Raise your hand if you still have that old 35mm film point-and-shoot somewhere around the house. If you’d like to give it a new life, Mathieu Stern has a great DIY idea for you. In a few simple steps and with minimum investment, you can use this old plastic camera and make a new lens for your DLSR or mirrorless.
When we think of lenses, we usually think of chunks of metal or plastic with glass elements inside them. If somebody says “wooden lens” to us, we usually think of CNC or laser-cut models of lenses that don’t actually have any optical properties and are simply chunks of wood that resemble a lens. But not this time. Oh, no. This one’s a wooden lens, with glass optics that actually works.
And who do you think made this lens a reality? Yup, that’s right, weird lens king, Mathieu Stern, who teamed up with the folks at Hungarian photographer lens creator, Weird Lenses, to bring the lens to life and regardless of how it might see – which seems quite good – it looks pretty awesome, too!
Cool new ideas for concept cameras come out with alarming regularity. Painstakingly modelled in 3D software like Blender or Maya or something and then textured, lit and rendered to look as real as possible. They’re a great way to see what the general population thinks of a camera design before actually manufacturing it. Or they’re a good way for independents to tell manufacturers “Hey, this is what we want!”
The cameras here, though, aren’t concept cameras. They weren’t even modelled by a human. They were created by the AI system known as DALL-E 2 which attempts to generate photorealistic images based on written sentences. Mathieu Stern wanted to test its limits to see if it could come up with some cool camera designs based on somewhat unorthodox themes and… Well, yeah, it did!
The king of weird lenses, Mathieu Stern set himself a challenge with a documentary short film he shot recently. The challenge was to use only anamorphic and swirly bokeh lenses. But he wasn’t just getting off-the-shelf ready-to-go lenses you can pick up online (although he did use a couple). He ended up using seven different lenses to film his documentary, along with various adapters and doohickies to tell his anamorphic story.
The short film itself, which follows the journey of Louis-Thibaud Chambon, AKA The Waterfall Hunter, is quite interesting in itself but visually it’s also very appealing indeed. The footage itself was shot using the Sony A7III camera and Mathieu wanted to use lenses that not only gave the film a cinematic look but also presented it in an almost magical way. And this wonderful array of lenses and adapters certainly did that!
3D printing your lenses or lens hoods has been a thing for a while, and you can make some cool creations. Well, this 3D-printed 3D lens is definitely one of them. George Moua designed a 3D lens for a digital mirrorless camera, and in this video, Mathieu Stern put it to a test to show you how it works and what you can capture with it.
Ever since I heard of Vantablack, I’ve been amazed by the world’s “blackest black.” There have been some darker substances invented since, and some are even available for us regular folks to buy. Well, Mathieu Stern did, and you can guess what he did with it – he used it as a backdrop for his photos. In this video, you’ll see how one of the world’s darkest materials behaves when used for this purpose.
Many photographers love using vintage lenses for their unique character. With Thorium-coated “radioactive lenses,” their yellowish tint is what gives them a distinct look. However, the downside is that the color intensifies with time, turning the lens’ “character” into something that’s more of a nuisance.
Mathieu Stern always surprises us with some unusual and rare lenses. And once again, he used a super-interesting lens in his video. Canon 65mm f/0.75 rare super-fast lens designed for X-Ray machines, and it’s one of the fastest lenses ever made. But other than being a low-light champion, it’s also very challenging to shoot with. Still, Mathieu came up with some solutions to modify it and he tested it out for both photo and video work. So let’s see how this strange lens performs.
I’ve seen so many great examples of miniature photography that I wouldn’t even know where to start with examples. I’m very inspired by it, and I’ve wanted to start shooting my own miniature photography for a while now. If you’ve wanted the same, Mathieu Stern has a video just for you. If you’re still new to miniature photography, here’s everything you need to know before you start shooting.