Introduction: Sony E Mount Shift Adapter - 3D Printed
This is guide showing how to build a limited shift adapter for some(see test fit section) Sony E Mount cameras. It can be used to get some nice straight Architectural photography, without tilting your camera up.
It is mostly 3D printed, requiring some 3mm nuts and bolts and some tools that are not hard to get.
Some Caveats before we start:
Your Sony camera's lens connection pins are very delicate, as you probably know. Before fitting anything you have 3D printed onto your camera, examine the part carefully. Any stringy or sharp bits on your print may catch a pin as you twist it onto the mount and damage something. This is just a warning, it should not happen, the parts are design with clearance. Just be mindful and don't rush it, test fit the part before assembly. And make sure any plastic sanding dust brushed or washed off if you have needed to clean up the part.
Its not metal, therefore not amazingly strong. Heavy glass lenses won't play well with this. I have used it with a 580g lens. Be careful with your expensive equipment, know the limits of plastics, glue and screws before considering using this, we don't want any breakages.
Glues. Some glue is used in making this adapter. Do not get glue on you lenses or camera sensor. Keep your gear away from your project at any point where gluing is involved, until your chosen glue has hardened or cured. This includes super glue or cyanoacrylate glue, it has vapors that will leave white deposits on things after you think its hardened. (This would be bad for for your expensive camera gear!!)
The adapter doesn't rotate. It can only be used in landscape orientation. It only has a limited range of travel, 20mm total, 10mm up and down from the center. This is adequate for a lot of shots tho.
No tilt. The adapter won't let you get those cool out of focus macro effect shots.
3mm Counter sunk bolts - Mine were slot headed, 15mm long. Some will be cut down. (13 in total)
3mm nuts, washers etc (13 in total)
Screw driver to match bolts head type (slotted, allen, philips etc)
Hacksaw - small
3mm tap or drill tap combo tool
Glue - I used Bostick / UHU glue 'universal repair adehsive' - Whatever glue you are familiar with for plastics
Sand paper, files etc
Canon lens rear cap - Or 3D printed equivalent (included below)
Counter sink drill bit
Step 1: Print You Parts
I haven't got any recommendations for settings or materials here. I used some ABS for the slides and camera mount parts. The front plate warped in ABS, so I had to reprint it in PLA.
Credit to the designer is due for the original Canon EF lens cap model that I modified, it can be found here https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:25845
Also credit to the designer is due for the original E Mount model that I modified, it can be found here https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:528232
Step 2: Clean Up and Drilling Out Holes - Front Plate and Slides Type B
You will be combining the front plate and 2x of slide type B
The rear side (flat hopefully) might need a bit of wet sanding to make it smooth, depending on the bed of your printer. Don't take too much off.
The holes in the front plate are slightly undersized, they need to be drilled and tapped for 3mm threads.
The holes in slide B are similar, they DONT need to be tapped, just drilled out to 3mm and the counter sink to cleaned up with your tool. Don't over it, just enough so the heads of the bolts are flush with the surface.
3x of the 3mm bolts can be cut down to length, as shown in photo.
(Brass heat inserts could be used here in the front plate for strength, but you only have 5mm of thickness to play with)
NOTE : No gluing at this stage, this only a test fitting.
Step 3: Back Plate and Slides Type A
This is much the same as previous step. Combine the back plate and 2x of slide type A.
Clean up the flat front facing side of the rear plate, a small bit of wet sanding for smoothness.
No tapping threads on any parts here.
Just drill out to 3mm so the bolts fit, lightly clean up the counter sunk holes.
Assemble as shown, but don't tighten up the nuts yet.
As before, no glue yet.
Step 4: Front Plate Camera Mount
Time to fit the canon EF mount cap. You will either be using a spare cap or have printed out the one in the supplied file. I had a spare cap, so I'm not sure how good a fit the STL file one is!
Hopefully from the photos you get the idea of what is going here.
You need to fit the cap to yours lens.
Fit it up the the front plate, from the front side.
Rotate it to the lens is in the correct orientation, then mark the cap top orientation.
remove from lens, and fit it again to the front plate (pay attention to your marks) and cut it as shown in the photos.
Once its cut out, its time to glue it in. As stated above, remove your camera gear from the area, and give any glue that you use time to harden fully, making sure no vapors etc effect your sensor or lenses.
