Photographer Mathieu Stern has based his YouTube channel on reviewing cheap and unusual lenses, but for his latest experiment he went a different direction. Stern created his own lens using 3D printing to see what results he could achieve.
Since he didn’t have any experience in 3D printing, Stern created a cardboard prototype using glass from a 1890s lens he had. Using the prototype, he took measurements and created a 2D design.
Stern then got in touch with a 3D printing company in France called FABULOUS, which turned his 2D design into a 3D one and printed it out with a 3D printer.
The resulting lens is roughly a 135mm f/1.8 lens that uses a single glass element in the front.

To test it, Stern mounted it to a full frame mirrorless camera and shot these photos:














“In the end, I really like this lens,” Stern says. “Even if it’s not perfect, it’s a first step in designing your own lenses…”
“You don’t need to buy ultra expensive lenses to make great images,” he continues. “A $4 plastic lens will make great results; what really matters is your vision, ideas and creativity.”





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