Glaukar Anastigmat f 3.1

Emil Busch Glaukar 3.1 Anastigmat Lens Returns

The mother of all modern lenses is about to return. Two enthusiastic portrait photographers are running a Kickstarter campaign in order to give a new life to the famous Glaukar 3.1/ 97mm lens to be compatible with all modern DSLR and mirrorless cameras.

Prototype of the new Glaukar f3.1
Prototype of the new Glaukar f3.1

The Emil Busch Glaukar 3.1 portrait lens

Emil Busch was a pioneer of modern-day photography. In fact, he was the first to design and produce remarkable anastigmatic lenses – lenses that correct for spherical aberration – actually some time before other famous manufacturers such as Zeiss with whom he worked closely. In 1865, some 25 years before Dr. Paul Rudolph introduced his Protar lens to Zeiss, Busch patented the Pantoskop lens, the world’s first true anastigmatic lens. It was an excellent wide angle lens and his experience with this anastigmatic lens construction inspired the later development of the famous Glaukar.

In 1910, Emil Busch introduced the Glaukar, another fully corrected photographic lens, which besides solving spherical aberration, corrected coma and astigmatism. Unlike Rudolph’s Protar, which did not work properly 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.

In its time, the remarkable and usable anastigmatic lens Emil Busch’s F 3.1 Glaukar Anastigmat, was considered a very “fast” lens, meaning it works well in available, low-light light.

Excerpt from a Emil Busch catalogue published in London, year unknown

The Glaukar created a very special portrait-effect. The Glaukar was a lens that was specifically used for portrait-photography since it was fast enough to come to a more natural design of the image. It was characterized by the homogenous transfer from sharpness to the more fuzzy areas. Very important: the chromatical aberration was extremely low for the time.

The Reinvention of one of the greatest lenses of all times

To bring back the legendary Glaukar lens it is necessary to fully reinvent the Glaukar from scratch for modern photographers and their state of the art equipment. The brand new historically-inspired Glaukar lens gives you an opportunity to create the type of image quality and feel of the early days of photography on modern equipment. But even though the inside of the lens is state of the art technology, we have succeeded in keeping the modern version true to its legacy by not only maintaining the characteristic image quality but also replicating the Glaukar’s distinctive historic look. Portrait lenses of this time were using the typical plate camera format of 8cm * 10 cm or 13cm * 18 cm. Recalculating this to modern time lenses of 24mm*36mm the reinvented Glaukar is equivalent to the original 3.1 / 210 of the 1910 Busch lens.

The new Glaukar will have the same brass appearance and silhouette as the original but will, in fact, be high-end aluminum with a brass-like oxidation, which ensures the durability and mechanical precision of a modern lens.

Furthermore we belive that the look and feel of a lens is also part of the fun of using it.

Historical Emil Busch Glaukar F3.1 Anastigmat from 1910

A portrait photographers dream

The Emil Busch Glaukar portrait lens is not a copy of an old lens but in its reinvented form is a state of the art lens. It uses the same classic three-lens-design of the original Glaukar lens.

But due to its specially coated lenses, it produces a fascinating mixture of sharpness, strong colors and, along with 12 aperture blades, wonderful bokeh effects. Since the original Glaukar lens was used on the “Plattenkameras” of their time, its successor had to be reinvented from scratch. It was a very difficult job that took us much longer than expected but now we are very proud of the result.

It was criticall to create the perfect portrait lens. The shift from focus to fuzziness in the backrground needed to be just right. At open aperture the lens must liberate the subject from the background and with a closed aperture the image must have an even sharpness. At the same time the skin ton must be most natural to avoid or reduce the necessity of post production as much as possible.

All these features are reborn in the reinvented Glaukar.

The Glaukar is an awesome tool for the portrait photographer.

Expected delivery date of the lens is the summer of 2018.

