The Master of Weird Lenses Just Made a 3D-Printed Lens and It's Awesome

The connoisseur of weird lenses is back and this time he's made one of his own.

For a little over a year, French photographer Mathieu Stern has made it his mission to capture images using "weird" lenses—plastic ones from a toy camera, vintage Soviet ones, ones that are over a hundred years old. However, now he has set his sights on adding to the list of weird lenses by making one of his own through 3D printing. In his latest video, Stern shows explains how he took an old lens from the 1890s, made a cardboard prototype, and finalized the design alongside French 3D printing agency FABULOUS to create a 135mm 1.8 lens. Check it out below.

Stern explains his process and offers some backstory on how the his lens came to be:

Well, as I never really learned how to make 3D models on a computer, I started by making a cardboard first prototype with a found lens from 1890 I had in a box. It was ugly and not easy to use but I was able to focus and take the measurements I needed to create a 2D design.

After getting a lot of " NO" from many french 3D printers (I must say I had no money to pay anyone so it was quite complicated to motivate someone), I saw some hope. I met Arnault Coulet, CEO of a French 3D printing agency called FABULOUS. His team and he designed the 3D prototype and printed the lens. [Luckily] for us, he saw all the crazy potential and fun we could create with this project.

I worked with them on designing a lens that could be mounted directly on my camera. Once I received the 3D printed parts from Arnault, I saw my crazy lens coming to "life" and... it worked !! I had in my hand a monocle lens (meaning it has just one glass lens in the front) and in my estimation (I did the maths), it is a 135mm 1.8 lens. I needed to give it a real first test, so I mounted it on my full frame mirrorless camera

The result is a lens that creates some pretty amazing images. The edges do have some distortion, but the center is incredibly sharp (and cropping is not an issue). The lens works well for landscapes, as well as portraits, too. And, as you might've noticed in the video, Stern's lens also allows you to customize the bokeh with filters that you can slide right in. 

You Might Also Like

Your Comment


The company is also pretty cool, theyre offering the 3d files for just an email address. Definitely want to try some anamorphic glass on this type setup.

November 28, 2016 at 5:51AM

Chris Hackett
Director, Director of Photography, Writer

Mont Saint-Michiel looks beautiful :-)
(Lovely shots.. not bad for a 3D printed lens.)

November 29, 2016 at 3:08PM

Director, DOP, Writer, Editor, Producer

This is ridiculously cool and I hate that I love it so much.

December 2, 2016 at 2:22PM

Roberto Serrini
Director • Editor

Welcome to, the home of low cost, hi-definition print with beautiful design from local studios. Printed Envelopes

March 22, 2017 at 11:16PM


Hello. Chúng tôi nhận in màu giá rẻ, in màu a4, in catalogue, in sách màu. Dịch vụ In màu Hà Nội chuyên nghiệp chất lượng cao!

August 26, 2017 at 12:32AM


Dịch vụ in màu tại Hà Nội
In màu Thiên Hằng

December 10, 2018 at 7:31PM, Edited December 10, 7:33PM