New Close-up Lens for Macro Photography

Flower Headdress
35mm film, Canon 500D close-up lens, 75-300mm lens

When I first began to explore macro photography, I did not want to spend the money for a dedicated macro lens. A friend acquainted me with the Canon 500D close-up lens. After attaching it to my 75-300mm lens, I was hooked. That was back in the 1990s when film reigned. Since then, Canon has discontinued the 500D and its less powerful companion the 250D.

Thanks to Charles Needle Photography's Gear Guide, I found a replacement. These are the Promaster 3D and 5D achromatic close-up lenses available from Hunt's Photo. The 3D is a +3 strength and the 5D a +5 strength. These so-called lenses have two pieces of glass, so they are optically corrected and much sharper than the single element macro filters. 

Lady Slipper Orchid
Canon 500D close-up lens, 70-200mm lens

Despite being called a lens, these are really just filters that screw onto the front of any lens. Then you can focus much closer to small objects than you can without the lens. They work especially well with telephoto zooms, such as a 70-200mm or 75-300mm. The zoom function gives you the flexibility of a macro focusing rail without needing to carry another piece of equipment.

The achromatic close-up lenses are lighter weight and less expensive than a dedicated macro lens. You can stack the two different strengths for more magnification. And you can combine them with extension tubes or add them to a macro lens for increased magnification.

Winter Pas de Deux
35mm film, Canon 500D close-up lens, 75-300mm lens

Even if flower season is on the wane, consider adding one of these filters to your camera bag for close-up results no matter what lens you have on your camera.