January 15, 2017

What This Hacked Night Vision Lens Does for Color and Bokeh is Truly Awesome

Who knew the lenses used in night vision goggles could make such beautiful images?

As you might know, photographer Mathieu Stern is a master of weird lenses, hacking everything from a 105-year-old lens to a 3D printed one to fit onto modern day cameras. Well, he's back at it again with his latest Weird Lens Challenge video, this time taking a lens commonly used in night vision goggles and CCTV cameras and adapting it to fit on his Sony A7II mirrorless camera. The results are truly remarkable—images that have a beautiful, swirly bokeh and rich, vibrant colors. See for yourself in the video below:

Stern says that though the lens he used wasn't marked with a name, it was a C Mount 75 mm 1.3 MF lens, the equivalent of which you can find in brands like the Goldinar or Navitar 75mm 1.3 for about $100, give or take. Once you get your hands on one, all you really have to do is find the right mount for your camera. (Stern had to use a C-mount.) Getting it to work with your camera isn't really that big of a hassle.

Here are some of the shots Stern managed to take with this weird night vision lens and his A7II:

As you can see, the effects of this lens is incredible, especially the unique bokeh, which is swirly and creamy and marvelous. The one potential downside is that there is quite a lot of vignetting, which, if you're shooting at a high enough resolution, you can crop out if you so desire to, or if you're shooting an experimental or avant-garde film you can leave it in!

If you're interested in learning more about Mathieu Stern's other experiments with weird lenses, check out our past posts or head on over to his website    

Your Comment

5 Comments

Video is horrific, but the portraits are amazing!

January 15, 2017 at 4:21PM

8
Reply

Agreed. I bet under the right conditions, this could produce some interesting video.

January 16, 2017 at 7:29AM

12
Reply

This might work best on a micro 4/3rds, like the new gh5.

January 15, 2017 at 6:13PM

1
Reply
avatar
Sean Conley
Cinematographer
147

Thanks for sharing this! Love the look! Can't wait to try this!

January 16, 2017 at 4:35AM

0
Reply

"Hacked" is a word thrown around a little too much. The photos look great. The video looks like a handycam.

January 16, 2017 at 4:19PM

0
Reply
Brian
182