Camera Lenses with Custom Paint Jobs

A week ago we published a tongue-in-cheek post on how to improve the quality of your Canon kit lens by painting a red ring around it. While that wasn’t intended to be taken seriously, we were pointed to a Korean workshop named Park in Style that actually takes custom lens body work quite seriously. What you see above is a Canon 18-55mm kit lens that they disassembled, painted, and then reassembled to look like a Canon L lens!

Here’s some more before-and-after shots of lenses they’ve “upgraded”:

Nikon AF-S 200mm painted white:

Two Canon 50mm f/1.8 Mark II primes turned into black and white L lenses:

A Canon 300mm white L lens transformed into a black one:

A Sigma 70-200mm with its tripod mount ring and lens hood turned white:

Thanks for the tip, Daniel!

Image credits: Photographs by Park In Style

  • Anonymous

    If this could be manufactured easily, there will be a lot more fake equipment available out there. 

    Mind you, I’ve always fancied a white nifty fifty. They look kinda cool.

  • Felipe Yang

    Nice. I do wish Canon would make some black telephoto L lenses as well. That red ring alone should be enough to set it apart from Nikon. 

  • Jonathon Watkins

    Black Telephoto Canon lenses. Mmm. I use a black lens coat for mine, as I really don’t like the white paint job.

  • lloyd

    impressive! more than just a spray paint job then,

    I’d love to see different colour options for lenses and hoods.

    the closets I’ll get is a digital camo birder cover :D

  • Dave

    You’re most welcome.

  • cee_major

    Um… What am I not getting? I thought the initial post was tongue-in-cheek, but now this. All of my lenses are black, both the original Pentax and the Tamrons; and I’ve always thought the white lenses looked somewhat…chintzy. I mean, I know they’re not cheap – god knows I’m digging through the couch cushions to save up for one comparable to that Canon 300, but that white puts me off. Just my two cents…

  • Ren Bostelaar

    Guys, the white Canon paint job has a purpose – it reflects more light and heat energy which prevents warping and damage to the lens elements. Nikon has also quietly offered white paint jobs, albeit at a price premium, for years.

  • Nick

    That last lens is a Sigma 70-200 2.8 btw, not a Nikon.

  • Felipe Yang

    Yah but if you’re an indoors shooter, it’s pointless. At night you stick out like a sore thumb with a white lens while the black one would give you a bit more stealth.

  • JulieQ

    Creepy, lol.

  • Felipe Yang

    Not really, for wedding photographers, remaining out of sight helps them get candid photos as the subject is not aware of their presence.

  • Ans3288

    the white lenses turn black and vice versa! grass is always greener on the other side!

  • Daniel Yu Suzuki

    Lenses come black so there is a less likely to be see in reflections. Canon telephoto lenses are white because at that focal length, the lens would be to small to see in a reflection. This probably also voided the warranty. Voiding the warranty on a $7k+ lens like the 300mm 2.8, not very smart.

  • Ellis Humphres

    The best thing about these paint jobs is the boost in image quality you get.

  • wickerprints

    As was already mentioned, the choice of paint color for certain Canon L lenses has to do with whether the optical design of the lens requires minimizing the effects of thermal expansion due to absorbed sunlight.  This usually (but not always) means that a white lens contains one or more fluorite or super-UD elements, which have higher coefficients of expansion and less dimensional stability than conventional crown/flint optical glasses.  To my knowledge, there are no Canon lenses which simultaneously use fluorite yet are painted black.  They are always white for this reason.

    And it definitely makes a difference.  In the field, I’ve noticed that on a sunny day, my white lenses stay much cooler than my black ones.  It does help.  Sometimes I’ll drape a white cloth over my camera body because otherwise it would get alarmingly hot to the touch.  For a precision optical instrument like a lens, something like CoE absolutely would affect performance.

  • Michael Zhang

    Thanks nick :)

  • Lars

    When I go out travelling I cover the red ring with a black tape (and the 5D MkII sign as well) so it doesn’t look like “here I come with my very expensive camera”.
    I also use a very anonymous camera bag (a good $20 messenger bag I found in a shop in Athens last year)

  • irispatch

    Oh   just go  wild  and  pick  something from  lens skins..

