Alley in Pisa, Italy

by Lars Kotthoff

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I've been trying to do freelensing for a couple of days now (yes I know it's only been a short time) without much success. All I've gotten so far are grainy, underexposed images, with some light leaks. This photojojo tutorial says that I need a 50mm or longer lens to get this to work. Is that true? Since my D7000 is a 1.5x crop sensor the 35 mm is about 53mm on a full frame, so I'm thinking it should be ok, but I want to make sure.

Also, any tips on how to do this right? Thank you!

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Can you post some examples? –  fmark May 23 '11 at 8:45
    
For some reason I doubt that freelensing would cause any additional grain. If you allow your camera to boost its ISO because you are in an Auto ISO mode, then that is possible. But simply moving the lens away from the body will not introduce added noise I wouldn't think. You absolutely will get light leaks! Lensbaby might be more what you are looking for. –  dpollitt May 23 '11 at 13:36
    
See also photo.stackexchange.com/questions/9580/… –  mattdm May 23 '11 at 14:47

1 Answer 1

up vote 0 down vote accepted

if you get very underexposed images it's probably because you're not keeping the aperture open by holding a lever in the right position. I used to keep it in place with a piece of paper, also it seems some fancy adapters can be useful to the same purpose.

I've not tried this extensively, still enough to notice it's really easier with a slightly longer lens; if you have a kit lens or another all-purpose zoom (usually around 18-55 for cropped sensors) it gives decent results at its longest end.
If you read photojojo's tutorial you likely noticed they suggest to move the lens very little from its usual position, this is important to get things in focus and to avoid light leaks.

sorry for the bad quality of the image.

I removed from my answer a couple lines of mild criticism some seemed to find offensive.
I still advise against freelensing (as more than a brief experiment) because it leads to good chances of damaging both the camera and the lens used.
I also think, as answering a request for advice on this matter, it's fine to state I stick to my most (apparently) controversial opinion (anyway already clear if one reads the comments), i.e. not considering freelensing a proper photographic technique, because

  • it makes permanent gear damage easy
  • it gives little to no control over the technical basics of photography
  • it doesn't allow for basic consistency in results

hope this made my point clear in a polite way.

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4  
I wouldn't consider freelensing childish or the "non-proper way" to do photography. –  dpollitt May 23 '11 at 13:34
3  
@Mattia If you rewrite to remove the unnecessary dig at the OP you'll get an upvote from me... Who are you to say that this is a technique that is 'childish,' only worth 5 minutes of a photographers time, or improper somehow? Pretty judgmental... –  Jay Lance Photography May 23 '11 at 16:10
    
@dpollitt - In some way I would, as it's about using a camera in a way it wasn't designed to be used, risking to damage your equipment, having very little to no control on the technical side (e.g. focus, exposure, depth of field). Sure, it's fun, it can enhance creativity, and most people can't afford (or don't want) to buy a tilt-shift camera/SLR lens at any moment. Also ok, there's no "not-proper way" in photography. But, as in every art form, expression is hardly indered by a sensible approach to technique. I mean, if you have just one lens, better learn to use it at its best as it is. –  MattiaG May 23 '11 at 16:27
    
@Jay Lance Photography - I didn't mean being aggressive and criticizing anyone/anything. See my reply to dpollitt for my reasons, I'll consider changing my answer. –  MattiaG May 23 '11 at 16:31
    
re-reading my answer it sounds harsher than it was meant to be. I'll update it later, still my advice is against freelensing as a proper photographic technique. Oh God, I said "proper"! IMHO, when it's about technique, "proper" is a proper word. –  MattiaG May 23 '11 at 16:37

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