I used bostick / uhu 'universal repair adhesive'. Strong glue would be good here, your lens is counting on it !!!
Don't get any on the back facing surface of the front plate.
Step 5: Back Plate - Camera Mount
I have no photos for this step, but you get the idea, hopefully, from looking at the finished adapter.
Clean up all holes and counter sinks, nothing needs thread tapping here.
You should test the E mount printed part with your camera, to see the upright orientation, before screwing it to the back plate.
The 3x 3mm bolts will probably need to be trimmed down, so they are flush with the inner face of the back plate.
The 3x 3mm nuts sit into the captive spaces in the back plate, and will receive the bolts as they are tightened down.
Step 6: Assemble the Two Parts
This is fun.
Its kind of a bit fiddly to get the two halves together, but its possible.
I recommend putting all the nuts + washers onto one slide A on the back plate, but having them very loose.
Then put only the bolts into the other slide A, and hold it up to its corresponding slide B.
You should be able to align the bolts with the back plate and ease them in.
Get the nuts and washers onto these bolts from the back to secure...
Step 7: Test Fit
So now you have it together, does it slide up and down?
Don't have the nuts on the reverse too tight, it may lock in place. Its up to you how muck friction you want.
As shown in photo, I added some matte black flocking to the inside of the E mount part to limit reflections.
When mounting to the Sony A7 (mki) the adapter just about rotates onto the camera, one of the nuts on the back side of the rear plate barely clears the camera grip as shown.
I do not know about clearance here on other camera bodies, unfortunately. The late a7 cameras may have bigger grips, the Sony APSC cameras may be shorter grips.
It might be possible, after final gluing (next step), to remove that particular nut and bolt and have the slide retain its strength?
Step 8: Test Again !!
Test it again.
How strong is your 3D printed E Mount part? Are the layers well bonded? Is it going to hold up when the weight of your lens is on it?
The same goes for the Canon lens mount. Is the printed part any good? Is it glued in well?
Be sure for yourself of all these things: Its your equipment that will be relying on it.
Step 9: Final Bits
So when you have played about with the sliding action and bolt tightness and you can see how it all works, its time to disassemble it!!
This is so you can add some very light amount of glue to where the slides attach to the front and back plates.
It should be obvious where, just a small dab as extra insurance will do. Don't get excess on the sliding or moving surfaces.
I also put a small dab of grease on the inside faces of the slides to help things along.
Reassemble, mark some lines, and test.
The adapter should have the thickness shown above, 26mm, this is the flange focal distance EF to E Mount adapters are.
Step 10: Results - Does It Work?
The two set of photos show 3 pics
1. Camera level on tripod. But the top of the building is cut off by the lens not being wide enough.
2. The lens is shifted up using the adapter and the vertical lines remain vertical, and the top of the building is brought into view.
3. The tripod is tilted back to get the top of the building into view, but the vertical lines converge.
(By the way this 21mm lens is not the best, you can see all sort of other distortions in the photos!!)
These aren't the greatest examples, we have the 2020 lockdown going on here, so I can't travel far. I will try to get out and get some good tests.
Enjoy making and using the adapter, and keep your gear safe. It is a relatively sturdy design and should hold lenses up to 300g or 400g, but one never know with DIY solutions.
There may be room for improvement in some aspects of the design: light tightness, screw adjuster for slide amount, single piece 3D parts like front plate + EF mount combined.
I'm not sure will I take it any further tho, I'm happy to experiment with it as it is, but I'd like to hear some feed back if anyone gets it put together.
Step 11: Addendum
Just to mention the overall thickness of the adapter and distance from the back of your lens to the front of your camera.
Canon Eos EF to Sony E adapters are 'about' 26mm it seems. I have 2 different ones, they seems to vary slightly. So I took 26mm for my design.
What it means if you get this wrong is, if the adapter ends up thicker, the lens will be further from the camera and may lose the ability to focus to infinity. If it is thinner, the lens may not focus as close up as it should ?? . I think all this is correct??!
The image above shows the intended dimensions of each of the parts of the adapter, they should all add up to 26mm when you are done.
After sanding or clean up of printed parts, do some measurements to keep track of your progress. It may be possible to shim the front EF lens holder out a bit from the front plate before gluing, if the adapter is coming in under the required thickness.
Similarly, you maybe be able to sand down the front face of the E Mount part to reduce thickness if you need to.