I came across a method of shooting this week on Ryan Brenizer’s blog referred to as freelensing.  It appears to be a relatively new technique created by Luke Roberts, in which an ordinary lens is used in a fashion such as the lensbaby (tilt-shift type).

The lens is removed from the camera body and held in place by hand.  It is then “adjusted” at slight angles in order to bring specific areas of the composition into focus resulting in a tilt shift style look to the image.  After reading the tutorial on Luke’s blog I decided to give it a try, and have a few suggestions which might be helpful.  I was using a 20mm 2.8 lens so keep that in mind.

The biggest concern is dust getting on the sensor filter, which I have no advice on that.  I am due for a sensor cleaning anyway so a few more specks didn’t really scare me.  To top it off, I have not even checked to see if the dust is any worse now than before I shot with this method so I can’t comment if it is a real concern.

  • A fully manual lens is best; manual focus, with aperture ring.
  • Adjust the focus to infinity
  • Set the aperture wide open
  • I had one edge of the lens mount inside the lip of the camera body
  • To adjust focus I changed the distance to my subject as opposed to using the focus ring.

This was just a spur of the moment quick attempt in the backyard as the sun was setting so I didn’t spend a great deal of time trying to perfect the technique.  I am sure as I play with the method I will refine these tips, but here is the result.  Shot about 40 images with the majority being junk.

freelensing in the sunset

freelensing with Hannah


2 thoughts on “freelensing

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