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):
- Hoya 52mm Close-Up Filter Set (+1 +2 +4 Diopters)
- Hoya 58mm Close-Up Filter Set (+1 +2 +4 Diopters)
- Hoya 62mm Close-Up Filter Set (+1 +2 +4 Diopters)
- Hoya 67mm Close-Up Filter Set (+1 +2 +4 Diopters)
- Hoya 72mm Close-Up Filter Set (+1 +2 +4 Diopters)
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.