These lens adapters turn your vintage glass into tilt-shift lenses for modern mirrorless cameras

Dec 3, 2019

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

These lens adapters turn your vintage glass into tilt-shift lenses for modern mirrorless cameras

Dec 3, 2019

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

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The tilt-shift effect has become really popular in recent years as more people have discovered that these lenses exist and the miniaturising effect they can have. But tilt-shift lenses are expensive, so many people resort to faking the effect in post. No matter how much work you put into it, though, an effect you add on the computer is never going to look quite like shooting it for real.

But if your wallet’s crying at the price of tilt-shift lenses, don’t worry. It turns out that Fotodiox has a range of adapters available that let you turn many older regular lenses into tilt-shift lenses. In this video, NOMO Films takes a look at them and some of the types of photos and footage they can let you shoot.

There are 8 different adapters in total, allowing you to connect Canon FD, Canon EF or Nikon F lenses to Sony E, Fuji X or Micro Four Thirds cameras. They each cost around $200 each, and when you don’t want the tilt or shift functions, you can just use them as regular lens adapters.

The one thing you need to be careful of when using lenses for this technique, though, is that they offer an appropriately sized image projection circle that still covers the entire sensor when you move the lens. If you’re shooting with a Micro Four Thirds camera, then any old full-frame lens will be able to shift quite a bit over that 2x crop sensor. But if you’re shooting a full-frame Sony E mount body, then your lens options may end up being a little more limited. You might shift that lens to find that it cuts off on one side of the sensor before you get it over as far as you need to.

Tilt-shift isn’t just a gimmicky effect. It has real-life practical uses for things like architectural and product photography. That’s why the real deal tilt-shift lenses cost so much. But at this price, they’re worth taking a look at, even if just for the creative aspects it offers. If you mostly use them just as regular straight adapters, then then they’re not the least expensive options out there.

I might have to pick up that Nikon to Micro Four Thirds one at some point to have a play with. Have you tried these tilt-shift adapters? What do you think?

 

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John Aldred

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

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9 responses to “These lens adapters turn your vintage glass into tilt-shift lenses for modern mirrorless cameras”

  1. Balazs Kiss Avatar
    Balazs Kiss

    A few years ago I bought one for my Minolta MD lenses and used it with a Panasonic G2 camera. It is quite fun and you can have some nice results – https://www.facebook.com/BalazsKissKepBlog/photos/a.462918760405702/539280499436194/?type=3&theater

  2. Alexander L. Harris Avatar
    Alexander L. Harris

    they also work for medium format on 35mm cameras, but on some Nikon DSLR’s the upper housing gets in the way of having full motion.

  3. Jolyon Ralph Avatar
    Jolyon Ralph

    I’ve got one that adapts Nikon manual focus lenses on the EOS-M mount. Really quite fun.

    1. Aaron DeRossett Avatar
      Aaron DeRossett

      I am gonna buy this one. I have an M50. i also want to get the M42 adapters to use them on the F mount T/S adapter or just buy a 2nd adapter, they are only $300 each, which is a steal compared to TS-E L lenses!

  4. אסף פרי Avatar
    אסף פרי

    I made one with a piece of bicycle tube between a speedbooster and a tamron adaptal 28 mm. here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e9NFl1T5wbk

  5. Paul Richards Avatar
    Paul Richards

    I wonder if they could make one that does Nikon F to Nikon Z

  6. Tim VanVranken Avatar
    Tim VanVranken

    Guilty as charged with adding tilt-shift in post and price is definitely a factor hindering my procurement of a tilt-shift lens. Am I missing something though? Is there a reason there isn’t a Nikon F-mount Lens tilt-shit adapter to work with a Nikon F-mount camera body? Or Canon-to-Canon, etc.

    1. Ben Turley Avatar
      Ben Turley

      The flange depth of Sony E is 18mm. For Nikon F it’s around 46mm. That gives a good 28mm of space to fit in the gubbins of tilt shift. For Nikon F to Nikon F, there is no room, but Nikon Z has a similarly short flange depth (a benefit of mirrorless). So a Nikon Z version should be doable.

    2. Aaron DeRossett Avatar
      Aaron DeRossett

      It mainly has to do with the coverage of said lenses on the sensor. a ef to ef, or Nikon F to Nikon F T/S adapter wouldn’t give you much room to tilt nor shift, that is why its for full frame lenses on an APSC sensor.