Why the Olympus 14-42mm Mk. 1 lens makes a perfect introduction to freelensing (VIDEO)
posted Wednesday, March 12, 2014 at 1:07 PM EDT
For generations of Olympus Micro Four Thirds cameras, the lens you got in your kit was the fairly decent, but not amazing, Olympus 14-42mm f/3.5-5.6 mark I. Since replaced by newer revisions, and available for cheap online, it's not up to much anymore. But a quirk of its design makes it uniquely suited to an unusual technique: freelensing.
Freelensing, if you don't know, is holding the lens of your camera away from its body, so that the focal plane is intentionally no longer parallel to the sensor. Essentially, it's a way of trying tilt shift photography without an expensive dedicated lens. The problem is that since the focal plane is designed to line up perfectly with the sensor, as soon as you move the lens away, you get a much more limited control of what you can focus on—specifically, many lenses can't focus to infinity.
The blog Witono's Freestyle discovered that through a quirk of design, when the 14-42 mk. I is partly retracted for storage, the focal plane moves back significantly. Which means that if you detach the lens while it's partly retracted, the focal plane then intersects with the sensor much more easily, allowing you to focus to infinity, along with other tricks. In other words, this obsolete, low-cost lens is perfectly suited for freelensing.
If you're worried about exposing your sensor like that, you can always build a simple rubber housing to keep things sealed up.
So if you have the original 14-42mm Olympus lens floating around, it might just be an excellent opportunity for you to give freelensing a try!