View Full Version : Alan Greene Homemade Lens

25-Oct-2006, 02:52
Have just received Alan Greene's book Primitive Photography and would like to have a go at crafting my own portrait lens (a la Blue Peter). Where in the UK and the rest of Europe can I get hold of specific sized/shaped optics that aren't prohibitively expensive. I'm after such things as planar-convex and positive meniscus lenses.

I'll probably ransack an old pair of binoculars in the end, just thought I'd ask here first.


Ole Tjugen
25-Oct-2006, 03:33
Try Edmund Optics (http://www.edmundoptics.co.uk). I don't think there are any meniscus lenses in the catalogue, so you may have to find those on ebay (or in a pair of binoculars).

Joseph O'Neil
25-Oct-2006, 05:26
These people are based in the USA< but I think they might ship to the EU.


Lots of surplus lenses. They may or may not have what need, but worth a look.


Steve H
25-Oct-2006, 06:39
Just look on ebay for an old projector lens or two. I bought one and got 2 meniscus sets out of it; one of which I am making into my own home brew lens. Details on the thread are here:

I am happy to report that I received my #5 shutter in the mail yesterday - its a work of art. Hopefully I can throw the hunk of metal on the lathe sometime the end of next month and have the whole system up and running by December.

Feel free to contact me if you have any questions.

Roc Chan
25-Oct-2006, 07:10
Binoculars are good.There are 2 achromats plus the optics in the eye pieces in binoculars.Buy some cheap non working camera lens,and take it apart.There will be many interesting optics inside that will give you an image on film.Zoom lens are great for this.

Jonathan Brewer
25-Oct-2006, 11:39
Google the company called Optosigma located in Santa Ana, California, USA.....................they have anything optical you want, for instance they have bi-convex lenses from 5mm-100mm in diameter, if memory serves me right, pricewise, you can purchase one of their bi-convex elements 50mm in diameter for $32.00, they have aspherical lens elements too.

They also have iris diaphragms, I purchased one, which I combined w/a Zork macro spacer to create a homemade lens, 'Cyclops II'. I did it the other way w/'Cyclops I', where I gutted a couple of junk lens barrels of their native lens elements(mamiya 645) system), bought a bunch of junk lenses/old projections lenses, unscrewed the elements out of these lenses until I found an element encased in accessory thread size which matched the accessory thread size of the Mamiya lens barrel-shells, and then screwed the element on like a filter. I kept repeating this until I found an interesting effect, and it was more fun than doing it the scientific way, which I couldn't do anyway.

Go to www.alternativephotography.com and then click on the 'articles' header at the top of the page, then scroll down the list to 'cameras' for my articles on both 'Cyclops I' and 'Cyclops II', or go 2 my website to see shots made w/both prototypes.

I'm currently debating on whether I'll order a 75mm-77mm step up ring from Schneider optics so I can use one of my Cyclops magnifiers w/my Ilex# shutter whose front thread happens to be 75mm, so I can play w/Cyclops in LF, incidently, if anyone knows of a 75mm-anything step ring lying around for cheap, please contact me.

I hope this gives you a few leads.

Jonathan Brewer
25-Oct-2006, 11:42
Forgive me, memory's getting worse w/age, I forgot to mention that even if the accessory thread sizes don't match between junk lenses and a barrel shell that you'd like to mate together, it'll still work w/comb of step up/down rings, at least this is the way it worked for me if you go that route.

Jonathan Brewer
25-Oct-2006, 11:53
OMT..............it's been a while, hopefully they're still in business, in terms of lens barrel shells, you might want to contact Goodwin Photo Inc., in San Diego to see what they've got, good luck.

Dan Fromm
25-Oct-2006, 13:32
Jonathan, I believe that Goodwin Photo is out of business. The last URL I have for them www.goodwinphotoinc.com goes nowhere.



Jonathan Brewer
25-Oct-2006, 15:21
Dan..........thanks, sorry to hear it.

Donald Qualls
26-Oct-2006, 14:22
Jonathan, I believe that Goodwin Photo is out of business. The last URL I have for them www.goodwinphotoinc.com goes nowhere.



I think you're correct, Dan -- I bought some plate holders from them on eBay two years or so ago, at that time their web page had been static for a year or more. The old man passed away, and his daughter and her husband were clearing out the shop at that time. Wish I'd found them a couple years earlier; they had *lots* of good stuff... :)

Mark Fisher
28-Oct-2006, 20:20
I did exactly what you are thinking about. I used two 50mm diax500mm focal length positive miniscus lenses from:


I think I spent about $15 including shipping. They are a lower cost division of Edmund Optics. These folks are not on your side of the ocean, but the cost and weight are so low that it shouldn't matter too much.

Have fun -- Mark

Glenn Thoreson
31-Oct-2006, 19:18
Cheap magnifying glasses can give interesting results. Pretty much anything that even resembles a lens will do something. Some really cool effects can be had.