The Emil Busch Anastigmat – mother of all portrait lenses

The Emil Busch Glaukar Anastigmat was a breakthrough in its time and we have brought its abilities into modern times. In the early 20s of the last century, Busch himself, described the Glaukar as a lens systems with “the remarkable adaptability to so many classes of photographic work, [that] entitles it to rank as one of the most important additions made in recent years to the apparatus of the scientific and amateur worker. The aperture F/3.l is so large as to enable pictures to be taken even in the most unfavorable lighting conditions, and offers the photographer the means of securing mementos of theatrical or other performances and ceremonies indoors, and all photographic work, either interior or exterior, where lighting conditions require an exceptionally large aperture lens. The lens is especially suitable for all work, including Portraiture, Colour Photography, Reproduction and Enlarging.”

We do not have much to add to this very fitting description, which is still valid today.

(source: Busch, Projection and Enlarging lenses, London, year unknown)

The story of Emil Busch and the Glaukar lens

Emil Busch was the son of the Berlin businessman Ludwig Friedrich Busch and his wife Jeanette, who was the daughter of the optical entrepreneur Johann August Heinrich Duncker who had founded his optical company in 1801. This company passed on to Heinrich’s son, Eduard. Eventually, Emil Busch took over after his uncle’s death in 1845.

Busch quickly introduced new ways of production, invested into machinery and started to develop cameras. In1865, he introduced the first anastigmatic lens, the wide angle Pantoskop. He worked closely with Zeiss and, actually, one of the Zeiss sons – Roderich – worked as an intern with the Busch company. Zeiss and Busch formed a cartel and controlled the optical industry in their day.

Emil Busch was clearly the founder of the modern camera and lens manufacturing, especially of the principle of anastigmatic lenses that could actually be used in daily photography with the kind of glass of available at the time.

Reinvented and fit for motion pictures and medium format

Not only have we recreated one of the most famous lenses of all times. In fact, this lens is especially suitable for videography with people as the main subject.

The Nikon version of the lens can also be ordered with a Fuji G mount adapter and be used on the mirrorless Fuji medium format camera system.

Technical Specs

  • Focal length 97mm

  • Maximum aperture 1:3.1

  • Aperture range 1:22

  • Image circle 43mm

  • Field of view 25°

  • Lens mounts Nikon, Canon, Sony, Fuji, MFT,Leica M, Leica T

  • Electronic contacts none

  • Closest focussing distance 1,5 m

  • Lens construction 3/3

  • Filter thread 37mm

  • Max diameter, length 73mm/80mm (DSLR), approx. 85mm mirrorless

  • Weight 410 g

Many thanks to all KICKSTARTER-backers who help us to bring the old world into modern times

It was hard work to get to where we are now but we want to share this with you. With your support we can set up and start production.

The lens is certainly not a mass product and the quantities will remain small in comparison to the large manufacturers of today. This lens will practically be handmade piece by piece in the future. Therefore and due to the amount of manual work that has to be done it will sell for a retail price of approximately $ 2.000,–, strictly online to avoid all overhead costs.



About Emil Busch

The creative minds behind Emil Busch are Bendikt Ernst and Firat Bagdu. The two photographers always wanted to create just the perfect lens for their work and went searching for historic masterpieces. Benedikt and Firat defined the principles and joined with lens designers and manufacturers in Germany to design the first prototype. Manufacturing will be done by one or more experienced firms in Europe depending on the outcome of the project. So in other words we are a start-up but we assured ourselves of years of experience.  “We have seen some campaigns in the past were “old” lenses were brought back to the users of today’s cameras and appreciated them. But we wanted to go further and recreate a lens that would otherwise be lost”, says Firat. If you’d like to keep in touch you can subscribe to our newsletter to take part in our development.
Benedikt, born 1972, and Firat, born 1973, are renowned photographers with a speciality in portrait, wedding and fashion photography. Both have a broad education in arts and business management and combine creativity and managerial abilities needed in such a project. Their customers include famous individuals as well as companies like Chopard, Rolls Royce or Redken to name a few.