Toy lenses - recommendations

ccunningham

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I didn't have much luck searching here, so I'll ask...

I'm looking for a toy/lofi type lens. The only item I found on fleabay was a 25mm Holga, but before I clicked on buy, I thought I would ask for recommendations here. Anybody have anything in the toy/lofi lens category they like particularly well? If you've used the Holga, did you like it?

My price range for this is 100USD or so. Hopefully less...
 

Petrochemist

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C-mount lenses are worth considering.
IIRC I've seen 50mm 1.4, 35mm 1.7 & 25mm 1.4 options available with µ 4/3 adapters (costs from ~$20 with adapter)
Many others c-mounts are available but many will give severe vignetting and quite a few turn out to be CS mount which will stop you focusing at useful distances.
C-mount lenses, are fully manual, tend to be reasonably good at the centre, with interesting swirly bokeh showing towards the edges, and generally make native lenses look big!

Another possibility for a toy lens approach could be to make your own - A simple lens, cut, paper mask for aperture & a suitable focusing helicoid could work. Helicoids with µ4/3 camera mounts & M42 threads are available in 17-31mm & 26-55mm lengths (add 20mm for the camera internals, and further extension if required). Should be possible to try several options for $100.
 

ccunningham

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The c-mount option sounds kind of like what I may be after. Ive continued looking and found the lomo set of experimental lenses, but I'm not convinced yet that they're worth it.
 

Rick Waldroup

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I have the Holga and I also have a C mount lens. The quality of the Holga lenses can vary widely. i was fortunate enough, if you want to look at it this way, in that my copy of the lens has severe distortion, vignetting, softness, etc. In other words, it was exactly what I was looking for. I only use it sparingly and on certain subjects, as it can quickly become cliched and a one-trick-pony kind of lens.

The C mount lens I own is actually pretty sharp in the middle and has great soft focus fall-off to the edges. I shoot it almost exclusively wide open at 1.4. Of the two lenses, the Holga sees much more use.

I also have a toy pinhole lens and I also have the set of Lomo toy lenses for m/43, but all in all, I keep going back to the Holga.
 

ccunningham

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I have the Holga and I also have a C mount lens. The quality of the Holga lenses can vary widely. i was fortunate enough, if you want to look at it this way, in that my copy of the lens has severe distortion, vignetting, softness, etc. In other words, it was exactly what I was looking for. I only use it sparingly and on certain subjects, as it can quickly become cliched and a one-trick-pony kind of lens.

The C mount lens I own is actually pretty sharp in the middle and has great soft focus fall-off to the edges. I shoot it almost exclusively wide open at 1.4. Of the two lenses, the Holga sees much more use.

I also have a toy pinhole lens and I also have the set of Lomo toy lenses for m/43, but all in all, I keep going back to the Holga.
Thanks for the insight, I have pretty limited experience with lofi type lenses and I agree that they are kind of situational but I've been wanting to experiment with something different and I've had a couple ideas on using a lofi lens. It sounds like maybe I should skip the lomo kit and get the Holga and a c-mount lens to try out. After checking prices it looks like I can buy both but still stay under budget.
 

mrjr

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I own the Olympus BCL 15, which I think most people would consider to be a toy lens. I intend to add to my toy lens kit: first, a Fujian 35/1.7 C mount and maybe also the Lomography 12mm. Those two (or three) lenses would make a nice fun, non-serious walkaround kit.

You may also want to look at Pentax 110 lenses. At some point, I would like to get my hands on the 18mm and the 25mm.
 

darosk

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As mentioned, the ebay c-mounts are very inexpensive and great fun. I had the Fujian 35mm f/1.7 and an unbranded 25mm f/1.4. The 25mm in particular had huge amounts of swirling+vignetting around the edges, which I particularly enjoyed.
 

ccunningham

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I own the Olympus BCL 15, which I think most people would consider to be a toy lens. I intend to add to my toy lens kit: first, a Fujian 35/1.7 C mount and maybe also the Lomography 12mm. Those two (or three) lenses would make a nice fun, non-serious walkaround kit.

