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 wound up buying a Lumenbox as a birthday present for my friend Abbey and was impressed with the photos she took with the Lumenbox. 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 that affixing the Lumenbox lens to a drilled out body cap might work.
I bought a plastic body off ebay and drilled it with a hole that would give me an approximate aperature 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 2.8, my only choice at the time was to photograph indoors.
Without further ado here are the results of my first shots with the Lumenbox 27mm lens.