Macro photography is a branch of photography that focuses on capturing small objects or subjects at a close-up range. It allows photographers to showcase intricate details that may not be visible to the naked eye. However, dedicated macro lenses can be expensive and not readily accessible for beginner photographers. Fortunately, there are ways to achieve macro-like shots without using a macro lens.
Extension tubes are attachments that fit between the camera body and lens that move the lens further away from the sensor. They do not affect optical quality but allow focusing at closer distances. For example, if you’re using a 50mm prime lens with a 12mm extension tube, your minimum focusing distance will decrease from around 18 inches to less than six inches.
The downside of using extension tubes is that they reduce the amount of light entering the camera, which makes it harder to capture sharp images with shallow depth of field. Therefore, using a tripod or other stabilizing equipment can improve your chances of getting a successful shot.
Reversed Lens Technique
The reversed lens technique involves removing your lens from your camera body and flipping it backward and attaching it again via an adapter ring or some other mechanism. This setup effectively turns your lens into a magnifying glass and allows you to focus closer than usual.
This technique can be challenging as it requires manual focusing and adjusting aperture using control rings on the lens itself since there is no communication with the camera body. You also have to deal with exposure issues as no light enters the camera until you press the shutter button.
Diopters are convex lenses that screw onto your existing lenses’ filter thread, which helps reduce their minimum focus distance capabilities to take pictures at a closer range. Diopters come in different strengths, and it’s essential to choose the correct strength for your lens to prevent blurry images.
The disadvantage of diopters is that they can cause chromatic aberration around the edges of your image. Depending on your camera’s capabilities, this issue may be challenging to correct in post-processing. Additionally, they can be inconvenient as they make it hard to use a lens’ autofocus system.
Cropping is not a technique for taking macro-like photos but can help you get closer to what you want to capture without using specialized equipment. Cropping is simply zooming in on an image and then removing the unwanted parts of it after taking the photograph.
The problem with cropping is that it reduces image quality as you’re reducing the number of pixels in your image. Consequently, it’s essential to have a camera with high resolution if you need large prints or high-quality images.
You don’t need an expensive macro lens or expensive equipment to achieve macro-like shots. As we’ve seen, there are ways to achieve excellent results without breaking the bank or buying new gear. Whether it’s using extension tubes or reversing your lens, consider experimenting with these techniques and see what works best for you and your photography needs.