06/08/2013 10:37 BST

Greg Dash, Cash-Strapped Graduate, Invents Lofi Fish Eye Camera, Pays Off Debt

A cash strapped graduate who built a specialist digital camera from scratch because he could not afford one is celebrating after paying off a large chunk of his student debts with the invention.

Greg Dash, of Mountain Ash, south Wales, has begun shipping 1,000 of his limited edition Lofi Fish-Eye cameras to customers worldwide after the tiny device caused a storm with photography lovers.

The 12 megapixel camera is only around 4cm (1.5in) long and 2cm (0.8in) high and shoots images and HD video.

fish eye camera greg dash

Greg's amazing camera

Aberystwyth University PhD student Mr Dash, who did an undergraduate degree in Swansea before tackling a postgraduate course 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.

"I really still can't believe how successful this project has been", he added.

"It's amazing to think that the designs and ideas that I was thinking about six months ago are now a real thing that's going to shipped to people all over the world."

Mr Dash launched the project earlier this year using a crowdfunding site on the internet - and gave people a taster of his camera by uploading some of eye-catching images.

greg dash

The great Greg himself

He said he wanted to combine the best bits of digital photography and the retro photo movement known as lomography - while also creating something unique.

"When I first built the first camera for myself, one of things I loved about it was that it didn't have an LCD screen to preview images," he said.

"I''ve always loved that element of surprise when you come to look at the photos you have taken for the first time.

"It'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 why I incorporated the digital side aspect into the camera."

When friends saw the results of his labour - and the photographs the camera produced - Mr Dash found himself bombarded with requests.

He then launched the £65 camera via the fundraising website Indiegogo in February, limiting production to a run of 500.

However, after attracting media attention he doubled his production run to 1,000 - and has shipped units across the globe.

And if that was not enough, he also staged a charity auction via eBay for the final camera - raising £355 for the Rowan Tree Cancer Care fund in the process.

Mr Dash said: "I'm still pinching myself at how popular it has proved.

"To be beginning to pay off some of the debt that was having such a large impact on my life after my masters is fantastic.

"I still have a way to go, but the success of this project has helped a lot and it will allow me to concentrate more fully on finishing my PhD and continuing my work in research on science and the environment."

Mr Dash said he is now working on a number of new camera ideas he is hoping to bring out later this year.