Close-up filters. For cheap but qualitative macrophotography!

Once again, I try to do my best with english and hope to submit a better content than a google translation one 😆 but thank you in advance for your indulgence.

 

Today, I want to talk to you about my macro photographical gear.
Small, cheap and powerful. I love it!

They are close-up filters.

 

The close-up filters. What are they?

Close-up filter makes your subject bigger, not enhancing your focal length but allowing you to move closer.
Clever, isn’t it?! 😉

As they are filters, let’s put it at the end of your lens to take a closer view of your subject.
Then, if you want to take another picture of a distant subject, you will have to remove the filter, as it disabled the far focus.

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Characteristics

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Here are the two features of a close-up filter.

[icon name=”fa-arrow-circle-right”] First, the diameter.
As you will put the filter on your lens, the two equipments must have the same diameter. Therefore, you won’t be able to use your close-up filter on your different lenses if their diameters are not the same (see Raynox system, however, which permits it, for diameters from 52 to 67mm).

If you own several lenses, my advice is to choose rather a fixed focal length lens to put your filter to enjoy its wide aperture and image quality but it’s OK with zoom lenses, too.
It is generally recommended to use the close-up filter with your max focal length but feel free to make creative choices too! (I tried myself wide angle macrophotography and it’s fun)
So, check your lens diameter before buying your close-up filter!

 

[icon name=”fa-arrow-circle-right”] Then, the magnification value, given in diopters.
With +1, you can only move a little bit forward. And with +4 or +10, you will be able to go further and take closer views. The greater the number, the closer your shooting! 🙂

Please note that your lens focal length is going to enhance the close-up filter effect. If your lens focal length is rather small (from wide angle to 50mm), you will need +4, +7 or +10 to enjoy nice close-up views. With an intermediate one (50 to 100mm), +3 or +4 will probably be OK. The +1 or +2 filters are recommended for focal length higher than 100mm.
Obviously, if you want to shoot a beautiful shell or an ant having a walk, you won’t need the same type of close-up view. But you can always move back a little bit to capture a wider view if the subject seems too much big for the frame. 😉

 

Below, here are some pictures taken, each time, at the minimal focus distance of my lens, without close-up filter, and with a +3 filter, a +4 filter, and the two together for a +7 resulting filter.
I was shooting a bunch and I am now enjoy a close-up view of a flower, showing its stamens, petal texture etc. !

 

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More information about macrophotography with close-up filters

Here are several additional informations about close-up filter. 🙂

 

[icon name=”fa-arrow-circle-right”] No, cropping is NOT the same! 😆
With a close-up filter, you keep all the pixels of your pictures!
Your view angle and the way you see the subject in details when shooting are different too.
There is also a difference with blur : this is my next point.

[icon name=”fa-arrow-circle-right”] A shorter depth of field and a greater blur !.
Blurriness depends on the distances between you and the subject, and between the subject and the background.
With the same lens and the same aperture, moving closer, thanks to the filter, will lead you to enjoy a better depth of field blur. Isn’t it wonderful?!

[icon name=”fa-arrow-circle-right”] About image quality.
It is said that the close-up filters are not as good as macro lenses (I hope so, considering the costs!! 😮 ). It can produce vignetting, with the edges of pictures a bit sharp less than the center.
I have, personally, never been disappointed by the quality of my pictures. I made it with Hoya filters, a good brand, I think.
No need to examine the photos at a huge size. See my macro photos below… Do you like it?! 🙂

[icon name=”fa-arrow-circle-right”] Close-up filter and EXIF.
As the filter is put at the end of the lens, there is no connection with the body camera.
The information “you shot with a +4 close-up filter” will not appear in your exif. You must remember it! 😉

[icon name=”fa-arrow-circle-right”] How much does it cost?
You will be able, thanks to close-up filters, to make some macrophotography for less than 25€, or 30$. Isn’t it amazing?!
Here is an example of an Hoya filter, on Amazon.com. Remember to check the diameter of your lens before buying some!!
I recommend you to buy one or two filters of a good brand rather than a kit of 4 filters with cheap quality.

[icon name=”fa-arrow-circle-right”] “Close-up feeling” and… one of my secrets for proxy photography. 😉
The filter are not, obviously, a magic solution for beautiful macro photos. It’s only a gear, a tool, after all.
Therefore, you won’t be exempted to move around your subject, go closer, move back, frame, change your mind, adjust the aperture, find the good focus and so on!… 🙂

Here is my advice, and one of my secrets for macrophotography.
In a picture full of sharp elements, the subject seems to be a small element among others… On the contrary, with a same size in the picture, if your subject is surrounded by blurry elements and is a sharp and attractive point in a clean photo, its presence will be stronger!
In fact, the subject will appear closer that way, even if this is not true.
So, think, not only to move closer, but to enhance the “close-up feeling” and use blur to show the subjectif off to its advantages.

 

Macrophotography with close-up filters Gallery

And now, some pictures, taken with my close-up filter!

Enjoy, and good close-up shootings to you!

 

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3 comments

  • Evelyne, Tout Simplement

    Je rêve de faire ça… un jour… peut-être… C’est sublime !

  • Joël

    J’ai un faible pour la première, surtout que l’image étant grande (pour mon écran), j’ai déroulé de haut en bas et les fleurs jaunes sont alors apparues, nichées dans le bas de l’image et tellement lumineuses !
    Bon, les 200g de chocolat j’aime bien aussi 🙂 Belle démonstration que l’on peut tirer de belles images de choses toutes simples !

  • Anne-Laure Jacquart

    Hihi, merci pour ces beaux compliments sur mes photos macro… en français sur la version anglaise de l’article !! 😆
    Je crois qu’on va tous vraiment parler franglais dans pas longtemps !! 😉

    Thank you so much for your kind comments about my macrophotographs… in French on the English version of the website!! 😆
    What if we talked Frenglish?! It could be funny! 😉

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