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Turning a 30-Year-Old Ghostbusters Toy into a Camera Lens


Instead of using a filter or editing technique to achieve a lo-fi look, Sean from Fotodiox went a different route and converted a 1984 Ghostbusters toy and adapted it to a mirrorless camera to create an unusual yet authentic vintage look.

Sean is known for his creative ideas which generally involve a combination of DIY supplies and Fotodiox products. For example, he has shared videos on a small homemade camera obscura, a magnifying glass repurposed as a focusable lens, and mini drinking straws used to create a camera that produces mosaic-effect images.

Ghostbusters toy projector

In this experiment, Sean picked up a Ghostbusters GhostZapper projector toy from an antique store and thought it might be something he could turn into a lens. Although the toy was not in the best shape, it was still in working condition and the projector lens part itself could still be adapted to a modern mirrorless camera.

Ghostbusters toy projector Ghostbusters toy projector Ghostbusters toy projector

First, Sean disassembled the toy and wrapped the tube in gaffer’s tape because the projector part itself was made out of a semi-translucent and bright orange plastic. The tape would serve to block the light and avoid the images looking like an “orange mess.”

Ghostbusters toy projector

Sean selected a Sony Alpha 7R II and combined it with two Fotodiox adapters — one for focusing to infinity and one for closeups — and secured both to the camera body with another round of gaffer’s tape.

The first adapter worked well for landscapes and produced a dreamy, soft retro look. Despite the fact that the old projector lens was never made for anything photographic and was meant to simply project cartoon slides onto a wall, it still worked.

Woodlands area shot with a lo-fi lens Woodlands area shot with a lo-fi lens Woodlands area shot with a lo-fi lens Woodlands area shot with a lo-fi lensWoodlands area shot with a lo-fi lens Woodlands area shot with a lo-fi lens Woodlands area shot with a lo-fi lens

As expected, the quality isn’t fantastic. The images have plenty of color fringing and the photo is only sharp — or at least at its sharpest — right in the middle.

flower close up a toad's close-up grassy fields green leaves close up flower close up flower close up

Sean also used the plastic lens in a macro setup, where it excelled at isolating the subjects, like leaves and flowers, due to the softness all around the focus point. The color fringing, although a nuisance in most cases, did help some of the outdoor macro subjects stand out more.

Ghostbusters toy Ghostbusters toy

To finish the experiment, Sean paid a tribute to the 80s era and fittingly photographed a few Ghostbusters toys.

Ghostbusters toy Ghostbusters toy Ghostbusters toy Ghostbusters toy

More experimental videos like these can be found on Fotodiox’s YouTube page.

Image credits: Photos by Fotodiox.


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