Build a Lynny – a DIY Lensbaby
This DIY project from Cameron Texter is made after a Lensbaby, but is built completely different. And when we say completely, we mean with tape. It’s made of only parts of an extension tube and macro filters. If you pushed me the wall, I would say that it is similar to the Lensbaby Muse, but even more similar to the original Lensbaby, because of the images having a blue glow around bright whites and silvers in the resulting photographs, and because of the fact that the images aren’t that sharp and have a “dreamy” soft focus look to them. (and they aren’t that sharp just as the sea isn’t that dry). The concept is similar to the bendy and plunger lenses but uses tape and extension tubes rather than a plunger.
The build is pretty simple. You just have to have the right parts to do this project, Here are the good news – if you are into macro photography, you should have the parts.
- Macro Extension Tube (to fit your mount)
- Electric Tape (or other strong flexible tape)
- Macro Filter Set
- Pipe Clamp
Basically, we will be using the extension tube as the camera side of our tiltable lens, which will allow us to add a bending part and a “lens”.
The first part of this build would be to take the camera side of the extension and work from there. If your extension tube kit attaches to the camera directly, you can use this, and if it has a camera part, a few tubes and then a lens part (like mine) just get all the camera parts together.
For this part it is best to use the smallest extension that your kit has (it usually have three parts).
Whether you used the just the tube or the cam-side-tube-lens-side trio, wrap it all with some electric tape.
The next step is to create the bending element. While the plungerCam uses old bicycle tubing, we are going to create a tube from pieces of tape.
Use the electric tape (or any other tape that will do a good enough job) and make about 12 1.5 inch pieces of tape.
Now stick the pieces of tape vertically around the element, you will get a nice lens and tape flower like this:
To add a lens to our tilt shift we are going to use the macro filter. Most kits come with several filters: +1, a +2, a +4, and a +10. With my test the best results was with using all the filters but the +4, but your mileage may vary.
Start with the +2 filter. Attach the edge of the +2 to the loose side of the tape. Go leaf by leaf until the entire filter is wrapped. Make sure the tape does not go over the filter. You should have a good amount of space between the extension tube and the macro filter. Once you get the filter taped to the extension tube, set it down, and get some more tape, then wrap it around the filter along the tape.
If you don’t feel like you played with the tape enough, take some more tape and wrap it around the lens part and around the filter part again :)
Now to seal off the separate leafs, use a small amount of tape, say one or two layers, just so it gets air tight. It should still move pretty freely.
Once you have your +2 filter and the extension tube together with the tape and you can move the filter around like a Lensbaby Muse, take the +10 and +1 filters, clean them well and screw those on the +2 (really, make sure they are clean, because you won’t be able to do it after you make this lens unless you take the whole thing apart).
Once you screw those on, you’ll want to take an extra UV filter that can thread into your macro filter, and you’ll want to make an aperture circle with tape on the UV filter, otherwise your pictures will Always be overexposed, if not all white.
Then take your electric tape and wrap 2 layers around the filters, and then take 2 adjustable pipe clamps and tighten them around the filters, so you have the bulgy part (see picture) on both sides and you can use them to push and pull the lens toward you.
Lastly, just wrap tape around the clamps, and you’re done. Try it out. To focus, you just push and pull the lens to and from the camera, and to move the blur on the edges around, you just tilt the lens around.
Update: Camron turned this project into a kick started, http://kck.st/uGivd8.
Udi Tirosh is an entrepreneur, photography inventor, journalist, educator, and writer based in Israel. With over 25 years of experience in the photo-video industry, Udi has built and sold several photography-related brands. Udi has a double degree in mass media communications and computer science.