We’ve shared in the past how a broken lens can be used for “freelensing,” or taking tilt-shift-esque photographs.
Photographer and lens hacker Witono Halim did this by buying a broken 50mm f/1.8 online for $25, sawing a piece off, and combining everything into a ugly-yet-functional lens with $2 of duct tape.
Photographers commonly place UV filters on the front of their camera lenses in order to protect the glass front element. Aside from preventing dust buildup, the filter also takes the brunt of any impact seen by the front of the lens. If you have to have some glass shatter, you’d rather it be a relatively cheap filter compared to an entire lens, right?
But how easy is it to damage or destroy the front element of a lens? Photographer Richard Choi had the opportunity to find out a few years ago when he found a bricked lens on his hands.
Canon’s 50mm f/1.8 Mark II is a terrific lens for its price, but its build quality definitely leaves something to be desired. Do a quick search, and you’ll find legions of broken-hearted Canonites who had their ‘Nifty Fifty’ split into two pieces after accidentally bumping or dropping it. Flickr user tastygiant is one such Canonite, but he subsequently discovered an awesome use for the broken lens:
Being a geek, I figured I could use the broken pieces in the future, so I shelved it and bought a new 50mm 1.8 Canon lens. One day, while taking shots around my apartment, I stumbled across the broken lens again and decided to reverse the “barrel assembly” onto the front of my intact 50mm. Everything was blurry of course, but I noticed if I got very close to an object the detail came into view. After adjusting the aperture to around f5.6, I had a clear image.
It’s important to note that you should switch to Manual focusing and rotate the focusing ring to “infinity”.