Brilliant Gear Hacks for Close Up Photography.

How to get up close on a shoestring.

Moss less than an inch tall using extension rings.

Are you looking to try Macro or Close up photography but don’t want to spend mega bucks before you know if you like it?

Are you thinking the expensive lenses are the way to get close?

Are you looking to add new skills but don’t want to break the bank?

Here are 3 alternatives that get those close up shots without a dedicated macro lens and at a fraction of the cost. As a bonus, they can even provide a wider range of options.

  1. Close Up filters.

These are filters that screw on the end of the lenses you already have. They come in a range of strengths up to +10 and magnify the object you are looking at. As with all filters, they reduce the amount of light entering your camera so are best used on brighter days.

+10 close up filter on a kit lens.

Try them on all your lenses for some interesting effects. I love the soft focus effect on the bluebell above.

2. Extension Rings.

These rings have no glass in them and go between the lenses you already have and the camera body. They are now available with the electronic wizardry that means your lens and camera still talk to each other so you don’t have to shoot in manual mode. Again, these come in different sizes. They don’t magnify the object, but reduce the focal distance so you can get much closer, giving a bigger image on the camera sensor. These are ideal if you don’t plan on taking macro shots all the time. They have little effect on image quality but reduce light transmission by about a stop.

Germander Speedwell shot using kit lens and extension rings.

3. Reversing Rings.

Reversing rings are used to mount lenses you already have to your camera back to front. Like looking down the wrong end of a telescope, you get to see everything up close. Of course, there is now no connection between your camera and lens so you’ll be on fully manual. There are plenty of hints and tips on the internet to help you out though and you’ll soon get into the swing of it. One thing I will say here, is set your focus then move slightly backwards and forwards to get the image sharp. So much easier than trying to use the focus ring.

Cambrian Poppy.

Over to You

All these alternatives cost a few pounds. The most expensive option here is the extension rings but they are also the easiest to use. The reversing rings are the cheapest but you lose out on any automatic functions.

Close up photography can be like looking at a whole new world and is a great skill to learn.

This lichen is less than a quarter inch high, the magic revealed by Macro Photography.

So choose your preferred option and see what magical worlds you can uncover.

Award winning Artist and Photographer still learning and evolving. Blogging the journey.

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