STE P BY STEP
Close-ups without the cost
Here’s how to get great shots with either a reversing ring or extension tubes
01 Work out the ambient exposure
Set Manual mode on your camera and select a shutter speed of 1/200 sec or less (most flashes won’t work at speeds higher than this). Take a test shot to work out the correct aperture and ISO for the ambient light – we set a shutter speed of 1/125 sec at f/2.8 and ISO400.
03 Shift for sharpness
You’ll need plenty of light, as well as room to move within a few inches of the subject. With the lens reversed, only a set focal distance is available, so you’ll need to move the camera or subject to get it sharp. We don’t recommend using a tripod if you can avoid it, as it will restrict your movement.
05 Take the tube
With extension tubes, the longer the tube, the greater the level of magnification. If the tube you’ve got doesn’t have contacts, you’ll need to use a D-type lens with aperture control, set it to its widest setting. Light will be limited, so switch to manual focus to avoid any focus hunt.
02 Go wide
Set the aperture to its widest setting. Because the lens is reversed, the ‘front’ element is much smaller than usual, limiting the amount of light reaching the sensor; as such, even framing can be tricky. The depth of field will also be extremely shallow, making it hard to get a subject in focus.
04 Slow things down
Once you’ve located the subject, narrow the aperture, so more of the subject is sharp (this makes it easier to focus). If your exposure is too dark, lower the shutter speed, although this might require a tripod. If you’re indoors, you can add some light using, say, a flash or an angle-poise lamp.
06 Hunt around
Although the performance of the lens will be better than with the reversal ring, you will still have to hunt to find your subject. Keep one eye off the viewfinder and on the subject, as your vision will be limited. Rather than increasing the ISO, use a slower shutter speed and tripod, and shoot.