Retrofit a Vintage Lens for Your DSLR Camera [DIY]
Adam Dachis — It’s hard to deny that, lately, there’s been a bit of an obsession with vintage photography. It’s hard to find a smartphone photo these days that isn’t using some sort of vintage filter. If you’d like to take it a bit further, grab your DSLR and retrofit an old lens for some real vintage photography.
Photographer Jonas Kroyer wanted to use a lens from a 1929 Zeiss Ikon Ikonette camera (pictured above) with his DSLR, but getting there required a bit of work. The camera had to be completely dismantled in order to even get started, but once Jonas had everything removed the real work began:
Next step was to make an adapter, a t-shaped steel plate that would hold both bellows and the lens real in place together with a Nikon Bayonet I scavenged from an old no-name lens (see blueprint). The bayonet and rail were put in place with small rivets (brass rivets for the rail) and bellows glued on. I painted the plate black to match the old lens and bended it so the shape would also match it. I found some vintage brass knobs and mounted them with Greenstuff (a composite plastic) so I could more easily adjust the lens to focus. Finally, I used a small spring from a ballpoint pen to hold the shutter open so it would be the shutter in the camera doing the actual picture taking.
For a description of the full process and the beautiful results, be sure to read Jonas’ full post. If this process seems a little daunting to you and you want a much easier (but not quite as cool) way to use vintage lenses, you can generally find old lenses on eBay for $50-100 and adapters for $6-10. If you’re fine with using manual lenses, it’s an inexpensive way to expand your lens collection and incredible quality for the price. Additionally, some of the more flawed lenses you can buy will have imperfections you’ll appreciate and may end up being a favorite.
Ikonette a DIY DSLR-lens | Jonas Kroyer PhotographyYou can follow Adam Dachis, the author of this post, on Twitter and Facebook. If you’d like to contact him, Twitter is the most effective means of doing so.