6 and would never part with mine.

  • An American in Canada

    $800+ for three elements in three groups with no CPU? There is a sucker born every minute…

  • FountainHead

    And they say the Krauts have no sense of humour…

    • Racist comment

      • Jukeboxjohnnie

        Lighten up were sick of pc comments

  • Jon Winkleman

    it is interesting and I like the supplied images. However as a primitive designed manual lens this is a novelty lens not a professional workhorse. At $800 for early bird funders and much more once it goes to market, I would rather but a Sigma Art lens or even a used manual modern Zeiss. It seems like a product for affluent hobbyists who collect rare and exotic glass than something pros or people with a limited budget will buy for daily use. At least Lomography’s Petzval lens series had that unique artsy circular swirly booked that really did create unique images that were miles apart from modern quality pro glass. The Glaukar images are beautiful and I like the bokeh but I find neither that unique to justify spending $800 on this over a modern lens with similar IQ.

  • andreid

    Has anyone some rational explanations on the plethora of new lens makers while the overall market going down?

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