The Swirly Bokeh That Comes Out of This Old Projector Lens Is Bonkers

If you love bokeh, especially really weird bokeh, then you really need to see this.

If you're a fan of photographer Mathieu Stern, then it's probably because he has introduced you to the wonderful world of weird lenses. He has shot on everything, from a 120-year-old folding camera lens to the rare Kenko 180° Fisheye Adapter, but for his latest video, he takes a Carl Zeiss Kipronar 120mm f/1.9 projector lens out for a spin.

What? That's not weird enough for you? Well...okay, the lens isn't over a century old nor is it a 50¢ plastic lens nor was it pulled from the garbage. However, the swirly bokeh that this thing produces is absolutely astounding. You'll have to just see for yourself.

Stern modified the Kipronar 120mm projector lens with a DIY adapter that allowed him to use it on his mirrorless full-frame camera. The lens itself is cheap at $70, but it's also very rare, with the nearest modern equivalent costing $6000, a price that I'm sure not many people would want to pay for lens you'd have to adapt in order to get that swirly bokeh.

As Stern also points out, this thing is 100% manual focus, "heavy as hell," and has a fixed aperture of f/1.9, which means focusing this beast requires some serious finesse and effort, especially since the focus ring is at the base of the lens.

But that bokeh, tho. Set against that swirly bokeh, the impressively sharp images look like they're popping out from the frame. I mean, all the trouble you'd have to go through to even get this lens in focus seems worth it if this kind of look was waiting for you at the end.

Check out more of our posts featuring Mathieu Stern's work and if you're a new fan of the Weird Lens Challenge, head on over to his YouTube channel and subscribe.     

Your Comment


Doesn't impress me much. I have a Kodak Anastigmat 50/1.6 and I think its swirly bokeh is much more extreme than what I see here. I don't have any pics of mine online publicly, but it's this lens:

June 1, 2018 at 2:20AM, Edited June 1, 2:21AM


Yeah, the bokeh is more extreme but the IQ is mehhhh. I prefer the look of the projector lens.

June 1, 2018 at 8:18AM

Alex Alva

No idea why you say that. It's terribly soft in the corners, but with a lens like this you don't want to have your subject on the sides, ever. And the center is extremely sharp.
It's a specialty lens, so I don't use it much, but it's definitely one of my favorite lenses.

June 2, 2018 at 1:23AM


You can buy a 30 dollar c-mount lens off Amazon with an adapter and get the same swirly bokeh.

June 1, 2018 at 2:55PM