Recently I adapted a toy camera lens to my professional digital camera body. Having seen this done before, I bought an old cheap toy camera from the 1950′s for a couple of bucks at an antique store and proceeded to remove the lens from the body of the camera. If you’re going to try this I suggest using a Holga camera. Then I took a canon body cap and drilled a small hole through the center of it. With a little black tape I temporarily attached the lens to the body cap and put it on the camera body. Keeping the super glue ready for when I was satisfied with the positioning and focus of the lens.
Since my Canon 5D Mark II has video I used that feature to see what the lens was seeing and to adjust it so it was more centered. Once I got it centered, I tested it to see how close or far I had to be from a subject for it to be in focus. Remember there isn’t any way to adjust the focus on these toy lenses so you just have to work with what you’ve got. At first, the focus was so close that I had to be about a foot away from what ever I was shooting to get it sharp. Check out the two photographs below of Adam and I.
I actually really liked the look of this, but it was impractical for shooting others since you’d have to be so irritatingly close to them for the shot.
So I took the lens off the body cap and after trying to manually saw off a portion of the plastic I opted to use an electric sander to take off about 1/2 an inch of the back of the lens. This help a lot but was real messy. In the end though I was able to capture these moments (below) with my little niece eating dinner at her grandma’s house. I set the camera on bulb and flicked the shutter on the lens. Basically you can only adjust the shutter speed and ISO to get the right exposure. It was tricky trying to keep the camera steady, and it was like shooting blind since I couldn’t see through the lens when I took the pictures. Nonetheless, it was a lot of fun and I like the soft glow and subtle vignette the lens produces. Funtimes!!!