I think that I first stumbled upon Jorge Otero’s wonderful little Lumenbox on Etsy when I was searching for pinhole cameras. The Lumenbox is very much not a pinhole camera. It uses a simple meniscus lens to achieve a wonderful swirly distortion that I was immediately entranced with.

I bought a Lumenbox as a birthday present for my friend Abbey and was impressed with the photos she took with it. At a point, I couldn’t resist ordering one for myself. I have to admit, I was a little obsessed with the distorted qualities of the Lumenbox lens.

At around the same time I was about to order my Lumenbox, I also had the idea of adapting a Lumenbox lens to a conventional camera just to see what kind of results I might get.

While the Lumenbox utilizes dampened black and white photo paper and long exposures to achieve its self-developing chromatic paper negatives. I wondered what the results might be like using conventional film and the ability to shoot more than one frame at a time that a more conventional camera would give.

Jorge was kind enough to include two Lumenbox lenses gratis with my Lumenbox order; one a 27mm, the other a 50mm.

I knew (or thought) that the flange to film plane distance of my Barnack style rangefinders (a Canon and a now-deceased Voigtlander) was about 24mm, so affixing the Lumenbox lens to a drilled out body cap might work.

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I bought a plastic body off eBay and drilled it with a hole that would give me an approximate aperture of about 2.8. and stuck the lens to the cap with some black tack.

I have to say that the strange, glowing, distorted images exceeded my expectations and look a lot more like the images I had in my head than I thought was possible.

Because I already had a roll of Rollei Retro 400S in the camera and now was using a fixed aperture of about f/2.8, my only choice at the time was to photograph indoors.
The 5 frames here are the results of my first shots with the Lumenbox 27mm lens.

Thanks for reading.

~ Sonny

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About the author

Sonny Rosenberg

I'm a semi-retired Ceramics teacher who finally has the time to pursue photography and my crazy experiments with it.

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