13 January 2013


Freelensing is taking pictures with your lens detached from (but held in front of) your camera.
Freelensing exposes the inside of your camera to dust and debris.
Freelensing is risky, and I am generally not a risk taker.

So when my brother suggested it, I immediately discounted the idea because I didn't want to attract any more dust to the inside of my camera.

Then I got some giant debris (“giant” meaning a 1cm long fiber plus lots of dust) inside while changing lenses for an event. I figured since the camera needs to be cleaned soon anyway, why not give freelensing a try?

Freelensing can give you a tilt + shift effect if you tilt the lens (gorgeous examples here and here), and can also give you a macro effect if you turn the lens around. I can get my macro fix easily with my 105mm, so I tried tilting my 50mm in this practice session. As you can see, I got zero clarity, with nothing in focus. Turns out the aperture of my 50mm closes down completely when detached, so in order to achieve proper exposure, I had to crank my ISO up as high as possible (6400 is as high as I'm willing to go on my D7000). With the bright sun streaming in, I couldn't see through the viewfinder well enough to see if anything was in focus. Looking through a tilted lens is tough!

I do think the toy camera look I got is fun, but I can get that with my kid's camera.

I might try again in a brighter room when the light is more even. It would probably be best outside, but I am definitely not comfortable with my lens detached for an extended time outdoors. With my luck, I'd get a bug stuck in my camera.

I'm also looking into a Lensbaby, so I can get a similar effect without taking my lens off. I'm not a fan of most of the Lensbaby looks, but since I'm not planning on dropping $2000 for a real tilt + shift lens anytime EVER, I'm not going to rule out a Lensbaby completely.

Do you freelens? Do you have a Lensbaby?