Macro Photography With Your Camera – Cheap!

At TakePhotosLikeaPro we believe at all times in photography on a budget.  There are plenty of sites that show you techniques that need expensive kit and that tell you about ‘must-have’ items that will cost you an arm and a leg!  Not here – when we find something really useful as cheap as chips, we tell you about it!

Macro or ‘close-up’ photography interests most of us at some time or another, but I’ve always thought it would be too expensive to get decent results. I did have a DIY solution some years ago which was an old magnifying glass stuck in front of a standard lens. It gave ok results but not great.

But here’s a trick – if you turn a normal lens the wrong way round on your camera, you’ve actually got a fairly decent macro lens!  Go on try it. A Reversing Ring is then what you need to fix the lens to the camera that way round.  It screws into the filter thread of your lens and fixes into the bayonet mount of your camera

You can get one of these online for less than £10.  You just need to know the thread size of the lens you are going to use (if you don’t know it you’ll probably find it written it in your lens cap) and of course you’ll need to order the type of bayonet fitting for your camera (Nikon, Canon etc).

Now once you have this little gizmo attached you will have no automatic functions on your camera as the electrical connections to the lens are now disconnected, so you’ll have to use manual settings – you will also have no aperture control, so you will only be able to change the shutter speed and ISO in order to adjust the exposure.  You’ll also get better results if you use a tripod and use the timer or a remote control for the shutter release to eliminate camera shake.  Finally, if you use the reversing ring with your ‘kit’ zoom lens, you’ll get higher magnification with the wider angle setting (ie at 18mm it will be really highly magnified; at 55mm it will be less so.)

So if you want to try out some macro photography without buying a special lens, pick up a reversing ring for your camera.  It will cost you just a few pounds – and if you get bitten by the macro bug, you could always treat yourself to a proper macro lens later (but not too expensive eh!)

The next post will be about using your Reversing Ring once you’ve got it.  In the meantime, here’s some images of a fairly grubby coin – I used the ‘torch’ on my phone to light the shots.  These shots haven’t been cropped or particularly carefully set up.

Macro Photography
The closest focus possible with the kit lens used normally at 55mm


Macro photography
… and using the reversing ring at 55mm


Macro photography
… finally using the reversing ring at 18mm



Paul Wilson

I am a freelance photographer, video-maker and blogger based in Surrey, UK. I've been taking photos for years - you know those days you've heard about when you actually used to put film in your camera then waited for your photos to come back from the developer!

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