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Using a reverse ring on a 50mm lens

Discussion in 'General Technical Discussion' started by Panda51, Jul 18, 2008.

  1. Panda51


    Jun 26, 2008
    Hi everybody,

    yesterday I bought a reverse ring to mount on my 50mm 1.8D lens and try to do some macro shot.
    I did some test this morning and it seems to be very difficult to get nice result.
    After a few attempts this was the best results I could get using a tripod 0.6sec @ ISO 200.

    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)

    So I have some questions on how to use the best that ring:
    -Which aperture should be prefered?
    -It seems the focus ring of the lens is useless to focus. I could only focus adjusting the distance between the coin and the camera
    -Can we get sharp result with practice? or it is impossible given that the lens was not meant to be used this way

    I will take any advice that could be useful as it seems very difficult to get a decent picture...

    Thanks everybody!
  2. Lurker


    Jul 21, 2007
    As far as I know, set the lens to infinity. Choose the aperture that you want - remember large aperture = small depth of field. And with a reversed lens your DOF can be just a few millimeters...
    Of course with a small aperture you need a lot of light. And the lens is usually in the way.

    Focussing is indeed done by moving the lens back and forth. Keeping your breath while doing helps to stabilize - or better (=less nerve wrecking) is using a tripod. Remember that there are two ways to vary the distance between lens and subject...

    You can get perfectly sharp pictures with it (the lens cares about the laws of physics, not the intentions of Nikon) but it is very challenging. Of course, that makes the rewards of a good picture so much sweeter!
  3. sparticat


    May 29, 2008
    These are all with a reversed 50/1.8 on a D80. The working distance is so short that it can be quite a challenge trying to focus on anything that moves.

    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)

    View attachment 223403

    View attachment 223404

    View attachment 223405

    View attachment 223406

    And here's the 50/1.8 reversed and attached via a coupling ring to a 70-300VR at 70mm-

    View attachment 223407
  4. Bertrand, the use

    of the reversing ring can be a bit of a challenge. The focusing is indeed done by moving the camera/lens assembly, and it makes little difference where the focus is set. The aperture sets depth of field. With a bit of practice and patience, it can pay off:

    Hand-held (best of about 15 tries)


    Keep working at it!
  5. Panda51


    Jun 26, 2008
    thanks everybody. You gave me very usefull advice as well as amazing picture illustrating very well what we should be able to do with that ring.
    I was indeed thinking that insects would be great subjects but the settings are so tight that you must be very good/lucky to get the right shot before the bug has gone away!
    I'll practice some more and show you what I could get...
  6. Bertrand,

    Food for thought:
    1) If you xcan afford a good focusing rail, this ought to help you significantle. A reasonably priced unit for your setup is sold by Kirk Enterprises and I think that B & H now carries the Kirk line also.
    2) I believe that part of what you do not like rests in your lighting. Your shot is partially shadowed and this is blocking detail. To photograph your coin orthogonally, you probably should build yourself a small vertical illuminator. I think you will be amazed at the difference in the results.

    Good luck,
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