Macro Lens On A Budget: 3 Options Under $20

Can’t afford a macro lens? Here are 3 different solutions for under $20 each!
Reverse Macro Adapter on Amazon:
Close Up Filters on Amazon:
Macro Extension Tubes on Amazon:

1. Reverse Macro Adapter
Simply purchase the adapter with the mount you want (EF, MFT etc) and the thread size of your lens.

Very cheap
Doesn’t take up much room
Great effect
Easy to use

Exposes the rear element of your lens to potential damage
Lose light due to smaller opening at rear of lens. This might not effect all lenses.

2. Close Up Filters
You can purchase these individually or as a kit of 4 filters.
They come in several different filter sizes to fit your lens.
Here is the exact kit I used on Amazon:
Very easy to use
Can be used for extreme macro or for getting a few inches/feet closer to your subject
Doesn’t add much to your lens
You don’t have to remove your lens to use

Lower quality images compared to other options

3. Macro Extension Tubes
Choose a mount (EF, MFT etc) and choose between dummy (no electronics) or smart (little pins for auto focus and aperture control)
Here is the exact model I used on Amazon:
And here is the electronic EF version I mentioned on Amazon:

Best image quality since there is no additional glass
Customizable strengths be adding/removing middle treaded sections.

Time consuming setup

Some of these links have an affiliate code, if you purchase gear with these links I will receive a small commission at no additional cost to you. Thank you!

This video was not paid for by outside persons or manufacturers.
No gear was supplied to me for this video.

The content of this video and my opinions were not reviewed or paid for by any outside persons.


Sergeant Crow says:

Another option I stumbled on… Due to ‘register’ or ‘ flange focal distance’ differences leading to some makes of lenses mounted on a different make camera using a cheap adapter ring will not allow focus to infinity, or worse, only focus to a few feet… I found that using a vintage Pentax 50mm f2 – P/K Mount on Nikon I could only focus very close up.. 1 or 2 inches.. like Macro.

Also while on this subject M42 on Nikon is quite usable yet will not yield focus to infinity, but will on Eos… Nikon, M42 T2, , and OM vintage mount will work to infinity on Eos too.. but it may interest some of you to know when the rear element on a Super Takumar 55mm f2 M42 mount is carefully wound out (lock with a little drop of glue..) that excellent affordable lens will focus to infinity…

Tomislav Miletić says:

Used “real” 3rd party macro lens is a good option. I have my Tamron 90mm f2,5 SP macro (manual focus!) for 2 decades now, bought him used for peanuts even back then, used that lens thru 4 different camera systems and it still rocks…

DynamiKs Media Marketing Agency, LLC says:

What is the intro song name?.. Or Did you make it?…I love it!

eljuli1003 says:

Thanks for the video. It was very useful.

Viktor Gabyshev says:

I’m sorry! Do you really mount OM lens on FF Canon body? How about risk of mirror damage? Could it collide with rear end of the lens? Thank you!

KN film says:

Haha nice video! I already have that reverse and ordered a electronic tube set which should have arrived in November but never came so another is on its way and I hope that I receive it soon. I am just waiting for this tube so I also could make a YouTube video about this subject. I’m using it on my GH5

zogbric says:

Thanks for not trying to drag it past 10min mark. Respect!

Khalil Daterra says:

Can someone help me? I Ordered the macro tubes and understand the basics of how they work, but they are not focusing for me. I get really close up to a subject and find were one part of the frame is in focus and try to pull focus to another place but it wont work. I have a gig that I will use these on coming up soon and don’t want to have to move my .tripod back and forth to fin the place were it focuses then take the photo. I have tried all my lens. The old vintage lenses with only manual focus and my 18-55 kit lens and every other lens I have. They all have the same problem; I have to close the apature and move to were it focuses. I have not found amyone else that has this same reported problem. Thanks!

PaulHarwood856 says:

Hello Caleb and anyone else reading this,

In the past, I’ve used the Fotodiox Canon EOS Macro Extension Tube Set. I found using a tripod and this product really helped in achieving accurate focus:

The other option is to get extension tubes with autofocus.

I hope this helps any filmers out there.

– Paul

Fireballuke says:

Can the macro filters be used with stepping rings? I.e. if I buy a 77mm diameter for my largest lens will they still function with stepping rings to my 56mm diameter?

LtFlames says:

Wow. I have lens tubes. They used to be my dads but he gave them to me, he gave me a whole bag of camera accessories since i had just bought my first dslr, and I never knew what the macro tubes were, i didn’t even know they existed! Now i found this video imma go try them xD

KN film says:

Hi Caleb
Your links does not work?

Boutit031 says:

Great vid thanks.

Mr. C's Comics says:

The new background looks great. I’m going to have to steal that idea!

Merlin Gallagher says:

Can you say anything about the working distance between all the options?

