Mont Saint Michel Abbey
The Mont Saint Michel Abbey photographed by Mathieu Stern with his 3D-printed lens
A French photographer has 3D-printed a camera lens and maintained the quality of his photos at the same time.
Mathieu Stern first came up with the idea to make a camera lens with 3D technology after collecting a range of cheap and unusual lenses. Stern even focused his YouTube channel around reviewing the lenses he had picked up. The freelancer then went down a new route.
Though he had no prior experience with 3D printing, Stern created a cardboard prototype using the glass from a 1890s lens he had collected. He took the measurements of the prototype and contacted a number of French 3D printing companies. A lack of organic funding dissuaded most companies from entertaining the idea. But Fabulous were keen to help.
“I met Arnault Coulet, the CEO of (Fabulous),” wrote Stern on his website. “His team and he designed the 3D prototype and printed the lens. Luckily for us, he saw all the crazy potential and fun we could create with this project.”
Stern worked with Fabulous on the design of the lens, which was tailored so it could be mounted directly on to his full frame mirrorless camera. Coulet sent the finished product soon after, and to Stern’s delight, the 3D-printed lens worked. To Stern’s calculations the monocle lens is a 135mm 1.8 lens.
“In the end, I really like the lens,” Sten said. “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. A $4 plastic lens will make great results. What really matters is your vision, ideas and creativity.”
Wanting to give his very own lens a proper test, Stern and his favourite camera took a trip to Le Mont St Michel, one of the Wonders of the World. After Le Mont St Michel, Stern tried the lens out on another of his passions: portrait photography - using model, Ludivine Bernard as the subject.