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Lensrentals16-Nov-2013 18:25
I am entering these two pictures in the Hors catégorie and I would like to call it "DIY Lens" category. The picture of the person with yellow jack was taken with a home made soft focus lens. The other picture is of the lens itself.

When you are tired of shooting with the 200mm f1.8L, 85mm f1.2L, Leica Noctilux 50mm f0.95 or whatever exotic "normal" lens that you shoot with, there is always this little voice at the back of your mind that keeps saying "Everybody and their grandmother has an L or Leica lens. I need something different to shoot with". I have a little voice like that that pops up more often than I want it to, but I can't turn it off. Of course I have to obey that little voice, or people will think I am crazy talking to myself. So, I decided to make my own lens. It had to be simple, cheap, yet fun to do, but must be able to make pictures; a Do It Yourself soft-focus lens was born.

Every photo geek should have at least half dozen disassembled lenses in shoe boxes that, unfortunately, could never quite get re-assembled, despite best efforts, and numerous times you tell yourself that you are a geek, and it should be a piece of cake to put the lens back together. I have more than half a dozen lenses that I could not put back the same way they were made, so finding parts to make the lens was relatively easy.

The lens consisted of only a single convex element from an unknown lens, that was taped to the front of the lens barrel, which was made up of different parts, including a focus helicoid. Everything was either screwed on, or taped together.

It was fun to make it, but was a blast to shoot with. No need to shield the lens from strayed light. The lens has no contrast to speak of and every picture came out luminous and softy, just what a soft focus lens should be, but you don't have to spend hundreds of dollars for that Canon 135mm f2.8 S.F, or the Nikon 135mm f2 DC, and it's even cheaper than the machine washable and insanely fun and addictive Sima 100mm f2 plastic Soft Focus. Best of all, you won't feel so bad now that you can at least make those disassembled lenses into good use.
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