I’ve been cooking this idea in my head ever since I bought one of those magnetic wide angle lenses for the iPhone back in early 2011. I loved the option that the lenses gave to the pictures I could make with the iPhone, no longer being limited to only 1 focal length. It totally changed photography for me. I mean, I still use the large cameras for assignments where resolution is needed, but for the majority of my day-to-day pictures, they’re next to useless. Because the workflow is too slow and too cumbersome for the purpose of mere sharing on social media with friends. It needed to be instantaneous, and smart phones are the key.
But there’s a problem. Or at least to me as a photographer, it is. The depth of field for micro cameras are too deep. Every is ‘in focus’ in most cases. I missed the DOF control and the bokeh I had with larger cameras. Thus I made it my personal goal to fit a lens onto the iPhone.
After some searching, I discovered there are a few adapters out there that does it already, but they employ a very simple technique using a piece of ground glass at the film plane to allow the iPhone’s camera to capture the projected image from the other side.
This idea does not satisfy me. The quality from this technique is bad. It is akin to taking a photograph of a photograph from the screen of your computer.
Thus for the later part of 2012 I was constantly obsessed with optics, trying to find a way to path the light from a SLR lens directly into the phone camera.
Eventually I got hold of a cheap 3D printer which allowed me to create parts like lens holders and such, to help with the experiments.
Finally I came up with a ‘working’ prototype. Mounted to a Canon 50mm f/1.4
It wasnt very usable, but I guess it’s still another step closer to a usable adapter.
A few days later I got v0.2a working.
Here are some pictures of the lens side of the adapter
Which got rid of the horrible image-circle-being-too-small problem, made focusing a bit easier but produced quite a bit of pincushion in place of the vignette.
A week and a half later I refined the optical elements and had v0.3a
On a Canon 70-300 IS, it produces some nice results. Not ideal yet, but encouraging.
Messing around at a friend’s cafe
And more recently…..
Mounted on a Canon 600 f/4
Currently I’m still at 0.3a. A bunch of glass just came in but I don’t think they’ll do much to improve on the image quality till I find an expert in this field to help me.
*update 29 jan 2013*
Did some comparison shots in my fav cafe:
In the pipeline:
* Make a nikon version of the adapter
* Make a m4/3 version (Much shorter rear element to film plane distance so might decrease adapter size considerably)
* Get the IS/VR to work on the lenses by hacking the connectors
* Design a fast bayonet mount and iPhone casing for the adapter