Freelensing the Pentax K-3II

Freelensing is a technique used with interchangeable lens cameras in both film-based and digital photography. The lens is detached from the camera and held in front of the lens mount by hand during exposure. This allows the lens to be tilted or shifted creating a similar effect to a perspective control or “Tilt-Shift” lens, only with a lower degree of fidelity. The result is a combination of selective focus and light leakage which are used creatively to create surreal imagery. Because of the increase in flange-focal distance, this technique is most successful with closeup or macro photography, where Infinity focus is not essential.

The lens used does not necessarily have to be native to the brand of camera, since it is not physically attached to it. In addition, the lens may also be reversed for Macro photography. By shooting through a normal to wide-angle lens backwards, increased magnification can be achieved. One of the by-products of freelensing is the introduction of “light leaks” which can be controlled to some degree and produce toy-camera like effects.

So yesterday (May 16th, 2017) I decided to try it. I grabbed my Pentax K-3II and my SMC Pentax-FA 50mm f:1.4 prime lens. I set the body to AV exposure mode & the lens aperture on manual wide-open at f:1.4 composed using Liveview.

Tulip, unmounted 50mm lens, Pentax K-3II with SMC Pentax-FA 50mm f:1.4 prime lens. #FreeLensing.

Tulip, unmounted 50mm lens, Pentax K-3II with SMC Pentax-FA 50mm f:1.4 prime lens. #FreeLensing.

This should only be attempted on a dry dust free location, unless sensor dust is wanted. I may explore this with my retired Pentax ✩istD body.


Darrell Larose

2 thoughts on “Freelensing the Pentax K-3II

    1. Nope you just hold your lens unmounted in front of your lensmount free hand with the camera set to Aperture Priority. Bonus is it will work with any lens 50mm or longer, live view makes it easier. Generally the lens is held a millimeter or less in front, you can tilt the lens a bit to change the DOF direction. I avoid having bright light hitting the gap, as it will flare.

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