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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.
If you're working with your lens reversed and you don't have a Depth of Field Preview button on your camera, it's still possible to manually control the aperture as long as you have a bulb setting. Now on my camera, Bulb is an actual mode. It's right next to Manual mode. I'm just going to switch over there right now. If your camera doesn't have a dedicated Bulb mode, it still might have a Bulb feature and you'll find it when you go into either Manual or Shutter Priority mode and search through the list of shutter speeds.
At one end or the other, you might find a Bulb setting. It'll either be called Bulb or just B. When you're set for Bulb, as long as you hold the Shutter button down, the shutter stays open and the iris stays closed to your chosen setting. When you let go, the shutter closes and the iris opens back up. So I'm going to dial in an aperture that I want. I'm going to dial into F16. No other settings matter because I'm not really going to take a picture. I am going to take a picture, but it's not a picture I care about. Now when I press the Shutter button down, the iris is going to close, the shutter is going to open and everything is going to stay that way until I let go of the button.
This next bit, the coordination gets a little tricky. I need to press the Shutter button down while removing the lens. You can do this however you want. I tend to do it this way. I'm going to press the Shutter button with that hand and use this hand to take the lens off. As soon as I take the lens off, the camera closes the shutter back up, and I've now got a dramatically over-exposed image sitting on my card. More importantly, I now have a lens with an aperture that's been closed down to F16. So this is just like what happened when I was using the Depth of Field Preview button in the last movie.
Now I can screw the lens onto my camera backwards and I'm ready to shoot with that nice small aperture. When I put the lens back on the camera normally, the aperture will open back up. There we go, I just heard it, and I can continue to shoot as normal or within Bulb mode set another setting. So that's a somewhat cumbersome but effective way to set your aperture using Bulb mode if you don't have a Depth of Field Preview button.
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