Fish-eye digital camera built by Greg Dash from old parts

Image caption,
The fish-eye camera creates 12 megapixel images but has no viewfinder

A student who built his own digital fish-eye camera to save money has taken orders for almost 300 of them from around the world.

Greg Dash, 25, from Mountain Ash, Rhondda Cynon Taf, created the device from old camera parts and soon found it in demand from other photography fans.

The 12 megapixel camera is around 4cm (1.5in) long and 2cm (0.8in) high with no LCD screen but shoots HD video.

He is selling the cameras for £65 and has taken an order for 50 from Taiwan.

Mr Dash, who did his degree in Swansea and was a postgraduate in Cardiff, said he was driven to create the camera because he could not afford to buy a fish-eye lens for his film camera.

Image caption,
A photo of a chimpanzee taken with Mr Dash's camera

He said: "I've always been a fan of photography from a young age, but only ever used film cameras.

"A friend bought me an SLR [single lens reflex] camera a few years ago, and I wanted to get a fish eye lens for it.

"However, as they cost hundreds of pounds and me being a student I had virtually given up on the idea.

"But then I thought instead to make my own using old camera parts."

Unlike most digital cameras, his creation has no viewfinder or screen to view photos.

Mr Dash, currently studying for a doctorate in renewable energy and eco-tourism at Aberystwyth University, said this element reminds him of the way people work with film cameras.

"One of the things I first loved about it is that it doesn't have an LCD screen to preview images - so you have that element of surprise when you come to look at the photos you have taken for the first time.

"That's something I love about using film cameras, but being a hard-up student I couldn't always afford to develop rolls.

"So that's where the idea about making it digital came in."

Extreme sports

Mr Dash began fundraising in February via a business support website to put the camera into production run of 500.

He said he has had a lot of interest from aeroplane enthusiasts and extreme sports fans keen to put the device to work.

"Since taking pre-orders a month ago, 290 people have put their money down.

"I've even taken one order of a batch of 50 from Taiwan, which is amazing considering the camera has only been promoted via word of mouth."

He said the income from the orders had almost cleared his seven-year student debts.