Crazy DIY lens! Disposable camera lens 3D-printed into a cool digital optic

kodaflex disposable camera diy lens mounted on sony a7 iii camera
(Image credit: Antoine van der Straeten)

Who needs the best Sony G Master lenses when you can make your own ultra-creative full-frame lens from an old Kodak disposable camera? Or at least, you can if you are DIY lens maestro Mathieu Stern.

In their most recent video, they demonstrate how you can turn a cheap plastic lens from a Kodak disposable camera into a fully functioning manual focus lens for their Sony A7 III full frame camera, and the results are surprisingly great!

To achieve this DIY lens, Mathieu mounted the lens into a body cap by drilling a small hole that can perfectly accommodate the tiny Kodak optic, which is glued in place. And surprisingly, this is all it takes! 

Naturally, this setup comes with some pretty significant drawbacks. The Kodak disposable lens alone does not provide the sharpest images and is limited to a fixed focus, making finding focus difficult with the entire camera needing to be physically moved.

Not letting the focus and sharpness issues deter them, though, Mathieu teamed up with Antoine van der Straeten, a fellow DIY lens enthusiast, to 3D print a manual focus housing – turning the Kodak disposable camera lens into a fully manual focus lens that produces some quite astonishing results:

Watch video: Turning a disposable camera lens into a cool digital optic

In my opinion, the images from even the mark one version of the lens look pretty cool. The photos have a very vintage film camera vibe that would play really well for fun casual photos on social media. Anyone who is a fan of Lomography cameras like the Diana F+ will love the images this little disposable lens produces.

Don't throw away all your expensive lenses just yet, as the image quality isn't going to rival even the best cheap lenses, though it is exciting to see just what weird and wonderful creations people can find using a blend of old and new technology. And finding new ways to use disposable products can dramatically cut down on the amount of non-recyclable waste landfilled each year.

If you want to have a go at making this lens for your own Sony Alpha camera, you can purchase the lens mechanism for attaching the Kodak disposable lens from Antoine's Facebook store, or you can buy the 3D printing files.

You will still need to provide the salvaged lens from a Kodak disposable camera, and you can find the best deals on those below. Just make sure to use or salvage the film before dismantling the camera, so it doesn't go to waste!

In our guides, you can find the best Sony camera for your DIY lens creations, or if you don't fancy getting creative you can find the best Sony lenses ready to attach to your camera.

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Gareth Bevan
Reviews Editor

Gareth is a photographer based in London, working as a freelance photographer and videographer for the past several years, having the privilege to shoot for some household names. With work focusing on fashion, portrait and lifestyle content creation, he has developed a range of skills covering everything from editorial shoots to social media videos. Outside of work, he has a personal passion for travel and nature photography, with a devotion to sustainability and environmental causes.