Man Invents a 3D-Printed 35mm Camera For Sony E Mount Lenses

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(the LEX body in raw nylon. Photo by Alexander Gee)

Alexander Gee, a New Zealand-born inventor who lives in Austin, Texas, has launched a 3D printed 35mm camera project he calls the LEX optical project. According to an article on CNET, he's been working on it for over a year and hopefully, you could either print the camera yourself or perhaps buy a built body through a future crowdfunding campaign. 

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(LEX prototype photo by Alexander Gee)

The idea of making a 35mm film camera that uses Sony E-mount lenses has a lot of merit. Think about how Sony is dominating the camera market right now. Their Mirrorless A7 series cameras and the A9 are killing DSLR sales and are pushing the boundaries of what digital cameras are capable of. More importantly, the E Mount is very flexible and Sony makes excellent glass.

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                                                                  (LEX prototype photo by Alexander Gee)


What does that have to do with 35mm film? Well, with an increase in Sony camera sales, people are buying more and more E Mount lenses and only have one place to use them. Why not slap one on a 35mm camera body and shoot some film?

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(LEX prototype photo by Alexander Gee)

Now, as the camera is in the prototype phase, the images are not amazing, but I have a feeling it also has to do with execution. It'd be interesting to see a sample of portrait work or something artsy besides just picking up the camera and taking a picture of whatever happens to be in the frame exactly where you're standing. 

It's not cheap to build one, as Gee estimates that it might cost you around $450 dollars to build one including the cost of buying a shutter directly from Sony. There is a benefit though of going this route instead of buying an old 35mm for $50 bucks and then slapping a metabones adaptor on it. Native E Mount. If they can get the camera to function properly, to take perfectly exposed film images with native Sony lenses then it could do something no other 35mm camera can. 

In the article from CNET, Gee said: 

"I'd love to see others pick this project up and run with it," he said. "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."

We're just scratching the surface of the things that can be built with 3D printers and pretty soon we'll be able to print a VHS player to watch that old home movie cassette you found in your aunts house or something else that's a unique item from the past that you can't easily buy in the store anymore. 

Check out the LEX project here and the full interview with CNET here