Screw in Close Up (Macro) Lenses - Digital Photography School
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Screw in Close Up (Macro) Lenses

I’m inspired by your recent tip on Macro Photography for Compact Camera Users but I own a DSLR and can’t afford a purpose built macro lens. Any tips for me? - Brett (DPS reader)

Thanks for the question Brett. I’ll write a fuller Macro Photography Tips tutorial for DSLR users at some point in the future but here’s a quick tip for DSLR users on a budget.

Try out a screw in close up lens.

While a purpose built macro lens will get you the best results you can use most lenses that you’ll own by using one of these screw in close up lenses.

The problem with normal lenses is that they just can’t focus close enough for a macro/close up shot. These close up lenses will shorten the minimum focussing length of your lens.

Close up Lenses look like normal filters and come in a range of strengths (or dioptres). These are referred to as +1, +2, +3, +4 etc with the higher numbers meaning a closer focal point.

The actual focal length of each dioptres point will vary from lens to lens.

Hoya make a range of close up lenses. Make sure you select one that is not only the right dioptres rating but one that is the right diameter/size for the lens you want to use it with. Amazon carry them (here’s a sample of different sizes in sets):

While you can generally use close up lenses with auto focus cameras they tend to work best when you switch to manual focus mode.

PS: Compact Digital Camera users – you don’t have to miss out on close up lenses as many manufacturers make accessories for you too. Check your manual for the accessories available for your particular model.

Read more from our Cameras & Equipment category.

Darren Rowse is the editor and founder of Digital Photography School and SnapnDeals. He lives in Melbourne Australia and is also the editor of the ProBlogger Blog Tips. Follow him on Instagram, on Twitter at @digitalPS or on Google+.

  • http://www.hitkaiser.com Hitesh Sawlani

    I looked into these some weeks ago…

    Look for sample images before you buy, what I found was that the centre of the image comes out fine but the sides is extremely out of focus and not in a good way, the bigger the dioptre the larger the bad side effects!

  • Jerry Bradway

    Find your site very interesting, second trip just awaiting the beginning of my free newsletter subscribtion,

  • Manoj Nair

    A nice article.Could we see some sample images from the mentioned dioptre value close-ups please?

  • John S

    I have an 18-70 m/m zoom lens and a 70/300 m/m zoom. Would one of these lenses be more suitable for macro lenses than the other?

  • WhoFlungDoo

    Check out this group on Flickr: http://www.flickr.com/groups/poor_mans_macro/ Some great ideas and examples of how to do macro on a budget.

  • Charlene

    I recently aquired a set of these macro adapters for my camera (D70 with kit lens) and i must say that they’re pretty damn good, certainly enough to keep this beginner happy, and active! And going at $40 for the set, no complaints about cost.

  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/beckywithasmile Beckywithasmile

    I don’t have a DSLR but a super zoom camera (Panasonic FZ7) and recieved one of these for Christmas. It helps a lot. I like the pictures that have resulted since. I have been able to get much better close-up pics since.

  • HAROLD

    HITESH,
    TOO LATE NOW, BUT IF YOU WOULD HAVE A BIGGER OD OR MM SIZE, THAT IS LARGER THAN YOUR REGULAR LENS AND USED A STEP DOWN ADAPTER, YOU WILL HAVE A MORE OF YOUR SUBJECT IN FOCUS
    HAROLD

  • sue

    I bought the close up filters but I can’t seem to get my subject in focus, what am I doing wrong?

    new to photography, but excited to learn!!!!

  • Andrew

    I’d recommend readers take a look at the higher quality Raynox series of macro and micro lenses. These offer superb quality due to the special glass and designs used. I have several. They come with an adapter to fit most lenses with a 52-67mm accessory thread.

  • jai

    hi there!

    first of all thanks for sharing all this to the world. I am a begineer i have sony a300 with 75-300mm lens and today i found +10 close up filter in store closeout sale in very cheap. i never use it and i have no idea wht is that for but i found wht is that all about , i hooked with my lens but i cant even take pictures with that on. can you give me a idea how to use em” it will be a helpful tips for me as a begineer. thanks.

