I like the look that is possible with zone plate photography. I've google around a bit and it seems that pinhole and zone plate photography on a DSLR, especially a crop body DSLR, results in medium telephoto type shots. It also seems that the focal length is dependent upon the distance from the plate (or pinhole) to the sensor.

You could take a body cap and inset it some into the camera body, but it will eventually strike the mirror. Going one step further, I could use mirror lockup and and get the zone plate even closer to the sensor. If I do that, what sorts of problems am I likely to see. And this raises an interesting question, does the Canon 40D even have a mechanical shutter and would this inset device interfere with that?

  • \$\begingroup\$ The Canon D40 does have a mechanical shutter, by the way. \$\endgroup\$
    – mattdm
    Commented Feb 25, 2012 at 4:42

1 Answer 1


One option is to use a zone plate optic with a wide-angle converter lens in front. An off-the-shelf solution is Lensbaby's zone plate optic + wide angle 0.6× or super-wide angle 0.42× conversion kit. Since the optic gives a focal length of roughly 55mm, the results will be about 33mm or 23mm.

Examples are available on Lensbaby's site with the zone plate with super-wide converter and regular wide converter.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Ouch for the price of it all! But yeah, that is an off the shelf solution. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Feb 24, 2012 at 17:34
  • \$\begingroup\$ Yeah, not cheap if this is your only purpose, but it is part of a whole system, so for $280 you'd get the Muse lens body, zone plate and pinhole, double glass optic, 0.6× wide angle converter, and 1.6× teleconverter. All together, that's a lot of versatility. Plus, they're well made, and made in the US by a small company made up of people doing what they love. \$\endgroup\$
    – mattdm
    Commented Feb 24, 2012 at 17:51
  • \$\begingroup\$ I had sent an email to lens baby this morning, they will sell the Scout and Zone Plate without the fish eye the Scout normally comes with. Very cool they would make a special for me and great how quickly they responded. Great service so far! (I asked them about using the Scout, Zone, and wide converter together. I'll report back when I find out.) \$\endgroup\$ Commented Feb 24, 2012 at 18:27
  • \$\begingroup\$ I was just wondering the same thing! I actually traded my Muse for a (much smaller, and less squeaky) Lensbaby 2.0, and I'm left with several optics and accessories without a lens body to put them in. Did they offer it to you at the price of the Scout minus the cost of the Fisheye optic? If so, I think they've sold two. :) \$\endgroup\$
    – mattdm
    Commented Feb 24, 2012 at 18:53
  • \$\begingroup\$ $160 for the Scout and Zone Plate. I don't have all the prices on the top of my head, but that sounds about right. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Feb 24, 2012 at 19:17

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