Watch: This DIY Lens Was Made Out of Garbage, but Look at the Images It Captures

The Master of Weird Lenses is back with yet another DIY lens, only this time he digs deep down into the bottom of the barrel for materials.

Whether it's 120-year-old, 3D printed, or cheap and plastic, photographer Mathieu Stern can pair any lens with his DSLR to create stunning imagery. For his most recent Weird Lens Challenge, Stern takes a random old lens he found in a box of garbage at a flea market and turns it into a working 135mm full-frame lens with manual focus using only three supplies. See how he did it in the video below:

Stern never ceases to amaze.

Other than the lens he found at the flea market, he uses the following three materials to turn his garbage lens into the almighty "Crapinon."

  • M42 tubes
  • Focusing helicoid 
  • Rubber bands

And the results are pretty amazing. 

Though these images are impressive, especially considering where the lens originally came from, Stern does note that it's not all that sharp. Even the bokeh is, I don't know how to describe it, kind of smudged/smeared—which I actually find kind of pleasing. For those who don't might a slightly soft lens (like me), all of this isn't that big of a deal. In fact, it adds an interesting vintage aesthetic to the images.

If you want to learn more about the "Crapinon," head on over to Mathieu Stern's blog post    

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My fellow countryman Miroslav Tichy (1926-2011) photographing from the late 1950's with a homemade "garbage" camera made of cardboard, plastic and found parts. Worth a peek:

April 3, 2017 at 7:17PM

Vashi Nedomansky

Ha! that statue of a Bear with the dagger in the throat. class.
He has the hunter in a bear grip and the hunter has the bears dead cub hanging from his belt.

April 4, 2017 at 2:43AM


There is a brutal aesthetic in a much of the public art and architecture in Central and Eastern Europe that doesn't jive with Western European sensibilities. I don't find it particularly jarring, but I do understand why other's would.

April 4, 2017 at 8:03AM

Marc B
Shooter & Editor

That was wonderful.

April 5, 2017 at 12:07AM

Sameir Ali
Director of Photography