Secrets of macro photography using reverse lens technique

Reverse lens strategy is really simple to establish. It is an inexpensive remedy for macro digital photography. You usually choose a devoted macro lens for macro digital photography, or make use of the ‘macro’ setting readily available in your cam. Nevertheless, a devoted macro lens might not be budget friendly for many people, and also making use of the macro setting might not provide you an excellent zoom. So if you intend to do macro digital photography on a spending plan, you can attempt different economical methods for macro digital photography like close filters, macro converters, reverse lens strategy, and so on. When I began digital photography, I really did not have cash to purchase a macro lens; so I encountered lens turnaround or turn around lens strategy for my macro digital photography. Via a collection of write-ups, I am mosting likely to reveal you what this strategy is and also exactly how you can apply it to take macro photos.

Read: Intro to Macro Digital Photography

What is reverse lens strategy?

It is placing your lens in reverse on the cam. A zoom of a reverse installed lens boosts– which’s what you desired. This is the suggestion of reverse lens strategy. I am mosting likely to reveal you exactly how to turn around a 50 mm prime lens. You can adhere to the exact same strategy to turn around any type of kind of lens you have. I like turning around a prime lens for macro considering that prime lenses provide sharp pictures and also reveal excellent shade recreation.

Read: Leading 8 Reasons you need to purchase a 50 mm lens

Devices Called For

  1. A DSLR/SLR cam. This strategy will certainly not help factor and also fire electronic cameras.
  2. A lens you intend to turn around.
  3. A reverse ring for your lens: To install the lens in reverse, you require to make use of a reverse ring. It has 2 sides: a filter string side and also install side.

Exactly how do you choose a reverse ring for your lens?

If the filter size of your lens is 52 mm, after that you need to purchase a reverse ring which has a filter string size of 52 mm (the filter size of the lens is composed on the front component of the lens). So, purchase a reverse ring which has the exact same size as that of your lens.

Exactly how to turn around a lens?

KEEP IN MIND: If you do not have a reverse ring, you can simply reverse your lens, hold it before your cam and also see exactly how it functions.

50mm lens and 52mm reverse ring

Canon 50 mm f1.8 lens and also a 52 mm reverse ring.

Action 1: Affix the reverse ring to the front component of your lens through the filter string.

Reverse lens attached to front element of 50mm lens

Action 2: Separate the lens and also install it in reverse. Currently the rear end of the lens is subjected outside.

50mm lens reverse mounted on canon 1000D -- reverse lens technique

Below is the contrast of zoom:

Comparison of magnification of 50mm lens normal and reverse mount

What’s the compromise?

  • Because you are turning around the lens, it sheds its digital interaction with the cam. So vehicle emphasis will certainly not function, and also you can not transform the aperture of the lens either.
  • Lens can not concentrate when you turn around install it. There will certainly be just one repaired focal aircraft and also you need to literally relocate on your own to concentrate the topic.
  • The lens can not concentrate at infinity.
  • The deepness of area ends up being very superficial.
  • Constant lens turnaround triggers buildup of dirt and also bits on the sensing unit.

Turning Around a 50 mm lens will certainly give just a 1:1 magnfication. Discover exactly how to take high zoom macro digital photography making use of the reverse lens strategy:

Below are a few of the pictures I had actually taken making use of the reverse lens strategy:

Photo of Jumping spider taken with 50mm reverse lens

Crab spider on orange flower

Pink flower in 1:1 magnification

Obstacles of utilizing this strategy

Currently, allows see exactly how to get over those difficulties to take far better photos utilizing this strategy.

However, initially, allow me inform you, in short, the difficulties of making use of the reverse lens strategy

The difficulties of reverse lens strategy:

  • Exactly how to discover the ideal lens for preferred zoom and also excellent photo high quality?
  • Exactly how to transform the aperture backwards lens strategy?– The F00 aperture number
  • Exactly how do you concentrate the topic when backwards lens strategy?
  • Regulate the deepness of area to obtain sharp pictures?
  • Customize exterior illumination forever direct exposure?

Keys of Macro Digital Photography Making Use Of Reverse Lens

  • Exactly how to discover the ideal lens for preferred zoom and also excellent photo high quality?

Utilizing this strategy, you can turn around any type of kind of lens you desire, offered if you have the ideal reverse ring.

bee on a yellow flower

F8, ISO 800, I/160 s

So exactly how do you choose the kind of lens for reverse placing for macro digital photography?

The idea is easy.

Wide angle lenses (in regular install) lowers the zoom of the topic. That implies, the photo shows up on the sensing unit is tiny than the actual dimension.

And also telephoto lenses in regular install raises the zoom of the topic.

So when you turn around these, you will certainly obtain the contrary results: Reverse large angle lenses for high zoom.

When the focal size of the reversed lens is tiny, the zoom is high.

For instance, when you turn around a 28 mm lens, you obtain a 3X zoom. And also, when you turn around a 50 mm lens, the zoom is 1X or 1:1.

So, if you turn around a lens with a focal size of greater than 50 mm, the zoom will certainly be much less than 1:1.

If you are turning around a large angle lens, state, an 18-55 mm set lens, you can readjust the zoom by transforming the focal size. Exactly how amazing is that!

