Watch a Homemade Lens Being Built and Shot With

I thought I was a fairly apt DIY'er, but then I saw this next-level achievement. This man built his own lens from scratch, right down to machining the glass himself.

Mats Wernersson took the classic Petzval lens design, notable for its swirly bokeh that makes it an interesting portrait option, modified it a bit, then hand-built his own lens with only the lens mount, diaphragm blades, and helicoid being premade. This included fabricating the barrel and all metal parts, but most impressively, grinding and polishing the optical glass himself. The result is a 90mm f/2.8 lens, which, just like the classic Petzval, shows a more pronounced effect as the aperture is opened. It's absolutely fascinating to watch the process, but I have to say I'm even more impressed by the sample shots at the end. I used to own a Petzval lens, and these shots were extremely reminiscent of its output, but with an even more pronounced swirly bokeh effect. Manufacturing optics is a high-precision process, so to see it done by hand so successfully is all the more impressive. Also, I have to admit that I found the red ring to be a fitting touch. 

[via No Film School]

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Spy Black's picture

Wow, I'll have to build my own shop so I can make an 85mm f/0.95 and save some money...

Fascinating project, really. Surprised he didn't coat the optics, but it wasn't really meant to be a high-grade lens. The guy's got skillz...

Blake Weber's picture

Meh... just another homemade camera lens video. Making your own lens has just become such a cliche fad. And I'm sure eeeeeeeeeverybody was thinking the same thing I was at 1:17 ...the mayo goes on first and then the ketchup goes on top. #duh #totallylame #notimpressed #sarcasm