What I really like about macro photography is that it can be really affordable. Great images can be made with rather low budget gear.

Most of the time I use a cheap 90mm macro lens for my images but I came to enjoy the Nikon 20mm F/1.8G lens for close up shots as well (kind of non low budget lens). Mostly for small mushrooms and other small details in the field. It can certainly give a very nice perspective. However it is not always easy to get close to things with a large front diameter lens since the focal length requires me to get VERY close to my subject.

Of course I already stumbled over the insanely expensive Laowa 24mm pinprobe lens and I was wondering if this lens is the first lens that can yield this kind of bug perspective photography. I know that some folks are adapting microscope lenses to their camera which are also very small in diameter and I would certainly not hesitate to build my own adapter but the results mostly look like images taken with a higher focal length. Is there anything else that could be used to get the wide angle look from close up?

Let me show you an example where I could make use of such a setup:

enter image description here

I only took this image of some trompet lichen with my phone as an example. I would like to shoot these lichen from very close up with my 20mm lens to get an wide angle shot but from underneath the lichen so that they look like tall trees rising into the sky. I certainly can get close enough (Im also using extension tubes) but I cant manage to get low enough for my desired perspective since the 20mm lens is to big.

I also made a quick 3D sketch to visualize the perspective I would like to achieve (please dont judge my 3D modeling skills):

enter image description here

  • \$\begingroup\$ If you leave Nikon area you will find insane x5 lens: canon-europe.com/lenses/mp-e-65mm-f-2-8-1-5x-macro-photo-lens \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jan 2, 2022 at 14:29
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ I know this lens. It has great magnification but 65mm is not necessarily wide. \$\endgroup\$
    – Arji
    Commented Jan 2, 2022 at 14:31
  • \$\begingroup\$ On such close-up you loose a lot from wide angle. And you win x5 \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jan 2, 2022 at 14:40
  • \$\begingroup\$ But the wide angle look is my goal. \$\endgroup\$
    – Arji
    Commented Jan 2, 2022 at 14:41
  • \$\begingroup\$ One problem with wide angle and macro is that very few things in your field of view are in focus. You are also going to struggle for light. At that point I would consider uprooting the lichen and take shots at home, possibly from under a sheet of glass. \$\endgroup\$
    – xenoid
    Commented Jan 2, 2022 at 15:14

1 Answer 1


Well, my first recommendation would be: Do not use extension tubes. What you are doing is extending the focal length. Instead of having a 20mm lens you now have let's say a 40mm, so you are removing the wide-angle look.

Try to get a close-up filter lens, so you can get closer to the object. Of course, there are different quality filters, but that is another issue. Lower magnification will have less distortion.

We could discuss about quality loss, but I am sure a good option is to try them by yourself and have fun playing with them. It is better to have a not so optimal option than regret not taking a picture.

You could also try some for your phone. Again, in terms of quality, you should probably see some reviews.

Here is another option. An action camera. They have native wide-angle lenses, but the minimum focal distances are more than 50cm, so you have again the problem of getting closer, and again an option is to use close-up filter lenses.

enter image description here

Here I am using a DJI action camera with a 10x cheap 52mm filter close-up lens. As you can see the notebook is now out of focus (at 50cm), but my hand, holding the lens is in focus. This image is part of my testings on what focus distances I have with my 4 filter lenses kit.

I got this setup not for photography but for video, so for me, the quality is acceptable. I even plan to make a 3D-printed rig to hold the lens in place.

Another additional benefit is that you can shoot remotely with your cellphone, so you do not have to be on the floor, only the camera.

I will try to upload some other images and see if I can replicate some bug points of view shots.


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