Alternative Macro Photography

If you are finding yourself bored already, try some indoor macro photography! Take a CLOSE look at the knick knacks around you, document your beloved possessions, get a new interesting view of your house plants…the possibilities are endless.

Don’t have access to a macro lens? No problem (unless you are obsessed with edge to edge sharpness…). I looked around my place for alternatives to a true macro lens and decided to experiment with different objects I already had: a magnifying glass, old lenses I pulled from a cheap telephoto lens, even a glass of water can work!

If you are looking for a more technical view done with extension tubes, check out Mike’s new macro post here:

But if you are into experimenting with some alternative options, continue on for my (Nicole) and Meghan’s photos and techniques.

My technique is simple I just take my digital camera (Fujifilm XT-1) and hold the lens or piece of magnifying plastic (or anything else you have found) in front of my lens and start taking pictures! Of course doing this in a well lit area or with some lighting will work best. Generally the autofocus on your digital camera can assist you, however I found that with some of my film cameras and manual lenses it’s almost easier to get in even closer, getting a clearer result. However I couldn’t really test that theory because I don’t have any at-home film developing set up. If you are able to develop at home though, I suggest giving it a try! It takes some fiddling around but works well.

Here are a few examples of what I used plus the resulting image…

This one was done with an old magnifying glass I had and my itty-bitty micro camera as the subject matter.


These next few are done with lenses I removed from an old telephoto lens I had.


And another set with the same piece. First without the lens and then one with the lens.


These ones were with another type of magnifying glass I had that no longer has a handle.


Another option for macro photography if you don’t have a fancy digital lens for your camera is to use an older macro lens with an adapter. Meghan happens to have a Pentax M42 mount 50mm f/4 SMC Takumar macro lens and an adapter I gave her to use on her Fujifilm XT-2. We do have a few different adapters in store, but there are so many combinations of various mounts these days that we do not stock them new, only what comes through the store in our consignment section. We do have plenty of old lenses for you to try on your new digital though! Generally speaking they will only work on manual focus (as of course really old lenses only have manual focus!), however there are some options for autofocus, as Meghan also has an adapter for her older EF Canon lenses to work with the autofocus on her XT-2. They do not focus as fast as using a true Fujifilm lens on the XT-2, but it is nice to be able to make use of your other lenses if you have them!

Here’s the macro set up with the Pentax lens and adapter.


And here are various shots of plants (and a orange!) Meghan took around her house with this combo. Good lighting of course is necessary again, especially with this lens already being an f/4. A tripod is also a good idea, however one was not used here.

We’d love it if you shared your alternative macro lenses with us! Reply to this blog post, or tag us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram! @beauphotostore

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Beau Photo Supplies Inc.
Beau Photo Supplies Inc.