Fun effects with modified Lomo Fisheye lens on DSLR

 

I was quite a big fan of fisheye effects, which is why when I first acquired considering the world’s first modern mirrorless digital camera, I thought of mounting some cheap fisheye lens onto it, and especially when Lomo Fisheye camera came out, I was hesitated to buy a Lomo camera just for the sake of modifying the lens. Years after… Lomo users started dumping their Lomo cameras on ebay for US$20, I thought, hey, let’s do this once and for all!

Sample Pictures

sIMG_3872

I really really like the toy lens effect! Especially the funny cone shaped bokeh.


DIY instruction

Here’s the PROFESSIONALLY illustrated diagrams to explain the science behind!

diy_lomo_06

I regret that I did not document very detail on how to cut the lens out because as I was dismantling I wasn’t sure this is going to work in the first place. Basically this plastic toy camera is mostly glued together. After removed the screws, you have to cut the lens out with tools like Dremel.

diy_lomo_01

Upon removed the lens from the camera, I see the tiny hole that represents the fixed aperture.

I hold it up directly to my mirrorless camera to test if it works… it actually does! But with very heavy vignetting and almost unusable image quality. Heck, even my 7mm is wider than this ‘fisheye’. So I wanted to make the hole bigger for more coverage…

diy_lomo_02

.. I didn’t realised that there is a small plastic glass element that serves as the light correction in order to focus on the image sensor. Top right hand picture is the sample picture taken with my mirrorless camera… doesn’t look so good without the correction..

diy_lomo_03

Okay so I have a useless piece of plastic toy… there’s no turning back, I cut it further.

diy_lomo_04

.. thus expose the entire glass element. Without the correction optic, basically you can only use it as an attachment.

diy_lomo_05

I chose a very common filter size 52mm, taped it on the fisheye lens so I can attach it to any lens. So far I had experimented with mainly 2 lenses I have and have the following conclusion:

1) Pentax SMC 50mm 1.2 that produce less vignetting but lack of the fisheye distortion effect.

2) Canon 35mm 2.0 seems to be a perfect fit to produce something similar to circular fisheye (but not as wide of course) and with autofocus!


Testing and quality control

Nonetheless, there’s a good reason why they want to fix the aperture to that tiny hole, I have no expectation for sharpness for such plastic lens. However if you attach it to a standard lens, you can get some decent image quality when stopped down to F5.6. Here’s the test images (click for full resolutions)

F2.0
F2.0
F2.5
F2.5
F3.2
F3.2
F4.0
F4.0
F5.6
F5.6

You might notice, there’s a funny out-of-plane circular plane-of-focus similar to some cheap cctv lens (check my other review). Which, can be quite interesting. Personally I prefer to shoot it between 3.2 to 4.0 to have a sharp center while maintaining the funny bokeh.

Some video footage:


Conclusion

This little toy is a bokeh machine! The plastic optics totally exceeded my expectation if you modify it properly to remove the plastic for with the right coverage. This is not the easiest DIY you can modify though, as there’s many parts in this little camera that is glued together, which means you need cutting tools to assist you removing the necessary parts. Don’t expect to modify this easily with pure brute force and screwdrivers.

If you like this, please visit my facebook page or you can make a small donation for this blog. I published my first lens modification in 2010, received 100’000+ views on youtube, got viral with the DIY tilt-shift lens on PetaPixel but I had never thought about monetizing before this DIY… not to mention the many failed DIYs that left me with many dead camera/lens corpses.. So please support me if you have the ability!

$1 – Aah… coffee
<$5 – Mmm… lunch meal
<$10 – Woo… ramen
<$25 – Waa… steak
>$50 – WOW! Thank you!

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