I've been trying to learn a bit more about the optics involved in mid- to pro-level cameras, and I've been finding that getting out the tools and doing some hacking serves as a great mechanism for instruction. Just recently the idea of optical couplers - that is, a system to transmit light from one optical device to another to make an image - has gotten my attention.
Mainly just to see if it was possible (and to teach myself about optical couplers), I thought I'd try my hand at building an adapter so I could attach SLR lenses to my iPhone. The result is pretty cheesy, but nevertheless - I present to you, the Phone-O-Scope:
Phone-O-Scope: Completed build
The Phone-O-Scope with an 18-55mm lens attached.
Phone-O-Scope: In action
Just to get the inevitable question of 'why' out of the way - well, why not? As far as I can tell, I think this is the first - I couldn't find any similar SLR lens to camera phone attaching attempts anywhere else online (I'm not including the mini-lenses you can get as they're not 35mm lenses). The Phone-O-Scope doesn't take especially superb images, and it's a bit clumsy to handle. On the other hand, it's fun to shoot with and produces very analog (almost Holga-like) results. You also get the advantages of SLR lenses - that is, DOF effects, and the wide range of available focal lengths (i.e. macro to telephoto).
There are plenty of interesting designs for cameras floating about, and plenty of nice phones with reasonable optics attached. I'm hoping that this experiment takes the concept of a camera phone to it's illogical conclusion.
In keeping with my other optics experiments, I wanted to try something that required the minimum amount of dis assembly of expensive components (i.e. no warranty voiding!), as well as being cheap and relatively easy to assemble. The parts list (roughly) is:
* Camera phone (in this case, an iPhone)
* SLR lens (in this case, two Canon EF lenses)
* Old surplus canon lens end cap
* Hard phone case (cheapie iPhone case, ~US$10)
* Old optical mechanism from a CD or DVD player (scrap - cost me $0)
* Bit of old sticky putty (again, $0)
* Cardboard tube for testing
* 2-inch PVC pipe couplers (about US$3 each)
* Duct tape
I already had the lenses and phone, so the project cost me less than US$10.
Get the case off the phone first. This particular design doesn't do anything destructive to the phone or the case, but it's a good idea not to tempt fate :)