For lovers of “point-and-shoot” compact cameras, it can sometimes be tricky to achieve the same stunning effects that are created using the interchangeable lens options of the increasingly fashionable DSLR models.
However, if you want to add a new dynamic to your digital photography—without splashing out on a professional-level camera—a homemade fish-eye lens may be for you. Here’s a quick run-down of how to make your own fish-eye lens on a shoestring, which should work with most conventional digital cameras.
Before you start, you’ll need to gather a few essential inexpensive items, which should cost no more than around £20 in total. These are:
- A slab of black craft foam (available from craft shops or online retailers)
- An eight inch piece of plastic pipe, with a slightly greater width than your camera’s lens (available at low cost from DIY stores)
- A door peephole (available from DIY shops and online)
- Craft glue
Making your lens
Now for the fun part. First of all, you’ll need to cut your craft foam into strips measuring the same length as the peephole, and cut your plastic pipe to the same length as your camera lens and peephole combined.
Next, take the foam strips and layer them around the body of the peephole until it’s thick enough to fit tightly inside the plastic pipe. The pipe is unlikely to be the exact width of all cameras, so use the excess foam to pad it out and ensure a snug fit.
Now you have your lens, you can use the remaining foam the cover the PVC piping to make it look more attractive, or even paint it the same colour as your camera.
Using your new fish-eye lens
With your fish-eye lens now complete, gently attach it to your camera’s existing lens, taking care not to force it on – if it’s too loose or too tight, simply add or remove layers of foam from inside the pipe accordingly. Take care to support the lens with your hands to avoid damaging your camera, and off you go! You should have everything you need to start taking unique fish-eye snaps.
Alternatively, if you’d rather skip the DIY approach and add the fish-eye effect to your photos in post-production, take a look at this handy tutorial on how to add the effect using Photoshop.