I LOVE shooting macro, and the closer the better. It’s amazing how tiny details you’d never thought possible to see are revealed. Most macro lenses either do 1:2 or the better ones 1:1, ie the object is life size on the sensor (or film). A 2cm bee is 2cm long on a film negative.
However this is not enough for me, I want Ultra Macro!
A cost effective way to achieve this is to mount your lens on backwards. A little difficult without an adapter, and you need to be very careful not to scratch the lens glass if you don’t have a filter and decide to hand hold. Luckily such adapters are cheap on eBay, but interestingly Nikon makes their own – the BR2 and BR2A reversal rings. They are a male lens mount attached to an inner 52mm filter thread mount.
The best lenses for this are wider primes, such as 20mm, 24mm and 28mm. 50mm works fine too, but you don’t get as much magnification. Extension tubes will increase the magnification again.
In practice it’s a little difficult to shoot and get good results every time. The depth of field is so shallow than minimum aperture is needed (ie f16 or f22), but when you look through the viewfinder it becomes too dark to see what you are doing. So the technique of focusing at wide open aperture, holding still to stop down the lens to minimum aperture, and then shooting; all takes patience.
Before Louis was taken to his final resting place, he was shot on our window sill with a Nikon D2X, a reversed Nikon 24mm f2 lens set at f22 connected to a Nikon PK-11 extension tube and BR2 reversal ring, then lit with a Nikon SB-800 flash pointing downwards with a diffuser.