Need to De-Click Your Manual Still Lenses on a Budget? Check Out This and Other DIY Tutorials

Are you DIY-minded and looking for some useful and simple tutorials? I recently stumbled across Ted Ramasola's modest website which has a lot of simple step-by-step DIY projects that come in the form of a single JPG image. One of the things that separates Cinema Lenses from still lenses are the de-clicked aperture rings that allow for micro exposure adjustments, as well as the ability to do smooth iris pulls during a take. The older manual Nikon still lenses are a popular choice amongst DSLR shooters, and here is a method for performing a little surgery to de-click the lens. Check out the tutorial below:

Disclaimer: Attempt this DIY instruction at your own risk. I have not personally performed this lens surgery, but it seems simple enough to be worth a try if you really need your old still lenses de-clicked. I'd recommend trying it on a beater lens first to be safe.

Here is a brief excerpt from the tutorial, click on the image for the full instructions (or head on over to the site):

Ramasola Productions also has several other DIY tutorials, including a DIY Mattebox, DIY DSLR Rig, DIY Pinhole Camera, DIY LCD Viewfinder, and more. For those who need the ability to ride your iris for exposure pulls during a shot, you might also have success doing so with your variable ND filter instead. If you're not comfortable doing the lens operation yourself, you can always head over to Duclos Lenses to get your lenses de-clicked for around $60, or check out their full cine-mod service.

Additionally, here's a video tutorial from Todd Armstrong on de-clicking a 105mm Nikon lens:

Have any of you done this yourself before? Share your experience below.

Link: DIY Tutorials -- Ted Ramasola

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Your Comment


I've never understood the need to de-click a manual lens. My entire lens collection are old nikkor lenses and I've never felt at a disadvantage with them clicking.

March 25, 2013 at 2:12PM, Edited September 4, 8:21AM


I Think the idea is to open up the option to do half stops and you can pull an iris while rolling. It also make the old lenses behave like PL lenses.

March 25, 2013 at 2:20PM, Edited September 4, 8:21AM



March 25, 2013 at 2:27PM, Edited September 4, 8:21AM


I change exposure all the time when I roll the camera on "live" situation in documentary filmmaking, sometimes clouds changes the light situation, sometimes you notice that you can get a better exposure while filming, sometimes you pan on something else and you want to keep that long take, many reason to do it. It's a "user manual" thing not to change exposure, things can be done in a million ways. I wish I had de-cliked lenses but I also got used to changing the Variable ND and use it a an iris...

March 25, 2013 at 2:52PM, Edited September 4, 8:21AM


if you want absolute control of your image it is a necessity because many times your ideal exposure will fall in between full stops.

March 25, 2013 at 2:29PM, Edited September 4, 8:21AM


Have you seen boogie nights? they rack aperture in the opening tracking shot.

March 25, 2013 at 3:42PM, Edited September 4, 8:21AM

john jeffreys

does doing this take away the in camera functionality of aperture control on a nikon body?

March 26, 2013 at 1:27PM, Edited September 4, 8:21AM


The need to de-click is critical. I have done that with 6 Zeiss lenses. Here's why: When you are filming and have to adjust exposure at the same time - it always happens - the iris has to seamlessly open or close without sudden changes in light intensity by doubling or halving as it would normally with click stops. Now the iris control is silky smooth and the light can increase or decrease beautifully. If you want to open up and blow out a picture, this is perfect.


March 28, 2013 at 1:23PM, Edited September 4, 8:21AM


This is the most stupid way to spoil a good lens.Every effect we can do with a sliding iris culd be made on post.. Video productions use servo iris. Could these guys refurbish my old Nikkor lens to achieve that?

March 29, 2013 at 3:30AM, Edited September 4, 8:21AM


Hey, Just wanted to point out that im a professional DP and I use this type of Iris on my lenses so not every video production uses that. If your a video person and dont want to take apart your lens you could look into purchasing a cine lens like Rokinon's or even better they all have this option too.

April 1, 2013 at 4:45PM, Edited September 4, 8:21AM



Sorry for the google translator, but I'm from Brazil.

Already downloaded the guide and read whole. Congratulations!

I have Nikon equipment throughout the many years.

I'm about to purchase new lenses for the video with the D800.

My questions are:

1 - Why are lenses small diameters (52mm and 58mm) mouth, they do not shade the edges?

2 - In images with little dots of light (night scenery of a city, starry sky etc) Nikon lenses tend not to "create" looks bad at points of light? I saw that the Nikon models have this tendency, as well as almost all lenses designed for photography. And that cine lenses / prime not exhibit this problem by being "aspherical". Anyone have more details on that?

3 - These lenses Nikon, 28mm and 50mm, are very short. Even with the small length can operate folow focus + matte box?

4 - The cine lens / prime released recently by Rokinon, the manual Nikons AI are superior?

I hope you can help me ...

Thank you!

May 10, 2013 at 7:16AM, Edited September 4, 8:21AM

Mauricio Santal...

its for video so it does not click when you are recording jeez how simple is it to understand.

July 30, 2014 at 3:32AM, Edited September 4, 8:56AM