Instructables
After making the teeny tiny rocket engine I figured I should do this - all the photos were reverse lens macros...

For anybody new to photography, or for the odd macro this is an awesome thing to try, it's tricky to master and very time consuming, or at least I seem to end up really in to it. You get some interesting images and results. 

If you're a person with shaky hands or clumsy you can buy adapters that'll mount the lens on backwards on the bayonet plate, which makes this significantly easier. Same goes for those with little hands. If you plan to do it a lot then get them, though experiment with lens tilt is quite fun too. 

You can read more of my stuff at killerjackalope.com - my newly renovated website. 
 
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Step 1: You'll need

Very little to get started. 

A pair of hands 
SLR (I've not had the chance to do this with a mirrorless but I can't see it not working.) 
Lens

Your choice of lens is the big thing here, thankfully your kit lens is probably a great starting point. They tend to have a max aperture of no wider than 3.5 on most. That's a good thing here - your aperture will be wide open at all times as the electronics aren't in touch. 

I'm making use of an old canon 28-70 F3.5-4.5  The standard kit lens does well, I just broke mine some time ago, not that I used it much. I say old, the lens is only two months older than me... 

You can use a nifty fifty to good effect with this, but it takes a little practice as the depth of field is so tiny. Using old manual aperture lenses with this is great, sadly I've misplaced the minolta 50mm I'd been playing with... 
Dwain772 years ago
This type of macro is fun, makes you look at everything around you differently. Although you'll pretty much have to buy an adapter or coupler if you want to get good quality pictures from a setup like this.

Personally I use a lens on the body with a lens reversed at the end of that. You still have all camera controls and metering in-tact. That makes things a little easier...although nearly impossible to hand hold due to long shutter times. I have an instructable about this if you're interested.
killerjackalope (author)  Dwain772 years ago
Much as I love doing macros, it's not a large part of my work apart from the odd creative bit so I've just kept to handheld stuff...

I had a look at your instructable, nice job and great results...
Quizicat2 years ago
Did I miss something? How is the lens attached to the camera? I don't see it mentioned anywhere.
killerjackalope (author)  Quizicat2 years ago
I mentioned adapter rings more than once and explained that I was holding it - against the bayonet plate, the little locking pin makes a great reference point for setting the edge of reversed lens against...
It's not, you've got to grab the lens and focus it by hand. Photojojo sells some adapt rings for this as a lens ring that makes any lens a telefoto and a macro
drusilla2 years ago
I first did this with an old film Canon rebel and kit lens. Since the aperture was electronic control only, I set it to what I wanted, then took out the battery and removed the lens... I think this generally works. Since then I moved onto digital, because reverse lens is great, but involves a lot of trial and error.

There are lots of lenses with mechanical aperture control levers. Since you'll be reverse mounting, consider buying a cheap, older lens that could be totally incompatible with your camera, just for reverse lens experimenting. I try to pick up old lenses for $10-$30 on craigslist. Sometimes I have to open them up to clean fungus and copious amounts of internal dust (much easier for fixed focal length lenses), but it is really fun to do that, and a great learning experience.

Another thing--previously, I only shot indoor with a tripod and custom bright spotlighting on my subjects, or outdoors tripod-free but only on the brightest of summer days. I've seen people get great results with their own handmade flash diffuser rigs, and so I'm trying to build one myself.

Also--since a lot of my salvaged lens custom reverse-mount housings/adapters are made of hot glue and tape--I like to put plain glass filter between the reverse mounted lens and the camera body, to keep stuff from getting into the camera body.
killerjackalope (author)  drusilla2 years ago
I forgot to edit the instructable, I was doing some more stuff yesterday and remembered an important point, you can set the aperture by choosing it and taking the lens off while holding the aperture preview button down.

I love old lenses, some of the coatings seem to degrade in the coolest ways, always worth trying them without a good cleaning.

I've done early morning (pre-dawn) dewdrops handheld reverse lens and it was very difficult, I'll admit. The moving subject stuff require's a mount ring really.

Good tip there - I started with no fear on sensor cleaning and haven't had an incident yet... Though the viewfinder lens is awful to get some dirt off so I'll maybe chop a body cap in to a cover and mount...
gailgates2 years ago
This is cool. I do a lot of photography, but cannot afford a macro lense. Great job!
killerjackalope (author)  gailgates2 years ago
Thanks, hopefully this helps with that one...
Cool! My Brother did the same, but used two lenses, a telephoto and a macro, taped the end that isn't attached to the camera together, attached the telephoto on to his camera, and did it that way. Never thought of just using one lens though, and just flipping it around... Good job though!
killerjackalope (author)  RocketPenguin2 years ago
Cheers, yeah it seems a little too simple really...
Phil B2 years ago
Somewhere I learned a lens, especially a short focal length lens, can be used to magnify. I used a 35mm wide angle for a film camera as a magnifier to remove splinters from the fingers of family members. I did this for years. In the end it was much less painful than just digging repeatedly in the general area.
killerjackalope (author)  Phil B2 years ago
Wow, I thought I was the only one - I get a lot of scalfs and splinters in work and these are my closest magnifiers most of the time.