Picture of Cheap Fisheye Lens
fisheye mounted on camera.jpg
How to make a cheap fisheye lens for a compact digital camera.

You will need:
(1) Your digital camera - I used a Canon Ixus 65
(2) An old or broken SLR zoom lens - I picked up a Sigma 28-200mm from the broken lenses box of a camera shop for 5 quid, I think the autofocus didn't work.
(3) some really tiny screwdrivers, these SLR lenses are held together with tiny screws
(4) Luck - plenty of it
(5) Black electrical tape, various tubes, superglue, elastic bands, anything else you can think of to make a mount for the lens.
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Step 1: Take the lens apart

Picture of Take the lens apart
sigma lens breakdown.jpg
Take the SLR lens apart using all the tools you can muster, you will probably need some very tiny screwdrivers.

You are after the lens element that sits just behind the front lens element. Keep all the other bits for other projects.

Step 2:

Picture of
You are after this bit, it normally sits just behind the front lens.

Hold it up an look through it, does it appear to show you a nice wide image?

Step 3: Test the lens out

Picture of Test the lens out
fisheye test view 2.jpg
Test the lens out, hold it in front of your camera.

You may need to put your camera in "macro" mode (the mode you use to shoot pictures of close up objects) to get it to focus correctly. Try playing with the zoom options on your camera as well, you may have to play about to find the sweet spot.

You may also need to vary the distance from the front of your camera lens to the fisheye lens.

You are after a nice crisp image but be aware that there may be some blurring and distortion near the edges.
iamahuman3 years ago
Great Project! Would this lens work? http://astore.amazon.com/pennymon-20/detail/B005A0F5J6
never mind. I purchased an old lens on Ebay that is more similar to yours.
sid duboid5 years ago
can u retract the orignal lens piece when the fish eye is on?
By retracting, do you mean when switching the camera off? The answer is yes...
bertus52x115 years ago
Thanks for the great I'ble. Here is my fisheye:

Nice! I like the matching colors!
bertus52x115 years ago
Patholio, I have disassembled a 28-80 lens and the fish eye effect is less spectacular than in your case even though the focal length at the lower end is the same (28mm). Is this  because the set up of the lenses is different in both cases?
bertus52x115 years ago
Very nice! I will definitely make one of my own!
I like the fact that you use an old lens instead and the fact that it is secured to the body of the camera.

sjoobbani5 years ago
I have trouble with 2 things:


Focus: i tried on landscape, i tried autofocus, and I tried macro. what to do? still blurry, i understand the edge's could be blurry, but the whole thing?

Lighting: everything seems a darker, and flash ruins things even more. tried different exposures, brightness... only thing to do, is use the Nightvision mode on the camera, from my 'ible : and that makes everything green, so...
please help.
lieuwe5 years ago
 the only problem might be that if you zoom in/out the cap might fall off or you might wreck your camera zoom-mechanism....
patholio (author)  lieuwe5 years ago
Lieuwe, You do have to be a bit careful if you zoom, i found that I didn't have to as it only works in macro mode (no zoom), I was lucky I guess. I still have to be careful when I turn it on though.
I have mine set up so that It is slidable, and then I can move the support platform on a hinge, so it folds, also compact, so I turn the camera on, mount the lens, and flip the hinge, in a matter of seconds.
digjam5 years ago
Any suggestions for the leftover glass? 
patholio (author)  digjam5 years ago
Get a laser, spare bits of lenses are always handy if you have a laser, mind your eyes though.
patholio (author) 5 years ago
Whiternoise, SRS camera shop in Watford has a bargain box. Most independent camera shops have a box of crap they would love to get rid of, just ask.
zenilorac5 years ago
good work sir!
Whiternoise5 years ago
Which camera shop was this that sells broken lenses for a fiver?
udijw5 years ago
A great mod, Pat. thanks for sharing the complete instructions
patholio (author)  udijw5 years ago
There was alot of pressure on me to do so after you blogged it :)
implaxis5 years ago
Now I know what to do with all those old "useless" lenses!