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4 Really Cheap Toy Lenses You Should Try

If you want to get creative with bokeh and capture images with rather unique looks, you should have a play around with toy camera lenses.

| Creative


If you're looking for new ways to get a little creative without spending a fortune on new gear then according to Youtuber Mathieu Stern, toy lenses might be just what you're looking for. 

In his latest video, Mathieu recommends 4 toy lenses, giving a brief description on each and showing sample shots captured with them. The lenses Mathieu's talks about are the Fujian 35mm f/1.7, pinhole lens, Holga 25mm f/8 and the Holga Fisheye. 

As well as the lenses mentioned in the video you should also check out the toy lenses we've reviewed which include the SLR Magic 26mm f/1.4, Lomography Experimental Lens Kit and the Wanderlust Pinwide Pinhole Cap. Images captured with these three lenses can be seen below. 

Mathieu's also put a couple of tutorials together on modifying cheap Russian lenses to capture dreamy looking portraits that are also well worth a look. 


Wanderlust Pinwide Pinhole Cap

4 Really Cheap Toy Lenses You Should Try : Wanderlust Pinwide Pinhole Cap Image


Lomography Experimental Lens Kit

4 Really Cheap Toy Lenses You Should Try : Lomography Experimental Lens Kit


SLR Magic 26mm f/1.4

4 Really Cheap Toy Lenses You Should Try : SLR Magic 26mm f/1.4

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stephen_jacks58 Avatar
With serious photographic artists doing everything they can to turn their backs on blandly pristine digital primness, it's a joy to see someone covering these funny little things. I've heard of photographers who are ashamed to be seen out with them - "my Pro DSLR with something plastic on it that cost 20" was the gist of what somebody wrote. For me. that's part of the fun; as is seeing members of the public lose interest in you (meaning more spontaneous shots) when they've concluded you're probably a joke. Not that you should expect photography with these to be plain sailing, or as luxuriously easy as work with equipment that costs thousands. A lot of what you produce will be a disaster. But then, when you've learnt the ropes, you'll have just a few shots which with a bit of tweaking are a revelation.

Faint praise? Hardly, when you consider that the thumbnails I upload here were made with equipment that cost less than 50 all in. Your first attempts with the Holga Fisheye will probably be blank or black and will stay so, unless you experiment with a tripod or else a camera with phenomenally high ISO settings. Keep the tripod, though: as it will ensure basic sharpness (such little as you can expect) combined with some delicious motion blurs. I've even used it to make HD footage in Trafalgar Square. Rich colours in bright sunshine, or else in city twilight, fare best. The other image here, of a London graveyard, was from the majestically-named Neewer Digital High Definition 0.45x Super Wide Angle. I made sure to use both parts screwed together, and I was prepared for some Photoshop to eliminate the inevitable vignetting.

The only disappointment, for me, was the Lomo kit. It depends on the size of your sensor but with many digital cameras, including my Canon 70D, the results will be much less wide-angled than they're supposed to be, or barely a fisheye at all. These are best left to the owners of true Lomo cameras, replete with their equally funny film.

Lomo, it's true, are beginning to do phenomenal things. The new Lomography Daguerreotype Achromat 2.9/64 Art Lens seems set to produce some of the most memorable portraits we might have seen in years. But then, costing as much as a holiday, that's scarcely a toy, is it?




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