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Old Aug 8, 2011, 3:42 PM   #11
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If you drill out the center of a rear lens cap and put it on the reversed lens, you will have the aperture wide open and you can adjust it by turning the cap. If anyone is interested, I'll be glad to post photos of how I rigged my 50mm.
In the above images I just held the aperture open with my finger but your idea sounds good. It would also offer some protection for the rear element of the lens
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Old Aug 9, 2011, 8:02 AM   #12
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After I drilled out the cap, I epoxyed a filter ring on the cap so I can put a front cap on for total protection. Or you could screw on other filters if you want.
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Old Aug 17, 2011, 10:06 AM   #13
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I've never reversed a lens to a camera body, but know you can do it. I have reversed a lens in front of another lens. Even added a home-made extension tube to the mix for an even closer, more magnification view.

I bought a reversing ring from B&H - it has male threads on both sides of it, one side screws into the filter threads of (in my case) the macro lens that's on the camera. The other lens is screwed onto the other end using it's filter threads. It seriously helps to use a lens with an aperture ring for the reversed lens, so you can control how much light/dof you have. I've shot both ways - leaving the lens on the camera wide open and stopping down the reversed lens and leaving the reversed lens wide open and stopping down the lens mounted on the camera. Not sure which is better or why sometimes the image doesn't fill the sensor. If you go this way make sure you know what filter sizes your various lenses are. My reversing ring is 52 on one end and 49 on the other - the lens I use mostly reversed has 49 threads, my macro has 52. Another way is to get the same size on both ends and use step up/down rings to suit your needs. I thought that would get too complicated and so decided to limit my choices. I think I bought my ring for around $10 - 15, they aren't expensive.

As was pointed out above, the dof is very tiny the more magification you get. Also, while you can use this set-up handheld, it's very difficult and you have to be careful of the more delicate parts on the rear of the reversed lens. You focus my moving the camera or the subject, using the focus ring is pretty useless and AF won't work at all (though come to think of it, I've never tried an AF lens on the camera for this type of thing). You can hand-hold a set-up with difficulty but a tripod is really necessary for good results. You also lose quite a bit of light going through two lenses so having good light or an external flash is important.

Here's a picture of my dSLR with the home-made extension tube (a 2X TC that no longer has glass in it), a 135mm lens (not a macro) and a reversed 50mm f1.4 lens. While the camera is modern, all of the lenses are from film days.



Notice just how big the set-up is.

A picture of a dime taken with it (the full frame version, no cropping), when I had the camera on a tripod and using an external flash:



My recommendation would be to use an old, manual, high quality lens for the one reversed. It doesn't matter what camera mount it has since you'll be only using it reversed (though in my case the old 50mm lens I use reversed also fits my dSLR and I occasionally use it as a fast 50). You don't have to use a macro lens for the lens mounted on the camera - the magnification has more to do with the focal length of the lens than it does the close focusing ability. I got more magnification from the 135mm lens shown in the picture (not a macro at all) than I did with a 105mm macro lens capable of 1:1 on its own.

As long as your FZ40 lens has filter threads, you'd be able to do something like this with either camera.

I once tried shooting with a lens reversed that did not have an aperture ring. I also didn't think about using a rubberband on the lever that controls the aperture blades and I didn't have a tripod (it was an impulsive idea to try during lunch one day). Try holding onto a flower (subject) with the same hand that's holding down the lever to keep the reversed lens open, moving your fingers holding the flower for focusing while the other hand tries to both hold the camera (resting on a knee) steady and operate the shutter. No flash. It's an exercise in futility, I don't recommend it.

If you go into something like this knowing that your keeper rate will be less than with a 1:1 macro lens, that there are some significant challenges/limitations with the method, it can be a fun, inexpensive (if you already have the lens to reverse) way of getting greater than normal magnification. It is not for the impatient person though.
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Old Aug 17, 2011, 5:46 PM   #14
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I once tried shooting with a lens reversed that did not have an aperture ring. I also didn't think about using a rubberband on the lever that controls the aperture blades and I didn't have a tripod (it was an impulsive idea to try during lunch one day). Try holding onto a flower (subject) with the same hand that's holding down the lever to keep the reversed lens open, moving your fingers holding the flower for focusing while the other hand tries to both hold the camera .
That's why drilling out a rear cap is good-you can actually control the aperture with it.
Great shot of the dime by the way.
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Old Aug 24, 2011, 8:10 AM   #15
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OK I just did these they are hand held in low light so not so sharp but you'll get the idea


Nikon D5000 the 18-55mm kit lens held on backwards with a BR2

first shot at 55mm


Next at 18mm Notice how small the Depth of field is
These are great shots.... This has started to make me think that i should go look for one
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Old Aug 24, 2011, 8:14 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by mtngal View Post

As long as your FZ40 lens has filter threads, you'd be able to do something like this with either camera.

I once tried shooting with a lens reversed that did not have an aperture ring. I also didn't think about using a rubberband on the lever that controls the aperture blades and I didn't have a tripod (it was an impulsive idea to try during lunch one day). Try holding onto a flower (subject) with the same hand that's holding down the lever to keep the reversed lens open, moving your fingers holding the flower for focusing while the other hand tries to both hold the camera (resting on a knee) steady and operate the shutter. No flash. It's an exercise in futility, I don't recommend it.

If you go into something like this knowing that your keeper rate will be less than with a 1:1 macro lens, that there are some significant challenges/limitations with the method, it can be a fun, inexpensive (if you already have the lens to reverse) way of getting greater than normal magnification. It is not for the impatient person though.

Thank you so much for the detailed insight... I guess I should start looking for a tube now
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Old Aug 25, 2011, 4:27 PM   #17
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G'day all

@MtnGal ... "I've never reversed a lens to a camera body, but know you can do it. I have reversed a lens in front of another lens. Even added a home-made extension tube to the mix for an even closer, more magnification view. "

an excellent outline & discussion of technique ... 10/10

> I don't see too many bellows / focussing rails these days, tho they were widely sold back in film days - any thoughts

Regards, Phil
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Old Aug 25, 2011, 10:12 PM   #18
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I know a number of people shooting with bellows, in some ways I wish I had one. But they tend to be hard to find in good condition, they are more delicate than a lens and can be large and awkward. At least one person on another board uses old enlarging lenses with bellows very successfully, and I think it would be a blast to experiment with one.

I tend to hand-hold a lot when shooting macro, using a pole for added stability. It doesn't do as well as a tripod but better than trying not to sway on my own two feet. Some day I want to buy macro rails (I even know what I want to get, but they aren't cheap). However, I don't feel a burning desire to get them right now - I'm not sure just how much I would use them. Macro, especially when you start reversing lenses and adding extension tubes, is a leisurely activity and adding macro rails could make it even more fiddly. But if you can't completely control the conditions, it would be a nice addition.

One thing that I think is more useful for macro than rails is a good flash, preferably one you can use off-camera.
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