Introduction: DSLR Macro on the Cheap!

Picture of DSLR Macro on the Cheap!

There are already a few of these but I wanted to post my own version as im rather happy with my results! :)

The great thing about this project is that you can make it as long/short as you yourself require (longer tube=closer macro) AND it will fit with any lens made for the canon EOS series! :)

one thing to note, if you make a long tube it will allow you to take photos SUPERCLOSE, but your "focus-range" will be minimal, meaning that if the object your taking a picture of has any curves, only a tiny portion will be in focus


Things you will need!!

Cover for your DSLR Body
Cover for your DSLR lens, as in socketcover.
A tube of some sort, I used  a roll that used to have giftrope on it (anything that dosent let through light can work)
A hot glue gun
A dremel or other tool for making holes in your covers
Black Electrical-tape

*if wanted*
a bottle or other tube to fit over the "lens-extension" to make it prettier :)

Step 1: CUTTING! WOO!!

Picture of CUTTING! WOO!!

Use a dremel tool, or other method, to remove the center of both caps, get rid of all plastic that isnt holding the lense/camera.

These caps will be Glued onto the ends of the tube, allowing the tube to fit into your DSLR body like a lens would.
Then the same goes for the other end of the tube, but with the socketcap that allows you to put your lens into the extension.

Step 2: Finding a Tube, Cutting It.

Picture of Finding a Tube, Cutting It.

The tube I used was a plastic-roll for giftrope (dont know specific name sorry).
Turned out it was a good fit :)

Cut your tube into a desirable length, to find out you´ll have to experiment with different lengths, thats what I did :)

Step 3: What Happend?!

Picture of What Happend?!

Im sorry but I got a bit carried away during the project and didnt take enough photos, BUT I havnt done as much as it might seem!

All that has happend here is the following:

1. I glued my two lenscaps onto my tube using hot glue.

2. I cut my tube in the middle , made it shorter, and glued it back together as one piece 

3. I used black Electrical tape where I had glued to make sure no light came into the tube

4. I cut a clear plastic bottle and fitted it over my extension to make it prettier. (had to sand down the tube before putting  on the bottletube)

5.Painted it :)

Step 4: Inside and Finished Extension

Picture of Inside and Finished Extension

As you can see the inside of the tube isnt smooth at all, and it dosent have to be.

What is important is that there is nothing covering the view for the mirror in your DSLR, and no light coming into the extension, I used alot of black electrical-tape as you can see in previous steps :)

Step 5: Final Product and Pictures!

Picture of Final Product and Pictures!

So here is the final product! 

So a check list for your own extension.

Lens is aligned with the camera when fixed to it´s extension (in other words your extension is straight) 
Your extension shuts out ALL exterior light

thats pretty much it, hope you all enjoyed this instructable, its my first :)


Do check out the links as they are the only way you will see how immense the macro is! :)


Nacmo666 (author)2014-11-02

His steps remind me of "Draw two circles, Draw the damn owl"

jcoronel (author)2011-06-04

Good work !!!

snelpiller (author)jcoronel2011-08-29


asridhar1 (author)2011-08-04

I used a rustoleum spray paint can's cap, works perfect for my Canon. Cheers to a great instructable!

snelpiller (author)asridhar12011-08-29

Sounds good :) and thanks!

8bit (author)2011-02-27

Any chance of seeing a (big) gallery of things you shot using this?

snelpiller (author)8bit2011-03-12

at your request: a few more test pictures, still only trying to demonstrate the macro and not really any special pictures in themselfs, but maybe it gives you an idea of what it does :)

snelpiller (author)8bit2011-03-01

if I do, ill let you know :)

strath (author)2011-03-07

I'm making one of these, but I'm also adding a fotosharp adapter from my astroimaging rig, and the tube is part of a t-ring adapter from the astroimaging setup as well.

Fotosharp adaptor:

I'm going to try using crazy glue and then black silicone sealant to attach the modified lens cap to the tube to ensure a sturdy, light-proof connection.

snelpiller (author)strath2011-03-07

sounds really cool man! post ur results :)

speedhump (author)2011-02-17

So Mr Gluegun strikes again! I ask what kind of person would want to mess up an expensive DSLR in this manner? Go buy the real thing. M42 extension tubes cost $6 - an adapter ring to fit M42 tubes to most makes of camera - old or new cost between $22 and $35 post free. Here's a clue to make it really easy:-

riff raff (author)speedhump2011-02-17

I agree. Hell, I probably have an old set of M42 tubes around here I'm not using. :-)

Still, nothing beats a decent 100mm macro lens and off-camera strobe.

