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Thread: Reversing Ring and Macro photography

  1. #1
    Alis's Avatar
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    Reversing Ring and Macro photography

    Hi Everyone,

    I recently heard that if you attach a lens like Canon 16-35mm L f/2.8 backward to a camera using a reversing ring, you can take macro images.

    I like to try it and have found a lot of these rings online. Just wanted to know if anyone has any hands on experience doing this.

    Thanks!

  2. #2
    Hansm's Avatar
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    Re: Reversing Ring and Macro photography

    Hi Alis,

    I don't know if a zoom lens is the best choice for this technique. With a 50 mm lens it works very well. I did this ages ago with my olympus om2 and 50 mm lens. The results were very nice. Bus AFAIR zoomlenses were giving bad results those days ( around 1980).
    It can be that the latest zoom designs give good results but I'm not sure about this.

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    Re: Reversing Ring and Macro photography

    Hi Alis,

    If I remember correctly, the reasoning behind reversing the lens was, that normal lenses are calculated for when the image is closer to the lens than the subject. In macro larger than 1:1, you find yourself with the subject closer to the lens than the image (film/sensor), so reversing the lens should get you better quality.

    In film days, such macro work often involved bellows (which often implied NO aperture transmission anymore...), manual focussing etc., so lots of fussing anyway (been there...), reversing the lens wasn't adding any fuss in practice.

    If you do it nowadays with an AF camera, you'll still lose all automation. And the macro effect might just be due to moving the lens away of the camera. Personally, I wouldn't bother with reversing the lens, and invest in (a set of ) extension tubes, that let me keep the automation, including autofocus (as long as there's enough light...).

    This might interest you as well. I noted especially his remark about exposing all the couplings when reversing a lens...

    Remco

    (Would someone know how to connect my Sony alpha to a Contax/Yashica bellows, by the way?)

  4. #4
    Soma Jones's Avatar
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    Re: Reversing Ring and Macro photography

    This is a photo of frost on a window I caught using the lens from my old Ae1, (I forget exactly what kind of lens it is) attached to the face of my canon xsi's kit lens.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  5. #5
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    Re: Reversing Ring and Macro photography

    And another.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  6. #6
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    Re: Reversing Ring and Macro photography

    I'm sure this is no substitute for a real macro lens but considering how inexpensive these rings are compared to everything else to do with photography...
    My best results came from using my monopod and leaning in and out to focus. And holding my breathe and taking a million shots to get a few keepers.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  7. #7
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    Re: Reversing Ring and Macro photography

    Hi Soma,
    If I understand correct you placed the old lens close to the front element of your kitlens?
    I think what Alis wants to do is to mount the lens reversed directly to the body.
    BTW Your first one is a very nice picture!

  8. #8
    Soma Jones's Avatar
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    Re: Reversing Ring and Macro photography

    Yes, the ring I used has two sets of threads. The ring screws to the front of the lens attached to the camera and the second lens screws to the ring by its face. I wasn't aware there was a way to just attach one lens face first to the body. Now I'm curious because the method I fooled around with is kind of a pain in the neck.

  9. #9
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    Re: Reversing Ring and Macro photography

    Oh, and thank you very much for the compliment.

  10. #10

    Re: Reversing Ring and Macro photography

    Ali

    I have experimented with this technique but by simply reversing an old Zuiko 50mm f/1.8 against the body flange of the camera. You need to make sure that the lens is pushed firmly against the flange. The advantage of using an older fast prime is that it obviously lets plenty of light in and you can change the aperture manually. You cannot do this with a modern lens (as stated above). You focus by moving the whole rig and theDoF if wafer thin with the 50mm. You can also reverse a second lens onto the lens already fitted to your camera. It is best with two wider primes. Never done this though. The snaps below were experimental using the Zuiko and natural light;

    Reversing Ring and Macro photography

    Reversing Ring and Macro photography

    Reversing Ring and Macro photography

    Reversing Ring and Macro photography

    Reversing Ring and Macro photography

  11. #11
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    Re: Reversing Ring and Macro photography

    These are not so much artistic as they are expressive of extraordinary macro. Method: 200mm f32 into a reversed 50mm f1.8 with a Targus DP38 flash on radio.