You may also want to look at Pentax 110 lenses. At some point, I would like to get my hands on the 18mm and the 25mm.
I almost ordered the O9mm but I don't think it's optical quality is flawed enough for what I wanted. As odd as that sounds.
 

ccunningham

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As mentioned, the ebay c-mounts are very inexpensive and great fun. I had the Fujian 35mm f/1.7 and an unbranded 25mm f/1.4. The 25mm in particular had huge amounts of swirling+vignetting around the edges, which I particularly enjoyed.

Right that 25 mm. sounds like what I wanted to play with
 

ccunningham

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Thanks for the insights. Based on a combo of what I'm looking for and the comments here, I just ordered a bcl15 to retry out, a Holga and a no brand 25mm 1.4. Still under budget! No need to abandon the discussion though, maybe it will help the next person who searches for the thread title.
 

the.growler

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The 25mm C-mount CCTV lenses can be a lot of fun. You will get some vignetting but (IMHO) it adds to the charm. You can get some wild effects:
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But if you crop down or shoot 1:1 in camera you can get some very pleasing images by isolating the image center:
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Have fun!
 

PMCC

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If you really want a toy lens, what about buying a magnifying glass from a drug store ($5?) and hold it in front of the camera? AFAIK that is close to the Holga.
 

Petrochemist

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If you really want a toy lens, what about buying a magnifying glass from a drug store ($5?) and hold it in front of the camera? AFAIK that is close to the Holga.

That would give you loads of muck on your sensor, unless you use a reversing ring to fit a UV filter to the lens opening...
 

ccunningham

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I had tried the bcl15, couldn't figure out what to do with it,.and sold it on. But now I'm wanting to do something different, something that could help me break out of the rut of work and chores and errands and get out shooting again. If it costs 100, it's worth it.
 

ccunningham

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The 25mm C-mount CCTV lenses can be a lot of fun. You will get some vignetting but (IMHO) it adds to the charm. You can get some wild effects:
Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)


But if you crop down or shoot 1:1 in camera you can get some very pleasing images by isolating the image center:
Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)


Have fun!
Very cool. This is the kind of thing I'm looking for
 

ccunningham

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I broke down and ordered the lomo kit last night. I'm officially justifying going over budget by using the money I got from selling a dslr zoom lens I had sitting in my camera bag. And the fact that I've managed to NOT get persuaded into buying a tablet.
 

Pawel D.

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I had that craze for toy lenses before. Holga didn't amazed me. Since I used the real 6x6 Holga, the effect on M4/3 camera was rather poor.
I got into trying different projector lenses and my biggest find (in matter of toy lenses) was Polish ŁZK Lucar 50/1.6. It's a Petzval construction and renders nice swirly bokeh. Check samples and adapter here: http://lenscraze.blogspot.com/2014/02/zk-lucar-50-mm-116-projector-lens.html

Also an Industar-69 28/2.8 would work and is rather cheap: http://lenscraze.blogspot.com/2013/12/industar-69-28-mm-128-m39.html

And as everybody suggested, the whole family of Fujian C-mount lenses: http://lenscraze.blogspot.com/search/label/fujian
Just be careful with 50/1.4. I didn't like it at all. @1.4 it's really blurry, but on the other hand - you might like it :)

I also have a lens that works like below. It's a modified M42 lens with aperture of 2.8 and near standard field of view. How do you like it? :)
(Photos below weren't edited! It was just downsized to upload.)
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Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)
 

SojiOkita

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I'm also searching for toy lenses.
I find the Holga lens & cctv lenses interresting (I was not impressed by the pinhole examples I've seen)

For CCTV lenses, does someone have recommandations?
There are multiple 25 f/1.4 & 35 f/1.7 offers on ebay (at approximately 20$) with very different designs. Are some better than others?

Do 35 mm cctv lenses have the same characteristics than 25 mm lenses (swirly bokeh for example)?
 
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