Cheap Closeups with Reverse Macro

Don’t own a macro lens, but want to fake it anyway?

Take your lens, and carefully hold the front end of the lens against the lens mount of the camera.  Get real close to what you want to shoot “macro”.  Focus by slowly moving the camera/lens in and out.  The focusing distance will be very close, and the in-focus range will be very narrow.  Use the camera’s optical viewfinder –don’t expect Live View to work.

We had some recent unwelcomed guests in the home that we had trapped.  Here’s a mugshot:


As with most modern electronically controlled lenses, there’s no aperture control without the electrical/digital connection, so Depth-of-field will be very narrow if you just use the lens as is.  (At least as tested with a Canon EF lens) you can “lock” an aperture by:

  1. Mount the lens normally.
  2. In Aperture priority mode, set the f/ stop.
  3. Hold the DOF-preview button, and then carefully disengage the lens from the lens mount.

The aperture will remain at the last “set” point.

If you locate an old Canon FD lens or manual Nikon F lens, they’ll have a manual aperture ring on them.

Another thing to note is in “reverse macro”, the focal points (mm) sorta work in reverse.  If you set your zoom lens to the telephoto end to use for reverse macro, the magnification will be less than if you zoomed to the wide end.

Disclaimer: consider your environment when performing reverse-macro by hand-holding the lens backwards.  Ambient dust can get through the non-seal and to the sensor.  If you intend to do reverse macro beyond a novelty and/or in dusty environments, look for adapter mounting rings.

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