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DIY Tilt-Shift Lens Made With a Broken Canon 50mm f1.8 and Some Duct Tape

By Hanssie on October 11th 2014

Quick! Name two things practically every photographer owns…

If you guessed the Canon ‘nifty fifty’ lens and duct tape, you would be correct. Of course, I am being facetious, but many Canon shooters begin their journey from kit lens to the Canon 50mm f1.8, affectionately known as the ‘Nifty Fifty.’ And with good cause. The Nifty Fifty is a lovely lens which is perfect for a beginner looking to start out with a good prime lens for a bargain price. At $125, this lens is a great bang for your buck (as we demonstrated in the Canon Lens Wars 50mm Showdown) and because of that fact, is owned by many a new photographer.

And duct tape is owned by everyone, because you can use it for everything, so there you go.


The problem with the ‘Nifty Fifty‘ (and usually any other bargain type items), is that the build quality can leave a lot to be desired. For the price tag, it is to be expected. Therefore, there are also many photographers who own a broken Canon 50mm f1.8 lens. And that is the premise for which photographer Witono Halim created this DIY project.

Screen Shot 2014-10-11 at 10.29.17 AM

Halim went in search of a broken 50mm f1.8 in a photography forum and found someone who offered to sell one for $25. Then with some $2 black duct tape, Halim macgyvered (by sawing in HALF) the broken lens to his camera and created a working tilt-shift lens that he took with him on a trip to the Himalayas. The lens isn’t the most aesthetically pleasing item you’ll see in someone’s kit, but if you want a ‘real’ tilt-shift lens that looks pretty, be prepared to spend upwards of $1000. Below you can see some of the images he created with his lens hack and they are pretty impressive.

If you’re feeling crafty and want to give this DIY project a try, check out this video where he shows you how he makes it.

[Via Peta Pixel, Witono’s Freestyle]

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Hanssie is a Southern California-based writer and sometimes portrait and wedding photographer. In her free time, she homeschools, works out, rescues dogs and works in marketing for SLR Lounge. She also blogs about her adventures and about fitness when she’s not sick of writing so much. Check out her work and her blog at Follow her on Instagram

Q&A Discussions

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  1. Basit Zargar

    Lets try if i can get one

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  2. Peter Nord

    Imagination rules!

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  3. Andre Queree

    Someone want to try it with a 70-200 f2.8 … ? :D

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  4. Kim Farrelly

    Nifty Shifty, ha!

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  5. Dre Rolle

    Welp. Time to break out the duck tape and see what I get. :)

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