Ever since I saw a “how to” in Popular Photography back in the early 80s, I always thought it would be cool to make my own super-macro lens by mounting an ordinary lens backwards.
So, on Saturday, using 58mm skylight filter, a dremel tool, hot glue gun, and camera body cap, I created a reverse mount. Into this contraption, I inserted the kit lens (28-70mm) that came with my Nikon N-80, and, tried it out on the Nikon D-70. Obviously, autofocus and automatic exposure are out of the question (although it might be interesting to run wires across from the lens’ connector to the camera. Hm… maybe it’s not out of the question!), so it entails a lot of manual twiddling of focus and looking at histograms.
It’s too much magnification (even at 70mm) to hand-hold, and, even with my old tripod, it’s hard to get a sharp image. Also, with this kind of macro, there’s not a lot of depth of field to play with. I started by taping the aperture lever at full open, and didn’t get dramatically different results when I allowed it to stop down somewhat. I tried to figure out the optics of the situation, but quickly realized that with a variable aperture and a collection of lenses, I would need to go back and hit the books to understand the physics.