Introduction: $11 Super Wide Angle Digital Camera

Picture of $11 Super Wide Angle Digital Camera

Add a 160 degree wide angle lens to your existing digital camera for $11. This was based on ideas from the following webpage:

Step 1: Go to Your Favorite Hardware Store, and Buy a Wide Angle Door Viewer.

Picture of Go to Your Favorite Hardware Store, and Buy a Wide Angle Door Viewer.

You should be able to find one of these at any hardware store. I got mine at Home Depot for about $11. The key attributes that you're looking for is the largest possible "eye hole". There are a bunch of these door viewers that have very small openings, and they won't produce a very good image. Get the one I'm showing here, and it will work great. The opening is just about the size of the lens on my old Canon S230.

Step 2: Take Some Pictures!

Picture of Take Some Pictures!

Remove the threaded backing from the Door Viewer, hold it directly on the lens of the camera, zoom all the way in, and start taking some pictures! Some cameras may have a bit of trouble focusing, so if your camera has a center-weighted mode, turn that on to force it to meter and focus on the center of the image. It also seems like using the "macro" mode helps focusing as well, since you usually need to get really close for the best wide angle effect.

Step 3: Edit Photos in the Gimp or Photoshop.

Picture of Edit Photos in the Gimp or Photoshop.

The photos don't necessarily need to be edited, but doing so will create a nice effect. All you need to do is use the circular select tool to crop out the circular image, and black out the rest. Using "guides" will help with the positioning of the circular selection.

Step 4: Take Lots More Pictures!

Picture of Take Lots More Pictures!


Technomage (author)2006-12-04

I tried this over the weekend. It works great. I used the idea on my 300D SLR.
As there was a lot of bright lights I got a ton of flaring. Check out some of the pictures below.

There are good SLR instructions here. Short version below:

I had drilled a hole in a 55mm lens cap ($4.95)
I used the same peephole from homedepot and hot glued it to the lens cap. ($7.50 and $1)
I attached the lenscap to my 28-90 Sigma lens (it has macro)
Pictures where best around 50-70 mm not in macro mode and with manual focus

This was my first instructable project!

RUMCYCO (author)Technomage2011-10-07

Nice work mate ;)

Ninzerbean (author)Technomage2009-10-01

I went to your link - these speak to me also! They are really cool - use them for the art work on CD's - you can buy round labels for them, glossy is best. Wonderful!

poetapex (author)Technomage2009-01-31

Hey good job.

PetervG (author)2008-04-26

Okay so how do I do this...

maito (author)PetervG2011-01-11

ZAS! en toda la boca

Ghost Wolf (author)maito2011-01-17

Translation: ZAP! whole mouth

Ghost Wolf (author)PetervG2011-01-17

LAME! Check out mine! It's bigger than yours lol

jenniec (author)PetervG2008-05-29

it goes on your stock lens - i have the canon Xti - and it works awesome.
way less of a risk ahah just buy this

PetervG (author)jenniec2008-05-29

The door viewer wont fit on a DSLR..

linuxrules (author)PetervG2010-08-27

Hey bud, take a look at this image:

Phoghat (author)PetervG2008-08-18

In the OLD days, we would find an extra lens cap and cut a hole in the center big enough to hold the door viewer. Just snap it on and you're good to go.

Pepealej (author)2010-12-26

Zoom in

buffysissy1 (author)2010-10-13

I also tried this with a point and shoot but epoxied another lens on top, a lens I got out of a cheap "panoramic camera", just epoxied the edges and got a nice effect. Will post pix soon.

buffysissy1 (author)2010-10-13

The large door viewer seems the way to go with these projects.

mg0930mg (author)2010-10-10

Funguystuff (author)2010-09-24

thanks for this instructable man, i knnew that saving this door "eye" would help me someday, and now i did. you should add to the key words of this intstructable "skate" because this is how sk8 videos are shot and that was what i was looking for.
Gr8 Instructable!

yerfdog123 (author)2010-06-10

my camera has a square shaped around the lens, will this still work?

mista.v (author)2009-11-21

You know, if you measure out the DoF properly, you won't need to crop this bit out.

sjoobbani (author)mista.v2009-12-31

you should use some kinda tube, and maybe some tape, without using the sticky side on your cam. to make it removable.

tommyskate (author)2009-06-07

iv got this yes video camera its a mini camera wat do i no and i want one for my skating

Scottishsamurai_545 (author)2008-08-07

I found your project a couple weeks ago, linking off a DIY kaleidoscope lens project. Most of the time I work with a full-size camera, and had never really thought of using a door viewer with the lens on a small camera. I gave your project a try with a cheap point & shoot I have, and the results were impressive. I then figured out a way of using a piece of plumbing hardware to adapt the viewer to my bridge camera, which doesn't do too bad of a job of making fish-eye pictures. Good work!

say88got (author)2008-07-02

hey do any of u now how to make one wit out a peephole

oldbastardjoe (author)2008-01-24

i made one but i sawwed off some excess so i wouldnt have to zoom as much. if you do the same make sure no glass gets cut as o my first attempt i cut the eye glass and it doesnt work.

bowmaster (author)2007-10-22

If you could find a 180 degree door viewer you would have a fish eye lens

Trebawa (author)bowmaster2008-01-21

At Home Depot they have 200° viers right next to the 160° ones. I got one and will post pictures soon.

