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Freelensing Offers New Life to Previous Lenses – Get Inventive Utilizing This Approach

Freelensing Gives New Life to Old Lenses – Get Creative Using This Technique

Typically the very best artistic instruments in your filmmaking device belt are additionally the most cost effective. Like a bathe curtain to diffuse gentle, a rug to kill the room echo, or perhaps a vape pen to create on the spot fog. Okay, some low cost results are extra addicting than others.

Freelensing, or lens whacking because it’s additionally referred to as, can even offer you a ton of bang for the buck. You may create a dreamy visible look, with gentle leaks and focus shifts which can be not possible to realize with post-production plugins. And better of all, it’s low cost.

All it takes is an previous guide lens. And a digicam after all. However that’s it, simply an previous lens and a digicam. Plus an SD card to file. And a battery. And possibly some gloves if it’s chilly outdoors.

Picture Credit score: Philip Bloom

What’s Freelensing?

Free lensing is a photograph or video approach that includes an interchangeable lens digicam, and a lens that you simply maintain freely in entrance of the digicam sensor, with out really mounting the lens.

Picture Credit score: Philip Bloom

Within the first lesson of Philip Bloom’s Cinematic Masterclass – which is totally free to look at – you may see a hands-on demonstration of freelensing. Philip reveals you his favourite lenses to make use of for the impact, in addition to some ideas to make sure good outcomes.

Lens Whacking and Flange

So how does freelensing really work? First you’ll wish to take into consideration the flange, which is the gap between the lens mount and the sensor. It varies relying on the digicam. And as Philip mentions right here, mirrorless cameras are inclined to have the shortest flange

To provide the greatest quantity of wiggle room whereas freelensing, you wish to use a lens that has a bigger flange than the digicam. That’s why a mirrorless digicam makes an important mixture with previous guide lenses.

Picture Credit score: Philip Bloom

Which Lens is Greatest for Freelensing?

For those who’re utilizing a Canon EF mounted digicam, an previous Nikon 35mm lens might be your ticket for the very best freelensing expertise. Nikon lenses are somewhat additional away than Canon mounts, so the small hole offers you the power to let in gentle leaks whereas nonetheless with the ability to transfer the lens round.

One other profit to the Nikon guide lens on a Canon digicam is you may get infinity focus. With an EF lens on an EF digicam, you’ll solely see it in focus for close-up objects. That’s as a result of to get infinity focus, the EF lens needs to be hooked up to the EF mount digicam. And to realize freelensing, you wish to preserve the lens unattached.

Picture Credit score: Philip Bloom

One of many enjoyable facets of freelensing is you may experiment with totally different previous guide lenses to see which one you want on your digicam. It makes late evening eBay searching an inexpensive technique to spend a Sunday evening.

For those who’re utilizing a crop sensor digicam, you probably need an previous lens that has a wider discipline of view, so that you’re not hemmed right into a zoomed in body. A 35mm lens on a crop sensor works nice for lens whacking, and a 50mm on a full body digicam makes for a high-quality mixture as effectively.

What in case your digicam has a lens adapter on it? Say, a Canon RF mirrorless digicam with an EF adapter on it? Or a Sony digicam with an EF adapter? You don’t want to fret concerning the sensor, solely the ultimate lens mount that you simply’re freelensing with. So in case your adapter is supposed for EF lenses, then an previous Nikon will do the trick.

One of the crucial widespread lenses for freelensing is the Nikon E Sequence f/1.8 50mm, or 35mm for crop sensor cameras. There are each plastic and metallic housings for it, but it surely actually doesn’t matter which one you utilize, simply get the one that’s low cost and out there. You’re not going to be utilizing the main target wheel whereas freelensing, so it’s not price paying further for a barely higher construct.

Picture Credit score: Slavik Boyechko

Learn how to Get Nice Footage with Freelensing

Upon getting your digicam and lens in hand, it’s time to exit and begin freelensing. Make sure that to set your focus to infinity, because you’ll be adjusting focus just by transferring the lens ahead and backward, away and again towards the lens mount.

Subsequent you’ll wish to set the publicity, and sometimes you’ll select an aperture that isn’t so shallow you could barely preserve something in focus, however open sufficient that you simply nonetheless get a dreamy look by transferring out and in of focus. Then whilst you’re taking pictures, you may management publicity utilizing the ISO wheel or a variable ND filter when you have one.

Picture Credit score: Philip Bloom

Since there’s no lens picture stabilization and also you’re hand holding not solely the digicam however somewhat previous lens, how will you make sure you get clean footage? Nicely first, in case your digicam has IBIS – in-body picture stabilization – then strive turning it on and seeing if it really works even and not using a lens hooked up. That ought to make an enormous distinction.

