17 of the Greatest Camera Hacks of All Time


We recently took a look at some of the best camera hacks that will save you tons of money. Today we’ve decided to turn things up a notch and progress to the next level! If you’re the kind of person who loves to take things apart to find out how they work, you’ll love the ingenious camera hacks below.

1. Repurpose an old digital camera for macro photography

If you have an old camera you think is only good for the rubbish tip, don’t be too hasty — there’s still life you can squeeze out of your camera yet. This video made by an engineering student, shows you how you can turn your old, dated camera into a fantastic bit of kit for macro photography, without the expensive of buying a pricey new macro lens:

Source: Instructables

2. Create your own DIY webcam


Many computers already have a built in camera, but if yours doesn’t, you can easily create one yourself! If you have an old digital camera that has video capture and video output capability, a computer with video input, and an adjustable grip tripod (which are available to buy at around £20), you’ll easily be able to make your own webcam without breaking a sweat.

Via: Digital Trends

3. Build your own infrared camera


In this post, Pieter Albertyn goes into great detail about how to create an infrared camera from your old point-and-shoot digital camera. It can get quite fiddly, so be prepared to set aside a couple of hours for this hack!

Source: PictureCorrect Via: Digital Trends

4. Create your own (affordable) thermal imaging camera


If you’ve ever considered buying a thermal imaging camera, but you don’t own one, there’s probably a reason why not. They’re incredibly expensive. But fret not as buying one isn’t your only option if you have your heart set on owning one — you can make your own, and the kit you’ll need to make one is much more affordable!

Max Justicz is the genius behind creating the DIY thermal imaging camera. With some RGB LED flashlights, an infrared thermometer, and some patience, you too could be light painting with temperature. Read Max’s guide to making the kit.

Source: Max Justicz Via: Hack a Day

5. Give an old lens a new lease of life


We love this camera hack by photographer and film maker Jason Bognacki, which gives a new lease of life to beautiful old camera gear. In this case, Jason combined his 1919 Piccolette Contessa-Nettel folding camera with his Canon 5D for some stunning results. He says, “It truly is a magical thing to hold something so old in your hand and see it come back to life and produce images again.”

Read the story here or visit his blog, Today’s Tomorrow.

Source: Today’s Tomorrow Via: Digital Trends

6. Lumix G1 working with an ancient lens



Jason isn’t the only person to have a passion for bringing old cameras and lenses back to life. Yuji Takahasi attached an old lens from the early 1900s to his Lumix G1 using leather and velcro among a couple of other materials. And voila! Here are the results.

Source: DIY Photography

7. Stunning aerial photography using drones


Aerial photography could well be the next big trend in photography. Photographer Eric Cheng has done some extensive work and testing with quadcopters and cameras in order to try and capture the best results from his aerial photography. You can see all about his work on his new website Skypixel, and you can also take a look at photographs from his entire build process on Google Plus.

Source: PhotoShelter

8. Aerial shots using a hacked Lumix GH2 and hexacopter

Continuing on the subject of aerial photography, this video — called ‘Firefly’ — was filmed using a hacked Lumix GH2, Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8 and Sigma 30mm f/1.4 lenses, and a hexacopter from Amazing results!

Source: Vimeo Via: no film school

9. Lytro hack turns any DSLR into a lightfield camera


We’re all very excited about the capabilities of the Lytro camera, which allows you to refocus images after you’ve taken them. This hack uses Lytro’s amazing technology on any normal video capable DSLR camera to create a similar effect. This post explains how this is possible, and what you’ll need to do to achieve the Lytro effect on your own DSLR.

Source: TechHive

10. DIY point-and-shoot made from 3D printer and parts from RadioShack


This post shows you how to make a point-and-shoot camera using a 3D printer and parts from RadioShack. You can even download a template to print the body, using RadioShack’s JPEG Colour Camera Board to go inside it. This post shows you how.

Source: Instructables Via: CNET Via: PetaPixel

11. Hacking a Polaroid BIG SHOT


The Polaroid BIG SHOT is a piece of kit used by Andy Warhol in the 1970s to photograph celebrities. Photographer Giovanni Savino was sold on using the BIG SHOT himself, but doing so presented him with a number of difficulties, including film and flash limitations.

Giovanni didn’t let these issues, or the fact that Polaroid had gone out of business, put him off. Instead he resourcefully gave his BIG SHOT a new life, enabling him to achieve the incredible shots we was looking to capture. Here’s how he did it.

Source: PetaPixel

12. Focus stacking macro photos with a hacked flatbed scanner


The effects of focus stacking images can be incredible as it allows for a much greater depth of field than would otherwise be possible. It is a tricky process however, and often difficult to control using the zoom ring on your lens.

Looking for a solution, photographer and software engineer David Hunt decided to turn a flatbed scanner into a macro rail for his camera when shooting focus stacked photos. It’s actually not as difficult to do as you might think! He explains the process on his website.

