In full Reverse.


Wild Anemone


So you want to get close-up and personal with your subject. However you haven’t the funds to purchase that macro lens. Well there is hope, and a much cheaper solution to get you closer. I’m talking about the humble reversing ring. Cheap and cheerful and it does a good job if used correctly. What is a reversing ring? Well as the name implies it enables you to mount a lens reversed onto your camera housing. You screw the ring onto the filter thread of your lens and there is a bayonet mount to attach the lens to the camera. You have to order the one that

1. Is the same size thread as your lens, and

2. Is the right type for your make of camera.

The Humble reversing ring 52mm
The Humble reversing ring 52mm



Lens mounted in reverse
Lens mounted in reverse

While on the subject of lenses. I use an old manual focus lens or an old autofocus lens that has an aperture ring If you haven’t got one all is not lost you can use a G type lens you just haven’t got an idea of what aperture you are using. I have found that a 28mm lens is a good place to start. Although I have used a 50mm without problems. It’s all to do with ratios and the like. Anyway as it’s the picture that is important I won’t go into that side of things so just trust me. The choice of lens will however affect your working distance to your chosen subject.

So how do you work the aperture of your lens? The aperture on your lens is spring loaded so that your aperture will in effect be f22 when mounted and when you look through your viewfinder or at your live view screen you will see a darker image than what you are used to. However by locating the aperture control lever on the lens you can open the aperture manually for composing and focusing your shot. This can be tricky to do, you can tape the lever open or Blu-Tac it. I prefer to hold it open and move the camera into focus. I then close the aperture to the desired value and adjust the manual settings on my camera to match the measured light and bracket my exposures. It’s a bit of a fiddle but you are rewarded for your efforts.

Aperture Adjustment lever
Aperture Adjustment lever


So to sum up the humble reversing ring is a cheap and cheerful introduction to the word of close up photography. You can get good results. The title shot and the orchid below are a couple taken with an old manual focus Sigma 28mm lens from the 80’s.

Have fun


6 thoughts on “In full Reverse.

  1. That sounds fun! The results are great. I’ve been using screw on filters and extension tubes. But then I have to be super, super still to get the DOF greater than microscopic point. ha

    1. Thanks for stopping by and commenting :0).I have used filters before and found them alright to use but as with all macro work a micro adjustable tripod head would be a help. Until then,we have to use what we have :0)

  2. Good grief! I know it took me ten minutes to figure out how to leave a comment! Chuckle…
    What the heck? These are cool macros. I am shaky, but I can use the filters and rings without a tripod on my VR lenses. I bought a Nikon 105mm a couple of years ago and finally started using it. It’s a real joy. Your photographs are superb. Some of the black and white look as if they are film images. I suspect that some actually are. There is nothing like the old film photos for depth and softness. Beautiful images here, Kilted.

    1. Thanks so much George. The Nikon 105 is on my list . But that list is very long :0). A good many of my shots are indeed film. However there are quite a few taken with my D800. I choose to convert many of my shots to B&W because I like it that way.

      PS. Glad you found out how to comment ;0)

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