Mathieu Stern explained to specialist website ISO1200 his experience on creating his own 3D printed camera lens:
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’t 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. Luckily 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 full frame 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.
These are some of the photos he took there with the 3D printed camera lens
See the video of his adventure