If you find yourself in need of a weekend photo project this might be just the one for you. In this tutorial made by Franscesco Spighi, you can turn an ordinary Nikon 50mm f/1.4 AIS lens into a selective focus "freelens." This mod will allow you to selectively blur and focus your lens like a tilt-shift or Lensbaby. Here's how:As explained in the introductory video (by Sam Hurd) you don't have to use a Nikkor 50mm AIS, Sam made his out of a 50mm f/1.8 AFD which would work just as well, perhaps moreso given the smaller 1.8 rear element and cost a fraction of buying a new AIS version (the AFDs run around $120 new at B&H, significantly less on the street).
Step 1: Supplies
All you need to get started is your lens, some electrical tape, and a set of small screwdrivers.
Step 2: Remove the metal flange
To remove the back of this particular lens you'll want to remove the screws on the aperture ring and back (5 screws total on the 50mm AFD).
Step 3: Lock aperture open
For some reason or another, Nikkor lenses default to a closed aperture so next you have to remove the aperture ring, find the aperture control, and lock it open with tape (or superglue if you're not afraid of commitment).
Step 4: Lock focus
Zoom the lens all the way out to infinite focus, tape around the focus ring. Focus can now be achieved by moving the lens closer and farther away from the camera.
Step 5: Seal back [optional]
If you're a sicklier for the little things you'll probably be unhappy with the gap on the back of the lens between the body and the rear element. If you'd like you can make yourself a little gasket out of electrical tape.
And that does it! You're all done with your modified Freelensing lens. Go out there for some selective focus fun.
Knock yourself out!
Check out our previous freelensing articles here.