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DIY Lens

This is an excerpt from my Personal Investigation Project for Photography A Level

  1. Introduction

In this essay I will describe the process and outcomes as well as the reasons for building a camera lens. We live in a time where it’s possible to get digital camera setup for under £20, and a working quality film SLR (second hand) for under £10. On the other end of the spectrum some lenses for the epic red film cameras run at over £30,000. This begs the question: is it still possible to make a working lens from easily available parts. And produce quality prints? Well that depends on the definition of quality print. If to you a high quality print is a razor sharp, high contrast and undistorted image of a sporting event, then this is unlikely, as the technology required to make a lens that is sharp at wide apertures with little distortion is very precise. But it is certainly possible to get a very distinctive style of image with easily available lenses. Images taking with non-achromatic glass will result in chromatic aberrations (more on that later). And lenses that aren’t very precisely ground will not focus properly, and produce spherical aberration in images. The other simple method to make a lens is to use camera filters and adapters mounted in sequence onto a camera mount. This has the advantage of consisting of mostly achromatic lenses and will be securely and accurately mounted (via screw thread). It is very possible to create very high magnification images using this technique.

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