Macro photography on the cheap — Photography podcast #37

Pho­tog­ra­phy pod­cast #37 focuses on cheap macro pho­tog­ra­phy setups. In this pod­cast we talk about using revers­ing rings, exten­sion tubes, close-up lenses and cheap macro lenses in order to achieve good macro results for lit­tle cash.‚Special thanks to ‚Yves Janse who sug­gested this podcast.

The fol­low­ing images describe the dif­fer­ent inex­pen­sive tech­niques used to cre­ate macro photographs

macro photography

1 — Shows my shot with a zoom lens only
2 — Shows shot with cheap close-up lens #1
3 — Shows shot with cheap close-up lens #2
4 — Shows shot with cheap close-up lens #4
5 — Shows what close-up lenses look like
6 — Shows what exten­sion tubes look like
7 -‚Shows what a lens mounted back­wards using a revers­ing ring looks like
8 — Photo by Yves janse (Thanks Yves) show­ing how you can stack close up lenses and tubes
9 — Shows a Plamp for hold­ing macro subjects

Links men­tioned in this pod­cast:
Revers­ing rings on Ebay
Close up lenses on Ebay
Exten­sion tubes on Ebay
Phoenix AF lens review (A cheap ded­i­cated macro lens)
Plamp clamp for hold­ing macro subjects

Thanks as always for the com­ments by‚Al, Tim and Yves Janse who also sug­gested this. We LOVE com­ments and sug­ges­tions so please send more.


  1. admin says:

    I’ll be hon­est, I have not tried it but I would guess the rule of “you get what you pay for” applies here. I’d likely use exten­sion tubes over these types of lenses.

  2. Glenn Euloth says:

    Hey, Marko.

    I’ve been catch­ing up on some of your older pod­casts and after lis­ten­ing to this one I bumped into this solu­tion:

    Ever try these? I cur­rently use a Canon Pow­er­Shot SX110 IS and love Macro mode. I’m sav­ing for a DSLR and don’t want to have to spend a for­tune on a Macro lens. This looks rel­a­tively inexpensive.

  3. admin says:

    Thanks for clear­ing that up sey­Doggy. Makes sense to me.

  4. seyDoggy says:

    I just wanted clar­ify a gross mis­con­cep­tion (great pod­cast btw):
    The ratio is the direct com­par­i­son of objects size to how large it is rep­re­sented on the film or sen­sor, NOT the pic­ture itself as you stated in the pod­cast. For exam­ple with a 1:2 ratio lens, a 20mm long object would take up 10mm on your film or sen­sor. With 1:1, that same 20mm object would occupy 20mm on your film or sensor.

    Because of this, a lenses actual work­ing ratio will depend on the con­ver­sion fac­tor of your sen­sor, since most ratios are a com­par­i­son to 35mm film size.

    There is a fairly infor­ma­tive arti­cle on tak­ing macro images here (from another Cana­dian pho­tog­ra­pher): Larger than life; Macro for beginners

  5. Gary H says:

    The rest of my shot are back online now. I have a macro set at Many were taken by revers­ing my old 50mm Pen­tax lens. Some are just “pseudo” macros — close up shots that look macro.

    My revers­ing adapter was sim­ple. I cut the cen­ter out of a body cap and attached a fil­ter adapt­ing ring to it. The adapter ring was $10 and screws onto the lens like a fil­ter would. I used black elec­tri­cal tape to seal off any light leaks.

  6. admin says:

    Thanks for that com­ment gary and thanks for show­ing us what a cheap revers­ing ring can achieve! Best! Marko

  7. Gary H says:

    I love macro pho­tog­ra­phy and have exper­i­mented with the reverse lens a lot. I have a old Pen­tax 50mm I use and recently built a revers­ing adapter to fit on my Canon 30D. It works well, here’s a shot I took today:

    I’ve also reversed it in front of my 18-55mm lens and had good results.

    Work­ing dis­tance is def­i­nitely and issue and I agree that a tri­pod is essen­tial. I have sev­eral more shots, but Zooomr is in the mid­dle of an upgrade so they are off line right now. I’ll post the links when I can.

  8. admin says:

    Thanks for that Info Yves — This really was YOUR pod­cast. take good care, Marko

  9. Yves says:

    Hmmm, the image thumb­nails won’t work I see. These are the four links:

    1. Close up lenses
    2. Macro 1
    3. Macro 2
    4. Macro 3

  10. Yves says:

    Hey Marko, thanks for the pod­cast, I really appre­ci­ate it! I have some pretty good close-up lenses which I bought for US$ 15,- includ­ing ship­ping from India to Europe:

    Apart from the coat­ing, they are good enough for me to play around with. At less than 10% of the price of a Canon ver­sion, I get four instead of one! They have served me very well, and I shot for exam­ple these two shots with it:

    The great thing with these is that aut­o­fo­cus still works.
    I also bought a set of exten­sion tubes for roughly US$ 9,- includ­ing ship­ping from Asia to Europe. Added up they extend the lens phys­i­cally with 65mm. The rea­son these are cheaper than the Kenko ones is that they don’t trans­fer data from the cam­era to the lens and vice versa. This means you can only usual man­ual focus, which is no real prob­lem, but it is harder than auto focus. Also your aper­ture is sta­tic, you can not change it. But then again, the mag­ni­fi­ca­tion is huge, so it is fun to work with, and very very very cheap.
    This last one was shot using the close up lenses.


  1. […] Links men­tioned in this pod­cast: Macro on the cheap podcast […]

  2. […] cre­atively — wide angle lenses — pos­ing mod­els — using reflec­tors — stu­dio setups for begin­ners — cheap macro pho­tog­ra­phy — one light por­traits — low-light pho­tog­ra­phy — using his­tograms to pre­vent clip­ping — your rights […]

  3. […] guess this shot was inspired by the macro on the cheap pod­cast but it’s not a macro shot at all. It’s a sim­ple lower angled shot of some melt­ing ice […]

Speak Your Mind