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lukeroberts ADMIN February 12, 2012
Remember: this group is for freelensed photo - i.e. photos taken with the lens detached from the camera and held in place. Non-freelensed photos will be removed.

Group Description

Photos taken with the lens detached from the camera but held in place and moved around to focus. This also lets extra light in sometimes causing light leaks and giving a vintage look and feel.

- Lets you manipulate the area of focus
- Allows for super macro shots
- Delicious light leaks
- Tilt-shift effects
- Use lenses for a different camera without an adapter

Freelensing Guide by lukeroberts

How do I do it?

If you just want the tilt-shift effect, you can detach the lens, but hold it in place against the camera. Slightly move the lens left, right, up or down.

It's easier if your camera has a "live view" so you can see what it looks like, but it's not too much harder with the view finder.

You only need to move the lens a few millimetres (fractions of an inch), and doing it this way, there's not much risk of dust getting in to the sensor.

If you want lightleaks or the super-macro kind of effect, you will need to hold the lens a little bit further away (probably no more than a finger width, though). This is a bit more risky if you're worried about dust, so try not to hold the lens away from the camera for too long and only do it in a dust-free environment.

For light leaks, I've found it's best to be in a fairly dark room, with a big window in front of you. This lets the outside light get in to the camera (i.e. not through the lens, but just going straight in to the gap between the lens and the camera) but limits the ambient light getting in (which makes the photos less defined).

Freelensing Guide: Lightleaks by lukeroberts

Will it work with my (SLR) camera?

Canon - Yes - To stop down a lens (so you can focus on objects further away or for sharper images) go into Manual or Av mode, set the aperture to whatever you wish (let's say f/4). Press and HOLD the depth of field preview button (just underneath the lens release button) and detach the lens. You'll see that the lens is now detached and the aperture remains at f/4. (thanks Aey Laboratories)

Tip for Canon users: Using a Nikkor/Zuiko (Nikon/Olympus) lens on Canon body allows for a much better tilt-shift effect, as these lenses are designed to have a longer lens-to-sensor distance. coffeeground has some stunning examples here. And thanks to @simonhucko for the explanation of how it works.

Nikon - Yes - You have to put the camera into manual mode (thanks Eddie Barksdale)

Sony - Yes - In your camera's menus, look for the "Release w/o Lens" option, and make sure it is enabled. You might also need to make something that will hold the aperture lever on the back of the lens in the open position (thanks ted @ndes)

If you've had success with your camera and it's not on the list, let us know in the forum - maybe keep it in this thread

Additional Info

  • This group will count toward the photo's limit (60 for Pro members, 30 for free members)
  • Members can post 1 thing to the pool each day.
  • Accepted content types: Photos, Images
  • Accepted safety levels: Safe
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