My home-made tilt-shift lens put to the test

I always wanted a tilt-shift lens, But those things are pricey. So, I figured why not try to build one myself? Well, more specifically a tilt lens, because it’s much easier to build a lens that either tilts or shifts rather than both, and tilting is, in general a lot more fun.

So, I gave myself a little lunchtime break project. I took an old Sigma 28-70 cheap 35mm film zoom lens and ripped it apart. The lens’s autofocus wasn’t working and therefore wasn’t much use to me.



I took off the rear mount, took out all the autofocus drive parts, and manually forced the aperture into wide open (f/2.8 on the wide end, f/4 on the narrow.)



Next task was building the mount. My first thought was to use a plastic cup like this, cut away the bottom part and use the original mount in its place. That didn’t work for many reasons, mostly because we’re adjusting the distance between the lens and the mount by adding all this complex tiltery into it. Apparently “tiltery” isn’t a real word, but I like it, so it will stay here

So slightly revised plastic cup mount comes with an EF-FD adaptor securely and professionally attached to the bottom.


The FD adaptor has a lens in it to help compensate from the extra distance between the lens and the sensor.

Time to put it all together. What do we have?



The lens has a fixed aperture, you have to manually focus it and if you’re not careful it falls out so you have to hold it carefully. Precision British engineering.

And how does it work? Here’s my first shot:


And a couple more taken out the window



Not bad fun for an idle lunchtime.


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