After seeing some photos taken with tilt lenses, I fell in love with the idea of lens tilting and its creative options – The miniature effect, Great control of focus and creamy bokeh.
I really wanted to have such a lens, but did not want to spend $1000 for the moderate use I will probably have for it. I decided to make my own. Here is how I did it.
The main things to consider when making a Tilt lens is to choose the appropriate lens and understand what Flange Focal distance is, and how it affects building such lens.
Flange Focal distance (FFD) – distance from the mounting flange (the metal ring on the camera and the rear of the lens) to the film plane.
For making a tilt lens you’d need a lens, where its FFD is larger than the FFD of the camera you’d be using it on. Larger the FFD = more place we will have between the camera and lens for tilting.
Example: if Canon EF-mount FFD is 44mm, then we need a lens, which FFD is larger than 44.00 mm.
Mid-format camera lenses are the best choice because they have larger FFD than DSLR use. This also means that the image projected from the lens will cover the entire sensor as with its ‘intended’ use it has to cover quite a bit of area.
I chose the Mamiya 645 lens Mamiya-Sekor C 80mm f/2.8 (FFD 63.30 mm) to use on my Canon 5D classic (FFD 48.00 mm), it means, that I will have 63.30 – 44.00 mm = 19.30mm free space between the camera and lens for tilting.
Supplies I used for my DIY Tilt lens:
- Mid-format lens Mamiya-Sekor C 80mm f/2.8 (~60$ on ebay.com)
- CV joint Boot (~5$ at local car part store)
- M42 to Canon EOS adapter (~1.5$ on ebay.com)
The operation is quite simple (though I take no responsibility it you nuke your lens)
- Remove the lens bayonet to gain some more free space with the CV joint boot.
- Mount the CV joint boot on the lens with a clamp (was provided with CV joint Boot) leaving the focusing ring outside for focusing purposes.
- On the other side cut off a part from CV joint Boot (we don’t need it so long) and glue the M42 to Canon EOS adapter with epoxide glue.
Now, you can tilt the lens any direction, press towards the camera, focus and change aperture.
At the beginning it was difficult to get correct exposure and focus, but it is only a matter of time and practice :) so stay at it.
About The Author
Uldis Plinte is a photographer from Latvia. You can follow his awesome 500px stream here.
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