ZS3 TCON adapter in 2 minutes

Started Jun 6, 2009 | Discussions
Tom K.
Tom K. Senior Member • Posts: 1,726
ZS3 TCON adapter in 2 minutes

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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AmanitaM Veteran Member • Posts: 5,686
Brilliant...

And not bad looking, either!
--

Pan. Eff-Zee Thirty, some Olys, macrolenses, etc.

WinGsor Senior Member • Posts: 1,175
Re: ZS3 TCON adapter in 2 minutes

Very ingenious and creative, Tom ! Thx for sharing.

I hope it work's well.

Roger
--

FZ50 and TZ5 ( Timeless & Peerless )

If everything is coming your way, you're in the wrong lane !

Ianperegian
Ianperegian Veteran Member • Posts: 3,597
Thanks!

For people who don't have a lathe this is an excellent solution. Thanks for all your efforts and for the very clear and detailed account and video. I plan to have a go at making one myself very soon. I just wish is that the USA had moved over to the metric system though :-))

Cheers,
Ian
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norvegia Regular Member • Posts: 235
Re: ZS3 TCON adapter in 2 minutes

Wow! Thanks for sharing!

Tom K.
OP Tom K. Senior Member • Posts: 1,726
Comparison shots with the TCON

Tom K. wrote:

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 are a couple of shots resized to 800x600 comparing maximum zoom of the ZS3 (300mm) and with the TCON-17 added (510mm).

ZS3 only

ZS3 with TCON

Here are a couple of shots at minimum focusing distance, about 12 feet.

ZS3 only

ZS3 with TCON

The camera seems to work well with the TCON, no signifigant problems that I can see. However as I said the TCON-17 is ridiculously oversized for the camera. It's just what I had on hand, and it does show that the mount is secure enough for a large and weighty lens.

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Ianperegian
Ianperegian Veteran Member • Posts: 3,597
Proof of the Pudding...

Thanks Tom, those shots look great! If that adapter can hold the TCON17 which is quite heavy then it proves it can hold any of the other TCs too. Also a shorter version should work well with WA converters.

Cheers,
Ian
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Tom K.
OP Tom K. Senior Member • Posts: 1,726
Tried making one yet?

Ianperegian wrote:

Thanks Tom, those shots look great! If that adapter can hold the
TCON17 which is quite heavy then it proves it can hold any of the
other TCs too. Also a shorter version should work well with WA
converters.

Hi Ian, have you taken a shot at making an adapter like this yet? Or has anyone else? I'd like to know if anyone else has had success, or run into problems.

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Rob Steinle Regular Member • Posts: 339
Re: Tom, Definately plan to make one now...

Tom,

Thanks for posting details on your WA magnetic adapter, and this TCON adaptor (which I missed the first time through 12 days ago). I have the same Oly 1.7 TCON lens which I used with my Nikon 5700 several years back.

It's almost like you could put a tripod socket under the Oly TCON to support it's weight, and let the camera hang off the back. Perhaps drill and tap a 3/8-16 hole in the bottom of the PVC, and then glue in a 3/8 to 1/4-20 bushing to be the tripod socket...?

That said, my primary objective would be to use several 49mm / 55mm filters from my old OM-2 system. I'm hoping to integrate Bernie's (NextPhoto) VariFix telescoping tube into your design so the filter position can be adjusted, to be just in front of the lens at different focal lengths.

Given filters are much lighter then a WA or TCON adaptor that you engineered for; I'm thinking about using a rubber O-Ring in the grove on the lens barrel to hold the adaptor in place.

I REALLY wish Panasonic would have included threads (or a removable ring to reveal threads) on the front for attaching an adaptor tube and filters.

Say... I wonder IF a machine shop could cut threads on the front lens barrel that has the small grove in it...?

I'll let you know how it all turns out after I pick up some parts and get some time in the shop to tinker with it. Thanks again for sharing your innovative designs for attaching accessories to the ZS3.
--

~ RD ~ On a good day.. RD is short for Robert David, other wise it stands for... Really Dumb
L u m i x - Z S 3 ~ P o w e r S h o t - S D 8 5 0 I S

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Ianperegian
Ianperegian Veteran Member • Posts: 3,597
Re: Tried making one yet?

Hi Tom, yes, I've made one and it's working well. I've tried it with several of the TCs I have, including the TCON17, and there haven't been any problems. And thanks again for posting your design and construction method.

In view of the small size of the ZS3/TZ7 though I think it's best suited to the smaller and lighter weight TCs, just for convenience when carrying things around. I've found that the Oly C180 (1.7x) and the Oly C210 (1.9x) are good, and sharp in the centre, but they are softer towards the edges. For birds and such if you use 5MP EZ zoom or even 3MP then you get sharp images and no vignetting. I've also found my cut-down Nikon E15ED works very well, but it has a lower power (1.5x). The TCs give closer to their nominal magnifications (at long distances) on the ZS3 than they do on the FZs. On the FZs the magnification is significantly less and I assume that is because of the the zoom lens design.

I've even tried stacking the cut-down E15ED in front of the C210 on the FZ3! Well, it had to be tried :-)) The results were surprisingly good, despite the increased vignetting. The C210 on its own gives some colour fringing but that actually seems reduced when stacked in this combination. However, the actual gain in the detail captured is a bit questionable, because there's an inevitable loss of sharpness. The effective FL is impressive though - 855mm! Or 1200mm effective FL at 5MP!

Cheers,
Ian

Tom K. wrote:

Hi Ian, have you taken a shot at making an adapter like this yet? Or
has anyone else? I'd like to know if anyone else has had success, or
run into problems.

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doak Regular Member • Posts: 145
Re: ZS3 TCON adapter in 2 minutes

Tom K. wrote:

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.

Tom,

To prevent internal reflections, glare or some such, wouldn't it be a good idea to paint the inside of the adapter matte black (like the internals of any lens i've seen)?

But then to be thorough one should paint the lens barrel of their ZS3 as well...

thx for the DIY instructions!
I'm looking for an adapter to mount polarizer or IR filters.

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Fred

Tom K.
OP Tom K. Senior Member • Posts: 1,726
Re: ZS3 filter adapter concept

doak wrote:

Tom K. wrote:

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.

Tom,

To prevent internal reflections, glare or some such, wouldn't it be a good idea to paint the inside of the adapter matte black (like the internals of any lens i've seen)?

In use, the camera's lens is as close as it can get to the adapter's rear lens when the camera is fully zoomed (to prevent vignetting). There's no avenue for internal reflections to get to the camera's lens.

thx for the DIY instructions!
I'm looking for an adapter to mount polarizer or IR filters.

For a filter adapter concept, check out this thread:
http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/read.asp?forum=1033&message=32238375

It's just an idea and I haven't built one myself, but I'd like to see if someone else could take the concept and make it work.

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