Homemade tilt shift! [Not a plunger lens]


TPF Noob!
May 9, 2013
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Iowa City, IA
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Lens is a kiev old cheap 45mm, f/3.5 medium format lens off ebay. Medium format because A) the flange focal distance is 80 something millimeters, giving me space to move it around without losing infinity focus, and B) it more than covers the full format sensor on my 6D here, allowing wiggle room for movements and hopefully making up for the lower quality of the lens just a little bit by primarily utilizing the middle of the glass.

Construction is basically a wooden set of gimbals with thumb screws.
Attachment to the camera is a bit... slapped together at the moment. That should have a dowel or something to be more sturdy, without torquing the threaded rod.

The camera and the lens are both attached routinely to a monopod, so that the entire weight of the lens is not bouncing around in a big U curve, which would almost certainly torque the mount. This way, the camera weight and the lens weights are both transferred almost straight down, making it more stable.
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Movements are 2-3x more flexible than Canon's in every direction! About 30 degrees tilt, up down left right (can do right and up etc. at the same time to do diagonal tilts). Shift is about 1 inch in any direction (can do 2 at once for diagonal shifts). Movement pics:


Images from the camera work as expected from looking through the viewfinder. I am not posting any just yet though, because the light leaks are horrendous, obviously, as I haven't actually put anything on it to stop the light. This is going to be a loose collar of felt with plenty of slack for play, attached to the camera with an $8 macro reverse ring and some plywood / screws, etc.

When I'm done with that I will take a goodly number of demo shots and post them.

Total cost = about $150 ($75 lens, $75 random hardware and such, including some tools that I didn't have, which shouldn't really count)

Please excuse terrible quality images. I lent my other body to a friend and only have a cell phone to take these with.
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Pretty cool! Can't wait to see some shots from it.
So glad to see someone doing this. I've wanted to for some time, never have. e-bay also has a lot of view camera parts just waiting to be frankencamera'd. Here is a a toyo front standard:

Toyo View D45M Monorail Camera Front Standard | eBay

which could be used with a bag bellow and that attached to a custom adapter to your camera. At that point, just drill a blank lensboard to accomodate whatever lens you want and attach a mount from a broken camera.
Okay, still can't figure out a good reliable permanent way to make a bellows in between the two that is sufficient. May need to look into large rubber automotive hoses or something...

But in the meantime, here are some shots I took just wrapping the whole thing in felt all around to stop light leaks, for the purposes of demo photos, using the headboard on my bed as a subject:

Horizontal Tilt AGAINST the direction of the headboard (selective focus):
ALL SHOTS ARE AT 45mm, F/3.5

Horizontal Tilt WITH the direction of the headboard (attempt to put the whole thing in DOF). Didn't succeed in doing that, but you can tell it's obviously vastly more in focus all the way down than before:


Vertical Tilt downward + Horizontal Tilt WITH the direction of the headboard (to get only the loopy parts in focus)... this one was quite successful I think:


A shot from the surface of the bed with no shift (red lines = photoshopped verticals):


A shot from the same position as above, with Right + Up shift (I actually did too MUCH up shift and over compensated):


Note that I could probably do a much better job if I weren't focusing and adjusting essentially through a blanket of felt... The blanket of felt also kept tilting the lens when I didn't want it to, etc. Will probably have much more precision when i finish it legitimately.
Okay, still can't figure out a good reliable permanent way to make a bellows in between the two that is sufficient. May need to look into large rubber automotive hoses or something...

Automotive air ducting - black, durable plastic, very bendy, various sizes.

Home HVAC flexible ducting might also offer a solution.

Pawn shop for old photo bellows used in close up work.
Okay I made a makeshift bag bellows out of some old pigskin I had sitting around, screws, and for now, staples (will sew the edges later):

The canon lens mount is an $8 macro reverse ring off amazon + a 58-62 step up filter, screwed together in such a way that they clamp the leather solidly all around.

The mount to the lens board is, as you can see, a series of a bunch of tiny screws and washers.

The edge is stapled, lol. I will sew it, but I couldn't find my needle and thread, and I'm impatient.

More interesting test photos I was able to take with the bellows:
1) Typewriter tilted to be largely in focus at f/3.5 and about a foot away:
2) Typewriter shot from the same position with ridiculously large left and up tilts, same aperture:

Hopefully I'll have time tomorrow or the next day to go outside during the day and take this on a proper spin around town, now that it has all its pieces (might need to sew it first to do that. Sunlight may get through my staples too easily).

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