Zoom at 18 mm is greater than the zoom at 55 mm. Nevertheless, there are some disadvantages when you turn around an 18-55 mm set lens:

  • You do not obtain sharp pictures.
  • Picture vignetting (dark locations nearby) when the focal size goes to large angle arrays (listed below 28 mm).

blue bugs mating

I like to turn around prime lens like 50 mm f1.8 for macro digital photography.

Why? Due to the fact that there is very little optics existing in prime lenses. Hence, they provide sharp pictures.

The only disadvantage is that you can not transform the zoom as you can do with a large angle lens. That is, if you want to transform the zoom, you require to have a number of prime lenses of various focal sizes.

So, the selection of lens backwards lens strategy based upon

  • The zoom you desire
  • Picture high quality
  • Exactly how to transform the aperture backwards lens strategy?– The F00 aperture number

F00 display in canon DSLR in reverse lens configuration

Because reverse installed lenses do not have any type of digital call with the cam, the F-number will certainly be revealed as F00

Ah. You will certainly see this when you turn around a lens.

I was stressed when I saw this. I believed my lens or cam was damaged or something.

However it is absolutely nothing to be fretted about.

A lens backwards install does not have any type of digital call with the cam. So, you can not transform the aperture of the lens from the cam. As a result of this, the cam presents the f-number as f00 (as received the image) After that, exactly how do you transform the aperture? Well, it relies on the lens you are making use of:

Some lenses have an aperture ring to transform the aperture dimension. For such lenses, you can make use of the on lens ring to transform the aperture.

For those lenses which do not have an aperture ring, the f-number needs to be established ahead of time prior to reverse placing it. Below is exactly how it is performed in canon electronic cameras:

  1. Mount the lens usually
  2. Establish the preferred f-number.
  3. Currently push the Deepness of area sneak peek switch (received the image). This folds the aperture to the f-number you have actually established. So, while dispiriting the DOF sneak peek switch, remove the lens from the cam.
  4. Opposite install your lens.

Use of DOF preview button for reverse lens macro photography

Press and also hold the deepness of area (DOF) sneak peek switch while separating the lens from the cam.

Exactly how to regulate the deepness of area?

When the zoom raises, the deepness of area will certainly come to be also superficial. i.e. the location of emphasis will certainly be tiny. It causes blurred pictures. So, the choice of aperture relies on the zoom of the topic. Below’s exactly how you need to choose the aperture for macro digital photography:

For the exact same f-number, the deepness of area is vice versa pertaining to the zoom of the topic. Overwhelmed? Okay, allow me make it clear to you: At f8, a 3:1 zoom would certainly provide a much more superficial deepness of area than the deepness of area at 1:1 zoom OR At 1:1 zoom, the location of emphasis at f8 is bigger than the location of emphasis at 3:1 zoom.

So the lower line is, to obtain even more location in emphasis, pick a bigger f-number relying on the zoom. I typically choose f8 (or f9, relying on the readily available light) when I make use of reversed 50 mm– 1:1 zoom. And also for a 2:1 zoom, I like f11 to obtain even more location in emphasis.

Jumping spider on a stick in life size magnification


Because the lens sheds its digital call with the cam backwards install, you will certainly not have the ability to make use of autofocus feature. Additionally, hand-operated emphasis will certainly not function due to the lens’ close closeness to the topic. A reverse install lens has a set aircraft of emphasis. So the only remedy is to literally relocate on your own, or the topic, right into emphasis. So making use of a tripod is virtually difficult.


You can not trust your cam’s integrated light meter as soon as you turn around the lens. So you need to do some experimentation to discover an excellent direct exposure. An additional vital concern you experience is the loss of light. As I have actually stated in the past, you need to make use of a slim aperture to regulate the deepness of area. So, clearly, there will certainly be some loss of light. The remedy is to boost the ISO or reduce the shutter rate to allow in even more light. However this might lead to loud and also blurred pictures specifically. An additional remedy is to make use of a flash. However, considering that, flash generates rough light, you need to make use of a diffuser to produce soft light. Nevertheless, if the light is also soft, you can not catch the information on the topic.

Red ladybug macro photography using reverse lens

Placing everything with each other

An ideal setup is necessary for obtaining excellent outcomes. The selection of aperture is critical as it regulates the deepness of area and also light entering into the cam. I.e. if you pick a really tiny aperture to regulate deepness of area (huge f-number), it lowers the light. And also also if you make use of a flash together with it, you would certainly obtain a low profile photo. So choose the f-number carefully– make certain you obtain sufficient all-natural light and also an appropriate deepness of area.

sugar crystal macro photography using reverse lens

A sugar crystal
Picture Credits: Ashay Gangwar

A truth check

To be honest, macro digital photography making use of a reverse installed lens is not the most effective strategy. It has a great deal of restrictions– the autofocus will certainly not function, that makes it tough to picture relocating topics; loss of all-natural light as you need to make use of slim apertures, and also if you are taking macro photos of bugs, obtaining near them may terrify them away. So you require a great deal of persistence and also method to master utilizing this strategy. However I can guarantee you that completion outcomes are fulfilling– it matches pictures drawn from a costly macro lens. Anyhow, it’s a really low-cost strategy for macro digital photography. So why not provide it a shot.

Your turn

I have actually informed you my keys. So, Are you all set to attempt this strategy out? Share your cause our Flickr team: Shutterstoppers Flickr team

I have actually released a brand-new post on exactly how to make use of reverse lens strategy for high zoom macro digital photography.