Having spent the last few weeks birding in the backyard with a zoom lens, I thought it might be fun to change things up and shoot “fixed-macro.” Always on the lookout for a new lens to purchase, I hit Amazon to view the refurbished selection of Canon EFS Macro Lens’ and was shocked by the cost. Turns out that shooting macro is extremely cost prohibitive (even using refurbished equipment).
After reading some articles online, I learned that there are some work-arounds to shooting extreme close up images. Apparently there are these fabulous little gems called “extension tubes” that magnify an image by minimizing the focal distance. The best part, there are so many to choose from and they are a fraction of the cost of an actual dedicated macro lens. I learned that some folks will utilize a fixed portrait lens (24mm) and attach either a 12mm or 20mm extension tube to reduce the focal length thus magnifying an image.
With this knowledge in hand, I went back to Amazon and found a set of extension tubes that covered the range I was looking for and placed my order. About a week later, and with tubes in hand, I set up my pancake 24mm portrait lens with a 12mm extension tube. After a brief trial and error period, I settled on some items around the house to practice with.
In conclusion, this is a very inexpensive and impressive option to enter the world of macro photography. I’m sure with time and practice one could achieve some high quality images. I don’t pretend to be any kind of expert, but you certainly don’t have to be an expert to have a good time!