As originally reported by Petapixel, clever lens enthusiast Mathieu Stern fused elements of a 1990’s disposable film camera and a much more advanced SonyA7 II mirrorless camera to create interesting photographic results. The A7 II has a 24.3 megapixel CMOS sensor and Sony offers plenty of lens options for it, but Stern’s DIY project put a new spin on that part.
What the photographer did was recreate a distinct 1990’s photographic look by tracking down a cheap Kodak Funsaver disposable camera with an integrated aspherical 14mm f/10 lens.
According to Stern’s YouTube video of his experiment, “The Kodak Funsaver disposable camera is the most successful camera ever made. This is the look of the 90s, as almost everyone shot pictures using those cheap plastic single-use cameras.”
Once the Youtuber had his Funsaver in hand courtesy of a friend who sent him an old model, he was able to disassemble it and extract the lens components and battery. This required a bit of delicate work for avoiding possible injury too, since the internal flash capacitor could have still carried a stored charge powerful enough to painfully jolt if touched.
Stern then dismounted the lens by removing a few screws and clipping away a bit of excess plastic This led to a final form that would fit into a 16mm hole he’d drilled inside a cheap plastic camera body cap. This assembly could then serve as his lens mount for the A7 II.
The final task simply involved sticking the tiny lens into the body cap hole where it stuck tight by friction and mounting the new cap/lens combo directly to his A7 II. That was it. The photographer was now ready to start creating some quirky 90’s style photos, chromatic aberration and color fringing included, but processed through a Sony A7 II’s sophisticated sensor and color processing technology.
According to Stern’s own opinion, the result was surprisingly impressive, with the tiny plastic lens creating images that were unexpectedly good, partly thanks to the camera working its own digital magic post-capture.
Because the Funsaver was a very basic amateur shooting toy for quickly capturing fun moments, its lens was focus-free and offers a distance of 6 feet to infinity. Despite this, Stern claims he can also turn it into a pretty decent macro lens by adding a DIY extension tube.
You can take a look at the whole process and more of Mathieu Stern’s photographic results in his YouTube channel. Other videos worth seeing include one in which the camera explorer used a lens from the year 1880 with a modern camera, and an even wilder experiment in lens creation that involved molding down ice taken from an iceberg. The experimental photographer also has a pretty cool Instagram page that’s worth checking out.
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