Wednesday, March 9, 2011

DIY Retro Ikonette Lens Is an Analog Instagram | Gadget Lab |

DIY Retro Ikonette Lens Is an Analog Instagram

by Charlie Sorrel,
March 9th 2011

Today’s big photographic irony is that we take our super high-tech digital cameras — machines that can capture better photos more easily than ever before — and then muss up the results with blur, filters, fake scratches and effects that make it look like we were shooting on decades-old film that had been left on top of the airport-x-ray machine.

Photographer Jonas Kroyer decided to go one better, and took a cloudy, chipped old lens from an old Zeiss Ikonette camera and modded it to fit his Nikon D300. The resulting photos are blurry, lacking in contrast, and have some weird color shifts. They are, in short, fantastic.

It wasn’t quite as simple as ripping the lens off one camera and sticking it on another. After carefully removing the lens and bellows assembly from the camera body, Jonas built a metal plate which screwed into the bottom of his SLR and provided a strip along which the bellows rails could slide.

On the back end went a Nikon lens mount, culled from a donor lens, and brass knobs were added to make the sliding focus action easier to use. Finally, a spring from a ball-pen was used to keep the lens’s own shutter open.

I like to complain about slow maximum apertures in lenses (it’s the reason I own almost no zooms), but even I am amazed that this lens has a maximum aperture of ƒ9. Yes, that’s ƒ9 wide-open. The other choices are ƒ16 and ƒ32, and all three of these diaphragm opening cast a weird square-shaped highlight onto the sensor.

But despite all this, the lens captures pictures that would make Instapaper users jealous. Despite the low resolution, the images have a startling 3-D quality to them, especially the portraits, and the black and white images remind me of the prints I used to make through crappy enlarger lenses back in the darkroom. Most of all, though, is that I’m now inspired to put some junky glass on the front of my own digicams. Garage sales, here I come.

Ikonette a DIY DSLR-lens [Jonas Kroyer. Thanks, Mikkel!]

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