How to Turn Your 50mm into a Macro Lens

by Guest Contributor Alex Beadon

If you don’t have a Macro Lens, but would LOVE to capture those beautiful “Close-up” shots, don’t fret… our guest contributor Alex Beadon of Alex Beadon Photography is here to show you how to turn your 50mm into a macro lens!!  It’s such a fun way to reignite your passion for photography and is a great (and cheap) way to explore a new side of your photography.  The results are always interesting – even when they’re a little bit blurry:)


Have fun, rock on, and let me know what you think of this tutorial in the comment section! Have you ever tried this before?  How were the results?  Tell me all about it!

And, don’t forget to enter this months Photo Challenge:  Macro Photography


  • Camera must be in full manual mode
  • Lenses that do not have an aperture ring such as Nikon G-series and Canon EF lenses may not work
  • To focus you will need to move the camera or the subject, since the camera is not actually attached, you will not have the use of your internal focusing mechanisms {get in close to your subject until you achieve focus}
  • You can also purchase a reverse ring camera mount adapter for you camera
  • Using a tripod will help your focus

About the Author:  Alex Beadon is a creative portrait photographer, blogger, and creator of The Inspired Store. Her number one mission is to inspire those around her to creatively live an inspired and passionate life. That means doing what you love and loving what you do every step of the way.

Visit Alex at her WEBSITE |FACEBOOK pages today!


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Kerry Gray - August 10, 2012 - 9:01 am

Are you serious?!? Will this really work?!? I plan on giving it a try later today. Thanks, Alex!

Christy C - August 10, 2012 - 9:10 am

I had a reverse adaptor for my Pentax K1000 back in the old days. Like a filter, one side had a lens mount, the other a thread mount. Used it with my 50 and my 70-210 for macro.

Stephenie - August 10, 2012 - 9:30 am

I have a Nikon D700 and I just tried this but it didn’t work :( My AP was 00 and it was all dark. Is there a special trick in camera?

Deborah Chetwood - August 10, 2012 - 9:51 am

I’ve used my 50mm for macro for a while and have not done it as described here. I have the 50mm 1.8 and bought it specifically do to the thread mm so I could use a reverse ring to attach it to my camera. I also have extension tubes if I want to be able to get closer. It does work but please understand you are cutting light significantly and will need to be either A. in a very bright area or B. have additional light on the subject.

Nikki N - August 10, 2012 - 9:52 am

I have an adapter to reverse my lenses :) Picked it up on eBay for a couple bucks. Here’s a couple shots I took of a penny with it:

Nikki N - August 10, 2012 - 9:57 am

Ooooh and I forgot for daring Canon users, put your lens on correctly, change to the aperture you want, press the aperture preview button and while holding it, remove your lens. It will then stay at the aperture you chose! I’ve used this technique a few times on an inexpensive lens and it works well. I’m not sure how much wear and tear it will put on the lens, but it’s not a bad way to easily change your DOF.

Karlen - August 10, 2012 - 10:07 am

Love it! Thanks so much Nikki for the tips for Canon users.

cameraconnect - August 10, 2012 - 11:11 am

Some more samples here:

If I remember correctly, using a zoom increases or decreases depth of field. I’ll have to test it…

audra - August 10, 2012 - 12:26 pm

amazing article….awesome tip…

Laura Innae - August 10, 2012 - 3:03 pm

My Canon EF 50mm 1.8 works just fine with this! It’s great for ring shots at weddings!

stephanie - August 10, 2012 - 8:14 pm

I have definitely tried this and I love the technique. I’ve even used it to shoot wedding rings for clients! You need to have a very steady hand, though. :)

Sarah - August 10, 2012 - 10:57 pm

Can’t wait to try this!!

Rockville Homes - August 11, 2012 - 5:32 am

Amazing. Thank you.

vanessa brown - August 11, 2012 - 10:26 pm

i have a macro so i don’t need this but thought i’d read the article out of interest as i’m always keen to learn. but i think i’m in shock and still struggling to get my jaw off the ground.

Kristine Deitz - August 16, 2012 - 10:29 pm

very clever!!

Laura - September 8, 2012 - 4:28 pm

I tried this with my Nikon D7000 and the 50mm 1.8 and the images are so dark. Also how do you adjust the focus?

Jenny - September 9, 2012 - 8:03 am

Interesting concept. Although I already have enough dirt inside my camera as it is, I don’t wanna go making it worse since the atmosphere in NJ sucks. 😛 Iuno… we’ll see.

Elizabeth Videc - September 9, 2012 - 8:57 am

Nikon D700 50mm lens. didn’t work. it’s all black

Jennifer - April 10, 2013 - 11:34 am

I just tried this and I am thrilled with the results! Thanks so much for posting this! Now I don’t have to go and buy an expensive macro lens!

Marilla - August 29, 2013 - 10:25 pm

I LOVE using this technique. I discovered it a couple of months ago, and I take my lens off to photograph macro on a weekly, if not daily basis. Amazon also sells some cheap converter rings, that help secure the lens to the camera body, so that you do not have to worry about dropping any of your precious glass! :)

melissa krauss - December 31, 2013 - 4:08 pm

i want to buy a macro lens…what does everyone recommend…i cant decide what i want. currently i have canon 50mm and the 18-135MM lenses. looking for something new. thanks

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