Start learning with our library of video tutorials taught by experts. Get started

Lens-Reversal Macro Photography

Understanding lens reversal


From:

Lens-Reversal Macro Photography

with Ben Long

Video: Understanding lens reversal

If you've watched my Foundations of Photography Macro course, then you've already had a little bit of exposure to lens reversal. To recap, lens reversal is simply the process of taking an ordinary lens, removing it from your camera, turning it around and holding it against the front of your camera. When you do this, you actually get a true macro level of magnification. You also lose all aperture and focus controls. The camera normally controls autofocus and aperture by communicating with the lens through these electrical contacts.

Watch this entire course now—plus get access to every course in the library. Each course includes high-quality videos taught by expert instructors.

Become a member
Please wait...
Lens-Reversal Macro Photography
32m 36s Intermediate Apr 12, 2013

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

You don't necessarily need a macro lens to do macro photography. By mounting a prime lens "backward"—with the front elements closest to the imaging sensor—you can turn it into a low-cost macro lens. All you need is an inexpensive adapter called a reversal ring. A sense of adventure helps, too, because your camera's normal metering and focusing features don't work when the lens is attached backward.

In this course, photographer Ben Long details the tools and techniques of lens-reversal macro photography. After investigating reversal ring options, the course explores the focusing and exposure techniques involved when shooting with a reversed lens.

Subjects:
Photography Cameras + Gear
Author:
Ben Long

Understanding lens reversal

If you've watched my Foundations of Photography Macro course, then you've already had a little bit of exposure to lens reversal. To recap, lens reversal is simply the process of taking an ordinary lens, removing it from your camera, turning it around and holding it against the front of your camera. When you do this, you actually get a true macro level of magnification. You also lose all aperture and focus controls. The camera normally controls autofocus and aperture by communicating with the lens through these electrical contacts.

Since those contacts are disconnected, the camera can't drive either of these features. For focus, you are limited to simply moving the camera backwards and forwards, but this is how you usually focus a normal macro lens anyway. So that isn't actually that unusual. By default, the aperture on a lens is always wide open. This allows the maximum amount of light to pass through your lens and into your camera's viewfinder, ensuring that you have the best possible view of your scene. Unfortunately, this also means that you're shooting with the shallowest depth of field possible.

Now at macro distances, shallow depth of field is one of your biggest obstacles and with the aperture open all the way, you'll be facing extremely shallow depth. As you'll see later in this course, there is a way to control aperture even when the lens in reversed. Now because the camera can't communicate with the lens, you'll be handling all of your exposure manually, and we'll look into how to do that later this course. To follow along with those lessons, you need to understand the basics of exposure. So if you're not comfortable using your camera in manual mode, check out my Foundations of Photography Exposure course.

Specifically, you need to know how to set manual mode, how to change ISO and shutter speed, and how to use your camera's depth of field preview button if it has one. If it doesn't have one, then you need to know how to set your camera's shutter speed to bulb. Now obviously, when the lens is off your camera, your camera is more susceptible to sensor dust and you want to be very careful that you don't bump the inside of the mirror chamber with a finger or other foreign object. So be careful when holding the lens against the camera. Actually if you're serious about lens reversal, you're going to want to invest in a simple piece of gear that will keep you from having to hold the lens yourself and we'll look at that piece of gear in the next movie.

There are currently no FAQs about Lens-Reversal Macro Photography.

Share a link to this course
Please wait... Please wait...
Upgrade to get access to exercise files.

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

Learn by watching, listening, and doing, Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course, so you can download them and follow along Premium memberships include access to all exercise files in the library.
Upgrade now


Exercise files

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

For additional information on downloading and using exercise files, watch our instructional video or read the instructions in the FAQ.

This course includes free exercise files, so you can practice while you watch the course. To access all the exercise files in our library, become a Premium Member.

Upgrade now

Are you sure you want to mark all the videos in this course as unwatched?

This will not affect your course history, your reports, or your certificates of completion for this course.


Mark all as unwatched Cancel

Congratulations

You have completed Lens-Reversal Macro Photography.

Return to your organization's learning portal to continue training, or close this page.


OK
Become a member to add this course to a playlist

Join today and get unlimited access to the entire library of video courses—and create as many playlists as you like.

Get started

Already a member?

Become a member to like this course.

Join today and get unlimited access to the entire library of video courses.

Get started

Already a member?

Exercise files

Learn by watching, listening, and doing! Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course, so you can download them and follow along. Exercise files are available with all Premium memberships. Learn more

Get started

Already a Premium member?

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

Ask a question

Thanks for contacting us.
You’ll hear from our Customer Service team within 24 hours.

Please enter the text shown below:

The classic layout automatically defaults to the latest Flash Player.

To choose a different player, hold the cursor over your name at the top right of any lynda.com page and choose Site preferencesfrom the dropdown menu.

Continue to classic layout Stay on new layout
Welcome to the redesigned course page.

We’ve moved some things around, and now you can



Exercise files

Access exercise files from a button right under the course name.

Mark videos as unwatched

Remove icons showing you already watched videos if you want to start over.

Control your viewing experience

Make the video wide, narrow, full-screen, or pop the player out of the page into its own window.

Interactive transcripts

Click on text in the transcript to jump to that spot in the video. As the video plays, the relevant spot in the transcript will be highlighted.

Thanks for signing up.

We’ll send you a confirmation email shortly.


Sign up and receive emails about lynda.com and our online training library:

Here’s our privacy policy with more details about how we handle your information.

Keep up with news, tips, and latest courses with emails from lynda.com.

Sign up and receive emails about lynda.com and our online training library:

Here’s our privacy policy with more details about how we handle your information.

   
submit Lightbox submit clicked