Runeshai (author)2008-01-02

That's pretty sweet. Is there a way you could make them the regular rectangle photo shape, instead of the circle, or would that be too hard to do in-camera with this rig?

inquisitive (author)2007-10-21

Lovely pictures! Your cats are so cute! The coloring on one looks like split bangs and the other one seems to have an eye patch-this will be fun to play with. Thanks!

X_D_3_M_1 (author)2007-10-19

kool kat. hes so cute

dimockn (author)2006-06-24

Used Nero PhotoSnap to correct the distortion as shown. Takes away some of the charm ? :)

locofocos (author)dimockn2007-04-20

Could you tell me how to do that? I know how to do the thing where you take a picture of a flat surface at an angle, the use the proportion/crop function and it looks straight, but how would you do that with this?

JamesRPatrick (author)locofocos2007-10-19


eyballer9 (author)locofocos2007-06-16

its a wide angle or a fish eye lense you can get them for all kinds of cameras it makes the shot wider

locofocos (author)eyballer92007-06-17

I know that, but can you use Photoshop to take the round, wide-angle pictures and turn them into normal square ones (like shown above)?

Sidney Floyd (author)dimockn2007-02-01

definitley the first looks so much cooler whats the point of a wide angle lenseif theres no hokey ring of distortion?

slacy (author)dimockn2006-06-26

The reason this doesn't look as interesting as you might expect is that all the objects in frame are too far from the camera. Take a skew-angle close-up picture and correct that. I think you'll get a much better feel for how weird things get. BTW, if the purpose of PhotoSnap is to stitch panoramas, then you'd expect it to look "normal" wouldn't you?

zwild1 (author)2007-03-04

If you remove the barrel on the fisheye, (hacksaw) you no longer have to worry about the "tunnel vision"

iman (author)2006-06-12

i like your cat lol

slacy (author)iman2006-06-26

Thanks! She's word renouned now! (BTW, my gallery actually has pictures of 2 different cats. Can you tell them apart?)

Bob7k (author)slacy2007-02-09

hahaa, cats are awesome! i have 2 cats, hamsters and a pair of rats, im a pet freak, but then again, care is split up over 6 people, but only i care for the hamsters and rats

MDude (author)2006-10-28

I like the look of the picture with the metal still there, it makes it look like it was taken through a port hole.

ian$½ (author)2006-09-29

it's pretty distorted.. is that the camera or the peephole? so you have any ideas for a bigger lens.. like a 52mm diagonal? still cool

sixcrows (author)2006-08-28

Can anybody tell me where I can find one of these door viewers. The only ones I've found (at Home Depot and Lowe's) are the ones with the very slender opening. Thanks.

baggers (author)2006-08-08

I've written up some instructions for using this technique on a camcorder here:

heyster (author)2006-07-25

I have a sony cybershot dsc-p8. A camera about 3 years old but takes great pictures. I will certainly try this instuctable.

anntda (author)2006-07-11

Old or new idea, it's new to me & I'm anxious to try it out. I, too, have a Powershot. Did you need to do anything differently on this type of camera? Thanks for sharing!

amosslee (author)2006-06-25

I'm trying to build a physics demonstration device that has a fisheye lens in a globe (see photo or This hack works fine, but I need higher resolution. I'm looking at a miniature fisheye lens from (mod dsl215), and trying to figure out how to get it attached to a camera. I opened up my web cam, but it doesn't have the right threading or mounting screws. I'm looking around at 1/3" CCD/CMOS cameras/chips, but companies don't seem to give specs on the threading of their lenses.

Anyone have any tips on how to match a "real" fisheye lens with a camera? The lens I'm looking at is rated as M12x0.5 threads, with two mounts available that have two 2.0 mm mounting holes 22 mm apart.

Ideally, I would attach the lens to a wireless camera, so when it is mounted inside the globe it can spin freely.

slacy (author)amosslee2006-06-26

I looked at your sample picture, and I don't understand why the sample image is so blurry -- did you remove the original lens optics? You'll need to keep the original optics in and just put the lens in front. For threaded adapters, take a look at the guy above who used a PVC fitting. That looks like it works really well, and would be pretty easy to do, I think. If you don't care about the webcam, just jam a bunch of silicone sealant or something similar to hold the lens in place. Careful with the optics though!

philbert (author)2006-06-21

I tried this with my camera... I shoot alot of video and tried a clip on wide angle and it just wasnt wide enough.... I use a mustek 3 in 1 dv5500 and a pop bottle top works great over the lens. I used a drill and just screwed in the doorviewer I shoot alot of skateboarding footage.. I LOVE the wide angle lens look.....but I dont have the money nor have the experience to operate a canon XL1 or anything of that nature, so I tried this and it works GREAT

slacy (author)philbert2006-06-26

Awesome! You should upload some of your videos to Google Video and post links here so we can see them!

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