I have been trying and doing macro photography for quite some time now and I recently had acceptable results I thought I could share.
The idea is to combine your usual lenses using a reverse coupling ring to obtain high magnification power (16+ times). I took me several attempts to get it right so hopefully this tutorial will save you some time !
- a DSLR camera (Canon 450D)
- a fancy tripod (MTL 9351B from Giottos)
- a focusing rail ( 20$ on ebay http://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_nkw=Macro+Focusing+Rail )
- a coupling ring ( 5$ on ebay http://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_nkw=Reverse+Coupling+Ring )
- a 18-55 zoom lens (the one that came with the camera)
- a 70-300 zoom lens (Sigma)
- a quick-and-dirty remote control cable (carved out of old earphones)
Of course you can use other focal length lenses. What matters here is the ratio between your longest and your shortest focal length. In my case 300 / 18 = 16.67 : the strongest magnification power I can achieve with this setup is 16 times+.
Step 1: Prepare the camera
The purpose of a camera lens is to make the image of a subject smaller (for example you want to shrink the Eiffel Tower to 24x36mm which is the size of your captor if you have a standard camera, or even smaller if you have a camera like mine).
If you flip your lens around then it will act as a magnifier. The idea is to take a picture of this magnified image.
The reverse coupling ring makes it possible to attach the two lenses face-to-face.
The lens attached to the camera must be the long focal length one. The magnification power is the ratio of the 2 focal lengths. In my case I use the longest possible focal length on the primary lens (i.e. 300) and the smallest possible focal length on the secondary lens (i.e. 18). The ratio is 300 / 18 = 16.67