Watch: This Is What It Takes to Make Your Own Lens from Scratch

Buying lenses is so overrated.

Choosing which lens to buy is hard enough; can you imagine what it's like to make your own from scratch? Mats Wernersson most certainly can, and has decided to let the world in on his painstaking process. In the video below, watch as the Swedish camera maker walks you through every single step, including creating the glass elements, machining the barrel, using tweezers to place ball bearings, and assembling the entire thing 100% by hand. It's truly a sight to see.

The DIY lens is based on a Petzval design, which means it produces that popular swirly bokeh look. The results are astounding, especially considering how it was made; images are sharp, clean, and yes, the bokeh is absolutely beautiful.

Wernersson says that except for the lens mount, diaphragm blades (which were sourced from an old Pentax lens), and helicoid, every single part is completely homemade. In fact, the machine he uses to grind and polish the metal parts is homemade as well.

Here is what the finished lens looks like:

And here are some sample images:

It's truly astounding to see one single person turn a bunch of glass and metal into a tool that produces such interesting images. Granted, you have to be an optical expert to really do this right, and you also need access to the machines that allow you to do the work, but it's still pleasing to be exposed to imagery that was captured by a lens that was given such an incredible human touch.

Humans are so dope.

To learn more about Wernersson's work, check out his website    

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Your Comment


Wow. This is some pretty awesome lens making! I thought my Rodenstock X-ray lens mod project was an undertaking, this takes it even further. Very cool.
My X-ray lens project:

April 30, 2017 at 6:52PM


I'm pretty dang impressed, not going to lie. I love DIY and saving money, I'm going to have to try this one!

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July 1, 2017 at 8:50PM, Edited July 1, 8:50PM