Using just a water drop for a lens wasn’t easy. Spa, the water company, got help from Hans Feil and Pieter van der Valk from the company Etulipa. They spend several weeks developing the camera (the whole project took over six months). I talked with Pieter and asked him how his camera works.
The liquid lens camera uses a fresh drop of Spa water on a small glass plate coated with teflon (1). The teflon coating allows the water to remain a nice spherical drop without spreading over the plate. By electrifying the plate the drop stretches. By varying the amount of current you can focus the image.
An industrial sensor (measuring 4 by 6 millimeter) with 18 megapixel was used to record the image (2). The image was recorded in colour, but the photographer choose to convert the photos to black and white in post.
A mirror (3) was used to bend the light coming from the front of the camera and send it trough the water drop and on to the sensor. The distance between the drop and the sensor was much smaller while taking the photo compared to the distance seen in the image above. The actual distance between drop and sensor was about 12 millimeter.
To prevent stray light from entering the camera a small plastic tube (4) was placed over the water drop.
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