Shooting Weddings with a $20 CCTV Lens

olympuscctvlens

A while back, I came across an article about using a super cheap CCTV lens. The results to me looked something like a Voigtlander f/0.95 but for a tiny fraction of the cost. I picked one up off eBay for something like $20 a year or so ago.

It’s as cheaply made as you’d expect (although with a metal barrel) and it comes apart easily. The focusing is tricky and everything feels a bit like a ‘toy’ lens. It vignettes like crazy. There are tons of chromatic aberration. The sweet spot of focus is very small. Any enlarging of a photo shows how poor the glass is in terms of sharpness. Lots of bad points.

And yet, it also produces some of my favorite photos. It has a character and look unlike anything else I have used. And with a bit of post processing in Lightroom, you can really take the edge off a lot of the image quality negatives. All in all I love the lens and love the results. So what’s not to love?

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As for shooting a wedding with it, you’d have to be pretty reckless. But, when a friend asks as a favor for you to tag along and shoot the wedding as a second shooter (and knows how little experience you have), you don’t have a lot to lose. So pop on a $20 CCTV lens and see what the photos come out like.

(I should also mention he knows I am very much an amateur, this was definitely a freebie, we only had a short time to take photos, it was very overcast grey weather and he wasn’t relying on my shots. So, if you want to try this yourself, on your own head be it!)

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As for these photos, they were post-processed in Lightroom (Just a minute or so on each one. Some colour adjustments, a few BW conversions, purple fringing removal and some straightening).


P.S. If you’d like to buy a CCTV lens for your own camera, just do an eBay search for your particular mount.


About the author: Thomas LeVine is a photographer and the man behind TinyBritishHipster, an online marketing business. This article originally appeared here.

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