speedhump (author)riff raff2011-02-18

Not sure your set-up will catch a decent snowflake portrait though! To get in to this MICRO- PHOTOGRAPHY field I have been following a website instruction more or less and have ordered 3 sets of extension tubes, and a Sony NEX-5 adapter ring from the dealer I mentioned, Totalling $48.62.delivered. A decent PLAN achromatic X4 microscope objective (lens) set me back about $64 and I am still missing an adapter to connect the lens to the tubes - and a means of adjusting the focus. Here a stripped down and modified slide copier that has helicoidal adjustment may be used to cut down on cost. I am broke but I hope I don't have join the Gluegun Gang!
Re. original theme:- Also please note that many body caps are a snap-on fit even over a bayonet fitting. Using such in Mr Snelpiller's PRO setup might result in an expensive repair bill when the lens falls off.

snelpiller (author)speedhump2011-02-18

ah well Ill try and take a snowflake photo, but I cant adjust my aperture with this setup :P ill post a link if I manage to get a good one :)

I was not aware there were snap on body covers, I hope noone attempts to use one of those using my tutorial, because that does sound like it could break.

The caps im using twist in exactly like any lens, I cannot see any danger in this seeing as the caps look to be as strong as the fittings on my kit lens :)

ofcourse, I will not take any responsiblity if someone breaks their camera attemping my tutorial haha

speedhump (author)snelpiller2011-02-18

Regarding adjusting aperture: It's true some lenses cannot be stopped down when detached from the camera. But if you get a $25.34 42mm (Pentax) thread adapter, there plenty of these lenses about very cheap, Canon FD lenses are also a possibility but BEWARE NOT ALL FD lens can be stopped down when operating solo. e.g. the chrome ring breach lock FD S.M.C. lens aperture locks up. It's a great field of photography to enter. Go for it!

speedhump (author)snelpiller2011-02-18

What you have won't cut the mustard, I'm afraid. There is one Canon lens that will do it without any extension tubes or bellows by going to 5X magnification. The Canon MP-E 65mm macro costs about $1000 - yes! an amazing price to match it's amazing capabilities. Not sure what model Canon DSLR it is made for.
What I am getting set up for leads into real micro-photography i.e. greater than 1:1
follow for more information - but don't follow his sources - it will cost a bundle going his route - maybe his university has the budget for it - I don't

snelpiller (author)speedhump2011-02-17

your missing the point, its fun to make stuff yourself =]

also, I have done NO damage to my DSLR, I am not careless with my things, I would never want to ruin them.

There is no lose glue or other particals that could go into the camera and the caps are MADE to be fitted onto the camera.

But I know what you mean, thing is, I like making stuff myself to see if they work :)

speedhump (author)snelpiller2011-02-17

Sorry Mr Snelpiller - Don't burn yourself with that gluegun!

snelpiller (author)speedhump2011-02-17

no need for apologizes and I wont! :)

nekotali (author)2011-02-17

hey snelpiller,
just wondering: how is the macro effect achieved? is there a certain length of the tube you're supposed to cut it to?
looks great though and you've done well!

snelpiller (author)nekotali2011-02-18

First of, thank you! :)

and well I actully got it from trail and error. First the tube was full lenght, I didnt cut it at all, but it turned out that gave me very poor results. So I started to cut it down bit by bit until I got a lenght I was happy with.

You can prob se the "just about" size in the picture but my extension ended up being 4.5cm long. Thats the "barrel" lenght tho, if u messure with the socket that fits onto the camera its more like 5cm long.

If I were to redo this id prob make it about 1cm shorter, simply because you have such a small focusspace with this lenght..

Hope that helped :)

nekotali (author)snelpiller2011-02-18

thanks heaps - will report back if/when I try this for myself :)

robbied (author)2011-02-17

There is always a lot of satisfaction from making something yourself. I took a luxeon LED torch, added a power switch and external battery and turned it into a powerful bike headlight. Sure I could have bought one, but the equivalent cost was about 10 times what it cost me.

snelpiller (author)robbied2011-02-17

Great work man :)

Agreed, it feels great and often times you save alot of money! :D

Mother Natures Son (author)2011-02-17

I wonder what would happen if I put my macro lens on one of these things...

haha who knows, microscope? x)

Jakeg (author)2011-02-05

Amazing... I am looking forward to buying my first DSLR... :) I just noticed, you can actually see the camera's reflection in the tip of the ball-point pen.... Great Job!

snelpiller (author)Jakeg2011-02-06

Thank you! :) and u should! DSLRs are great fun :)

haha yeah, the closeups really are great with this piece of plastic!

Ghost Wolf (author)2011-01-30

Amazing very cool never thought this possible!

snelpiller (author)Ghost Wolf2011-01-30

Thank you! and it sure is! :)

tigerbomb8 (author)2011-01-30

one thing is you should blow out the dust from the tube any time you put it on

snelpiller (author)tigerbomb82011-01-30

Correct, always make sure its dustfree before using

ynze (author)2011-01-29

Cool! I'm gonna try it with my 50mm prime!

snelpiller (author)ynze2011-01-29

neat! let me know how it works out :)

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