  • Paula Wirth

    Personally, living in Oakland, I’d go the other direction… paint my high-end lenses to look like cheaper ones…

  • Ourkoy

    anyone else desperate to find out where he got the decals from?

  • tomino

    There not decals,it’s paint.I’d paint mine orange,really confuse people.

  • Ourkoy

    not the paint… I meant the decals… As in the canon decal, ultrasonic decal, the red line decal, the 18-55mm decal, the focusing distance decal. those are scratch off stickers, and I want them.

  • Anonymous

    Or… just put a red rubber band on your non-L lens 

  • Guest

    What this has to do with photography??
    Flip coin: I’m a big fan of Dr. Oz, can they do purple lenses, like his trademark gloves? 
    Or PINK Floyd?
    Or Deep PURPLE?
    Or an OZZ(Y)mosis of shades?
    BLACK velvet anyone?

  • bob cooley

    I just threw up in my mouth a little.  

    This is like when someone buys a Mercedes and puts a bumper sticker on it…

  • Anonymous

    Same here. I have black masking tape all over my camera and the lenses. Thieves aren’t stupid, they know what to look for.

  • Tran-Shawn Yu

    It has to do with the properties of the glass (fluorite) Canon uses in their long telephoto lenses.  They react more to heat so to prevent any negative effects, Canon paints those lenses white.  Simple solution that should be fairly effective.

    Nikon uses different glass elements that are not as drastically effected by heat so there is no need to paint their lenses white. 

    Also, Nikon did make white (more grey really) lenses in the past however none of their new/current lenses are white, nor can you order them that way at any cost. 

  • My name

    Why anyone wants a white lens is beyond me:O) Painting a Nikkor white is just so damn wrong!!!

  • Alex Hondsmerk
  • Roman

    in their own site, parkinstyle says the letter were silk screened…at least that’s what google translate tells me. Is that helpful?

  • Samuel Wallace

    Did you have to prime it first and take it all apart? trying to find a good paint as well.

  • Don Paluh

    I think it has a lot to do with photography. White or light colored lenses used in bright sunlight such as the US Open Tennis tournaments will reflect the sunlight rather than gather it into the lens and cause issues due to the increased temperature. If you don’t shoot for long periods in bright sunlight, this is not an issue. I think for wedding photographers the black lenses are a little bit less “in your face.” And I think a wildlife photographer may want a green camouflage patten and a war photographer (these days anyway) might want brown or brown camp.

  • Iamsellerman1

    This is awesome. I want mine red. I did the hood myself and it turned out great I’ll leave the body for them to work on, i wish they could also do this on camera bodies.

  • Guest


  • kadajawi

    Haha, it irritates the hell out of photographers. “Wait, a Pentax with a Canon L lens? I knew Pentaxes are very compatible, but a Canon lens?!” I like the idea. :D

    Otherwise, yeah, I can understand the desire to keep the lens cooler when shooting in some regions or having a more professional looking lens (so people don’t walk through a photo), or the other way round having a camera that looks less professional/intimidating/striking. Attracts less thieves, attracts less attention so people won’t start smiling or turning away when you photograph them (hopefully with permission, of course). Plus I know a very cute dog that always runs away from black objects.

  • Matthew Poon

    I’m going to be game to try painting my 600 f/4L and 400 f/2.8L in the next couple of weeks. Will let you guys know how I go

  • WTF

    That is the stupidest thing I have ever seen….

  • Eduard

    the colour of the lins is not randomly choosed. the glass that canon uses at their lens has to stay at a lower temperature to minimise the aberations. the nikon ones, uses different technology so they have to work at a higher temperature. that is the cause that they are black to attract the heat

  • AK

    Not being a sports photographer under direct sunlight for hours as a time I have never considered that, however if that is the reason perhaps the camera should be white as well. This is mostly for people who think of their equipment as fashion accessories.

  • quang vu

    how to paint all letters or number on the lens from white to black or from black to white?
    and how can you keep the red letter on the lens
    thank you

  • quang vu