Need a piece of gear but can’t find a reasonably priced option? Perhaps 3D printing could help.
That’s what photographers Patrick Ludolph and Christian Steinkrüger. After not finding an affordable filter solution for his Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8 lens, Ludolph approached Steinkrüger — a 3D printing hobbyist — with the idea of creating a custom filter holder themselves.
Steinkrüger had Ludolph send him complete measurements of the lens. Then it became a task of trial and error. Steinkrüger spent 50 hours working and reworking the design so that it would fit the Nikon lens perfectly. Each time a prototype was printed, he would have it sent to Ludolph to test.
After 15 different prototypes and a great deal of testing and refining, the duo succeeded in printing a single lens holder design that would attach well with the Nikon lens and hold up to two 150x150mm square filters.
Foamed rubber is used on the holder to grip the filters and lens tightly. Ludolph writes over at Nikon Rumors,
It fits perfectly on the lens and my Haida 1000x ND filter fits perfectly in the holder. You have to push the holder back until the glass hits the lens hood to have nearly no vignette. At 14mm there is only minimum vignetting in the image […]
Yes, it is big, but lightweight and costs only a fraction of the Lee solution.
Here are a few sample photographs captured using the custom holder:
Ludolph says he’s very content with the custom holder, and is wondering what else 3D printers may be useful for in the wonderful world of photography. Steinkrüger is now selling units of this custom filter holder for about $124 over in Europe through his website.
Image credits: Photographs by Patrick Ludolph and Christian Steinkrüger and used with permission