…Then I found them again, buried in the clutter at the end of my Florida room. A little bowl of beautiful glass marbles that I saved thinking they would come handy one day. They will now be the subject matter for a little photographic experiment. Read on and view galleries here: Marble Journey Day and Marble Journey Night.
I have been wanting to get more into macro photography, but beyond the paltry reaches of 0.25x magnification provided by my zoom lenses. My diopter adapter filters, even stacked together, only provide about 7 diopters. I also didn't want to drop some serious cash on a dedicated macro lens, especially since it would be just for occasional fun, so I started looking for alternatives. I read how you can get an adaptor that allows you to reverse and mount any lens, thus achieving the power of macro. The problem with this approach is that modern lenses are totally automated, and once removed from the camera are by default usually stopped down to their smallest aperture. The suggested workarounds I found I wasn't too keen on, like jamming the little aperture lever open with sticky tack.
Than I had a eureka moment. I remembered that somewhere within the black hole of my storage area, I had a box of old film camera equipment, including a nice collection of old Canon FD and Pentax K lenses, all of which were endowed with nice manual aperture rings. BINGO! The articles I read indicated that prime lenses work the best, 50mm being a great option but an even better choice would be wide angle lenses. A 24mm lens provides around 40+ diopters magnification! I ended up using a Pentax SMC Takumar 28mm, f2.8 lens with 49mm reverse adaptor by FOTODIOX. See the gallery of my results.
A few technical notes: Of course you will have to shoot manually, using the shutter speed and iso for exposure control, along with the aperture ring on the lens if available. It goes without saying, you will have to experiment. Focusing is a little tricky, especially stopped down. Also, with the adaptor, the camera thinks there is no lens attached and won't release the shutter, which you can override in your menu settings of most dslr's.
So, if you have old lenses stored somewhere, give them new life!