Freelensing with Homemade Bellows

Freelensing is something I’ve been doing a wee while but I had recently come back to after taking some photos of my Zorki 4K with it’s own Jupiter 12 35mm lens.

I’ve experimented with freelensing before using both the GF1’s Panasonic lenses and the Jupiter 8.

It’s quite an interesting effect and an opportunity to pretend to have tilt/shift capabilities on a camera that normally doesn’t have it, if you don’t mind a bit of light leak that is.

Alternative Lenses
Me being me couldn’t just be content with using proper lenses to expose images onto the sensor, I had to take it farther.

Amongst the regular lenses, I’ve also used a smashed up View Master – a toy from the 80’s used for looking at 3D photos …


I’ve also hooked the GF1 up to some sort of monorail setup I got from a photography clean out at work. That was weird but didn’t quite work.


How about pinhole? Yes. Been there done that …

Home made pinhole from tinfoil with cardboard ‘lens barrel’:

I also used the pinhole you get with Ilford’s Titan 5×4 pinhole camera.


More recently I decided to use a brass lens element that used for .. I don’t really know what. It’s almost like a visoflex component except it’s missing lots of glass.

I cupped the widest end over the GF1 sensor, moving it back and fourth to ease stuff in and out of focus. It was primarily limited to photographing subjects at distance.

I then tried using the Hoya +1 filter to photograph closer subjects.
It’s a bit of a handful but I thought it worked OK.

These photos were taken with flash.

I went on to try a number of lenses that had way too much coverage for a Micro 4/3 camera with no success until I gave the Diana F+ lens a go.

This lens looked awful but I persevered regardless.

Because it’s designed for medium format I had to keep the lens a good distance away from the camera body for focusing, this meant that a lot of light was spilling over, and on top of that the lens behaved like a 100mm-200mm zoom lens.

This is when I decided to make some bellows for it but the first attempt was too limp with the bin-liner folding inwards obstructing the sensor.

However the second attempt saw the introduction of a cardboard frame.

… then the bin-liner was overlaid …

… and a monster was born.

A few test shots revealed the lens was rubbish and tricky to steer.


I took it out with me the next day and gave it a run at a couple of urban subjects.

But it was just way too soft and fluffy.

When you’re free lensing you have no control over aperture settings because there aren’t any. To control the light you have to rely on changing shutter speeds.

This is where digital reigns with the ability to bring out your inner chimp.

Of course, the point of freelensing isn’t to capture pristine images with sterile clarity, it’s to just make images that are unique.

You can do a lot of that with freelensing.


3 thoughts on “Freelensing with Homemade Bellows

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