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Tilt Shift lens for under $50

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Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 29 total)
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  • #2167
    ravnostic
    Participant

    Earlier I posted about the lens I picked up for $15 at a garage sale, and sleeping‘s suggestion to turn into a tilt-shift lens. Here’s the results of my tinkerings.

    First I needed a run to Homo Depot for parts. I got some #10-32 3″ screws (overkill; 2″ would have been fine), washers, nuts, a box of assorted springs, some plastic-specific epoxy, a door knob wall shield, and a 1-3/4″ drill bit. Already on hand was a spare cover for my Canon camera body.

    I drilled, very carefully, into the center of the body cap and wall shield. The shield had double-sided tape on the backside, but this turned out to be easy enough to remove.

    I also drilled 4 holes into the wall shield for screws, and into the plate that came with the lens I purchased. In the lens plate, I made the holes larger, so there’s wiggle room for the screws to allow for the tilting.

    I painted what became the interior side of the plate flat black with some paint on hand, and after sanding both surfaces to be mated, epoxied them together. I managed to last a whole 3 or so hours before continuing on (firm set at 5 minutes, ready to go at 20, and fully cured at 24 hrs. I’m not patient.)

    From there, it was a matter of picking out 4 compression springs, cutting them to size (you’d think with 14 types to choose from I’d have the perfect fit, but no), and assembling them. Screws in the holes on the plate, I added a washer, a spring, another washer, the lens plate, another washer, and the nut, winding up with this:

    My wants from this project was not just t/s, but the ability to set the lens up and maintain it’s position. The springs allow me to do that. Thus, I can replicate a shot, or take successive shots to later make a ‘movie’ from, which is lacking in the ‘toilet plunger’ version I’d seen before. It also gives me the ability to not only tilt on a horizontal plane, but (nearly) in any plane, which I thought would be nice in some situations. It also allows for longer exposures, so I can do night shots with it on a tripod.

    For the moment, I cut up a black sock and am using it for a ‘bellows’ to keep out unwanted light in the gap between the rig and the camera body. Haven’t figured out a more permanent solution for that yet, suggestions welcomed.

    Now, I haven’t had time to get any really good shots yet, and I’ll need to work through the learning curve of how to make effective tilt-shot pictures, but here’s a few demonstrating proof-of-concept:

    (that last in Tempe, but most were ‘fails’ in the worst way; turns out I had interior dirt in the lens that needed to be cleaned out to get better images; the above, however, was somewhat sorta okay looking)

    I’ll throw some more pictures in a gallery as I learn what the hell I’m doing with the lens.

    But it’s at least 1/20th of what I hear one pays for the ‘real’ thing, and that’s in my budget. Merry Christmas to me!

    #36561
    ravnostic
    Participant

    Crappy cell phone pic of lens on camera:

    #36562
    Curious
    Participant

    neat. if i’m understanding this correctly the space between the camera mount and the lens board is going to be the same except for whatever tilting you are doing. in your forth picture that appears to be a minimum of 1/2 inch and a maximum of 1 inch. i’m thinking something like the last item on this page. we have a dust collector on our bench grinders at work that has short pieces of flex tubing as part of the adapter but i cant find them right now.

    #36563
    ravnostic
    Participant

    neat. if i’m understanding this correctly the space between the camera mount and the lens board is going to be the same except for whatever tilting you are doing. in your forth picture that appears to be a minimum of 1/2 inch and a maximum of 1 inch. i’m thinking something like the last item on this page. we have a dust collector on our bench grinders at work that has short pieces of flex tubing as part of the adapter but i cant find them right now.

    With the particular lens I’m using (Wollensak 75mm f/4.5 enlarging raptar), That’s about right. I have to be right in there. The minimum is actually about 1/4″–the pic isn’t as ‘tight’ as it goes; at 1/4″, I’m left with a plane of focus that’s about 3/8th down the frame. Further away at 3/8-1/2″ the plane is right on the edge of the frame. The other end is about 3/4″; this gives me a tilt of around 20-25 degrees.

    With different lenses, I imagine you’d be further away (you’d have to be for the toilet plunger thing!) I can say I looked at all the plumbing stuff Home depot has to offer, and I’m glad I went the route I did–there’s not enough ‘play’ in rubber or plastic for where my lens finds it’s focus.

    On the bright side, being so close means I get lots of light–it’s easy to over-expose the shot, which is a better problem than not getting enough light. I can even use the aperture shutter on the lens, which lessens the tilt effect and is much easier than pulling back the shroud, adjusting the screws, etc. I just lengthen the exposure appropriately.

    I just got back from my first shoot, 485 pictures, I have some work to do but I know I got some really nice ones [crosses fingers, hasn’t looked] so I just need to go through them and tweek for s-curves and sharpness, then I’ll post in the gallery.

    #36564
    orionid
    Participant

    Neat. I’ve been debating for a while between this approach and taking the next step and making a full-on T/S adapter with a nikon bayonet mount at one end, and a camera mount for pentax 645, Mamiya 645, or Bronica S so that I can pick and choose multiple focal lengths.

    Kudos!

    Also – Keep in mind, in addition to miniaturizing the world, you can use it in the opposite direction to achieve deeper DoF for macros or landscapes, it’s known as the Scheimpflug principle.

    #36565
    ravnostic
    Participant

    Also – Keep in mind, in addition to miniaturizing the world, you can use it in the opposite direction to achieve deeper DoF for macros or landscapes, it’s known as the Scheimpflug principle.

    I’ll look that up. Not sure how I’d get the focal range, but I get the idea by extrapolation. Thanks for the tip!

