How to Use a Reverse Adapter Ring for Macro Photography

Reverse Adapter Ring

How to Use a Reverse Adapter Ring for Macro Photography

Freelensing is a fun and popular photography technique that allows you to create dreamy macro images by taking your 50mm lens off of your camera, flipping it around so that the back of the lens is on your camera, and holding the lens in place while shooting. 

I have seen this technique used over the past couple of years, but never tried it because it seemed a little bit scary, mainly because I'm kind of clumsy and was afraid I would accidentally drop my lens - never a good thing!

Enter the reverse adapter ring! This handy, affordable tool attaches to the front of your lens in the same way a filter would attach to your lens. Then, when you flip the lens over, you can thread the adapter into your lens mount and voila - you have a macro lens!  How cool is that!

Here's how it works...

Photoshop Lens Flares

Reverse Adapter Ring Setup

Start by carefully removing the lens from the camera body as you normally would when changing out a lens.

Single Lens Reverse Macro

Attach the reverse adapter so that the text on the adapter is face down to the text on the front of your lens:

Reverse Ring for Canon 50mm

Here is my lens with the adapter attached:

Reverse Adapter Ring Nikon

Flip your lens over so that the back of the lens (the part that is normally attached to the camera) is facing you.

Now, thread the adapter ring into your lens mount in the same way you would normally attach your lens.

Reverse Lens Adapter Sony

Now, the back of your lens is facing forward. This is what it should look like:

Reverse Mount Macro Photography

Macro Image Examples Using a Reverse Adapter Ring

Here are a couple of examples - as you can see, reversing the lens allows you to get much closer than usual with your 50mm:

Reverse Macro Adapter

Macro Reverse Adapter Ring

It's also fun to play with abstraction when using this technique:

Macro Reverse Lens Adapter Ring

Reverse Adapter Ring Tips

Here are some tips to help get you started:

  • The adapter I used here is the Fotodiox Macro Reverse 52mm Adapter. The adapter is made for both Canon and Nikon.
  • You will not be able to autofocus
  • You will need either a steady hand, or a steady subject! Since the lens is wide open and there is essentially no aperture, your focal plane is so small that any movement will remove focus.
  • One of the neat things about free-lensing is the blurry effect it creates, so if your subject isn't tack sharp, don't worry - that's the beauty of the technique!

Looking for Photoshop actions that will help you create a soft, blurred effect in post-processing? Be sure to check out the Faux Tilt Shift action included in the PURE Color Workflow!

Do you have any questions or comments about using a Reverse Adapter Ring?  Leave us a comment below - we would LOVE to hear from you!  And PLEASE SHARE our tutorial using the social sharing buttons (we really appreciate it)!

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