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This 3D-printed 163mm F2.5 lens was made for around $15

Pixels and Prisms is an online resource for open-source projects aimed at photographers. Its first major project, the Pixels and Prisms 163mm F2.5 telephoto lens, is now available. Better yet, the 3D-printed lens requires about $13 worth of materials.

Unlike some other 3D-printed lenses, the Pixels and Prisms 163mm F2.5 includes a focusing mechanism and fully-adjustable aperture. There are 23 significant parts and 15 pegs to facilitate movement. The manual focus mechanism is lockable at its fully-extended or fully-retracted positions, and the 12-bladed aperture is adjustable from F2.5 to F11.

The Pixels and Prisms 163mm F2.5 lens includes 23 significant parts, all of which can be assembled by novice builders using household glue.

The lens has a Canon EF mount, so it’s usable on many Canon DSLR cameras or other mirrorless cameras using a mount adapter. When assembled, the lens weighs 329g. There is one part you can’t 3D print, the front glass element. Once the parts are printed, the construction promises to be simple enough for anyone, even those without special experience, to put the lens together using just household glue. For the more adventurous, you can even adapt the aperture and zoom system to work with a longer optic, provided you place an extender in front of the optic.

You can see the Pixel and Prisms lens (right) next to the Canon EF 70-200mm F4 telephoto zoom lens (left). While significantly wider, the DIY lens is pretty short. It also weighs around 330g when assembled.

Concerning the optic, you can source one from Surplus Shed. The website includes a lens finder tool. You can also find elements on eBay. As for which specific elements will fit into the 3D-printed lens, you should use a lens with a diameter of around 65mm. However, additional information is available here.

The full build instructions are available from Pixels and Prisms. The 10-part process includes step-by-step instructions and all the required .stl files for 3D printing.

Sample image courtesy of Pixels and Prisms

Pixels and Prisms has also provided some sample images. While the lens doesn’t deliver the edge-to-edge sharpness you’d expect from a Canon-made telephoto lens, there are a lot of creative possibilities. Plus, the lens costs a fraction of what you’d pay for a commercially-available lens.

Sample image courtesy of Pixels and Prisms

At its absolute sharpest, the lens offers decent fine detail, albeit with a very shallow depth of field. The bokeh isn’t perfectly round, but it does offer interesting character. You can see additional sample images by visiting Pixels and Prisms. We’re excited to see what’s next from Pixels and Prisms.