Usually, getting some beautiful swirly bokeh on the cheap means looking to used Russian lenses like the Helios 44-2. But if you’re determined to get more creative, weird lens hunter Mathieu Stern has an idea for you: try a military grade night vision lens.
Stern got his hands on just such a lens, a C-Mount 75mm f/1.3 to be exact, and the results it produced surprised him. Here are a few portraits and video stills he captured using this lens. In full-frame mode, you’ve got some serious vignetting, but if you switch into APS-C mode you can capture the complete frame:
This manual focusing (duh) lens has no brand name attached, but Stern says you can find “equivalent named Goldinar or Navistar 75mm f/1.3” lenses online.
You can see more sample shots and learn more about this lens over on Mathieu’s website here. When he posted the video, similar lenses could be found for about 90 euros (~$94 USD) online, but you’ll have to do some digging.
Image credits: Photos by Mathieu Stern and used with permission.