One of the worst experiences any photographer can go through is breaking a piece of gear beyond repair. The question is, however, at what point is "broken" too broken to use?
In this video, Christopher Hamberger shoots a series of portraits using Nikon 35mm f/1.4 Ai-S with a shattered rear element. As you may know, damage to the front element is generally the least severe on image quality and lenses with small chips or scratches can hurt your heart, but don't usually have that much of an effect. I would have thought, however, that shattered elements on the other hand, whether they be from the front element, rear element, or somewhere in the middle would certainly render a lens unserviceable. So Hamberger did the next best thing — he kept using it.
I will be the first to admit that I'm surprised how interesting the results were and in many of the cases, quite pleasing. I would even go so far as to say that I can imagine that there are photographers out there who would happily use filters to achieve the same look. While it is certainly not a look I want in one of my own photographs, I liked them and wouldn't at all mind seeing them pop up on my Instagram feed.
Have you ever used a lens with a damaged element? What did you think of the results?