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How to turn your 50mm lens into a macro lens >> Photography fun.

Ever since this post I have been getting a lot of curious emails as to how to turn your 50mm into a macro lens, so I thought I’d do a bit of a “how to” post to show you how you can do it. It’s such a fun way to reignite your passion for photography and is a great (and cheap) way to explore a new side of your photography. The results are always interesting – even if they’re a little bit blurry :).

Yessss! Macro photography with our 50mm lenses! Awesome, right? Have fun, Wonderpeople, and leave links in the comments if you blog about your results – I would love to see!

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  • JaniceW Shum

    woh! tat’s great! god job alex :)

  • Tiffany Chapman

    Hey Alex! I bought a reversing ring from Adorama so that I don’t have to actually hold the lens on. It works perfectly! Check out the images I got (the ones of the flowers and the bird) on my blog:

  • lexi

    This is flippen AWESOME!!!

  • Alejandra – Imaginale

    HA .. that is too funny, my photog friend had shown me this trick around the time you posted it. I did this back in June –>

    Haven’t featured the photos people sent me with their attempts. Send me some of yours so I can feature them with the others too!! alejandra((at)) :) LOVE the spider.

  • Yana

    Thanks for sharing! Tried this with my 35mm, but still need to blog.

  • Kari

    I also got a reverse ring for mine so I don’t have to hold it, but I’ve yet to get really good pictures! I need to get out there and practice some more. Great pictures! Love the spider picture!

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  • Amanda

    Genius Alex, who else would think of such a thing?! Perfect representation of your ability to think differently to produce original, genius results. Ax

  • Jessica Wright-Moore

    I loved this post because I am in love with my 50 1.8. With the lens there was as little switch I had to flip as well but I was able to pull off a result I was happy with. Thanks for the inspiration to try something new daily!

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  • Kierin Bree

    I’m always learning new and exciting things from you :) Thank you !

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  • Megan

    thanks again for sharing your secrets alex :)

  • Brittany Sweat

    ohh gotta try this! Since i only need it for ring shots maybe i could save some money and not buy the 100mm macro!! Going to try this now :)

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  • Jennings

    Do you ever worry about dust getting into your sensor while doing this? I’m so paranoid with changing lenses bc of this problem.

  • Jennifer

    YOU ROCK!!! I never knew this!! Thank you for sharing!!! You are such an asset to those who love photography!

  • rachael

    I tried this and it didn’t work.

  • Alex Beadon

    Hey Rachael!

    I’m so sorry to hear that it didn’t work for you! With mine, you have to get REALLY close to whatever it is that you’re photographing (millimeters away), and then it should work! Maybe that’s the problem? Let me know how it goes!

    Big hugs!

  • christine

    obviously the lens doesnt screw in…. how do you get it to stay on the camera, hold it?

  • susie mackie

    Wow! Amazing! Never heard of this before – will deffo give it a try!! xxx

  • Meredith Sledge

    My brother taught me this early last summer!! It’s pretty nifty!

  • eva

    wow! had no idea! have to try it out asap! thanks Alex:)

  • Mel McKenzie

    Just had to try this straight away! Have planned to buy a macro lens when I get my grandmother’s inheritance… may play around with this now and rethink that plan! My pics were really dark – but then it is after dinner time so maybe not bright enough??

  • Ilze Louw

    Hi Alex

    I know this is an old post of yours, but I just tried this out and wow, it works, I LOVE THIS!!! Thank you so much for ALL your inspiration on your blog, just love to read it, even the older blogposts, because you’re so inspiring and it helps me to believe in myself and my photography! Here are the photos on my facebook page


  • Warren Coskey

    Rachael…if you are using a Nikon Camera you may have to hold the aperture clip open while you try. Makes it a lot more difficult :)

  • Ronit

    I’m seeing the numbers 55mm and 58mm… I’m whatever comes right before ‘rookie’ in the photography realm: what does that mean?? Can I do this with my lens?

  • maisi

    so cool!! can’t wait to try it!!!

  • shug in boots


    I tried this, and my Nikon wouldn’t release the shutter because of an error message on the screen stating that the lens wasn’t attached. Any suggestions? Or is this a no-go?

  • Alex Beadon

    Hey there!

    Honestly I have no idea whether this works with Nikon or not :( Sorry!


  • Amanda

    I tried this with my 50mm 1.4 on my Canon 60d. The instant I remove my lens, it’s a blur. I click the shutter button – nothing. I am still at a loss as to how this works! By the way I love all you do!

  • Alex Beadon

    Hi Amanda!

    Oh no, such a shame that it’s not working! I wish I was there to help you with it, it’s a bit difficult to explain over text – but if it’s not working when you click the shutter button, then it may just not work unless you have a lens attached! Sorry about that :(

    Big hugs! xoxo

  • Kass Click

    Does this work for Nikon too? Does it actually attach or do you hold it?

  • Kyla

    It’s got something to do with the fact that the diaphragm in the lens closes as soon as you remove it from the camera, so you’re essentially shooting f/22 with a backwards lens. Probably won’t work out. :/

  • Sarah

    Would this work on a manual film camera?

  • Ashley

    They have a nifty thing on Amazon called a “lens reversal ring”…. It allows you to actually screw in the lens when it is backwards! I haven’t used one personally, but I can’t imagine it would be much worse than holding the lens by hand!

  • Vidhu S

    Nice illustration. Very easy to understand. But there are some challenges you face when you reverse a 50mm lens, or any other lens, for macro photography. I have a written an article on how to overcome those hurdles. Please let me know what you think. Here is the link:

  • Terry Cohoe

    You are a genius. Definitely going to try this.

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  • Rainer Lucks

    It is a cheap way out and also more than likely will be your creative shots. Why waste your energy and creativeness on a patch up? There is a better alternative preserving much more on quality outcomes. Get some 68mm sectioned quality extension tubes that communicate with your Camera Body and fit your baby Lens on them.
    Whoola!! You be surprised with the results and worth the extra $140.00 or so.
    Personally i don’t have to just use extension Tubes as i have a dedicated Macro lens. But! I use extension tubes on top of my 100mm Macro Lens providing me with extreme macro working capability.
    If you want cheap then you will get cheap. There is no way around it.

  • Rainer Lucks

    Surprise, surprise. Guess he/she forgot to mention that part > Lol!!! ;-)