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A great philosopher once told us, “first, you must first learn to focus without focusing.” Or maybe it was our optometrist. Whatever. It’s deep.
That transcendental magic is at the heart of Freelensing, a photographic process that begins with the removal of your lens.
Freelensers simply hold unattached lenses in front their camera’s exposed sensor, and delicately tilt it until focus emerges.
Hand-manipulating a lens will reinvent your focal plane, producing amazing macro and tilt-shift effects that were previously only possible with special glass.
And more importantly, it will reinvent your concept of the universe. Or at least, tilt it slightly.
p.s. We’re going to JAPAN in search of amazing photo goodies for the Store! Where should we go? What should we see? Do share!
Freelensing isn’t as simple as just popping off any old lens: some lenses work better than others, and capturing your subject takes a bit of planning. It’s easy to make mistakes! Fortunately, we’ve been around the block with freelensing and over time have made every mistake a person can make so you don’t have to. These Photojojo-tested techniques will have you snapping successfully in no time.
What You’ll Need
First, a Warning
If you’ve been wondering, “isn’t this a little dangerous?” the answer is: yes!
Detaching your lens can introduce dust and moisture to the body of the camera; and just like getting the theme song to Blossom stuck in your head, once it’s in there it’s hard to get out. Mitigate the risk by exposing the interior of the camera and lens as briefly as possible. Don’t walk around around with them decoupled; only detach them when you’re ready to take your picture. And when you hold up the lens, make sure you don’t bump the mirror or sensor.
Another risk: dropping something. It’s much easier to drop the lens when it isn’t connected to anything! Before you head out, put a neck strap on your camera to reduce the need for equipment-juggling, and practice holding the lens in one hand while manipulating focus and zoom with your fingers.
Tips for Tilt-Shifting
How to Hold the Lens
Aiming that area of focus can be a bit tricky, though, since you no longer have the camera’s built-in AF to assist you. Very slight movements can produce dramatic changes in focus, so tilt with care.
It’s OK to be Blurry
Use the Zoom
Zooming in tight is what produces that “squished-together” effect that makes tilt-shifts look like miniatures. So zoom! And zoom boldly!
Scenes that Work Well
How to Make Macros
Get up Close
Move the Lens
Expect Light Leaks
Learn About Light Leaks
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