Close-up Lenses – Poor Man's Macro

July 08, 2009 By: erik Category: Experiments, Photography, Photos 1,030 views

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Small NeocubeI recently took the next step in my growth as a photographer: buying a 50 mm lens. From what I’ve learned on photography forums and blogs on the internet, a 50 mm prime lens should be in every professional photographer’s camera bag. Unlike a zoom lens, a prime lens has only one focal length, and thus its optics can be optimized for that specific length. As a beginner, a prime lens is good practice because it forces you, the photographer, to move a lot more to frame a shot, since you can’t just be lazy and zoom in or out.

The other thing that my 50 mm prime lens allows me to do is to add close-up lenses to take photographs of very small things. Below are my first attempts, within minutes of unboxing my close-up lenses.
Lens Cap

Lens cap. The obvious choice of object lying around to take a close-up shot of.

Index Finger

Index finger on desk.

Index Finger Tip

My fingerprint. Please don’t steal my identity.

You can see one of the cuts I sustained while breaking into my own house.

Small Neocube

Smallest possible Neocube. Each ball is about a half centimeter in diameter.

Quarter Dollar

Quarter dollar. Here, and in the lens cap shot, you can see the trade-off with macro photography: you get a very, very, very thin depth of field. Consequently, this is why artificially reducing the depth of field (tilt shifting) can make the subjects of large photographs appear small.

Look for more close-up photography here in the future. I’m just getting started…