Nov.19, 2014 | By Alec

As many camera enthusiasts will tell you, photography can be a very expensive affair. Especially the various lenses and filters will quickly drive up the cost of this particular hobby, and it's no surprise that many photographers are looking for a reasonably priced alternative.

And that's where 3D printing comes in. That's at least the option photographers Patrick Ludolph and Christian Steinkrüger chose. Ludolph was unable to find a reasonably priced filter holder for his Nikon 14-24 mm f/2.8 lens, and had been searching for a proper alternative. His friend already had some experience with 3D printing, and together they set out on a trial-and-error process to find the perfect-fitting 3D printed alternative.

As can be seen, they were successful, though it required multiple iterations (fifteen!) before they reached a working and properly fitting prototype. 'Having an idea and printing this idea with a 3D-printer isn't that easy as most people think. […] Every printer has different settings of temperature, speed and other things. There is no formula to get a good result right from the start.'

One of the largest challenges was creating a structure capable of holding a 14-24 lens hood, without becoming a large and heavy object itself. All in all, Steinkrüger spent about 50 hours working and reworking his designs, before ending with a lens holder capable of securely attaching itself to the Nikon camera and hold up two 150x150mm square filters. 'The holder design is variable (with removable clips) to hold these different filters in the way you want. The clips and the ground plate have got sunk-in foamed rubber to hold the filter tight and safe.' The mounting mechanism on the lens hood is also protected from wear and tear with foamed rubber.

And the results were very satisfying, as the pictures also suggest. 'The filter holder itself does a perfect job. It fits very well on the lens and holds the glass firmly. I have not experienced any light leeks so far. Yes, it is big, but lightweight and costs only a fraction of the [other] solution.'

As the feedback from the photography community online has been so overwhelmingly positive, Steinkrüger has started selling 3D printed custom filter holders through his website for about $124 a piece (only available in Europe). He also sells a number of 3D printed lens caps to customize your gear with. If you're interested, visit his website here, try your hand at designing a pair yourself!

Posted in 3D Printing Applications


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Francesco from italy wrote at 1/21/2016 10:10:03 PM:

i'm interested to buy ...

Paolo Trevisan wrote at 2/27/2015 8:31:11 AM:

Hi, I too are very interested for your filter holder. I would like to know how much? I'm from Italy please send me all the information thanks a lot.

Randy Koepsell wrote at 12/30/2014 11:20:43 PM:

Hi, I am interested in your filter holder. Nikon 14-24 lens. It appears you are a bit backed up. Day job-night job.... When might your product be available? Looks like 2 versions, one you assemble and another that I would assemble. Is there a time difference on getting either? Any recommeds on filters. I see a cheaper, well relatively cheaper version on Ebay for 2 mm 150mmx150 mm glass from Hiada. Any comments ND 8? $96 US. Thanks, Randy Koepsell Denver Colorado, USA wrote at 11/19/2014 11:16:52 AM:

The filter holder can now be purchased from all over the world ;)

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