A long time ago I had found instructions on making a tilt/shift lens using a medium format lens and a plunger, “The PlungerBaby”, as some people call it. I wanted to make it but I could not find a plunger like the one they used, so I pretty much gave up after a while and forgot about it. But then last month our friend Derick showed us his new Nikkor 85 PC lens and let me play with it, that is a really good lens by the way, and expensive too, so for the moment it’s unaffordable. But I still wanted one, and after looking at some people’s images on photography forums and Flickr about faux tilt/shift done in Photoshop, I remembered about “The PlungerBaby”, and started looking at a Flickr group called DIY Photography Equipment, and found what I was looking for, a cheap and easy to make tilt/shift lens.
Last Sunday I looked at Jan Christian’s blog post on how he made his T/S lens, and I thought that I could make it, so I started looking for the necessary parts. First I needed a lens, something cheap cause I didn’t want to spend too much money on something I didn’t know it would work, so I went to KEH and found the same medium format lens Jan Christian used for his T/S lens, a 75 mm Bronica Zenza, cheap and good quality (images 1A and 1B), I paid $30 for it, the condition on the lens was listed as BGN, “Bargain”, but the lens could had been rated something higher, because this lens looks great.
I also started looking for the other parts needed for the project:
- Shock boot, the ones used on the suspension on 4×4 trucks, $5. (image 2A)
- M42 macro Extension tube, $7 for a set of 3 and I used the middle sized one. (image 2B)
- M42 to Nikon adapter, $9. (image 2C), make sure you DON’T buy the one that says it allows infinity focus, I explain later in the post the problems I ran into with the adapter.
I found everything on Ebay, ordered on Monday, and received everything by Thursday.
So brought everything home with me and started working on putting it together. First I had to remove the focusing ring, so I went ahead and removed the six screws holding the back plate (image 3A), then removing the four screws, two on each side, marked on image 2B, I also cut the wires marked by the orange arrow on image 3B .
Next step, I removed the two metal parts marked on image 4A, they keep the focusing ring from unscrewing out of the lens. After removing those two parts, all I had to do was unscrew the focusing ring. Now the lens is ready (image4B).
Next I cut the shock boot to the length shown (image 5A), then I mounted the M42 extension tube to the M42 to Nikon adapter and inserted them into the shock boot (image 5B)
Then I put the other end of the shock boot over the end of the lens, and secured both ends with zip ties (images 6A and 6B).
But when I tried the lens in the camera I was having two problems, one was having problems reaching infinity focus, so the solution for that was cutting one section off of the shock boot.
The other problem I had, as I mentioned earlier, was with the M42 to Nikon adapter, the one I ordered protruded too much into the camera and was touching the contacts causing them to short and that caused the mirror to lock in the up position every time I pressed the shutter. Another thing was that the M42 to Nikon Adapter came with a piece of glass on it. So, first I removed the glass, second I placed the adapter in the CNC at work; for people who don’t know, I work for an electronics manufacturer and I run their machine shop, a little advantage when it comes to making parts for my DIY projects. So after locking the adapter in place I cut the part that was protruding too much into the body and causing it short (images 7A and 7B)
So, after I finished fixing the shock boot and the adapter, put everything back together and here is what it looks like (images 8A and 8B).
And here it is mounted on the camera (Images 9A and 9B).
The lens looks great and the image quality, for what I’ve seen so far, is much a lot better than a lens baby and all for only $50 and a little bit of my time. The only thing is that this lens it’s a little too long for most situations, so I bought on eBay a 50mm Bronica Zenza lens for $21. It should be here by the end of the week, and since I still have left over parts, the shock boot and two more M42 extension tubes, so the only thing I have to order is the M42 to Nikon adapter. So the price for this second lens will be $29.
Photos taken with this lens coming soon.
October 7, 2010
I received the 50mm lens and the new M42 to Nikon adapter (image 10A and 10B)
This adapter is better, no problems with the adapter touching the contacts as the one I ordered first. As for the lens, I removed the focusing ring, made the bellows with the leftover shock boot, and put everything together just as I did with the first one.
This weekend I will go out and test the new lens and post the pictures taken with both lenses.
October 9, 2010
Photos taken with these lenses are up. Click here to see them