Saturday, October 27, 2012

How to give old Nifty- Fifty new life

This post was made ​​specially for the contest How I Took It.
A lot of us making a tilt lens for our dslr thought about using the medium format lens but not many people know the full frame lenses will give the trick too. I mod the lenses already for some time and so far I'm not bored with it. Why I use full frame lenses? - simple because of the bokeh - at apertures lower than 2.8 is just incredibly delicious and I can not stop myself from shooting with this modified lenses. Check my pictorial how I transfom my old and lovely Pentacon 50mm f1.8 to a rubbery, tilty piece of glass.

                               Let hook them together! (pictorial shoot with mobile via instagram)
Dismantle the lens or undress the glass in translation by google ;)
Naked lens, time to strip the shower head
Bit of cutting with a handsaw to get proper size... this
Some cosmetic work and gluing parts together
Almost there...
...but now the hardest stage of the work...
...How I Did It - hard to explain but I will try to explain it somehow so...
...magic light of the Full Moon under the influence and power of Mighty Unicorn gave me the strength to do it
Every self-respecting handyman not supposed to forget about using some cable ties
                                                                        ...and finally
It's Alive!!!

Thanks you for your time Guys


  1. wow, the pictures are really great!

    i try the same thing a while ago but with an old zenit 35mm lens, a cuted flopy disk and a lot of masking tape.

    but your results are so wonderfull.


  2. Zdjęcia są tak niesamowite , nie mogę się na nie napatrzaeć . Mam również pentacona 50mm/f.1,8 w wersji stanadrdowej ale to co Pan robi z nim i ta przeróbka . Sama był nie zdołała tego zrobić . Zazdroszczę zdolności , pomysłowości i pięknych zdjęć!

  3. hey. I did a conversion for a full frame (5d). not as neat as yours:
    linked to your blog there too.
    and some less tilty ones:


  4. Thanks Guys. Pawel i like your style, nice stills and thanks for linked me in your post and i use my cheap manual 35mm diytilts on both asp-c and fUll frame sensors.


  5. Podziwiam. Zazdroszczę umiejętności.

  6. Heya,
    Just a quick note to let you know that you made the short list for the How I Took It contest:

    happy Christmas

  7. How do you focus with it? Rotate the main lens assembly?

    Also, can you infinity focus with this setup? I am making one.... like.... now...

    1. Yes and yes, when you finish your lens let me now good luck ;)

  8. I've just received my recently bought 15$ ebay Kalimar 50mm 1.8 lens and dismanteled it, as i'm building a lens following your steps... I'd like to ask you few questions if you let me.

    Did you took any consideration on the distance from the lens to the sensor, as you replace half of the lens body with the shower head?

    Would you advise me to get a lens bayonet or will it work with just the camera's plastic body cap? (I cannot use the bayonet of the lens i bought as it is not an EF one...).

    Thanks in advance! This project looks promising!

    Ramon (r.ruiz[at]rhundesign[.]es)

    1. Hi check this link , for bayonet i use pka to eos converter (adapter) that work perfect with my setup. Good luck

  9. What I am considering doing (and your milage may vary), I was going to use an M42 lens and utilize the back of the M42 lens mounted in a M42 to A-Mount converter to mount it to my camera. HOWEVER, I then started thinking. Old lenses are cheap, cheap lens adapters are cheap.

    So fast-forward. I am waiting on an old MD lens (old Minolta) to come in, as wells as a glassless MD/A-Mount converter. I will use the converter for it's mount, gut the rest of it, and float the MD lens inside. Total cost of $40 I think. A sight better than $XXX.

    As far as lens distance... Focal distance is measured in fractions of mm's, there is no way you are going to get perfect distance, and you will either sacrifice close focusing or infinity focus. My guess is that you will lose infinity focus.

    But something to keep in mind. You are tilting the focal plane, so having infinity focus is a misnomer all around, as I HIGHLY doubt you will ever be able to get a perfectly aligned focal plane where you have infinity across the sensor. Instead, you will be tilting the lens at almost all times. So yes, one portion of the plane may be focused at infinity, it will likely be slightly off center, but who cares.

    1. Because rear part of lens is gone give me more flexability for focusing that why i get infinity focus easly when is needed. But that can be depend of the camera and lenses you use. My setup is canon aspc and ff, samsung/pentax with xfujinon 50 1.9 and pentacon 50 1.8

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    1. Wooooo :D nice very nice diy project I saw until now ,easy simple and so portable , I have my 1.8/50 Pentacon thrown btw my garbage tools , till I knew about freelensing , but I found the free lens above the camera is so hard for me to hold and tilt it around ,it made me so nervous , but with this so cute solution to build a nice piece of art' I call it art 'coz it's really art what you're doing with it', So I'm building my own till now I just disassembled the lens successfully, and I don't know where I will end up with .

      For the infinity focus I found it externally possible , because the lens with this design will keep the same -flange focal distance-, so I found two things 1-what the infinity focus means : is it to focus on something at the far horizon or 2-it is the whole sharp image for both foreground & background. Here my answer : a-the focus is pretty accurate we can easily focus the infinity subjects, b-why we can't get the whole image in sharp focus -->it is simply because the plane of focus is no more parallel to the plane of the image, because of the tilt, and that's what took my heart the play with the plane of focus ,,, I can't wait until getting my own done ,, for now I only teared the lens apart :) I hope it won't go for dust :(

  11. Hi,
    Inspirede by your idea and also made a TS using Pentacon 50mm f/1.8. The first try failed, becouse forgot about flange distance and all I got was macro :D Second try, better, but I cann`t focus to infinity, only some ~1.5m. Making this one was cerafull, didn`t measure, but made lens rear elemnt not to extend from bayonet (maybe extending 1mm when shifted). Looks like it need to be closer to the mirror, but donn`t want also to damage the mirror. How do you think can I fix it somehow and how much your is extending, measuring from end of the bayonet when focused to infinity? Using on FF body.


    1. Hi i use FF and Crop body and is much more easer with crop because of the space behind the bayonet. I cant give you measure for it you have do it yourself by measuring distance from end of bayonet to the mirror and that will be your reference to how much you can shift your lens on FF body. (85mm lens will be way better for this project but they are bloody expensive ;)


    2. Thanks for an answer. Already found the answer -
      The 50mm are the cheapest available on the market and yes <35mm & >50mm = expensive.
      My build and first test images here (only text in native language) -