Man You’ll Focus

This is yet another delayed geek post; a major one at that. Remember the webcam that Syefri donated to me last year which I modified to become an infrared webcam?

I combined it with the Fujifilm Digital Q1 that Bernard donated to form a Frankenstein monster! Previously, I modified it to become an infrared digicam. However, it had a fixed-focus lens, and by removing the infrared-blocking filter, it became permanently near-focused.

I tried to cut and insert a similiarly-sized piece of glass to make it focus back on infinity, but it didn’t work.

Then it hit me! Why not put the manual focus lens of the webcam on the digicam instead?

And so, I took it apart again, to:

Left to right, top to bottom:

  • I unscrewed the lens to get this.
  • From the front.
  • Left: The lens from the webcam, which was a manual focus lens; right: the fixed focus lens that originally came with the camera.
  • The webcam lens on its lens mount.
  • From left: camera, original infrared-blocking-filter-holder with three holes for screws, webcam lens mount with two holes for screws.
  • The webcam lens mount on the camera, but with only one screw screwed in; the other side was filed away to fit in!

I had to file off the top surface of the webcam lens mount also to allow the components on the circuit board to fit on top of it.

Left to right, top to bottom:

  • The webcam lens was blocked by the camera’s front plate, so I had to cut a hole to let the lens poke through.
  • Swiss Army Knifes can be pretty handy.
  • Camera with front plate surgery.
  • This also allowed me to manually focus by turning the lens clockwise to bring it closer to the sensor, thus making the focus further, and turning the lens anti-clockwise would bring it further from the sensor, making it focus nearer.
  • Left to right: Front plate bit, simple switch to adjust distance of fixed-focus lens to enable macro, the original F3.5 lens.
  • The webcam, now without an eye, hangs itself. (How macabre of me.)

Left to right, top to bottom:

  • The first shot I made once the manual focus lens was assembled; this was a macro picture of the front plate.
  • The wonderful thing about this lens is that it has no aperture blades, thus keeping it fully circular, for beautiful bokeh! *
  • Close up on guitar strings.
  • I then tried my door-peephole-turned-fisheye on it.

* Of course, it also means that depth of field is always small. Since the webcam’s sensor was slightly smaller, I guess the lens was smaller too, thus giving an even smaller depth of field when moving to the Q1’s bigger sensor. I don’t know what aperture the manual focus lens is at, though my guess is that it’s at F3.5 as well, since the exposure seems to be the same.

Left to right, top to bottom:

  • Artifacts from such a cheap webcam lens are obvious, like lens flare, like from this auto-focus beam from another camera.
  • I always catch Broken Scar pointing at things; flare can be exploited in certain angles.
  • The sun is black on the Q1’s CMOS sensor.
  • Very bright lights cause scanlines to appear.

Another thing about its sensor is that it does not seem to expose everything at once, scanning downwards instead. That is why the camera seems to have captured the motion of the car! (This also accounts for camera phones, when you snap a picture when someone else’s camera flash goes off, you might see half your picture with flash and half without. It might explain Sherve’s freaky half-blur picture.)

If the skies are blue enough, you’ll still see blue.

Another thing about this lens is the horrible amount of vignetting and soft edges. However, it can be looked at as a tasteful thing.

From infinity focus…

…I manually focus nearer… (couldn’t resist changing the hue.)

…and this is as close as I can get. Yep, those are the tips of those leaves.

When precisely focused, images have a beautiful pop.

Vignetting and soft edges make for a portrait lens!

Shutter speeds are a lot faster, because there is a lot of infrared light in tungsten lighting. Shutter speeds are the same as a normal camera at night under flourescent lighting though, since that has no infrared.

The lens is softer to the left of the picture (when turned clockwise it blurs the top.)

Despite all these flaws, I love it. It’s like a digital lomo camera!

It is also;

– an infrared-enabled digital camera
– a manual focus digital camera (eat that, SLR owners!)
– a removable lens digital camera (though I haven’t looked around for lenses that fit.)

All pictures taken after July 19th 2006 were with the wonder of this. I don’t know if the flash capacitor is weaker, or there is something about the lens characteristics that makes infrared flash not as bright as before.

4 thoughts on “Man You’ll Focus

  1. Silencers Post author

    I like the fact that it still detects IR afte the SUN goes down. You’re getting that much closer to night vision, man.

    All you need is strong IR emttier. Coupled with your Q1, you’re effectively a pseudo Sam Fisher!


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