Lens hacking is not Lens whacking
Lens hacking is the process of using precision machined adapters to make camera lenses usable on more than one camera system. The lens adapter usually has no electronic or mechanical interface with the camera which means that the lens has to be manually focused and stopped down prior to exposure.
Lens whacking is the process of detaching a lens from the camera body and tilting it for special effects when making a video. Lens whacking creates numerous opportunities for airborne particles to enter the camera and contaminate the sensor and other internal components.
The point of Lens hacking
Lens hacking gives people the ability to use obsolete, manual focus lenses on modern digital camera bodies. Cinematographers want the manual control over focusing and aperture which is available with these older lenses. Lens hacking can significantly reduce the cost of acquiring a set of high quality prime lenses.
Auto focus is not necessary
The demand for manual focus lenses started to decline about 25 years ago as photographers became more dependent on automation. Manual focus lenses are inexpensive today because most people don’t know how to use them on digital cameras.
Canon cameras made after the 30D can display live images on their LCD screens and with the 10x magnifier, it’s possible to focus on an eyelash. Older models lack Live View and are difficult to manually focus unless you replace the focusing screens. You’re better off paying more for a newer model that has Live View.
Olympus Micro Four Thirds cameras are easy to focus with their LCD screens and the 10x magnifier buttons. The latest Olympus Micro Four Thirds and Four Thirds camera bodies also have built-in image stabilization which works great with older lenses.
Flange focal distance and lens hacking
Lens hacking works when the distance between the sensor and the lens mount allows the lens to focus to infinity. This distance is known as the flange focal distance (FFD). Canon EOS EF mount lenses have an FFD of 44mm and Micro Four Thirds lenses have a lower FFD of 19.25mm. Lenses with higher FFDs than the camera’s FFD are usable because the lens adapter makes up the FFD difference.
With an FFD of 46.5mm, F mount Nikkors, including non-AI Nikkors, work great on Canon EF bodies, but Konica AR lenses with an FFD of 40.7mm don’t work because of the -3.3mm difference. If there was a Konica to EF lens adapter, it would act like an extension tube with focus limited to a few feet. You’ll need a mirrorless camera if you want to use Konica AR, Leica screw mount (28.8mm FFD), Leica M (27.8mm FFD) and Contax rangefinder lenses (34.85mm FFD).
The Sony E mount has an FFD of 18mm and you can currently get a new Sony Alpha A7 full frame camera for under $1,000.
Other goals of lens hacking
Lens hacking promotes the use of pre-owned, manual focus lenses.The information on this website is intended to help photographers and filmmakers practice their crafts without paying a fortune for lenses. Because resourcefulness is more important outside of western culture, Lens hacking.com is available in over 50 different languages.