Probe lenses allow you to get close. Like, really close. You can shoot extremely tiny subjects like bugs and get detail that your naked eye can't see. Macro cinematography and photography are a playground all on their own.

But if you want your own probe lens, it can get expensive fast. Thanks to The Slanted Lens, we have a cheap method that'll provide nearly the same results!

Check out their video below: 

What you will need

  • Slider/Dana dolly
  • Manfrotto 577 adapter with sliding mounting plate
  • Acratech large leveling base
  • Platypod ultra plate
  • Wide-angle lens with close focusing range

These can also be substituted for similar pieces of gear from other brands. 

The Rig

As you can see in the video, it's pretty basic. Once you attach your camera to the plates and slider, you have a smooth tracking shot that allows for free motion and depth. 

You can now get out in front of your subject and focus as you track. 


For one, the rig isn't capable of going completely straight forward. This also leads to it bumping into things as the shot pushes in, which could cause some irritating issues during shooting. 

Lastly, it's not the most stable rig in the world. You can expect some shakiness and bumpiness when doing these long shots.

However, you could use weights to counterbalance and somewhat fix this issue. Some shakiness could also be removed in post.


This rig is a much more accessible option than buying an expensive probe lens at the end of the day. You can reach almost the same result and not go broke while doing it. It may take some more time and ingenuity, but it's absolutely worth it.

What do you think of this nifty rig? Let us know in the comments!

Source: The Slanted Lens