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December 08, 2009


The Phone-O-Scope: Attaching SLR lenses to an iPhone

[Edit #5: A slightly more sane hack: new DIY tilt-shift lens prototype]

[Edit #4: I've responded to some of the issues raised about image quality]

[Edit #3: Hi to all the folks from hackaday, wired, makezine, gizmodo, engadget, TUAW and all the other corners of the inter-tubes.]

[Edit #2: This post, translated into Russian and Chinese - how awesome is that!]

[Edit #1: See some of my other DIY projects (tilt-shift plungercam, papercraft etc) here]

[Edit #0: And follow me on twitter, here!]

I've been trying to learn a bit more about the optics involved in mid- to pro-level cameras, and I've been finding that getting out the tools and doing some hacking serves as a great mechanism for instruction. Just recently the idea of optical couplers - that is, a system to transmit light from one optical device to another to make an image - has gotten my attention.

Mainly just to see if it was possible (and to teach myself about optical couplers), I thought I'd try my hand at building an adapter so I could attach SLR lenses to my iPhone. The result is pretty cheesy, but nevertheless - I present to you, the Phone-O-Scope:



난 저 인간들의 두뇌 구조도 궁금하지만, 어떤 삶을 살아왔는지가 더 궁금하다. 징그럽다는 표현밖에 달리 할말이 없다.

Just to get the inevitable question of 'why' out of the way - well, why not? As far as I can tell, I think this is the first - I couldn't find any similar SLR lens to camera phone attaching attempts anywhere else online (I'm not including the mini-lenses you can get as they're not 35mm lenses). The Phone-O-Scope doesn't take especially superb images, and it's a bit clumsy to handle. On the other hand, it's fun to shoot with and produces very analog (almost Holga-like) results. You also get the advantages of SLR lenses - that is, DOF effects, and the wide range of available focal lengths (i.e. macro to telephoto).

There are plenty of interesting designs for cameras floating about, and plenty of nice phones with reasonable optics attached. I'm hoping that this experiment takes the concept of a camera phone to it's illogical conclusion.


In keeping with my other optics experiments, I wanted to try something that required the minimum amount of dis assembly of expensive components (i.e. no warranty voiding!), as well as being cheap and relatively easy to assemble. The parts list (roughly) is:

•Camera phone (in this case, an iPhone)
•SLR lens (in this case, two Canon EF lenses)
•Old surplus canon lens end cap
•Hard phone case (cheapie iPhone case, ~US$10)
•Old optical mechanism from a CD or DVD player (scrap - cost me $0)
•Bit of old sticky putty (again, $0)
•Cardboard tube for testing
•2-inch PVC pipe couplers (about US$3 each)
•Duct tape


Posted by administrator at December 8, 2009 01:25 AM


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