March 5, 2017

Video: How to Turn Old Soviet Glass into a DIY Tilt-Shift Lens for Just $30

Watch a vintage Helios lens morph into a tilt-shifting wonder with just $30 worth of materials.

Mathieu Stern, the Weird Lens Master himself, is at it again. In his latest video, he takes apart two vintage Soviet Helios lenses and gives them tilt-shift capabilities, similar to popular Lensbaby tilt-shift lenses, like the $300 Edge 80 Optic, all for just $30. The results, you might find, are absolutely stunning, so check out the video below and continue on to see some of the images Stern took with this interesting little DIY lens.

The Helios 103 and Helios 44-2 are the two $20 vintage Soviet lenses that Stern used for this experiment. After carefully taking them apart, he fitted them with a $10 rubber bellow, which allowed him to focus freely as one would with any conventional tilt-shift lens.

And the results are pretty breathtaking, especially considering they were captured with a $30 DIY lens.

Credit: Mathieu Stern
Credit: Mathieu Stern
Credit: Mathieu Stern
Now, one word of caution if you decide to try this experiment yourself and use the resulting lens with your own camera: you run the risk of damaging your sensor if you move the lens too far back, since there is nothing between the sensor and the lens. Other than that, this DIY tilt-shift lens looks like a lot of fun and can certainly produce some beautiful images.     

Your Comment

5 Comments

Another neat article on how to manipulate imagery (on-the-cheap) with a cautionary tale. You young ones are running circles around me and I am beginning to see the light through your examples.

Salud,

A.S.

March 5, 2017 at 10:33AM

17
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You ran basically the same article on Nov. 16th, 2015.

March 5, 2017 at 3:15PM, Edited March 5, 3:16PM

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Adam J. Richman
Cinematographer
189

Well, I missed it that time around, so I'm glad they posted this time. I'm definitely trying this out!

March 5, 2017 at 4:05PM

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John Haas
Cinematographer
711

Where can you find Helios lenses for $20?

March 6, 2017 at 11:42AM

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Robert Schmeltzer
Cinematographer
180

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Helios-44M-58mm-f2-for-M42-mount-shipping-from-USA-/232263464244?hash=item3613fb3534:g:86cAAOSwx6pYoRMC

More like $30 after shipping, but you can 58/f2's all day for under $40.

March 9, 2017 at 11:56AM, Edited March 9, 11:56AM

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Chuck McDowell
1st AC
471