I 3D PRINTED A CAMERA LENS and the Photos are Amazing

I always dreamed to create my own lens.

Collecting old and weird lenses is a passion of course, but sometimes I want to experiment with my own creations, even if I love to modify old lenses, here I wanted to look into the future.

Wouldn’ it be great if you could create a lens from scratches ?

Wouldn’t it be fun to experiment for really cheap ?

Well, as I never really learned how to make 3D models on a computer, I started by making a cardboard first prototype with a found lens from 1890 I had in a box. It was ugly and not easy to use but I was able to focus and take the measurements I needed to create a 2D design.

After getting a lot of ” NO” from many french 3D printers (I must say I had no money to pay anyone so it was quite complicated to motivate someone), I saw some hope.

I met Arnault Coulet, CEO of a French 3D printing agency called FABULOUS. His team and he designed the 3D prototype and printed the lens. Luckyly for us, he saw all the crazy potential and fun we could create with this project.

I worked with them on designing a lens that could be mounted directly on my camera.

Once I received the 3D printed parts from Arnault, I saw my crazy lens coming to “life” and… it worked !!

I had in my hand a monocle lens (meaning it has just one glass lens in the front) and in my estimation (I did the maths), it is a 135mm 1.8 lens.

I needed to give it a real first test, so I mounted it on my fullframe mirrorless camera

So I went to one of the most incredible place in France : Le Mont St Michel, which is one of the official World’s Wonders.


You can see below some of the photos taken that day :


boat telescope
My parents
St Michel statue

mouette red

As I am also a portrait photographer, I wanted to try it with the help of the model Ludivine Bernard

And the results where pretty amazing !

The image center is really sharp, and the lens give the skin a beautiful render.

There is also something interesting in the lens distortion to make a dreamy bokeh.


In the end I really like this lens. Even if it’s not perfect, it’s a first step in designing your own lenses, and a message to every photo geeks :

You don’t need to buy ultra expensive lenses to make great images !

A 4$ plastic lens will make great results ; what really matters is your vision, ideas and creativity.


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