Forget jerky teleconfer-ences; put a real lens on
a ’90s era webcam, and
you’ve got something.
Video from still camera zoom. By Dennison Bertram
Photography by Dennison Bertram
If you’re like me and collected all things new and Metal bayonet adaptor: These can be found fairly
digital during the ’90s, then you have at least easily; try a camera repair shop. I got mine used
one old, ridiculously low-resolution webcam lying for $15, and they cost about $30 new. Be sure to
around. About a year ago, when I was living in a get one with screw mounts.
high-rise with great views across a large nature
preserve, I figured out how to turn one of these Webcam: Any webcam you can disassemble is
things into a surprisingly good daytime telescope. fine. I used a Logitech QuickCam “eyeball” I had.
By feeding the webcam’s CCD with a telephoto
lens from my 35mm camera, I got a video scope Lens: This hack works with any format and type
that could observe wildlife and identify license of lens. I recommend a 35mm zoom telephoto.
plates from quite a distance. (You can even use a microscope, if you’re inter-
ested in seeing really small rather than really far.)
What You’ll Need
Wood and screws: Any type of wood will do, but it Building It
must be thick enough to screw into the edges. First, measure out your wood for the box. The
dimensions you want depend on two factors: it
Flat black paint: For inside the box. must be wide and high enough in front to mount
the bayonet adapter, and deep enough to accom-