Mats Wernersson made his first camera when he was just 10 years old and his latest project may just help photographers appreciate their lenses just a bit more. The Swedish camera designer has built a 90mm Nikon-mount lens almost from scratch.
You can watch his build process in the 4-minute video . The lens is based on a Petzval design that produces swirly bokeh in photos.There are two components necessary for a homemade camera lens suitable for use on a SLR or DSLR: the optics (to focus the light) and the mechanics (to hold the optics in place and hopefully provide a method of adjusting the focus and aperture).
Every single part of the lens was homemade except for the lens mount, aperture blades, and helicoid. One thing that Wernersson does have that most photographers don’t, however, is access to industrial equipment for making the parts.
While making your own lens may not be an easy DIY project, the video, at the very least, shows the kind of work that goes into making a single camera lens — making the price tags on the commercially available versions seem a bit more palatable.