Building A SuperMacro Lens


[Lozzless] has a steady hand and plenty of confidence in his hacking skills. The video above is worth watching for the full eight minutes. In it you’ll see him convert a lens into what he calls a SuperMacro lens with a working aperture. The process involves fashioning a connector ring from a lens cap, modifying an Electro-focus lens mount, and assembling the parts to do his bidding. We don’t have the photography background to fully understand what he’s doing here, but we can appreciate the process, and the results are shown at the end of the clip.

[Thanks TommyC]

51 thoughts on “Building A SuperMacro Lens

  1. Not bad at all… I did something like it with my Ricoh TLS401 by mounting two lenses face to face. Though eveything was full manual then, no soldering, no autofocus.

  2. Beautiful video.

    @The Steven,

    The connections are for the aperture, not the autofocus. I doubt that the autofocus would work with this mod – although it’s connected electrically, the camera will get confused as the focusing now has to be done in a completely different way.

    I’ve used this lens before (the cheapy Canon 18-55 kit lens) in reverse for ultra-macro. You can simply hold it against the camera, but it’s quite difficult to get a sharp picture and you have to do the metering manually. A sort of half-way house between that and this lovely mod are the reversing mounts you can buy on eBay for a few pounds. They’re basically a filter thread glued to a bayonet mount…but of course you’ll have to set the aperture manually before reversing the lens.

  3. Nice skills but I don’t like the black tape…
    You can obtain the same results by adjusting the aperture to F11, disconnecting the lens, holding it with the hand (or use a reversing ring) and taking the picture! No wires, no hacksaw, no lenses broken.
    I’ve used this method, also extension rings and lens-in-front-of-lens, but nothing compares to a real macro lens. The most important thing is that you lose infinity-focus and that if focuses only on a spot, not a plane like a macro.
    Buy a second-hand one if you can’t afford new and you’ll see the difference.

  4. The step I don’t understand is why he had to remove the AF mechanism.

    A much smarter hack would have been to create two adapter rings connected together with wiring. The first ring is a reversing ring with connectors built into it. The second ring would be an extension tube with connectors also built into it. This way you could reverse any lens you want without damaging it and still having aperture control. You could make the reversing ring side fit any lens with inexpensive step down or step up rings.

  5. There’s a slightly better way of doing this if you dont want to potentially destroy a lens (even a cheapo stock lens like he was using). Get yourself a macro extension tube which has the EF electrical contacts passed through (this is the most expensive piece), solder on some wires, get a EF to 58mm adapter and, hack up a back lens cap in order pass through the contacts from the extension tube up to the back the lens. Now… mount as so: Camera -> hacked extension tube -> EF to 58mm adapter -> lens mounted backward -> hacked back cover with contacts. Yes.. its more complicated, but it also means you can disassemble it and still use the lens in its stock form, and you can use different length lenses as well (though you might need a different adapter ring than 58mm).

  6. This Fu**ing Guys from Sony/BMG have stopped this Video on UTube for germany!
    I hate all this things that happend the last few years, I also can’t hear many Radiostations in the U.S. cause I lived outside and could be a dangerous motherfu**ing Jihad guy….oh goodness! Kisses to the Homesecurity’s. Restricted Internet is still alive and kills the freedom of speech and democracy.

  7. Any lens with an aperture ring, combined with a reversing ring (~$10-15) will do the same, and might even meter on certain cameras.

    The challenge comes from lenses that have been ‘gelded’ (The letter G is used in nikon terminology to indicate lenses without aperture rings, which are useless on older manual-focus cameras). These cameras default to the smallest possible aperture setting, and when the lens is reversed, this makes metering tricky. I’ve obtained decent results simply by holding the aperture open with my other hand.

  8. This is neat and all, but you can get the same end result with a cheap set of camera bellows. I got mine on eBay for about $12, and I can put any of my EF/EF-S lenses on it. I don’t know what kind of magnification he’s getting with this hack, but I can fill the entire frame with a penny using my bellows and the 17-85mm IS. When I put the 70-200mm f2.8 on the bellows, I have a razor-thin depth of field, but I can literally count the hairs on a fly’s back.

    Cool hack, but totally unnecessary.

  9. Youtube sucks, they block 90% of the videos which have some music in it, because they can’t agree with sony (at least in my contry).

    @Whoever: thanks for the vimeo link.

  10. The hack alone is incredible.

    The video? Jaw-droppingly awesome in a way that makes me want to just back out of the guy’s way.

    He knows what he’s doin’.

  11. @Bramswune

    I was refering to camera technology, not lens automation. I came up in the world of film, using 35mm, 2 1/4, 6×4.5, and 4×5. I use to bulk-load and process my film the “old way” in chemicals. I printed my own work in a darkroom, and I’ve probably forgotten more using Microdol-X 3:1 than most kids know about their digital cameras.

  12. only about 60% irreversible work and that is primarily only done on the section with the electronics. About 25..50% actual electronics work (well setting up the right length wires, soldering so as to not destroy stuff, that kind of thing.. The resulting image looked great: the question is whether or not he actually got things PRECISELY aligned along the center of the circular axis: if he has, then this is a d*mned nice mod. I hate cameras that don’t let you hack at all & their “so called” close focusing basically simply doesn’t work.

  13. NASTY soldering iron. Does he even know what flux is?
    Why is he just forcing those tiny ribbon cables out of those connectors? Wouldn’t it be easyer to just unhook those connectors and then pull the ribbons out?

    “… aperture is work!”

  14. I agreed with the remark about using bellows until I followed the link to this guy’s work on vimeo. It turns out that he needs AF and zoom capability because he shoots video.

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