Useful Camera Adapters

3D Printed Camera Gear: Adapters for Vintage Lenses

3D Printed Camera Gear

So you want that special retro look for your DSLR images? Look no further. Here‘s an assortment of 3D printed camera gear and adapters for vintage lenses to modern cameras. 

Photography has undergone a massive retro movement in the last few years. Filter photography apps like Instagram or Hipstamatic gained so much in popularity. More and more manufacturers even include vintage and retro looks in their native camera apps. We want our pictures to look like they’ve been taken in the 80s, 70s, and 60s: bleached out, aged, and not like they’re snapshots from cameras much more capable.

Even stock photographers – who are using high-end cameras and lenses more expensive than cars – are equipped with vintage look presets for Photoshop by stock photo agencies. They’re taking pictures with professional gear with the highest resolutions possible and then are encouraged to make them look like they were made decades ago with cheap consumer cameras and film.

Open Sonnar: 3D Printed DSLR Adapter For a Great Lens

The image style you can achieve with this lens is outstanding. (source: Thingiverse)
The image style you can achieve with this lens is outstanding. (source: Thingiverse)

This is contrasting the technical development. But it’s good for the photo enthusiasts who want to achieve stunning pictures with a low budget. Thrift shops and flea markets (or online auction sites) offer a broad range of old glass. In many cases, you get more bang for the buck if you consider going this route rather than buying everything new. Even with smaller, entry-level DSLRs and affordable mirrorless cameras, you can get vintage effects right out of the camera.

The Open Sonnar is a 3D printed adapter using a great lens with an optical formula first developed in 1924. The Carl Zeiss Sonnar 50mm f 1.5 is still a famous lens. It’s sought-after by enthusiasts worldwide.

The Zeiss Sonnar mounted on a Sony NEX- in combination it´s the perfect retro look
The Zeiss Sonnar mounted on a Sony NEX- in combination it´s the perfect retro look

You can get one online for as cheap as 80 bucks. Interestingly, the lens’ focusing mechanism was original via a thread in the camera, not in the lens as we are used to today.

You can order the 3D printed Open Sonnar adapter online if you don’t own a 3D printer or download and print it yourself.


More great 3D Printed Camera Gear: DSLR Adapters for Canon and Leica

A simple print job: the Canon FD to EOS M adaptor should be ready within an hour. Best use black filament for less reflections (Source: Thingiverse)
Adapter DSLR Canon FD to EOS M

If you´re an avid Canon user, you might already be owning a model from Canons mirrorless EOS M lineup. With the 3D printed Canon FD to EOS M adapter, using the older lenses that are incompatible with recent Canon DSLRs suddenly is an option again. Fast lenses like the 50mm f 1.4 sell for an average of 55$.

Also available, albeit for their DSLR line-up, is the 3D printed projector lens to Canon adapter. It was tested with both a Zeiss IKON TALON 1:2.8/ 85mm,  and a Kindermann, 1:2.8 /90mm lens. If you get your hands on old projector lenses, I recommend to at least trying them out for photography also.

Improved ergonomics for a 1000$ lens via a 3D printed lens mantle (source: Youmagine)
Improved ergonomics for a 1000$ lens via a 3D printed lens mantle (source: Youmagine)

Playing in a league by itself, judging by the price (and the image it produces, fans will add) is the Leica Summilux. You´re lucky if you get one in good condition for less than 1000 bucks. No, this is not one digit too much. Made for Leica M-Mount, the Summilux 50mm f 1.4 can also be adapted onto Sony’s E-Mount with an adapter.

The Summilux shield hides and protects this precious piece of German optical engineering while adding better ergonomics. The added texture makes the lens easier to handle. Also, it fits better on the small mirrorless camera from an aesthetic point of view.