You can use pretty much anything as a camera lens – even shoes and potatoes

Tips & Techniques

When it comes to weird lenses, Mathieu Stern is pretty much the undisputed king. But it seems we have a contender for that title who’s out to prove that you can use pretty much anything as a camera lens – as long as it’s a pinhole camera lens – as German film director and photographer Simon Meyer has been showing off on TikTok. Everything from potatoes and shoes to rolls of toilet paper and even a cuddly toy Elmo.

As mentioned, you are limited to basically using it as a pinhole camera, but differently sized objects essentially allow you to get a different focal length. Sure, you could just use an empty tube for something like this and cut it to to the length you need, but where’s the fun in that?

@simonmeyer_director

I made a diy lens out of a potatoe 😂 #photography #tutorial #diy

♬ Oh No – Kreepa

The basic principle of using anything as a pinhole camera lens is that you really just need a straight view through from the sensor to the other end of whatever has the tiny pinhole in it. In the case of the video above, it’s a potato. In the one below, it’s a shoe!

@simonmeyer_director

I used a shoe as a lens 😂🙏 #filmmaker #diy #tutorial #photographytricks #sonya7iii #blackmagicpocketcinema4k #fypシ

♬ Act 2: In the Hall of the Mountain King – Edvard Grieg

While using these items doesn’t really offer any practical advantage over just making a tube cut to length as a pinhole camera, it’s certainly a lot more fun. And speaking of just using aa tube as a pinhole lens for your camera, here’s a roll of toilet paper.

@simonmeyer_director

This is how I made a lens out of toiletpaper 😂🙏 #photography #photographersoftiktok #2022 #toiletpaper #sony #cameralenses #arricamera

♬ Surrender – Natalie Taylor

Simon is open to taking requests for his pinhole camera lenses, even responding to one follower that said he should make a lens out of Elmo. Don’t show your kids this one. Seeing Elmo having a hole made in his head and then spinning around on a drill is going to give them nightmares for life.

@simonmeyer_director

Reply to @sallimartin I did it 🙏😂 elmo camera lens! #camera #phototricks #photographytricksandtips #analoguefilm #vintagecamera #filmtricks #fypシ

♬ Avengers Endgame: Main on End Theme (From “Avengers: Endgame”) – Cinematic Legacy

I really hope this is a series that Simon continues to work on, because they’re a lot of fun to watch and the photos each of these “lenses” produces are actually pretty interesting and have a very retro-looking feel. You can follow Simon’s journey with weird lenses as well as some behind the scenes from his real shoots over on TikTok!

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