Lady Bird - Dew+dropped+ladybird.

Macro photography on a budget

11 April 2016

Macro photography on a budget


Macro photography opens a whole new exciting world for me. Every bug in my back yard is a potential model; I don't see them as a pest anymore.

These photos are available for sale, please see the galleries

The equipment need not be expensive, but you do need some knowledge. First, you need to understand the three elements of photography. Aperture, shutter speed., and ISO sensitivity.

These will be elements for later posts, but for the moment here is my macro kit.

To achieve the results I have, I use all second-hand gear:

A full manual lens: ($100.00 approximately), no computerised parts on. A reversing ring$10.00, a home-made diffuser ($0.00) and a camera ($300.00 approximately) that can run a manual lens. Everything off eBay

Total cost $400.00

I started out with a Nikon D70 camera body and the lens that you see the photos on a reversing ring. Then I switched to an Olympus E-300.

Some DSLR cameras like this Olympus E-300 can meter the exposure through a non-computerised lens, and do a reasonable calculation for the shutter speed, less professional units will only use computer lenses.

But as always DSLRs let you drive them in manual mode, which gives you full control.


My kit allows me to take photos out in the field and without a tripod.

The lens:

The lens I use is about 25 years old at a guess. It is a Vivitar, 35 -70 mm zoom

It has a manual aperture ring. Manual slide for zoom. And of course, a manual ring for focusing.

How does a reversing ring work?

The reversing ring is an adapter between camera and lens. It puts the lens on backwards to the camera. Best invention ever.

And if you have never heard of it, hit much information out there.


I do very little editing on the photos; I might just adjust the contrast or brightness a little.


I always aim to get it right in the camera first time, if you have to sit all day to edit your photos then you have not learned how to use your camera. I apply this principle to all my photography. The histogram is one of the best features on your camera, learn it. There is so much info in it.



Some unedited and edited shots



And straight of the camera

The main thing is to go out most days and just photograph, four years I have being doing this. I have learned a lot; some days are just perfect when the sun lights the dew drops, or when spring comes, and the bugs come back to the garden. Or early in the morning when the bugs are cold and still.

Anyway, the main thing about photography is fun and enjoy yourself. 
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