DIY declicking an old 50mm Nikkor

Due to the era of HDSLRs people have been using old manual still lenses for video, among the popular choices are old Nikkors with manual aperture rings. Traditionally videographers adjust aperture/iris in run and gun scenarios where lighting conditions change, like from outdoor to indoor for instance. Unfortunately, unlike dedicated video lenses, the aperture rings of these still lenses which control the iris blades do not change from one setting to another smoothly but "click" abruptly from one f-stop to the next. One way to go around this is shoot with fixed aperture and adjust exposure using other parameters or to de-click your lens.

I hope you find this helpful.

Click on image above to enlarge

Using almost the same method I was able to de-click a 50mm f1.2 and a 105mm f2.8.


Click links to view test video showing typical scenario where a declicked aperture ring is useful:

Test Video in Youtube

Test Video in Vimeo


DIY Mini Track and Jib

This DIY project is something I did back in 2009 when I saw my brother use a slider for a film he DP'd. I like the concept but at  that time I was still back in Asia and could not find a local source for the slide so I looked for an alternative in local hardware and home improvement stores. This is what I came up with.

Video of the DIY Mini Track and Jib in action.

By now you can probably find the slider camera stores but for those who can't and for those who like making stuff, here is the DIY guide on how to make this. Note that for those in the U.S. I tried looking for the same fixtures for sliding doors but I couldn't find it in Lowe's and Home Depot. The ones they have are way bigger. If you could find a similar one do share your sources for others.  The one I used are Hafele brand.

Detailed parts.

I hope you find this helpful.


DIY Mattebox

This DIY project is ideal for lenses up to 82mm front end diameter. The adjustable 2 filter trays can hold cheap filters similar to the Cokin P-series measuring 8 x 10 cm. This can be mounted on the DIY DSLR rig or, if you have an existing 15mm rod rail system, simply enlarge the rod holes for the rail block.

Click on image below to enlarge.

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

DIY Rail block

Filter tray pattern

Mattebox to railblock bracket pattern

Donut holder pattern

Bracket bend pattern

Donut pattern

Top flag pattern

Top flag aluminum strip pattern

Tray lock pattern

Hope you find this useful.



Click on image above to enlarge

A DSLR rig essentially is a system that buids up the DSLR into a film making camera and can be configured according to the shooting needs of the camera man.

Most common rigs start with the baseplate which attaches to the camera. You then build this up by inserting rods whereupon you add all the extras. The baseplate and rods take all the load of your added accessories.

My old diy design required some spot welding thus making it difficult for most DIY'ers. Now I have sourced all my parts and tools from Lowe's, Home Depot and even one item from Walmart. This design will no longer require welding, instead you need a metal hack saw, a drill, preferably a drill press, a way to hold the pieces while cutting, either clamps or preferably a vise and a rivet tool. Now U.S. based diyer's can acquire their parts easily.

Take note that the industry standard for rail rods are 15mm, the "rods" cheaply available at lowe's and home depot are 12.7 mm aluminum or steel tubes so for those starting from scratch and dare to have their own "standard" like me, you can use the cheaply available tubes as rods for your DIY rig. If you have an existing rod system and need compatibility just change the bit for the drill so it will accept the 15mm rods.

Video showing different rig configurations.

Click Thumbnails to go to video.

The rig's central component is centered on the baseplate. The baseplate and the components that attach to it has a common part and that is the rail block. This is the piece that you insert the rods through and holds them in place. I've made a separate guide for the rail block alone so this will be referenced for the components that require this part.

Click on the image to enlarge.

Now, on to the baseplate and rods. This design will allow you to use it directly mounted under the DSLR or with a QR adapter, in this sample we use the popular Manfrotto 577 QR adapter.

Click here for a large image.

PART 2 DIY Baseplate & rods click here.

Shoulder mount configuration.

To have a set up for shoulder mounted shooting we'll need the baseplate, handles, shoulder pad cushion, and counterweight. see separate guides on how to make the other components by clicking their image below, or the links.


Handles, shoulder pad cushion, counterweight, chest support.


click images to show guide on making hand grips, shoulder pad & counterweight.

Also added chest support. Click on image to show DIY guide

Putting the components together and the addition of longer rods/tubes you can now have a table shoulder mounted rig.

Click image for larger version.

Currently working on the rest of the guide. Please check back later.


DIY Pinhole "lens" cap

Replicating the look of the old pinhole box cameras of yester-years on your new digital DSLRs, this DIY project is easy to do. Not meant for serious work but for fun and experimentation. The finished pinhole"lens" require long exposure times thus the need for a steady hand or a tripod and high ISOs.

Click on image above to enlarge

Click to see sample images.

I hope you find this informative and fun.


Gearless Follow Focus DIY

Firstly, this is NOT a Replacement for the real Geared follow focus.
But so far it works on my old 50mm nikon, 105mm nikon, 20-40mm sigma and the 80-200mm nikon.

Click on images to enlarge.

This is a close up of the rail block showing the elongated cut on the bottom

allowing the clamp holding the wheel to slide and adjust to different

lens barrel sizes. I missed showing this crucial info,

thanks to Jeff Schneiderwind for pointing this out.

Changing wheel size for better accuracy.

Making a traction strip for those old and slippery focus rings.

Here is a short video showing this device in action.

Click on thumbnails below to play test video.

Since 2009 when I first posted this online, everal people have made their own versions of this and you can see some of their work posted at a forum thread at

I hope you find this helpful.


Curved and straight camera moves with a Plywood Skater Mini-Dolly

Back in 2005, I made a DIY Plywood version of the Oscar award winning Skater-mini by P+S Technik, I posted the designs and plans of the plywood version, and is one of the most viewed DIY threads at DVXUser. Im posting it here for those who wish to DIY this device, for those unique and subtle curved and straight camera moves.

Click on image to enlarge.

Here's some images during the construction process.
Click on image to enlarge

Since 2005 hundreds, if not thousands, of DIYers have downloaded the plans and have made their own versions of the plywood skater using different materials, acrylic, aluminum, and others.  Some of them even end up on ebay!

Despite the temptation for commercial gain, these plans continue to be posted here and in other forums online for free in the spirit of DIYing and to provide solutions for those on a tight budget.

Several people have made their own versions of this and you can see some of their work posted at a forum thread at

I hope you find this helpful.


Making your own DSLR LCD Finder

If you find LCD Finders or loupes for your DSLR to be too pricey for your budget, or if your in a place without access to such an accessory, here is a tutorial on how to make your own.

It works so well that even though I now have access to reasonably priced factory made finders, I still continue to use the ones I made.

Click images to enlarge.

A word of caution! I have since added a cover that fits into the eyepiece to prevent the lcd from being burned by the sun when using it outdoors.

I hope you find this helpful.


Did you find these posts helpful ?  I would love to hear from you !  Send me a note below.