The popularity of classic photography lenses for video has seen a massive increase in the last few years. And it’s no surprise. Some of those old lenses have a fantastic look about them and produce footage that would be difficult or impossible to shoot with modern glass without a lot of post-processing effects to simulate it. And even then, it wouldn’t look 100% the same.
But vintage photography lenses aren’t exactly built for video use. They’re designed to be operated by hand, twisting the focus and aperture rings manually, not with a follow focus unit or a gimbal motor. But Fusion 360 wizard, Edward Park has created a bunch of 3D printable housings to convert them and made them freely available to download.
The housings were covered a little while ago by Robert and Richard over at The Film Look on YouTube. They go through the conversion of the very popular Helios 44-2 lens (I have a couple of them, too) using only six 3D printed parts and a few grub screws and talk about their first impressions of using it and showing off some of the results shot with it.
As well as making the focus rings compatible with the Mod 0.8 gears of your typical follow focus unit or gimbal motor, they also increase the diameter of the focus ring, making it much easier and more accurate to turn as well as providing finer granularity for follow focus units. It also looks pretty cool, to, if you’ve got a whole series of vintage lenses that you create housings for.
The best thing about them is that they require no modifications to the lens and simply attach to the lens exterior.
These aren’t the only focus gears out there for older lenses that you can print to make your life a little easier with a follow focus or gimbal. I’ve even designed a couple myself for the Nikon 50mm f/1.4D AF and Jupiter-9 85mm f/2 lenses, but Edward has a whole lot more on his Thingiverse page, as well as some other cinema tools like lens hoods, a matte box, tripod levelling base, grip handles and Bowens mount speedlight adapters.
So, if you’ve got a 3D printer and a bunch of old glass lying around that you might want to shoot video with, it’s well worth checking them out.
Have you printed any of Edward’s designs?