Macro lens substitution

I’ve wanted to get a macro lens for my digital SLR camera for ages, but was put off by the high prices. Then I saw some filters recommended by another photographer and ordered some. Although they don’t have the versatility of a true macro lens (so I hear — I would never know, because I’ve never used one!), they are a fraction of the cost and let me get closeups I can’t get with my regular lens!

The filters are Adorama’s closeup filter kit, a set of 3 filters for $24.95 (price is lower or higher depending on the diameter of your lens). The filters are in three strengths, +1, +2 and +4, whatever that means. Something about diopters. (As you can tell, I’m kind of new to this whole photo equipment thing.)

Today we cleaned out our house and my husband decided to sell some of his wargame miniatures that he painted a long time ago. Since we are selling them on eBay, we needed to take pictures of them. I wanted to try out my new filters so

My Nikon D700 has a Tamron 28-75mm zoom lens. Here’s how his minis looked at 75mm — all the way zoomed in. These photos are uncropped so you can see the comparison.I also took all of them at the closest possible distance my camera would focus.

The filter screws on the front of the lens just like any other filter. Here’s the +1 close-up filter.

Here’s +2.

And +4.

Just for comparison, I asked my daughter to stick her head in the photo to show how little these minis are.

Man, she looks like a giant! Miss Gulliver.

The pictures turned out a bit grainy because it was rainy today and I had to max out my ISO at 6400. After some noise removal, the picture looks a bit sharper and is ready to help these minis sell.

I’m pretty impressed at my husband’s painting abilities. Considering these minis all started out with boring grey metal, he did an incredible job! These are some of my favorites.

It’s pretty amazing the amount of detail and clarity these close-up filters provide. The bummer is the depth of field can be so shallow that even 1/4 of an inch is out of focus and I’m sure they can’t do as much as a real macro lens can do.

But considering the cost is like 5% the cost of a macro lens, I think these filters are worth it!

Note: If you get these, make sure you check the diameter of your lens! I accidentally bought the wrong size… but fortunately they fit the lens of my Nikon D50, so I was able to take this picture last week. This is an uncropped photo.

I’m looking forward to taking more close-up shots!

A Yee

Angela Yee is a professional designer (graphic design, stage design, interior design — and teaches leadership skills at

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