ZS3 TCON adapter in 2 minutes

Started Jun 6, 2009 | Discussions thread
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Tom K.
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ZS3 TCON adapter in 2 minutes
Jun 6, 2009

Well, I don't mean you can make the adapter in two minutes - I can show you how to make one in two minutes of video. If you're interested in the ZS3 you may remember my posting on making a magnetic adapter mount for a wide-angle converter lens, giving the ZS3 an effective focal length of 17mm. The thread is here: http://www.dpreview.com/forums/read.asp?forum=1033&message=31891912

It's a pretty neat mount if I do say so myself and works really well - instant on, instant off. However it was really complicated to make and not everyone has access to a lathe. Plus some people are worried about the effect of the magnets (although I'm not). So, I decided to see if I could make something cheap and easy, but since I had already made a WA lens mount, I thought I'd try a teleconverter mount. Here are the parts and tools I used:

Parts:
2" PVC pipe cap
49mm filter with glass removed
8-32 knurled screw
tiny screw from junk drawer

Tools:
electric drill
small sanding drum
2" hole saw
small drill bits
8-32 tap
epoxy
flat black spray paint

Here's the video. I sped up the framerate 5x so that it compresses 10 minutes into 2. The sound is totally out of synch, don't even bother to listen.
http://tinypic.com/r/161gufo/5

I decided to make the front threads 49mm, mainly because I already had an old UV filter of that size laying around. (Somewhere I know I also have a 1.5x Olympus teleconverter with that size thread, but I haven't been able to lay my hands on it.)

I found a PVC pipe cap at the local Lowes home improvement store that fit the bill. It turned out to be pretty much the right height for a TCON, which is going to work best when the ZS3'slens is zoomed all the way out. The overal height came out at 1.7 inches. You could use the same cap for a WA converter, it just needs to be shortened. For my Nikon WA lens, the proper height is 1.125 inches.

The outside diameter of the ZS3's lens base is 2.063 and the inside diameter of the pipe cap is 2.053. That means you only have to take off .005 from the inside surface all the way around to make it fit. I used the small sanding drum and a cordless drill (my Dremel is broken) to grind the inside of the cap, checking frequently to see if it'd fit the camera. It doesn't have to be perfect, but snug is good.

Then I marked the center of the cap end, and used a cheap hole saw to cut a 2" hole, which turned out to be just right for the 49mm filter. If you use something other than 49mm you may have to cut a smaller hole and enlarge it with the sanding drum. If you need to do that make sure you use a compass to mark a circle on the end of the needed diameter before you start. And again it doesn't have to be perfect (epoxy covers a multitude of sins) but snug is good.

Then I drilled and tapped a 8-32 hole for the retaining screw. Actually 6-32 would've been better as the hole needs to be close to the edge, and the 8-32 nearly broke through. The center of the little groove on the ZS3's lens base is about .07 above the camera body - this is what the retaining screw grabs onto.

On the other side I drilled a hole for a tiny screw that I found in my junk drawer - this holds the other side of the adapter. I wound up filing the side of the screw end flat so that it'd "catch" the groove better.

After the drilling and cutting, I took the glass out of the UV filter and epoxied the metal ring in place, and let it set overnight. Then I masked the ring off, and spray painted the outside flat black. There's no need to paint the inside.

As I said, I couldn't find my 1.5x Olympus teleconverter lens, so I used my 1.7x TCON-17. It has a 55mm thread, but I had a 49-55 step ring available so it just screwed right on. It looks ridiculously oversize on the ZS3.

Here's how it looks compared to the Nikon WA converter, with its magnetic adapter mount.

Here's how it works on the camera. The sound on this video is synchronized and I talk about it a little: http://tinypic.com/r/rkn7k2/5

I haven't had a chance to take pictures with the TCON on the camera yet, to see how it performs.

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