Photography on a budget:

Don’t get me wrong, the camera capabilities of mobile phones nowadays are unbelievable, but there’s just something about the sound and feel of a DSLR.
Now, when I first started out on my Photography journey, I, like many others before me, couldn’t afford a top-of-the-line Macro lens, So I set about exploring other avenues and methods of getting the results I wanted.

I tried out a couple of options, as anyone would.
I started out trying the kit lens’ ‘Macro’ focal length, but I rapidly found that it didn’t get me ‘close enough’ to the subjects I was trying to capture.
The next logical option would have been a Lens-Reversing adapter ring, which basically screws into the filter thread on your lens, and allows you to attach the lens to the camera body…backwards.
Ever looked through a pair of Binoculars backwards? Notice how everything through the optics looks REALLY far away, but when you get close to the subject at hand, that everything suddenly pulls into focus with strong detail? That’s essentially the idea behind a reversing adapter ring.
I didn’t like the idea of that, so I forged ahead researching other options;
The Road Less Travelled…
‘Dioptre’ lens attachments
Coming in strengths of anywhere from +1 to +10, they screw into the filter thread of your standard lens and act like a low-powered magnifying glass. I found that the one I tested resulted in a MASSIVE amount of blur and chromatic aberration in the edges of every picture I took. But, that could just be the one I tried. I honestly can’t vouch for any brand in particular. Really not my thing at all.
Also known as ‘Close-Up Rings’
Bellows are a peculiar thing… Resembling an Accordion, a ‘Bellows’ extension uses a collapsible fabric tube, with lens and body connector rings at either end, all mounted neatly on a rail system to assist use. Using it is a fairly simple process;
  • Connect camera to one end
  • Connect lens to other end
  • Move lens closer or further away from the camera body to increase or decrease zoom range
  • Manually focus at lens end
  • Take picture!
Pretty straightforward really.
Like so. Like some kind of torture device!
(Couldn’t find a descriptive picture in English)
Extension Tubes
Now, now we get to my method of choice.
Extension tubes work much the same as the Bellows system, but instead of being adjustable via a rail, they usually come in a set of 3, varying between 11mm and 31mm in depth. As you can probably guess, these numbers pertain to the distance that the tubes put the lens away from the body.
These particular ones have AF-enabling contacts to, y’know, enable AF.
The reason I use this particular method for all my Macro shots is purely simplicity. Connect one to your lens, hook up your lens to your camera and away you go.
I chose the ones with AF-Enable contacts, which is pretty self-explanatory.
These tubes come in a variety of different camera fittings, and range from £10 all the way up to over £100 (although they literally all do exactly the same job, so the inflated price doesn’t make sense to me)
So there you go, those are a few of the tools and methods used in Macro photography, and I hope this gave you a little bit of insight as to which method will work for you.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s