Muwex Tech says:

Think it was me asking video about macro lenses, thanks! 🙂

blackbonexxx says:

although i love the macro tubes you forgot to mention they make you loose a lot of light. like the extension you had there probably lost you 2 stops of light. :p
just something to keep in mind. nice flash is also recommended for macro

Matt Murnan says:

Great stuff, thank you! I’m not sure if someone else mentioned in the comments below, but another pro for the tubes that wasn’t mentioned is the fact that the tubes can be used on all your lenses with the same mount, no matter what size of front element thread. For me that feels like it puts it above the rest of the options because I have a ton of lenses with different front element sizes.

ogadaliv techlife says:

Super informative stuff here, thanks a lot

Sam Newton II says:

Awesome video… introducing the new Bob Ross voice of photography. Great comparisons and your breakdowns were quite informative too.

Rifat Jamil Eusufzai says:

Please review Zhongyi Mitakon 20 f/2 4.5x Super Macro Lens in future.

Christian Böhm says:

try a helicoid adapter

Martin Hodge says:

That girly croaking at the end of every sentence is very irritating.

Mr Hist says:

Great, thanks! Didn’t know about the 2nd one!

Pawel Chyrowski says:

What lens did you use exactly?

ImAwful says:

I haven’t been shooting for long, but about a year ago I went and purchased close up filters and tubes, never felt comfortable with reversing. I stopped carrying the tubes after about 3 months of never using them. I really only use the x2 and x10 of the Close Up filters as well.

Toasted Synapse Gaming says:

Awesome video! I always love having some macro options for photos and videos. However, I have to ask:
What do you think the relationship between Marco Rings (or other macro options you mentioned) AND IBIS is? (i.e. what should I set my IBIS to?)
Here is my theory (needs testing though):
1. Investigate the Magnification of your lens on its own(either on an official website or photograph a ruler and compare it to sensor size)
2. Insert your macro option (rings or filters) and photograph a ruler.
3. Compare the two: Divide Macro/Standard and get X (e.g. let’s say you have a 50mm with a magnification of 0.2, with some tubes, you get it to 1:1, so 1/0.2 = 5)
4. Multiply X with Focal Length (e.g. For that same 50mm lens that works great on its own with IBIS 50, When you attach the tubes, you switch to 5*50 = 250 IBIS)
Here’s why I think this is right: – IBIS deals with an image captured on the sensor. It knows your sensor size and you insert the Focal Length,
technically speaking: Taking a picture with a 50mm lens with 0.2 magnification and zoomin in on it to x5 should give you the same frame as the macro rings do that achieve a 1:1 magnification
therefore, there should be exactly 5x more movement that needs compensation. I would love to see you do more tests. I will also have a try when I have more time.

tl;dr: MacroIBIS = MacroMagnification/StandardLensMagnification * LensFocalLength
(magnification is found on websites or calculated by photographing a ruler or math paper and Dividing the number of cm or inches that ‘made it’ in the shot by your sensor’s width)

Ajala Kings says:

Bless you for this video

Inksaac says:

Thanks for this video Caleb 🙂 Have just bought an electronic lens tube for $26!

TheChameleon2008 says:

i have tried both the extension tubes and the glass filters but at the end i just bought a macro lens because its just the best.

Karthik Vgk says:

Can the extension tube be used for portrait too?

Vivek Singh says:

What’s the name of the canon mirrorless camera at 0:58?

viraj shukla says:

Nice video. Very informative. It’s impressive what all we can do with cameras now day even on a very tight budget. I generally reverse mount an old lens that has a manual apurture ring. I use the lens just for this purpose.

Jaime Almeida says:

In Macro photography light is king. If you can light the subject and up the fstop a little, it’s going to be easier to have the subject in focus.

Tim Fischer says:

Can you use a macro filter with step up rings?

Harry Burkey says:

Thank you! You just added more emotional leverage in my filming for a ridiculously low price.

Frank The Bunny says:

Thank you for this! I recently got extension tubes for my G7 but found them inconvenient because i had to take the lens off, I just bought the close up filters

Nathan Tranbarger says:

What camera were you shooting the macro shots with? Was it the 6D pictured in the video?

Efren Rojas says:

Thanks! This is so budget friendly. 😀

B.M. Fletcher says:

Would close up filters work with step up rings? I’m assuming their distance from the front of the lens plays a role in magnification and distance from the subject? If you can’t use step up rings, you’d have to buy filters for all your lenses, as opposed to tubes. Cheers, Ben.

Dylan Williams says:

What about reverse coupled lenses? It’s 11$ Canadian on amazon, gives a much easier magnification calculation, maybe slight image quality loss and light loss, still much easier and cheaper than extension tubes

Brett Putman says:

Nice video. Been using the same extension tubes and I don’t love it. Will try out those close up filters I think.

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