    pencil lead:
    Reversing Ring and Macro photography

    quarter:
    Reversing Ring and Macro photography

  12. #12

    Re: Reversing Ring and Macro photography

    Troy, that pencil lead is pretty impressive (and before any one starts...that is not my latest chat up line). You have got me thinking about doing some more of these. Nice work

    Steve

  13. #13
    Alis's Avatar
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    Re: Reversing Ring and Macro photography

    Quote Originally Posted by hansm View Post
    Hi Alis,

    I don't know if a zoom lens is the best choice for this technique. With a 50 mm lens it works very well. I did this ages ago with my olympus om2 and 50 mm lens. The results were very nice. Bus AFAIR zoomlenses were giving bad results those days ( around 1980).
    It can be that the latest zoom designs give good results but I'm not sure about this.
    Thanks, Hansm! Very helpful.

    I have a 5mm lens and I might try it like others suggested by holding it in front of the camera for now.

  14. #14
    Alis's Avatar
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    Re: Reversing Ring and Macro photography

    Quote Originally Posted by revi View Post
    Hi Alis,

    If I remember correctly, the reasoning behind reversing the lens was, that normal lenses are calculated for when the image is closer to the lens than the subject. In macro larger than 1:1, you find yourself with the subject closer to the lens than the image (film/sensor), so reversing the lens should get you better quality.

    In film days, such macro work often involved bellows (which often implied NO aperture transmission anymore...), manual focussing etc., so lots of fussing anyway (been there...), reversing the lens wasn't adding any fuss in practice.

    If you do it nowadays with an AF camera, you'll still lose all automation. And the macro effect might just be due to moving the lens away of the camera. Personally, I wouldn't bother with reversing the lens, and invest in (a set of ) extension tubes, that let me keep the automation, including autofocus (as long as there's enough light...).

    This might interest you as well. I noted especially his remark about exposing all the couplings when reversing a lens...

    Remco

    (Would someone know how to connect my Sony alpha to a Contax/Yashica bellows, by the way?)
    Thanks, Remco! Very interesting article. I used to work in entomology lab on tick-borne diseases back in my earlier days of research and remember my advisor asked me to take pictures of the ticks for a presentation. I wish I knew about this technique back then

  15. #15
    Alis's Avatar
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    Re: Reversing Ring and Macro photography

    Quote Originally Posted by Wirefox View Post
    Ali

    I have experimented with this technique but by simply reversing an old Zuiko 50mm f/1.8 against the body flange of the camera. You need to make sure that the lens is pushed firmly against the flange. The advantage of using an older fast prime is that it obviously lets plenty of light in and you can change the aperture manually. You cannot do this with a modern lens (as stated above). You focus by moving the whole rig and theDoF if wafer thin with the 50mm. You can also reverse a second lens onto the lens already fitted to your camera. It is best with two wider primes. Never done this though. The snaps below were experimental using the Zuiko and natural light;

    Reversing Ring and Macro photography

    Reversing Ring and Macro photography

    Reversing Ring and Macro photography

    Reversing Ring and Macro photography

    Reversing Ring and Macro photography
    Thanks, Steve! Very nice set of pictures. Makes me want go try it right now. It is all new territory for me. From optics to actual mechanics of it.

    I have a 85mm 1.2 L Canon lens that I am going to use right now

  16. #16
    Alis's Avatar
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    Re: Reversing Ring and Macro photography

    Quote Originally Posted by pwnage101 View Post
    These are not so much artistic as they are expressive of extraordinary macro. Method: 200mm f32 into a reversed 50mm f1.8 with a Targus DP38 flash on radio.

    pencil lead:
    Reversing Ring and Macro photography

    quarter:
    Reversing Ring and Macro photography
    Great shots, Troy. Agree with Steve about the pencil!
    Last edited by Dave Humphries; 17th September 2010 at 12:22 AM. Reason: extract Ali's text from quote

  17. #17
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    Re: Reversing Ring and Macro photography

    This closeup of broccoli is with a 28mm reversed onto a 100mm using a 49mm male <--> male reversing adapter., very much the same technique as pwnage101's stuff

    Reversing Ring and Macro photography

    When you combine 2 you do get much greater magnification that reversing 1 (in this case 4:1, 100/28). But trust me, the extraordinarily shallow depth of field makes this quite tricky and patient work.
    Last edited by Nass; 17th September 2010 at 04:02 PM.

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