    #36566
    sleeping
    Participant

    You know, nless I’m misreading things you only seem to have a *tilt* lens here, there doesn’t seem to be any facility for shifting the lens for perspective correction. It’s not important for fake minuatures, though…

    A section of actual bellows would probably be ideal for the connection between the lens and the camera: http://cgi.ebay.com/Macro-Bellows-Canon-350D-30D-40D-5D-1D-400D-Camera-/390220476774

    #36567
    ravnostic
    Participant

    You could be right sleeping. What’s the ‘shift’ in tilt shift? I’m not exactly proficient in these things (but I think I did okay with what I got.)

    #36568
    sleeping
    Participant

    Tilt: chagning the angle of the lens relative to the image plane. This changes the angle of your plane of focus. Traditionally it’s used to put foreground objects at the bottom of the image and a distant background at the top in focus at the same time. Fake miniatures are done by tilting the “wrong” way.

    Shift: moving the lens parallel to the image plane. This allows you to “look” up (down, sideways) while keeping the edges of things like buildings parallel.

    http://photo.net/equipment/canon/tilt-shift

    #36569
    ravnostic
    Participant

    Then, yes, it’s just a tilt lens. Still useful, of course. With a lens diameter of 1.5 cm, I wouldn’t get much ‘shift’ out of it, I’m afraid. But, as a macro and a tilt, it’s still a bargain.

    #36570
    Curious
    Participant

    sleeping your bellows link was for a canon but i found this page for nikon. for camera compatibility it had this info: Nikon cameras:
    Nikon D80, D70, D70s, D60, D50, D40, D40x
    Nikon D300, D200, D100
    Nikon D3, D2Xs, D2Hs, D2X, D2H, D1X, D1H, D1

    the D80 is a DX sensor camera. as is my D3000. so that’s ok but do all nikon mounts interchange? for instance my minolta MD lenses wouldn’t fit the 7D or any of the minolta AF film cameras. which was why i had to go the ext tube route rather than the bellow and focusing rail i have. as you can see i’m a nikon newbie and could look it up but .. well i’m lazy.

    and have you done business with these folks? their approval rating is high but they are in hong kong which concerns me some.

    #36571
    orionid
    Participant

    sleeping your bellows link was for a canon but i found this page for nikon. for camera compatibility it had this info: Nikon cameras:
    Nikon D80, D70, D70s, D60, D50, D40, D40x
    Nikon D300, D200, D100
    Nikon D3, D2Xs, D2Hs, D2X, D2H, D1X, D1H, D1

    the D80 is a DX sensor camera. as is my D3000. so that’s ok but do all nikon mounts interchange? for instance my minolta MD lenses wouldn’t fit the 7D or any of the minolta AF film cameras. which was why i had to go the ext tube route rather than the bellow and focusing rail i have. as you can see i’m a nikon newbie and could look it up but .. well i’m lazy.

    and have you done business with these folks? their approval rating is high but they are in hong kong which concerns me some.

    That bellows neither tilts nor shifts. The Bellows that do that for nikon (even the hong-kong ones) push upwards of $100.

    As far as the F-mounts, for the most part, they’re all interchangeable, however some of the older bodies have a sort of low-hanging light meter that interferes with some of the newer deep-setting lenses. If that’s just the bayonet mount as it looks, it should fit anything with an f-mount.

    Used #1
    used #2

    #36572
    sleeping
    Participant

    That bellows neither tilts nor shifts. The Bellows that do that for nikon (even the hong-kong ones) push upwards of $100.

    Right, I was really suggesting it as a cheap way of getting hold of the folding bellows itself. Although you could maybe hack one into something more flexible by separating the front and rear mounts from the track.

    AFAIK the only tilt-shift bellows for Nikon is the PB-4, and you’d be doing pretty well to get one for 100$.

    the D80 is a DX sensor camera. as is my D3000. so that’s ok but do all nikon mounts interchange?

    To some extent, but not universally. The basic Nikon mount hasn’t changed since the original Nikon F, but there are various clearance issues, e.g. with the aperture feeler on some cameras. The 3000 is pretty widely compatible though, it doesn’t have the AI tab that causes problems with some older equipment.

    and have you done business with these folks? their approval rating is high but they are in hong kong which concerns me some.

    I don’t know, I tend to assume all of those HK sellers are basically interchangeable, as long as they have decent feedback. The stuff all comes from the same sources I think. You do tend to be getting what you pay for – it’s never up to OEM standards, but I’ve never recieved anything actually non-functional.

    #36573
    orionid
    Participant

    That bellows neither tilts nor shifts

    Right, I was really suggesting it as a cheap way of getting hold of the folding bellows itself.

    Touch?. And good thinking. I don’t know why I didn’t catch that. I blame too much sleep.

    #36574
    Curious
    Participant

    That bellows neither tilts nor shifts. The Bellows that do that for nikon (even the hong-kong ones) push upwards of $100.

    As far as the F-mounts, for the most part, they’re all interchangeable, however some of the older bodies have a sort of low-hanging light meter that interferes with some of the newer deep-setting lenses. If that’s just the bayonet mount as it looks, it should fit anything with an f-mount.

    knew it didn’t tilt of shift but was interested in the macro aspects of a bellows. my ext tubes are nice but limited to fixed sizes. and for those dollars in your links i’ll definitely pass on OEM.

    thought i’d heard all F mounts were interchangeable but wanted confirmation, thanks.

    sleeping thanks to you too for both the mount info and hong kong sellers.

    a followup if you will. that hong kong nikon mount bellows at <$40 says "free shipping". in your experience is that true? i don't mind having to wait for it.

    the one downside is that it doesn’t look like it auto couples the exposure meter. not having tried my camera on manual metering i don’t know how much of problem that might be. and the D3000 lacks a DOF preview button which would not help at all.

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