For the do-it-yourselfers out there, here's a description of how
one might go about fabricating a filter adapter for your digital
- 1 1½-inch ABS coupling (available at most hardware stores)
Note: Try to find one that is reasonably smooth all the
way around. It will look much nicer when assembled.
- 1 49mm filter (find one used -- usually runs about US$8)
- 1 foot nonskid, rubberized material (1 inch wide), used in applications
where stairs are slippery. Don't buy the sandpaper type. This
will damage your camera. This material is approximately 1/16"
thick and has a texture to it. The material I found is gray in
- Misc. glue (epoxy or ABS type)
- Sandpaper - 150 grit (see step 1)
- Black metal paint (see step 3)
- X-Acto® knife
- Flat razor blade
- One end of the ABS coupling will probably have some raised lettering
on it which looks kind of tacky in a final product, however, if
you don't care, skip this step. Place the sandpaper on a flat
surface, then place the "lettered" end of the coupling
on the sandpaper, and sand in a circular fashion until the lettering
is gone (surface is flat). Both ends of the coupling will now
look approximately the same.
- Carefully remove the glass (or plastic) from the 49mm filter.
You may have to break out the glass with a hammer. It's suggested
that you cover the filter with a cloth and then carefully hit
the center of the filter with the hammer. Carefully remove the
broken shards, and clean up the filter.
- This step is optional, but really makes a difference in the
final product. Paint the filter to cover up the (typical) white
letter that's on the outside.
- To make the filter fit in the coupling, you'll need to scrape
the inside of the coupling with an X-Acto blade knife. Angle the
knife and apply a scraping motion to angle the inside edge of
one end of the coupling. Generally, you'll want to use the unsanded
end to attach the filter ring, so it'll look nice. Be careful
in this step not to take off too much material. Check periodically
to see if the ring fits. You know you're there when it slips in
perfectly flush with the coupling.
- Once the filter ring fits, you need to glue it in place. Apply
glue sparingly to the threads of the filter ring and then press
into place. Let this dry. (Note: The best glue here is ABS glue,
although, if you're not doing a bunch of ABS work, it might make
more sense to use Epoxy here. Again, be sparing in the application,
otherwise, you'll end up with a bit of a mess.)
- This next bit is somewhat tricky, and may be frustrating, but
if done correctly will work first time, every time...
As the inside diameter of the coupling is approximately 2"
in size, you'll need to cut a 6½" length of the rubberized
material. Carefully cut one end square with the sides. Remove
the backing tape and roll the material inside out (sticky side
out) into a small enough unit to fit easily inside the coupling
end opposite from the filter assembly. It's important that you
squarely cut edge end up on the outside.
Most ABS connectors will have a extra bit of plastic on the inside
bout half way down the coupling. Use this ridge to line up the
rubber material, and slowly adhere the
rubber material to the walls of the coupling. This may take several
tries to get it right, but it's worth it and it builds character.
Once it's properly in place (you should make sure that it's completely
flat all the way round the inside of the coupling), you'll notice
that there's some overlap in the rubber on the inside of the coupling.
We'll take care of that in a minute.
- Trim the excess material hanging out of the coupling with the
flat razor blade. Use the edge of the coupling as a guide. It's
thick enough to cause a little trouble, but gently and firmly
work your way around the circumference of the coupling.
- Lay the coupling on its side and look directly at the end where
the rubber grommet is installed. You should be able to see where
you need to trim the rubber that overlaps the edge. Using the
X-Acto blade, trim this excess so that when the excess is removed,
the two ends of the rubber closely line up with each other.
- Grasp the adapter in one hand, your camera in the other and
using a twisting motion, attach the connector. If it won't go
on at all or is way too tight, the material used for the rubber
grommet is too thick. You'll need to find some thinner material.
If it's way too loose, and won't stay on the camera you can apply
some shims under the rubber material. I've successfully used regular
electrical tape in short strips (apply the back of the short shim
to the sticky side of the rubber material). This may take a few
adjustments. When it's perfect, you'll be able to slide the unit
on and off fairly easily, but it will grip firmly in normal operation.
Good luck, and again, if you get frustrated and you'd
like a real, bona fide Xtend-a-Lens, along with a comprehensive
User's Guide, let me know.