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Photographer 3D prints $25 wide-angle macro lens using CCTV camera

Photographer Nicholas Sherlock 3D printed a $25 super wide angle macro lens using CCTV camera glass and a 4x microscope.

The DIY Lens Adapter builds on Sherlock’s latest project, a 3D printed 4x telescopic macro adapter lens.


A wide-angle macro lens allows users to take photos of insects up close, but also captures the subject’s surroundings, providing a unique perspective that cannot be achieved with an ordinary macro lens.

Sherlock sent his creation to YouTuber Michael Widell who was impressed with the streamlined nature of the DIY lens which allows the shooter to get close to the subject without colliding with surrounding leaves or even repelling the insect.

Currently, there is only one wide-angle macro lens on the market, the Venus Laowa 15mm.

But unlike a traditional lens, the DIY version of Sherlock doesn’t block any light from a flash, making it easier to illuminate the subject.

However, Sherlock recounts PetaPixel that using the camera with the lens attached is not entirely straightforward.

“It’s a bit tricky to shoot because the image in the viewfinder is reversed, so you have to reverse the movements that you would normally do to frame your subject,” he explains.


stigma of red rhododendron

The lens cannot cover a full frame sensor and performs best on APS-C. Sherlock designed it for the Sony E mount, but he also created variants for the EF mount, Nikon, and even Micro Four Thirds.

Sherlock has posted instructions on how to 3D print the adapter. Any CCTV M12 lens can be attached to the adapter.

“Wide-angle CCTV lenses give the most unique effect because wide-angle macro is difficult to achieve on a typical mirrorless camera,” Sherlock adds.


To focus the objective, it must be screwed and unscrewed on its thread. Infinity focus is possible and it is able to focus so that the subject almost touches the lens.

Sherlock recommends lens users shoot in APS-C crop mode, which will always result in a circular crop directly from the camera. So extra cropping is needed to get a square or rectangular output.

Instructions on how to print lens adapters can be found on Thingiverse and Printables.

Picture credits: All photos by Nicholas Sherlock.

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