For those who don’t have IBIS, you may wish to add one other level of contact, like an exterior viewfinder or loupe. After all you should utilize your digicam’s built-in EVF in case you’re utilizing a mirrorless digicam. The principle factor is to have the ability to see the picture very effectively, because you’re controlling very high-quality shifts in focus, and have the ability to barely transfer your self or the digicam whereas conserving it regular.

Lastly, probably the greatest methods to stabilize freelensing footage is solely to shoot in sluggish movement. The truth is, it helps with the dreamy look that lens whacking offers you. How a lot sluggish movement to make use of relies in your digicam capabilities and your supposed model for the look. However as a common rule 60 fps slowed down on a 24fps timeline will look fairly nice.

Free Lensing Really useful Methods

Right here’s just a few extra ideas from Philip Bloom’s lesson on lens whacking. First, to regulate the quantity of sunshine coming in, strive holding the lens together with your left hand, and use your hand to defend the highest of the lens from daylight.

Picture Credit score: Philip Bloom

Now as you progress the lens away from the lens mount, you’ll begin to see your picture in focus. Attempt wiggling the lens round together with your hand with out shifting the gap from the lens mount – it offers you an fascinating impact that’s distinctive to freelensing.

And in case you transfer the lens even additional away, you’ll have the ability to concentrate on actually shut or macro objects. After all it’s additionally tougher to keep up the main target when the lens is so removed from the lens mount, since your palms are holding each the digicam and lens freely. However with sluggish movement it is best to have the ability to get some nice close-up footage with dreamy gentle leaks.

Lens Whacking Requires Movement

If you’re freelensing, simply the truth that you may shift focus and introduce gentle leaks just isn’t sufficient so as to add visible curiosity to your shot. You want movement, and you are able to do that by gently transferring your self whilst you’re taking pictures, in addition to discover topics which can be in movement. Or higher but, each you and the topic in movement.

Picture Credit score: Philip Bloom

The secret is to be planted together with your taking pictures stance, and gently rock sideways or forwards and backwards. That manner you don’t introduce digicam jitters or shake. And only a sluggish quantity of movement – ideally in sluggish movement – can actually make the dreamy look of freelensing come alive.


So now you already know somewhat bit about freelensing, or lens whacking, and you’ll start the journey of searching for an inexpensive previous lens to experiment with. However earlier than you start, a priority you may need is whether or not you may harm your digicam sensor.

Having your digicam sensor uncovered to the weather is definitely not advisable, since mud particles or moisture can get inside. And enjoying round with {the electrical} contacts on a lens mount in all probability isn’t a good suggestion both. That’s why digicam producers suggest you energy off the digicam earlier than altering lenses.

Picture Credit score: Alex Buono

So take these two warnings with warning. For those who’re nervous about your guarantee on a model new digicam, you might not wish to dive into freelensing immediately. Nonetheless, 1000’s of photographers and filmmakers make the most of this system on a regular basis with out issues, in order something, your expertise might range.

If you wish to be taught extra about free lensing, try Philip Bloom’s Cinematic Masterclass Lesson 1 – it’s utterly free to look at, all it’s important to do is create a login.

MZed Professional members may also wish to watch Lesson 3 in Alex Buono’s Visible Storytelling 2, the place he demonstrates how he makes use of free lensing to shoot the Saturday Evening Reside intro sequence.

Picture Credit score: Alex Buono

Be taught All About Lenses with MZed Professional

There are lots of methods to make use of the gear you have already got in new and artistic methods. With a subscription to MZed Professional, you may be taught from all kinds of filmmakers who every carry their very own perspective on learn how to rework your filmmaking.

MZed courses

As an MZed Professional member, you get entry to this course in addition to all the pieces else on the platform, plus we’re continuously including extra programs. For simply $30/month (billed yearly at $349), right here’s all the pieces you’ll get:

  • 42 programs, over 500 prime quality classes spanning over 275 hours of studying.
  • Extremely produced programs from educators who’ve many years of expertise and awards, together with a Pulitzer Prize and an Academy Award.
  • Unique entry to ARRI Academy on-line programs.
  • Limitless entry to stream all of the content material in the course of the 12 months.
  • Offline obtain and viewing with the MZed iOS app.
  • The vast majority of MZed programs present an industry-recognized certificates upon completion.
  • Buying the programs outright would price over $9,800.
  • Course subjects embody cinematography, directing, lighting, cameras and lenses, producing, indie filmmaking, writing, modifying, colour grading, audio, and even learn how to launch a YouTube channel.
  • 7-day a refund assure in case you resolve it’s not for you.

Be a part of MZed Professional now to get began!

Full disclosure: MZed is owned by CineD

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