In it’s simplest definition, “Macro photography is close-up photography of usually very small subjects”, (Wikipedia). For anyone who has photographed with a macro lens, or viewed macro images, getting in close can convert an everyday object into a piece of art.
For the dslr owner, the typical route to macro photography is by purchasing a macro (sometimes called micro) lens for their cam and then looking for the extraordinary amongst the ordinary.
Popular macro lenses include:
What these all have in common is that they are very capable macro lenses that will bring solid results. What they also have in common are price tags that can be steep for a photog who is just starting out, in some cases costing as much or more than their dslr body. It might also be untenable for anyone who is not convinced that macro photography will be a lasting interest.
So does that mean that the frugal photographer is out of luck when it comes to macro image making? Not at all.
Wanting to dabble in up close and personal photography without committing to a major purchase, I did some research and took the plunge for… under $20!! And the results have not been bad. In fact every macro image you see in this post was taken with my tiny investment! How is this possible you ask?
There are several manufacturers who produce Close-up or Macro filter kits, which consist of several screw on filters, of varying magnification, that convert a non-macro lens into a close-up lens. I purchased the Sakar 52mm Close-Up Filter Set from Amazon. This kit consists of four diopters: 1x, 2x, 4x and 10x. The 52mm size fits on my 35mm and 50mm prime lenses and there are other sizes available.
Now before you dismiss this glass as junk and move on to the next post, let me say this – the old adage is true, you do get what you pay for, and I firmly subscribe to this. But I also thought, it’s a small amount to risk, so what they heck! And in the end, the results have been quite acceptable.
So if you’re interested in getting in close but are not ready to make a major investment, consider these inexpensive diopter filters. Shop around, read other buyers’ reviews and make sure you get the filter size that will fit the lens you intend to use them on. A note on using these filters on a zoom lens – it can be done but some vignetting is likely. Also, remove any other filter you have on your lens before adding one of these.
Please post a comment if you’ve used filters of this type or if you intend to. Email us your images and we’ll include in a follow up post. -Posted by Ed