Macro Inverter: DIY, Non-Destructive, Complete With Electric Contacts

There are plenty of guys out there discovering the wonders of an 18-55mm mounted inverted on the body, with the help of inverter rings. It can yield great results, for it’s money. The main drawback, though, is that the lack of electric communication between the body and the lens means that everything becomes full manual.

More recently, I’ve begun noticing guys choosing to ruin a (maybe deffective) lens, to detach its back side, to glue it on the front of the lens and to join the contacts between the back side and the inner workings of the lens. It works fine (you get diafragm control back), but it’s destructive.

So I’ve taken the challenge of building myself a set of rings, complete with electric contacts, that could be attached to both ends of a lens, providing the best of all worlds: inverted lens, complete with all contacts, but detachable, without ruining the lens.

Here’s a gallery of what resulted (and yes, it works!)

Enjoy and feel free to comment or ask questions!

10 Responses to “Macro Inverter: DIY, Non-Destructive, Complete With Electric Contacts”

  • Awesome. And there’s nothing like it in the stores, right?

    p.s. you haven’t posted in a while…

  • As far as I’m aware of, my project is a first, period. So nothing commercial, yet, ofcourse, to be found anywhere. About my lazyness… no comment ;)

  • Well done mate excellent work & design !!
    And many thanks for sharing this !

    your pictures are enough explicative so i started mine =)
    the body contacts are a bit tricky to adjust ^^

    i’m wondering if on an IS lens i’ll have stabilization back after wiring (Efs 17-55 2.8 is)

    and do u think there is a high risk of damaging the lens if 2 or more of my homemade contacts are touching ?

    i’m interrested if u have some technical documentation about these electrical contacts (voltage, use, etc)

  • @Y@W hey bud, glad to see my post useful to others! I see you found the same contacts scheme I found and used! I was gonna give you the same link…

    About the contacts, here’s how I did it:
    1. I traced a vector version of the scheme in your link, and printed it on several copies
    2. I constructed the contacts, separately, and prepared them for soldering at the wires end.
    3. I punched a series of holes in the printed paper, where the contacts should come
    4. Using a quick-setting glue (super-glue or the kind), I fixed the contacts in the right position (glued to the paper, ofcourse)
    5. To fasten the whole thing and to make it more solid, I generously poured epoxy glue in the central area (the contacts area) – once set, after a couple of hours, this became much stiffer, fit to work with
    6. I soldered the wires
    7. using a precision knife, I cleaned the excess material between the outer ends of the contacts (to give them more independent movement)

  • @Y@W About the contacts:
    1. Although ALL the contacts are proven to work (I get both control of the diafragm AND of the autofocus motor), the software seems to be at a loss when it comes to actually autofocus. It may be just a matter of inverting 2 wires (since the actions are reversed), but I’m no electronist so I didn’t dare experiment. If you feel brave enough (what with already having the electronics schematics) and come to a better autofocusing result, please let me know

    2. About the contacts touching – again, don’t really know what to tell you. Mine may have been touching while experimenting, but the lens+camera is still working fine, so I didn’t manage to burn anything yet ;)

    3. About the IS: again, I’m waiting for your news

  • @Y@W Since my current version is still a little imprecise (sometimes still needs little manual adjustments of the flexible contacts), I plan on making a new, better one. Still looking for ideas, so yours are more than welcome.

  • @Y@W here’s a picture made with the inverted 18-55, before I built this adapter set (without diafragm control):

  • I’m new to DSLR photography, just find this year-old useful thread. I have a “Sigma 18-50mm f/2.8-4.5 SLD Aspherical DC Optical Stabilized (OS) Lens with Hyper Sonic Motor (HSM) for Sigma Digital SLR Cameras”. I wonder if I can convert it following your instruction. Would there be any differences? How? Any tips and warning? Or should purchase another 18mm-55mm instead? Thanks.

  • Hi, Tua,
    As you may have noted, my method is a non-destructive one – meaning that you don’t have to dismantle your lens. My method was to basically “destroy” 2 cheap caps (a lens back cap and a camera cap), to design and machine two contacts blocks and to attach these blocks to the corresponding caps.
    Tips: measure thrice, cut once (lots of measuring and testing was involved)
    Warnings: you should use well rounded, if possible coated, pins for the contacts (you don’t want to scratch the gold coating on the camera’s contacts block)
    Drop me a line if you want to learn more – and if possible, show me your results :)

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