At first I checked what others had to say about it and try their ideas. I tried a lot of them
1) fancy paper shape held by rubber band
- Tends to get folded in backpack.
- Rubber band and bits of paper tend to obstruct my manual focus ring.
2) Paper tube shape put over the lens.
- Even more prone for backpack crushing.
- Still obstructing manual focus ring
- More complex to create
- Need some way of changing cutout shapes.
3) Plastic tube shape over the lens
- Advantages: Looks slightly better than paper version
- Still cheap
- Plastic tube has to match outer diameter of the lens perfectly - if it does it scratches outer parts of the lens. If it does not then it rattle a bit and can easily fall off. - I did try slightly bigger tube with some EVA foam as cushioning, but results were far from great due to lack of DIY skills on my part.
- Complex to create,
- Needs some way of changing cutout shapes.
4) using old socks as described in this tutorial.
- Easy to mount
- Not something I would like to be seen with.
- Blocks manual focus ring.
- Did I mentioned the looks?
I'm far from saying that all of those are bad ideas. I just was looking for better setup. My goal was to create something that:
- Is easy to attach to lens
- Doesn't cover manual focus ring
- Is sturdy
- Allows changing bokeh shapes
- Does not pass light on the sides
- Is easy to store and carry
- Does not attract disgusted looks
Some of my designs would make me instant internet meme, so I won't describe them. The best one - the one I'm using now - consists of three elements: holder, paper insert and foam filler.
The holder is the step-up adapter 55-77 - my lens has a 55mm diameter filter screw. Additional space helps holding the card with custom shape hole and prevents light leaks Holder
The paper inset is circle cut from black technical paper with custom shaped hole in the middle. As I'm using 55-77mm adapter as the holder the circle diameter have to be slightly smaller than 77mm to avoid brushing against thread. If it is too big the paper bends outward and it is harder to remove from holder. Talking about removing it - I attached a piece of tape to each circle to make it easier. Insert
The foam filler is the circle cut of black craft EVA foam (purloined from my daughter school project). The outer diameter is 77mm - this circle has to fit the thread and hold the card in place. There is a hole in the middle (approx 25mm) - has to by slightly bigger than the size of the shaped hole in the card. Small piece cut at the top allows easier removal.
Insert card is put in holder and held by filler. Holder can be attached to lens as long as needed. For regular photo (without custom bokeh) I simply remove foam and card. At end of the session I unscrew the adapter.
All together (holder, filler and few inserts) fit without problem in filter box.
Next time I will describe different attempts at cutting complex shapes and the outcome, so please come back.
Any comments or suggestions are more than welcome.