How To

My DIY Fisheye

My DIY Fisheye
Kids These Days.

This is not the kind of project that can necessarily be repeated verbatim but hopefully my experimenting will inspire yours. All you really need is your digital camera (cheap and dirty is great, I'm not sure how things would look on a DSLR), a lens adapter ring (ideal), and a rusty old slideprojector. I picked a slide projector because I saw it in a thrift store and thought, "That looks like an afternoon of good times," and in the state that it was would never be used to project slides again.

I dissected the slide projector and laid all the inner bits on a table. The lenses were what I was after and were pretty grimy. They got cleaned with with window cleaner (Windex: US) and paper towels (sorry I don't have a lens cleaning kit).

I examined each lens, held it up to my camera, moved it foward and pulled it back. I tried a few combinations of each, just looking to find an interesting effect. Finally one little lens did something awesomely cool, it gave a kind of fisheye effect. I know nothing about slide projectors and the lenses therein but the lens I found was inside the front end of the projector and was concave on both sides.

I ran around holding this little piece of glass against my camera lens and as fun as this was, I had my fingers in every photo: not so good.

Now came the crafty part. I was fortunate enough to have the lens hood adapter that came with my Panasonic Lumix FZ8 camera. I believe it's a 52mm or something... anyway, that isn't the point - I had an easily attachable/removable mount for my lens. If you have a smaller camera with no adapter rings I can suggest trying toilet rolls, cardboard, plastic bottles... anything is possible with a little creativity.

I cut the lid of a Fujifilm canister so that it fitted snuggly around the outside of the fisheye lens. Next I cut a piece of cardboard to fit over the adapter with a hole in the centre to securely hold my little fuji-lid-fisheye. Then I went and taped the whole thing together with loads of electricians tape (first time around I didn't use enough tape and it fell apart so don't be lame like I was).

Whoop whoop. Celebrations. I had my own custom lens modification. As for quality it really isn't the sharpest and this gets dramatically worse towards the edges. What were you expecting? It isn't Nikkor, Zeiss or Canon but it cost me about $3 and was loads of fun. The key here is just to try your own thing and experiment! That's what taking photos is all about!

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1 response

  • Tim Narraway

    Tim Narraway said (8 Mar 2009):

    wow. I am so going to try that.

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