September 25th, 2005
Digital cameras are so available these days that there's no reason not to take advantage of the technology. And here's a trick to get the most out of them. So you want a polarized lens for your digital camera, but aren't willing to shell out the big bucks for a step-down attachment and the lens itself. What do you do? I'll tell you. This works great on my Nikon Coolpix.
What You'll Need
- Broken Sunglasses, polarized
- Rubber Bands
- Wire Cutters
What you're going to do is take your sunglasses and turn the lens into a simple polarization stage. They need to be actual polarized lenses - most that cost over $15 will be. Otherwise it's just a piece of dark plastic and it won't get you any results, just darker photos. I had this pair of great sunglasses that broke on me. No way to repair it, the earpiece actually broke off. Would've been easy enough to repair if the screw fell out, but the actual metal was broken. So Take the piece and cut it down to one lens.
Leave enough metal on each side that you'll be able to hook a rubber band around it. Cut one rubber band so that you can tie one end to the sunglasses, and the other end to the second rubber band. Use the second rubber band to loop around the digital camera and connect back to the lens. The reason you don't want a consistant loop is that this way you can loop it through the camera strap if you have one that goes from one side to the other. If it was one loop, it would be a pain in the ass to handle, since your lens won't have much tension, the camera strap would keep moving it off kilter.
The idea, see, is to have the tension just tight enough to keep the lens on the digital camera. If it's too tight you will mess up your camera's autofocus and zoom movement. If your camera is set to infinite distance, it shouldn't move, but for everything else you're going to want the bare minimum of tension. I'm not responsible if you screw up your camera.
Do a lot of experiments. This is great for taking pictures of sunny clouds. Polarized lenses cut out a lot of "glare" that you wouldn't even know was there. Polarized lenses help you shoot into water while cutting out the glare of the surface. It's great. I personally think two of my lenses is a little much, but one adds a certain dramatic quality to every picture I take with it. Happy shooting!
Look how much more detail there is in the center clouds in "one filter" than in "no filter" and you can see why this is awesome. You will probably have to increase the exposure length by a bit to compensate, but when you get nicely detailed results, who cares? A tripod is essential.
Check out these two I took while driving, while using a polarized sunglass lens. Click them for larger.
Sorry for the watermarks on those. Some dude refused to stop hotlinking to my image so I told him I was going to replace it with a picture of a guy's butt. So he downloaded, rehosted, and posted it without credit or a link back here. Bummer.
Happy Shooting!! Please check out our sponsors! Also feel free to show me and picture you take with this hack, and I will gladly display them here.
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Now in general the polarization lines of a camera lens are circular, whereas the lines on sunglass lenses tend to be straight, so it won't be quite the exact effect, but it will work. It might mess up autofocusing, if you're the kind of person who uses it. If it does, try to take a focus lock before slipping the lens over.
CONS: - it looks stupid, doesn't do quite the same polarization as a real digital camera lens, and professional photographers will laugh at you.
PROS: - it's free and it works.