Plastic Lenses

Discussion in '35mm Cameras and Accessories' started by bvy, Sep 6, 2009.

  1. bvy

    bvy Subscriber

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    I'm deliberately not placing this in the Toy Camera forum, since the discussions there seem to start and end with Holga and Diana (it's a short list anyway).

    Are there any other 35mm cameras that have plastic lens elements and produce at least mild vignetting -- i.e. ones that don't readily fall under the "lomo" label? Maybe a better (if more naive) question is, how can I recognize a plastic lens versus a glass one? The thrift stores have lots of film cameras and most of them are delightfully cheap. But I'm fairly new to film cameras and my appraisal skills are still in their infancy.

    I like the look of plastic, and might still resort to one of the aforementioned proper plastic models. But I'd like to get a feel for what else is out there, and just how ubiquitous plastic lenses really are.

    Thanks.
     
  2. Anscojohn

    Anscojohn Subscriber

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    Why not just put a piece of plastic over your standard camera lens? Darken the corners with soot for the vignetting signature of high-quality plastic lenses.
     
  3. elekm

    elekm Member

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    Canon uses plastic lens elements in their consumer grade lenses. But I don't think this is what you meant.

    Many of the no-name focus-free cheapie cameras that you'll find in the thrift store will have a plastic lens.
     
  4. Hamster

    Hamster Member

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    Disposable camera uses those too. If you use a rangefinder, then pull the lens off a disposable and glue it to a lens mount converter.
     
  5. geauxpez

    geauxpez Member

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    With an SLR, you could simply take 2 filters (dollar bin), rub vasoline on one then screw the second one over it. As long as it doesn't leak out of the threads, you have a lomo lens attachment that you can remove to shoot sharp images. Need vignetting? Add a hood that's too long for that focal length or stack more glassless filters -- that way the amount of vignetting is determined by you for any given shot.
     
  6. doomtroll

    doomtroll Member

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  7. singram

    singram Subscriber

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    [​IMG]

    I made this image with a little plastic 35mm camera. It has the initials VAC in bold letters on the left side, and gives you four aperture choices: f 6 through 16. They have little sunny, partly sunny, kinda cloudy, and cloudy icons as well on the lens.

    It is fixed focus, and a fixed shutter speed, but does have a hot shoe :smile:
    I like it because it gives me vignetted corners, a sharp spot in the center, and soft swirlies like a petzval lens towards the outside corners. And for a $1.50. it is a fun camera to shoot with.

    It is a clone of the Time Magazine cameras that were given away with subscriptions during the 1980's.

    Here is a link I found regarding the Time camera:

    http://www.merrillphoto.com/TimeCamera.htm

    Good luck,
    steve
     
  8. alexmacphee

    alexmacphee Member

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    Would a Lensbaby do what you want?
     
  9. bvy

    bvy Subscriber

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    Thanks. I wasn't really looking for ways to get a plastic look from a non-plastic camera (although some of the ideas here are worth remembering).

    The Time magazine camera looks really cool. It says it has a "kinetic optical color lens." What does that mean, exactly? Is it plastic?

    In general, when inspecting junk cameras, how does one identify if the lens is plastic or glass?
     
  10. archphoto

    archphoto Member

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    Hold a soldering iron to it: if it mets, it is plastic, otherwise glass.....
    A bit destructive though.

    Names givven to optic's come often from an advertizing firm, esp with the plastic optic's, meaning ........

    What are you realy after ?
    Select a high quality glass lens over a low quality plastic one, or adapt a plastic lens to a high quality camera ?

    Peter
     
  11. bvy

    bvy Subscriber

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    I'm taking issue somewhat with the whole Lomography thing -- societies and manifestos and all that. It's been argued here before, but at the end of the day, Lomo is a for-profit enterprise putting $50 to $100 pricetags on cameras that, by design, are poorly built. What a great thing for a business: Our customers won't be happy unless our product is junk -- and, well, high quality junk is going to cost you...

    I think the true spirit of lomography (Charlie Brown) entails -- in fact, was born from -- rescuing cheap cameras from flea markets and ultimately landfills, and turning all their quirks and imperfections into something artistic. Getting it right out of the box (an expensive, glossy one, mind you) seems self-defeating.

    To that end, my local thrift store has a bin full of cheap, film cameras. Why drop $50 when I can drop $5 or less? I like the soft look of plastic, and was asking for help appraising, on an arbitrary camera, whether the lens is glass or plastic. (I do like the soldering iron idea, and I think this same thrift store will sell me one.)

    I wanted to spare everyone my politics, but since you asked, there it is. Mods, feel free to move this to the Toy Camera forum now if you feel it belongs there.
     
  12. Prest_400

    Prest_400 Member

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    Looks nice. You reminded me that I've got one of those giveaway plastics, now I would like to try it.
    It's this model: http://toycamper.xanga.com/671579173/item/ Though without any brand; it just says in the box "35mm camera". I would like to put in some lucky :rolleyes:
     
  13. singram

    singram Subscriber

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    "Kinetic optical color lens" is just a bunch of crap. It means nothing, but sure sounds nice :smile:

    My VAC says "color optical lens." I wonder if will work ok with B&W film? :smile:

    I am sort of an anti-fancy-equipment person anyway, so I like shooting with this camera for all those reasons as well.

    I am currently using the Arista.Edu Ultra 200 ISO with this and my other 35 & 4x5 work. I love this film! I would like to try some Lucky film though, just to see how it looks.
     
  14. Silverhead

    Silverhead Member

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    The Golden Half camera falls under this category, though it doesn't vignette that much. It's a half-format wide angle 35mm camera with a plastic lens and two apertures. Also has a hot shoe...which can get funny when the flash is bigger than the camera. It's put out by Powershovel, which has also resurrected the old Vivitar Slim & Wide under a different name.
     
  15. archphoto

    archphoto Member

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    BVY, you made your statement and I fully agree with you.

    My ex-wife picked up a Canonet a year ago for € 5,- . OK, it needs new seals, have them now too, and that camera is better shooter than the Lomo whatever.
    Thank God you are not looking for the Lomo-crap !
    Otherwise you could end up at the 110 (Pocket) and 126 (Instamatic) side of life, quite a few of them had plastic optict's esp in the viewfinder.

    You are right, there are so many camera's at flee markets and thrift-stores that deserve to be picked-up and used and will give a lot better photo's than th Lomo.

    Here in Brazil they are advertizing franaticly with Lomo and, at least in Goiânia, Central Brazil, you cannot pick-up at decent working used analogue camera, let alone a new one: every one has been binned due to the digital revolution, a true shame.

    This sunday I will be flying back to Holland and all my analogue camera's from 35mm to 8x10 inches and two full plate's, back to my loved ones..........

    Peter
     
  16. Matthew Rusbarsky

    Matthew Rusbarsky Member

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    Not quite what you asked for, but instead of a plastic lens how about an Argus A/A2 series? Cheap (<$10), the lens vignettes slightly in it's natural state, and it's easily modded. Masks to alter the vignetting can be added, lens elements can be reversed, removed and otherwise messed with, lots of low-fi fun.