How to Build a Tilt Shift Lens




Introduction: How to Build a Tilt Shift Lens

This will show you how to build an economical tilt shift lens for your slr.  You will need an slr camera either digital or analog, a bicycle inner tube, some zip ties, scissors, an enlarger or similar lens that can be shoved in the inner tube, and a lens mount adapter or body cap to mount the lens to your camera.  I call mine the Pricktar from the German term meaning flexible lens.(citation needed)

Step 1: Freestyling the Lens

I will be using an old Dejur enlarger lens because that is what I have laying around here.  Your lens will probably vary.  M39 mount and old Argus c3 lenses work exceptionally well but up your cost considerably.  When you have the lens the first order of business is to remove the lens on your SLR and hold your tilt shift lens up to the camera.  move the lens back and forth to get a round-about distance to cut your inner tube.  Mine needs about 3 inches from the mount to the lens.  It doesn't need to be very exacting as the lens and tube will move in and out to make adjustments as you shoot.

Step 2: Attatching the Inner Tube

Now that you have guesstimated the lens to film plane you need for your particular lens to work properly, cut the inner tube to that length adding about an inch to allow some room to connect to the adapter and lens.

Step 3: Connecting Inner Tube to Lens and Mount

Now slip one end  of the tube over the back end of the lens, just far enough up to have a secure hold on the lens.  Attach a zip tie around the tube and lens and pull tight.  Now place the other end over the mount adapter.  This is difficult and you may want to work the rubber a bit to loosen it or failing that use pliers to stretch the material over the mount taking care that the tube and lens end up dead center in the middle of the adapter.  Finally, zip tie the tube to the adapter and trim any excess ties and innertube from under the adapter to ensure a flush mount to your camera.

Step 4: Mounting the Lens

You are now ready to mount the unit to the camera.  It should be a perfect fit since you were using a mount adapter or body cap.  Simply look through the camera and move lens in and out or side to side depending on the effect you want, such as miniature perspective or selective focus. 

Step 5: Sample Shots

Camera & Photo Skills Challenge

Participated in the
Camera & Photo Skills Challenge

Be the First to Share


    • Audio Challenge 2020

      Audio Challenge 2020
    • Maps Challenge

      Maps Challenge
    • Backyard Contest

      Backyard Contest

    5 Discussions


    7 years ago on Introduction

    with inner tube lens mounts rember to leave a vent hole. the squashy air pressure hurt the metal shutter in my praktica , []


    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    wow - love your use of 1 inch grid paper behind and underneath the camera for recording sizes - impressive and inspirational.


    Looks great but could use more than one sample image of the finished effect.