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Custom bokeh with laser cutter

July 12th, 2011 4 comments

This is an idea cjdavis had mentioned some weeks back: Using the laser cutter to cut out custom filters that mount to a camera’s lens and create custom bokeh shapes. I finally tried it yesterday.

We had on hand a large pile of little card-stock rectangles salvaged from the garbage; we thought they were blanks for playing cards and we had no use for them. However, I discovered, our laser cutter can cut them very quickly, and they are large enough that a 52mm circle fits inside (which matters because 52mm is the filter size of all my lenses).

My first one looked something like this:
DSC_4434.jpg

…and it fit perfectly inside my 18-55mm lens (perhaps a little too perfectly, because it was sort of a pain to remove…). Here are a couple test images I shot:
DSC_4429.jpg
DSC_4431.jpg
I could have centered it better, and I still should calibrate the size a bit, but I’m impressed with how it turned out for something that took all of 5 seconds to cut.

Here’s one with another pattern (this time on my 35mm f/1.8):
DSC_4439.jpg

Full Flickr album is here. I can have SVGs or DXFs up if anyone asks, but really, these patterns are dead-simple to put together by hand in Inkscape or something similar.

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