DIY Macro Photography

If you’re into photography, you’ll most likely want to experiment with macro photography sooner or later. It’s fun and exciting. However, proper macro lenses can get pretty expensive. Most novices and non-professional photo enthusiasts are not likely to shell out big cash for specialty lenses. Instead, most of them resort to DIY macro tricks.

Not too long ago, clever and creative photo enthusiasts made their own reverse macro ring or macro tubes. Before the Chinese factories started manufacturing every conceivable objects that mankind could possibly need, such niche camera accessories were not readily available and very expensive. That was when cannibalizing body caps, old filters and Pringles canister to make macro accessories made sense. Now, all of these adapter for most of the major brands in multiple sizes are readily available online for less than what you’d pay for an OEM lens cap. I bought my reverse macro ring and tubes on eBay. I’ve spent no more than $20 for both.

Of course, these are no OEM, most come in boxes with funny writings on them. But the rather mundane task that is asked of these adapters means even these lowly, no-name pieces function exactly the way you expect them to time and time again. Obviously, with any DIY or trick adapter, you are on your own. Focus, metering and indexing is all you. But that’s what makes it even more fun and exciting.

With reverse macro, you don’t even need to stick to one brand of lens. As long as the diameters match, you can use any brand. There are thousands of old used lenses out there to choose from. Usually, the older the lens, the build quality is higher, more solid and precise than your average modern plastic lenses. Since many of these manual lenses are no longer in demand you can pick one up next to nothing.

Aluminum reverse macro ring from eBay (52mm for Nikon)
Reverse Macro Ring

Sectioned macro extension tube: These come with adapters for the body side and the lens side. So if you get multiple of these for various brand of lenses, you can mix and match and experiment with forward facing macro. But not all brands have the threads facing the same direction.
Macro Tubes

Some test shots taken with macro adapters.

Nikon Nikkor D 50mm f/1.8 (Reverse Macro) Minolta Rokkor MC 55mm f/1.7 (Macro Extension) Ricoh Rikenon 50mm f/2 (Reverse Macro) Minolta Rokkor MC 55mm f/1.7 (Macro Extension)
Nikkor DX 18mm f/3.5 (Reverse Macro) Nikkor DX 18mm f/3.5 (Reverse Macro) Nikon Nikkor DX 18mm f/3.5 (Reverse Macro) Minolta Rokkor MC 55mm f/1.7 (Macro Extension)

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