PetaPixel

Lubitel 2 TLR Lens Retrofitted with a Canon EOS Mount

Lubitel 2 To Canon EOS Retrofit

If you want a lens that most or all photographers don’t have, one way is to retro fit a vintage lens with a new mount. That’s what Washington DC freelance photographer J. David Buerk did with a lens he found on an old Lubitel 2 twin-lens reflex camera, and the results are quite nice.

Lubitel 2 to Canon EOS Retrofit

After finding the camera for $15 while on vacation in Florida, Buerk decided that he would try his hand at converting the camera’s lens for use with his Canon DSLRs.

The first step involved removing the entire lens section from the main Lubitel body:

Lubitel 2 to Canon EOS Retrofit

Buerk then crafted a new mount for the lens using an EF body cap:

Lubitel 2 to Canon EOS Retrofit

Lubitel 2 to Canon EOS Retrofit

After quite a few tweaks and adjustments to get the retrofitted lens to be compatible with his cameras, the deed was done.

Lubitel 2 to Canon EOS Retrofit

Lubitel 2 to Canon EOS Retrofit

Here are some sample photographs showing what an old school TLR lens can do when attached to a new school digital camera:

Lubitel 2 to Canon EOS Retrofit

Come to Life: Summer of 2013

Come to Life: Summer of 2013

Lubitel 2 to Canon EOS Retrofit

Lubitel 2 to Canon EOS Retrofit

Lubitel 2 to Canon EOS Retrofit

Lubitel 2 to Canon EOS Retrofit

If you want to try this type of conversion yourself, you can check out Buerk’s step-by-step documentation of his process. Be warned though, you’ll need a good amount of skill with your hands to pull this one off.


Image credit: Photographs by J. David Buerk and used with permission


 
  • Nate Parker

    freekin sweet! I’ve always wanted a real Hipstamatic like lens for my canon- totally gonna do something like this after having the right amount of beer.

  • http://www.flyingsuicide.net/ Oj0

    Interesting results, I’m not much of a fan of the Instagram look but these shots have some sort of appeal to them – I just can’t put my finger on it.

  • Erik Edmund

    Why not just take photos with the TLR and scan them?

  • Kris J Boorman

    Fun, I guess.

  • Erik Edmund

    Film is fun.

  • Gatot Jaka Timur

    he is quite stupidly creative for me. Just finish the effect in photoshop!

  • http://www.jdavidbuerk.com J. David Buerk

    As I stated on my blog, the shutter on the TLR was beyond repair – I chose to keep the lens and make something awesome and useful from it, rather than toss the whole camera. My original intent was to finally shoot medium format.

  • Christopher McRae

    This is awesome. Great job :)

  • http://www.aluzinando.com Fernando Callo

    I understand your point. I’ve shooting film for 3 years now and it’s amazing but it’s also amazing to do this kind of things. For example, I use my Pentax lenses on my 7D and I recently got a Helios lens which is superb and now I’m finding a way to mount it on my 7D. Never gonna let film but yeah, it’s fun to try this and get and instant gratification.

  • http://www.aluzinando.com Fernando Callo

    I have a couple of questions. Can you focus with this lens? Because in my Yashica TLR the focusing is made by moving the entire plate that holds both lenses (taking an viewing) and the lens is fixed. And also, why do you put the body cap in front of an adapter (I guess?) to preserve infinite focus?

  • Rob Mclaughlin

    Not to state the obvious, but if the TLR had been useable I very much doubt he would have got it for $15!

  • Erik Edmund

    Yeah this is definitely my bad for not reading thoroughly enough. Mea culpa.

  • ksporry

    I’m curious how the focussing is accomplished

  • http://www.jdavidbuerk.com J. David Buerk

    Of course you can focus; a TLR just means there is a separate lens for viewing and taking – both focus independently, but have been calibrated to focus at the same distance and rate. This is just using the taking lens and using it as an SLR – you are viewfinding and taking with the same lens.

    The body cap is simply acting as the EF mount – I am using an extension tube to get close to infinite focus range; the plexiglass spacers move the lens out far enough to dial in infinite focus.

  • http://itsnotjustaboutmovies.com/ Alexander_R

    Photoshop is not a solution for everything, PS is a solution for lazy peoples…

  • Jake

    Maybe because “the Instagram look” is just a rip-off of this look which people were doing with real cameras – not just digital filters – ages before Instagram was invented.

  • 3ric15

    Dat bokeh

  • HARPOON F. FLYBY

    the film look comes from the film not the lens

  • ThatGuy

    This may sound crazy, but photography existed before Instagram.

  • ThatGuy

    Cost of film and processing, availability of film, availability of a lab, wait time for processing to name a few.

  • ThatGuy

    Very cool project with beautiful results. I should mention though it’s not shooting in ‘medium format’ per say since format relates to film size. (unless your sensor is equal size to or larger than a frame of a 645 negative)

  • NickE

    Looks like a light leak in a few of the shots?

  • http://www.jdavidbuerk.com J. David Buerk

    Correct. Most of the photos displayed above are freelensed. When actually mounted to the camera, the lens is very sharp, and no light leaks or tilt-shift effects.

  • http://www.jdavidbuerk.com J. David Buerk

    Of course it’s not medium format… but it is a medium format lens. Like I said, I bought the camera hoping to finally have a medium format camera, but that clearly didn’t work out since I was unable to repair the shutter. PetaPixel unfortunately left out that the shutter mechanism was completely broken – you can see the broken spring and dislodged rivet in the 3rd photo. I’d still like to own a medium format, preferably TLR, camera.

  • http://www.jdavidbuerk.com J. David Buerk

    Simple; the front element of the lens works just like any other lens. Look through the viewfinder and focus manually. Or you can freelens it, as I typically do.

  • http://www.flyingsuicide.net/ Oj0

    I said the Instagram LOOK, not just Instagram. I’m referring to the lo-fi look – light leaks, colour abberations, etc. I know it existed before with the likes of the Holga and other toy cameras, and I’m not a fan of them either.

  • Kris J Boorman

    Yeah I love film. I’m not saying film isn’t fun.

    If I had to guess, I’d say maybe he felt like something different.

  • http://www.jdavidbuerk.com J. David Buerk

    This.

  • bmassao

    Being sincere: I had a Lubitel 2, and used to love the look its lenses gave. But I hate to photograph with TLR, and that’s pretty much why I ended up selling every TLR I ever had.
    It may not be the reason why he did it, but… It would be a reason for why I’d do it.

  • bmassao

    I second this.
    I’ve learned how to photograph with a film camera, and I really like to “cross systems” when it comes to use lenses. Every glass out there has a different signature. It’s all part of the fun!

  • Gatot Jaka Timur

    Yes photoshop is not the solution for everything, but after seeing the result, THOSE are something you can do in photoshop! in a simple way.

    Let say you have a handphone to text someone, would you use a PAGER? Isnt it a stupid one to use a PAGER when the technology offer you something a lot simple and faster?