Coming soon to a crowdfunding platform near you, Lex is a protoype 3D printed camera that shoots 35mm film using modern Sony lenses.
Alexander Gee, a programmer and engineer based in Austin, Texas, has been developing a 3D printed camera body that shoots with modern Sony lenses using 35mm film. It’s called Lex.
“There is a particular aesthetic to shooting on film that gets lost when you use digital cameras,” Gee says.
“Like most people, I’m not shooting on film every day. My daily driver is a Sony A9. But sometimes I want to be able to use the lenses I can use with that camera with film emulsions.”
The Lex 3D printed camera accepts Sony’s E-mount lenses, the type designed for its higher-end cameras like the new Sony A7 III (whose digital image sensor is the same full-frame size as a shot of 35mm film). Currently, the Lex prototype offers auto exposure but not autofocus.
Gee estimates the prototype’s cost at about $450, including 3D printing and a shutter ordered from Sony’s parts catalogue.
Lex 3D Printed Camera is a Work in Progress
According to the Lex Optical website, the 3D printed camera has been in development for over a year. It is planned to be released as an open source project eventually. But first, a crowdfunding campaign is being put together for the production of a small batch.
The scope of the project is that it should be simple enough to build a Lex with just a 3D printer and a soldering iron. With full access to the designs, users can change any component of Lex they require. For example, if you don’t have Sony lenses to hand, you can design a Canon FD mount instead.
Finally, all makes of 35mm film should be compatible with a Lex. You can select any ISO between 6 and 512,000.
Gee is optimistic that others will help him to develop and improve Lex; momentum for the project may grow after he’s shared the STL files for 3D printing.
“I’d love to see others pick this project up and run with it,” he enthuses.
“I’ve got a day job and I’m not a mechanical engineer by trade, so there are huge leaps and bounds people with more skills than I could make on a project like this.”