What is Freelensing?
Photos taken with the lens detached from the camera but held in place and moved around to focus. This also lets extra light in sometimes causing light leaks and giving a vintage look and feel.
Freelensing can also:
- Give extra bokeh by shrinking the area in focus (aperture is 0)
- Allow for super macro shots
- Produce ethereal lighting by allowing stray light to get in to the sensor
- Make delicious light leaks
- Create tilt-shift effects
How do I do it?
If you just want the tilt-shift effect, you can detach the lens, but hold it in place against the camera. Slightly move the lens left, right, up or down.
It’s easier if your camera has a “live view” so you can see what it looks like, but it’s not too much harder with the view finder.
You only need to move the lens a few millimetres (fractions of an inch), and doing it this way, there’s not much risk of dust getting in to the sensor.
If you want lightleaks or the super-macro kind of effect, you will need to hold the lens a little bit further away (probably no more than a finger width, though). This is a bit more risky if you’re worried about dust, so try not to hold the lens away from the camera for too long and only do it in a dust-free environment.
For light leaks, I’ve found it’s best to be in a fairly dark room, with a big window in front of you. This lets the outside light get in to the camera (i.e. not through the lens, but just going straight in to the gap between the lens and the camera) but limits the ambient light getting in (which makes the photos less defined).
Will it work with my (SLR) camera?
Canon – Yes
Nikon – Yes – You have to put the camera into manual mode (thanks Eddie Barksdale)
Sony – Yes – In your camera’s menus, look for the “Release w/o Lens” option, and make sure it is enabled. You might also need to make something that will hold the aperture lever on the back of the lens in the open position (thanks ted @ndes)
If you’ve had success with your camera and it’s not on the list, let us know in the comments here or on the freelensing forum on Flickr.
See more on the Flickr Freelensing pool.
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