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Easy Ways to try Macro Photography Without Breaking the Bank!

Macro accessories

While you continue to spend time inside, think about trying some macro photography! Here are some inexpensive ways to do some macro photography without having a dedicated lens. The gear discussed in this article is a long zoom or telephoto lens (left), extension tubes (center), close up lenses (right) and a Raynox Macroscopic lens (center foreground).


a vase filled with purple flowers

Long Lens: If you already have a long lens, try using it for macro photography. This type of lens works especially well if you cannot get within inches of your subject, since most long lenses have a minimum focusing distance of 12-15 inches. This lens is also good for compressing the background, meaning that it makes the background look closer to the subject than it actually is – provided that the background is some distance from the subject. The image above was taken using a 100-300mm lens.


Flower photographed using Extension Tubes

Extension Tubes: Extension tubes are used to change the focusing distance of the lens, and are attached to the camera mount so that they sit between the camera and the lens. The tubes come in three different sizes – 10mm, 16mm and 21mm, and you can use them individually or “stack” them all together. Make sure to get extension tubes with electrical contacts. They cost a little more, but allow communication between the lens and the camera, so Exif data is captured and exposure and focusing settings function automatically. The image above was taken using all three extension tubes.


Flower photographed using Close Up Lenses

Close Up Lenses: Close Up lenses screw on to the front of the lens, like a filter would. They come in three strengths: +4 Diopter, +2 Diopter and +1 Diopter. These lenses can also be “stacked”, but depending on the camera lens being used, may cause some chromatic aberrations at the edges of the image. The image above was taken using a +4 Diopter.


Flower photographed using a Raynox Macro 250 lens

Raynox Macroscopic Lens: This specialty lens also attaches to the front of the camera lens, but has a universal mount suitable for 52mm to 67mm filter sizes, so you can use it on more than one lens size. There are two versions of this lens – a 250, which provides +8 Diopter magnification and a 150 which provides +4.8 Diopter magnification. The 250 was used to photograph the example.

Note: The flower in the images above is about the size of nickel With the exception of the long lens, all of the images were taken with a 14-140mm lens on a micro 4/3 (mirrorless) camera.
Photo Credit: Sherryl Belinsky

If you have the opportunity to try some macro photography, send us your photos – we’d love to see them!

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