You can use pretty much anything as a camera lens – even shoes and potatoes

Jan 16, 2022

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

You can use pretty much anything as a camera lens – even shoes and potatoes

Jan 16, 2022

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

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When it comes to weird lenses, Mathieu Stern is pretty much the undisputed king. But it seems we have a contender for that title who’s out to prove that you can use pretty much anything as a camera lens – as long as it’s a pinhole camera lens – as German film director and photographer Simon Meyer has been showing off on TikTok. Everything from potatoes and shoes to rolls of toilet paper and even a cuddly toy Elmo.

As mentioned, you are limited to basically using it as a pinhole camera, but differently sized objects essentially allow you to get a different focal length. Sure, you could just use an empty tube for something like this and cut it to to the length you need, but where’s the fun in that?

@simon_meyer

I made a diy lens out of a potatoe 😂 #photography #tutorial #diy

♬ Oh No – Kreepa

The basic principle of using anything as a pinhole camera lens is that you really just need a straight view through from the sensor to the other end of whatever has the tiny pinhole in it. In the case of the video above, it’s a potato. In the one below, it’s a shoe!

@simon_meyer

I used a shoe as a lens 😂🙏 #filmmaker #diy #tutorial #photographytricks #sonya7iii #blackmagicpocketcinema4k #fypシ

♬ Act 2: In the Hall of the Mountain King – Edvard Grieg

While using these items doesn’t really offer any practical advantage over just making a tube cut to length as a pinhole camera, it’s certainly a lot more fun. And speaking of just using aa tube as a pinhole lens for your camera, here’s a roll of toilet paper.

https://www.tiktok.com/@simonmeyer_director/video/7050530762512157958

Simon is open to taking requests for his pinhole camera lenses, even responding to one follower that said he should make a lens out of Elmo. Don’t show your kids this one. Seeing Elmo having a hole made in his head and then spinning around on a drill is going to give them nightmares for life.

@simon_meyer

Reply to @sallimartin I did it 🙏😂 elmo camera lens! #camera #phototricks #photographytricksandtips #analoguefilm #vintagecamera #filmtricks #fypシ

♬ Avengers Endgame: Main on End Theme (From “Avengers: Endgame”) – Cinematic Legacy

I really hope this is a series that Simon continues to work on, because they’re a lot of fun to watch and the photos each of these “lenses” produces are actually pretty interesting and have a very retro-looking feel. You can follow Simon’s journey with weird lenses as well as some behind the scenes from his real shoots over on TikTok!

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John Aldred

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

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