I have a Nikon D7000 and have tried freelensing with my Rokinon 85mm f/1.4, Nikon 35mm f/1.8 DX, and a zoom Nikon 35-70mm f/2.8 without much success. The problem is that everything is out of focus no matter what I set the lens' focus to.

Any advice?

  • @jrista edited the post, but it should read a Nikon 35-70mm f/2.8 lens.
    – bperdue
    Mar 10 '11 at 4:04
  • I actually only changed the title a bit. I'm not sure what you are referring to, so feel free to make the necessary edits yourself.
    – jrista
    Mar 10 '11 at 4:37
  • @jrista - my bad, I must have incorrectly wrote the question myself. I've edited to make the change. For some reason, I didn't see an "edit" button before now.
    – bperdue
    Mar 10 '11 at 21:10

If you're holding the lens away from the body then you're getting the same effect as using extension tubes, namely that the min and max focussing distances get much closer, which is probably why everything is out of focus.

The only way to achieve focussing at non-macro distances when holding the lens away from the mount you would need a lens designed to sit further from the film plane such as a medium format lens. As you don't need to worry about adaptors when freelensing you could pick up any cheap obsolete MF lens from http://keh.com

  • Reversing the lens should make infinity focus a possibility, provided that the front element isn't too deeply recessed into the barrel. Since the rear element is now the front element, though, exposure becomes a merry guessing game -- but isn't that supposed to be part of the fun?
    – user2719
    Mar 9 '11 at 9:48

I researched and believe this is the best answer:

To do freelensing best, use:

  • a prime lens in the medium focal length range 35-85mm
  • large aperture to capture plenty of light
  • hard infinity-focus stop
  • for Nikon lenses, a non-G lens as the G lens stops all the way down when not attached to the body
  • for Nikon bodies, Canon lenses are supposed to work very well

From what I've read on Flickr and dpreview, this is the best lens for freelensing: 50mm f/1.4 (for Nikon the non G version 50mm f/1.4 AF-D is best).

  • I don't know what you mean by "hard infinity-focus stop"...you lose infinity focus (focus of anything thats not close really) if you mean that. When you're freelensing I can't see how brand matters, but I wouldn't go out and buy a Canon lens with your Nikon camera just for freelensing (unless you're made of money - in which case I could use a Sigma 200-500mm f/2.8 ;) ). Additionally, you can always manually trip the little lever on your mount to open your aperture on a Nikon G lens.
    – rfusca
    Mar 9 '11 at 7:24
  • "Hard infinity-focus stop" is when you turn the focus ring until it stops at infinity and then everything from the beginning focus point to infinity is in focus. I listed this as it makes it easier to prefocus the lens prior to detaching it and freelensing it. Holding the camera body and lens while also trying to focus the lens is difficult to do and is a bit risky, as you may drop your lens or camera. The hard-infinity stop helps reduce this by setting the focus ring before detaching the lens.
    – bperdue
    Mar 10 '11 at 4:02

I'm using a Nikkor 50mm f/1.8 to do freelensing. I've had some success with it. I was able to get some nice macro effects going on.

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