Sometime ago I had bought a lens reverse ring to convert my normal lens to shoot macro and I had posted my results in a previous post. Later on I also bought an extension tube to allow my lens to get closer to the subject. Both these solutions allow the shooter to get close to small objects and shoot macro but they’re hard to match the results you would get from shooting with a dedicated macro lens, like the famous Nikkor 105mm f/2.8 Micro. I don’t shoot a lot of macro so spending around 900 US Dollars on it didn’t seem like a good idea.
The two accessories shown in the picture are linked below;
Fotodiox Reverse Ring [Amazon]
Fotodiox Extension Tube [Amazon]
What is Macro Photography? [Wiki]
So why would you buy a macro solution that doesn’t give the best results? Well I’ve had these things in my possession for a while now and the more I use them I more I find it interesting. I’ve listed some points based on my experience that may help you get some good shots.
1. They’re the cheapest way to shoot macro. Both the reverse ring and extension tubes combined cost me less than 20 KD whereas a proper macro like the Nikkor 105mm would be in the area of 300 KD.
2. Now this might be a drawback for some people but I like a good challenge. When you’re using a reverse ring or extension tube there’s no contact between the CPU contacts on the lens and camera body. That means you’re essentially shooting in full manual mode and you also have to figure out the optimum exposure to get the shot. Initially it was frustrating but when you get used to the camera you’ll automatically know how much you need to tweak the lens aperture, ISO and shutter speed to expose the frame.
3. When shooting macro the Depth of Field or DOF is extremely shallow and you’ll need a really small aperture to get a fly or ant in focus. Or you can just get enough DOF to focus on the head or eyes. The sharpness also suffers if you shoot at f/5.6 or lower.
4. Now this is a continuation of the previous point but it has to do with Lighting. When you stop down the lens to f/11 or higher the amount of light hitting your sensor decreases drastically and so
you’ll either have to shoot in broad daylight or get an off camera flash or ring lights. The insects shot here were all in daylight so I didn’t have to use a flash.
5. Moving subjects can be a real bitch to shoot if you’re shooting with a clumsy extension tube or reversed lens. All the shots on this page were shot hand-held and in order for me to avoid a blurry picture I had to resort to high ISOs. If you’re shooting an inanimate object or a dead insect it would be best to use a mini tripod like the one in the picture.
6. Changing lenses for changing scenarios is not really a bother but if you’re using one of these babies it involves some screwing and unscrewing to attach the tubes and rings to your existing lens. Using a dedicated macro lens is just a matter of twist on and go.
Conclusion: If you’re the type of person who’s OK with fiddling around with manual exposure and focus or if you just want to have some fun with your SLR then don’t think twice and just get both these accessories. Here’s some samples with the reverse ring and the tube. I’ve also mentioned the lens used for the photos. You can also click on the pictures below to see them in higher resolution.
Samples from the Fotodiox Reverse Ring and 35-70mm f/3.3-4.5 combination
Samples from the Fotodiox Extension Tubes and 50mm f/1.8D combination