Create a Macro Effect With Your 50mm Using a Reverse Adapter Ring

Freelensing is a fun and popular technique that allows you to create dreamy macro images by taking your 50mm lens off of your camera, flipping it around so that the back of the lens is on your camera, and holding the lens in place while shooting. 

I have seen this technique used over the past couple of years, but never tried it because it seemed a little bit scary, mainly because I'm kind of clumsy and was afraid I would accidentally drop my lens. 

Enter the reverse adapter ring! This handy, affordable tool attaches to the front of your lens in the same way a filter would attach to your lens. Then, when you flip the lens over, you can thread the adapter into your lens mount and voila - you have a macro lens!

Here's how it works...

Start by carefully removing the lens from the camera body as you normally would when changing out a lens.

Attach the reverse adapter so that the text on the adapter is face down to the text on the front of your lens:

Here is my lens with the adapter attached:

Flip your lens over so that the back of the lens (the part that is normally attached to the camera) is facing you.

Now, thread the adapter ring into your lens mount in the same way you would normally attach your lens.

This is what it should look like:

Here are a couple of examples - as you can see, reversing the lens allows you to get much closer than usual with your 50mm:




It's also fun to play with abstraction when using this technique:

Below are some tips to help get you started:

  • The adapter I used here is the Fotodiox Macro Reverse 52mm Adapter. The adapter is made for both Canon and Nikon.
  • You will not be able to autofocus
  • You will need either a steady hand, or a steady subject! Since the lens is wide open and there is essentially no aperture, your focal plane is so small that any movement will remove focus.
  • One of the neat things about free-lensing is the blurry effect it creates, so if your subject isn't tack sharp, don't worry - that's the beauty of the technique!

Looking for Photoshop actions that will help you create a soft, blurred effect in post-processing? Be sure to check out the Faux Tilt Shift action in our PURE Color Workflow!



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