Source: David Hunt Photography Via PetaPixel

13. Shooting space with two hacked cameras and a balloon

If you’re feeling really ambitious, you could always try a hack that would enable you to shoot from space. That’s, incredibly, what Colin Rich did using homemade weather balloons. This video reveals what work went into sending his cameras 125,000 feet to the edge of the Earth:

Source: Vimeo Via: PetaPixel

14. DSLR turned into a monochrome camera


Always wanted a monochrome camera? No problem! Follow Lasse Beyer’s instructions into how to achieve just this. It might be simpler than you think!

Source: preamp Via: PetaPixel

15. Homemade autochrome camera


If building a camera from scratch was something you always wanted to do, you could mimic what photographer Dominique Vankan did and build a large format camera from LEGO, cardboard, and duct tape. He was trying to mimic the effects of the old Autochrome Lumiere process from the early 1900s, and the result wasn’t too far off!

Source: The Autochrome Project on Flickr Via: Digital Camera World

16. Motorised time-lapse slider


Have you longingly watched time-lapse films of stars swirling around the sky and clouds tumbling over mountains and dreamed of creating something similar yourself? Why not build yourself a motorised slider, so you’ll be able to shoot stunning time-lapse films that look like they’d be good enough for the BBC, without breaking the bank!

Source: Digital Camera World

17. Make a tilt-shift lens from an ordinary optic


There’s no denying that tilt-shift lenses are expensive, but the results they can deliver can leave us drooling. Is it really possible to achieve the results of a tilt-shift lens without the lens itself? Of course it is! Chris Rutter explains how he created his own DIY version of a tilt-shift lens at just a fraction of the price. Read his post to find out what you’ll need, and how to construct a DIY tilt-shift lens of your own.

Source: Digital Camera World

About the author: Samantha Stocks is a writer and photography enthusiast based in Bristol, England. When not hunched over her laptop, she can be found being pulled around muddy Somerset fields by her ridiculously strong dog. Visit her website, or find her on Twitter. This article originally appeared on PhotoVenture.

  • bob

    Links 3 and 4 are broken.

  • thesuda

    #2 is broken.

  • Jason Yuen

    Here’s a suggestion. Camera on your old smartphone can be used as a dashcam. Just be sure to hide the thing if you’re in a shady part of town and you leave your car unattended. Otherwise you’ll get a smashed windshield and stolen phone.

  • Rabi

    How, exactly, is taking aerial photos with a quadcopter specially designed for aerial photography a “hack”?

  • slvrscoobie

    RE: Monochrome camera hack – his camera is still performing the internal de-bayering limiting his results. True, there is no filter reducing his QE curve, but the sharpness is still being ruined

  • Jim Macias

    FFS. They have been modified, not hacked.

  • JordanCS13

    Man do I hate the term ‘hack’ to mean some random tip. And what’s with the ridiculously over the top title as click bait? Really? ‘seventeen of the greatest camera hacks of all time?’ Come on. This isn’t BuzzFeed, but you sure seem intent on moving that direction. Cut it out. The article itself is fine, but the click bait garbage bugs me big time.

  • msabeln

    He is using DCRAW to process his raw files — his settings turns off the demosaicing algorithm.

  • Fullstop

    Because cameras can’t naturally fly on their own.

  • Jim Macias

    Why are my posts getting deleted?

  • Jason Yuen

    I think you just misconstrue the word “hack”. It has a lot of negative connotations to it but through no fault of the person using it.

  • Jason Yuen

    I think your definition of hack is more negative than it actually is. As a computer scientist, I understand this all too well. Hack is always associated with some negative behavior when really it’s much simpler than that. Simply using something for other than its intended purpose is called a hack.

  • JordanCS13

    No, I just hate the usage in this form. It started with the whole ‘life hack’ terminology (which is very recent..the past 7-10 years or so), which I despise, and while many of these are closer to a real version of a ‘hack’ I still hate using it in this way. Hacking is breaking into computer systems and modifying or bypassing what you are normally able to do with said system. The hacked firmware that’s available for many cameras is a proper usage of the term. I hate that the term has been coopted to mean ‘cool tip’ or ‘simple modification.’ Some of the above could be considered ‘hacks’ proper, but the ‘Lytro’ thing above, the simple adapting of old lenses, the drone photography, the ‘make your own webcam': Those aren’t hacks.

    If you want to consider me an old fogey for thinking so, then so be it.

  • Jim Macias

    I literally died when I read this. ;)

  • Jim Macias

    My understanding of the word is taking something and improving upon it. Not just changing it.

  • Jason Yuen

    Fair enough. We also can’t forget the more destructive definition of hack as well. Ie. hack and slash, which would make for a weird article.

  • Toby Hawkins

    Aren’t 5 & 6 and 7 & 8 exactly the same?

  • flightofbooks

    adapting old lenses might be a hack depending on how much modification to the lens and/or camera body you have to do.

  • Tzctplus -

    You’re both wrong IMHO, a hack is a modification which goes beyond the designed capabilities of the original tool. It has negative connotations because people hack in situations in which they should redesign, normally costing money to somebody else.

  • Darren James

    No mention of CHDK or Magic Lantern?