Reverse Lens Technique: Shoot Macro On The Cheap With A Reverse Lens Adapter

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Do you want to achieve high magnification in your photography but do not have enough money to invest in a good macro lens? Then you are in luck as with a simple DIY ‘Reverse Lens’ technique you can get similar results to a macro lens without breaking your bank.

This all works by reverse mounting your lens to your camera body using an adapter.

Image by Digital Photography School.

The image above shows how this technique works, here a 50mm lens when used normally focuses light from far away from the image smaller for the sensor to capture it and when the same lens is reversed it magnifies what it sees allowing the sensor to capture macro.

You can also experiment with this technique, all you need is a camera, a lens and an adapter (costs only $10). However, there are some limitations to this technique.

Since the lens is going to be mounted backward there will be no electrical connectivity from the lens to the camera. This means you will need to control everything manually like focus and aperture (here an old prime lens with a manual aperture ring will come in handy).

This all might sound crazy to you and if you don’t feel like reading further then just take a look at these amazing macros shot with this technique.

Image by
Image by dp review

Now let’s talk about the settings and how you can manually control your camera to get the perfect macro shot.

First, lets talk about how you can change the aperture on a lens which doesn’t have the aperture ring:

All you need to do is normally mount your lens and set the desired f-number, now while holding the Depth Of Field preview button detach your lens from the camera body and reverse mount.

Image by photo review

You will need to do this every time for changing the f-stop that is why we recommend using an old prime lens with a manual aperture.

Here, you will need to set the aperture to a large f-number to get more area in focus, usually, f8 or f9 will get your job done.

Now let’s talk about how you will focus, as even the manual focus will not work here because of the close proximity to the subject. The only solution here is to physically move the camera backward and forward to the subject to get in focus, don’t worry as you will only need to move the camera few inches.

The next thing is lightning which is always a challenge with macro photography. You can use the on-camera flash which will provide you the perfect amount of light to expose and capture the details on insect and flowers.

You don’t need a tripod here, you can easily get amazingly sharp and detailed photographs by hand-holding your camera.

Shooting with a reverse lens takes some patience and practice, but once you get it all figured out you will be capturing some amazing macros. Anyway, long story short it is a very inexpensive way to experiment with macro photography, so why not give it a shot.

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