Making A Tilt-shift Lens


[Bhautik] is on version 2 of his tilt-shift lens, and wrote in to share what he has learned. Some aspects of the design on version 1 made it a bit quirky to use. You had to hold the lens in place, manually adjusting the focus. This meant that no two shots were the same. Since [Bhautik] wanted to do time lapse with it, he needed to re design it. He kept it simple and cheap, around $22 total.  Version two takes a lot longer to setup for the shot, but the result is reproducible. This means he can make his tilt-shift time lapse videos.

15 thoughts on “Making A Tilt-shift Lens

  1. Pretty cool. Doesn’t look like it has much in the way of shift though, making it primarily a tilt lens. Also, the $22 is the cost to upgrade his design, and doesn’t include the cost of the glass.

  2. @gene:
    “I’m re using the $12 (from ebay) Zenza bronica medium format lens that was in plungercam 1. Since this was only held in place using a metal clip, it was easy to take it out and re-use it.”

    +$7 pipe coupling
    +$3 T-mount adapter

  3. Every time I simply point out the obvious I get called out as a ‘troll’, so for todays obvious observation – this isn’t a tilt/shift lens. Sorry. it isn’t.

    There is no shift, and no ability for combined perspective control.

    actual tilt/shift lenses are designed to do a hell of a lot more than the silly overused trick of making things look like a macro shot by putting the lens off plane but on axis.
    This can’t do anything but.

    it may do what little he wants it to, but it isn’t a tilt/shift lens.

  4. @stunmonkey: that’s correct – the project, strictly speaking, is method for getting precise, shallow DOF in an image. Examples:

    The whole ‘making things look small’ is a side-effect :)

    The next part of the project is to integrate a small racking mechanism to allow for shifting of the lens parallel to focal plane rather than perpendicular to it.

  5. @stunmonkey

    granted his design is a rather simple tilt lens, and doesnt have too much ability beyond that.

    however, do you have to be so negative about it? its a pretty ingenious solution for what he wanted to do. – cheap as hell, too

    great hack

  6. @abbott

    I don’t disagree its a neat hack, and it did exactly what little he needed it to.

    its just not a tilt/shift lens. My point is that just because you put together a neat homebuilt wheelbarrow doesn’t mean you get to call it a ferrari, even if the wheelbarrow works.

  7. @stunmonkey
    Go back to the forums. It is quite obvious to those of us who are familiar with tilt shift lenses what the strengths and weaknesses are with this hack.

    This guy wanted to recreate a specific effect without spending tons of dollars. Mission accomplished. He documented it so that people like me, who enjoy both photography and “sticking it to the man” by building cheap alternatives to commercial products.

    Very much win. I’m definitely going to build one of these. I remembered reading about using a plunger for this ages ago, but i immediately recognized the problems: Manual focus AND you’ve gotta hold the lens in place. Meh. Also, i was worried that lenses for 35mm would not have a wide enough angle of coverage, particularly the cheap DX lenses. The author overcomes this beautifully by using an old Medium Format lens, which will have a 6x6cm or so square of usable image.

    Quit hatin.

Leave a Reply

Please be kind and respectful to help make the comments section excellent. (Comment Policy)

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.