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Friday, 27 July 2012

Lens Reversal (Reverse Lens)

First of all, this is for my very old friend, Analyn, who just recently mentioned to me of her passion towards macro shoots. And also thanks to Azhari for sharing one of the techniques with me, which made me go nuts all over the net looking for information.

Lens Reversal technique is what we do when we can't afford a macro lens yet. Even if you can afford, it's still a fun thing to do when you feel like trying something different.

There are other options of course, such as reversing ring. But right now I'm not going to explain it, or even the technical part of how this technique works.

Now, before you begin, make sure:
  • change the setting of your camera to where it can shoot without a lens. Usually the camera detects when there's no lens attached. For Sony SLT-A57, I went to Menu, chose the third tab and enable Release w/o Lens.
  • there's no disturbance around. Any disturbance such as a baby that wants to cling on you, or a very windy, rainy or dusty places will be bad for your images.
  • your lens is clean. You will also have to clean it again later since both ends will be exposed.
  • your hands are very stable, or use a tripod with a remote control to release the shutter. The lens won't be attached to the camera, so you will have to hold both of them properly.
  • there's enough light. If there isn't, you can use flash or a table lamp to light up the subject.
  • read first! Read up first! Google for the technique and study a bit! I went to here, here and here, and I'm happy with the results.
Okay, so here's how you do it. It already figures that you will have to reverse the lens, meaning instead of attaching it properly to the camera, you'll be holding the lens the other way very close against the camera body.

Like this.

When you shoot, you'll notice that you have to keep trying to focus. You'll also need to go very close to the subject matter, but be sure not to touch it with the exposed end of the lens.

I would suggest you to try this indoors first and when you get the hang of it, you can try it outdoors. Indoors is not so bad. You might find a few bugs. I did with indoors, also because it was 3AM in the morning, but there were no bugs around, so I had to improvise.

Here are the pictures I took:

My Watch

My husband bought this as a gift.

Oops! There's a scratch there. Aww..

RM10 Bank Note

Hmm.. Mr. Money $$
$$ He's actually not so bad in close-ups $$

10 Cents Coin

This one is a pretty old coin.

Eww... dirty coin!

House Key

I never noticed how rusty it is.
Yep.. very rusty.


This cookie is as small as a thumb.
You can see the cornflakes.


A Cut Onion


It won't look nice if this is somebody's face.

Maybe I should try macro on somebody's face then.

Table Salt

Not the salt for cooking! This one is the very fine salt.

Dried Chili and Seeds

So, you see, while hoping to be able to afford a macro lens, we can try this out. It's actually a lot of fun and maybe I can try it outdoors next time. But for now, time to clean the lens.

Feel free to add more information or correct me regarding this post, or share your stories. Thank you for reading!


  1. the downside is you need serious amount of light..how about getting a flash ring..it's worth buying it for convenience and it will not break the bank..

    1. Yes, that's why my post above is the cheapest way for people who can't afford much yet. Photography is an expensive hobby, and maybe some people can't even afford a reversing ring. I would consider a flash ring myself when my budget allows it, and maybe who knows, even a macro lens =)


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