  • jennifer81

    I looked into these some weeks ago

  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/ram_iyer/ Ram Iyer

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/ram_iyer/5668300909/in/photostream
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/ram_iyer/5668888210/in/photostream

    the above two shots was taken using screw-in 10+ lens and extension adapter with 18-55 std lens. pls. comment

  • Edhie Wibowo

    Hi Dareen,
    I bought a 500D closeup lens for my Canon EF 85mm f/1.8, and I really like the result. I wonder what could be the result if I screw it together with 250D (I haven’t buy it yet). Have you try this? Please tell me your opinion about this experiment. Thank you.

Some older comments

  • Ram Iyer

    April 30, 2011 04:37 pm

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/ram_iyer/5668300909/in/photostream
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/ram_iyer/5668888210/in/photostream

    the above two shots was taken using screw-in 10+ lens and extension adapter with 18-55 std lens. pls. comment

  • jennifer81

    January 2, 2011 04:02 am

    I looked into these some weeks ago

  • jai

    May 24, 2009 12:18 pm

    hi there!

    first of all thanks for sharing all this to the world. I am a begineer i have sony a300 with 75-300mm lens and today i found +10 close up filter in store closeout sale in very cheap. i never use it and i have no idea wht is that for but i found wht is that all about , i hooked with my lens but i cant even take pictures with that on. can you give me a idea how to use em" it will be a helpful tips for me as a begineer. thanks.

  • Andrew

    May 23, 2008 01:12 am

    I'd recommend readers take a look at the higher quality Raynox series of macro and micro lenses. These offer superb quality due to the special glass and designs used. I have several. They come with an adapter to fit most lenses with a 52-67mm accessory thread.

  • sue

    December 24, 2007 08:38 am

    I bought the close up filters but I can't seem to get my subject in focus, what am I doing wrong?

    new to photography, but excited to learn!!!!

  • HAROLD

    January 27, 2007 08:15 am

    HITESH,
    TOO LATE NOW, BUT IF YOU WOULD HAVE A BIGGER OD OR MM SIZE, THAT IS LARGER THAN YOUR REGULAR LENS AND USED A STEP DOWN ADAPTER, YOU WILL HAVE A MORE OF YOUR SUBJECT IN FOCUS
    HAROLD

  • Beckywithasmile

    December 28, 2006 09:03 pm

    I don't have a DSLR but a super zoom camera (Panasonic FZ7) and recieved one of these for Christmas. It helps a lot. I like the pictures that have resulted since. I have been able to get much better close-up pics since.

  • Charlene

    December 19, 2006 08:13 am

    I recently aquired a set of these macro adapters for my camera (D70 with kit lens) and i must say that they're pretty damn good, certainly enough to keep this beginner happy, and active! And going at $40 for the set, no complaints about cost.

  • WhoFlungDoo

    December 16, 2006 12:33 am

    Check out this group on Flickr: http://www.flickr.com/groups/poor_mans_macro/ Some great ideas and examples of how to do macro on a budget.

  • John S

    December 15, 2006 09:46 pm

    I have an 18-70 m/m zoom lens and a 70/300 m/m zoom. Would one of these lenses be more suitable for macro lenses than the other?

  • Manoj Nair

    December 15, 2006 01:51 pm

    A nice article.Could we see some sample images from the mentioned dioptre value close-ups please?

  • Jerry Bradway

    December 12, 2006 09:28 am

    Find your site very interesting, second trip just awaiting the beginning of my free newsletter subscribtion,

  • Hitesh Sawlani

    December 12, 2006 01:33 am

    I looked into these some weeks ago...

    Look for sample images before you buy, what I found was that the centre of the image comes out fine but the sides is extremely out of focus and not in a good way, the bigger the dioptre the larger the bad side effects!

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