Using a Macro Reverser Ring

Here’s a tutorial I wrote for the wristwatch forums I visit from time to time. Hopefully, you’ll be able to apply this technique to your photography. As you can see, I’m using a Canon EOS 400D but any DSLR should be able to do this.

Canon EOS 400D with 18-55mm lens

Canon EOS400D

Normally, when you buy a camera, you get a fairly bog-standard average quality lens. This lens has one job and that’s to take in big and make it small enough to fit on the bit of the camera that captures the light. What macro lenses do is pretty much the opposite of that. So, what would happen if you turn the bog-standard lens round and held it to the camera?

Lens removed

This is what would happen:

Seiko close-up

Click for 1280px wide version

However, there must be a way to do better than manually holding the lens to the body, right? That’s where a quick trip to eBay for a Macro Reverser Ring, armed with £5 of paypal goodness comes in.

Note: ring

See that ring? It’s a reverser ring. It fits to the 58mm screw threads on the standard Canon lens and allows you to mount the lens backwards.

Lens with ring

With this ‘new’ lens, you’re now armed to take some scary macro photos.

Please note, you’ll need to take a few photos to set the exposure time as the camera can’t do anything automatic. You’ve turned your fancy electronic lens into a lump of manual glass. Learn how to focus and zoom carefully.

Lens on backwards

I prefer at this point to computer control the camera, but you can get the same stability using the countdown timer.

Computer controlled camera

Oh, and while I remember, that shot above is a reduced version of the shot I took. Here’s a 1:1 pixel crop. Scarily Macrotastic!

zoom in!

You can see more of my macro photos here in my Flickr Macro set, if you want.

Jared Earle is a writer, photographer and systems administrator. You can find him on Twitter most of the time.

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  • Great tutorial Jared.

    I’ve made use of a reversal ring for a little fixed 50mm lens and found it fun, but with a blindingly small DOF.

    I also picked up a set of close up filters from ebay for a tenner and these were pretty cool, allowing +1, +2, _4 and +10(macro) magnifications. They’re worth a look if you’re in a macro mood.

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