Create Unpredictably Beautiful Video by Hacking Old Lomo Fisheye Still Lenses for DSLRs
Fisheye lenses are great for so much more than skate videography and videos of cute animals being cute to cute polka music. They can also be used to create stunning, artistic images, as demonstrated by Australian filmmaker Max Piantoni. He has shared a short tutorial that shows you how he repurposed the lens in his Lomo Fisheye No. 2 still camera by mounting it onto an old Nikkor prime in order to capture some truly interesting, beautiful, and unpredictable video on his DSLR.
First, check out Piantoni's tutorial below:
Let's get this out of the way first: Lomo makes fisheye lenses. There isn't really a need to hack (read: bust open) your old Lomo still cameras and retrieve their fisheye lenses. However, if you're into experimentation, tinkering, and/or getting a unique, beautiful image full of flaws and weird behaviors, then Piantoni's tutorial will show you how he managed to pull it all off.
He first started by taking apart his Lomo camera to retrieve the fisheye lens. He then took the glass out of a filter ring, attached the lens to it using electrical tape, and mounted the whole thing to his Nikon DSLR. It may not be the most sophisticated way to go about this, but it looks like it works for getting some seriously interesting images. Check out some screenshots from footage shot with Piantoni's hacked lens.
As you can see, there is quite a lot going on in these images -- possibly the most noticeable thing being the vignette. But here's Piantoni to explain the characteristics he found with this lens:
The lens has a bunch of really fantastic characteristics. Most obvious is the warped ultra-wide field of view, but the lens also features a really intense and natural vignette -- the sample images in this post aren't photoshopped. You can leave this vignette as is, or if you're shooting RAW you can recover those shadow details and really show off that warped fisheye perspective most prominent at the edges of the image.
There's also heaps of chromatic aberration. It's like a National-Geographic-Stereoscopic-Dinosaur-Special-Edition. You could possibly try and wrangle that in your RAW processor, but I'd rather just call a crappy lens crappy and go with it! Finally the focus is all over the place in a very cool, impressionistic way.
The cool thing, too, about this hack, is that you can couple your Lomo lens with virtually any other lens you have lying around, meaning that you could get all sorts of different looks depending on which lens you decide to combine with it. So, while the aesthetic possibilities are somewhat limited, they're also vast!
If you're looking for something clean, clear, and predictable, you're not going to find it with this hack. But if you're looking for a lens that will let you experiment, get a little creative with your visuals, or even take away some of your artistic control over creating your images, then you might want to give Piantoni's hack a whirl! Head on over to his blog post to learn more about it!