If I reverse mount a Canon 50mm F1.4 prime lens on Canon Rebel T3i/600d can I still use manual focus for macro?


2 Answers 2


We have a great blog post here at our own photography stack exchange blog that explains the process very thoroughly: Take macro shots like this for less than the cost of a pizza

To answer your question, yes you can still manual focus, that is the only option as autofocus will not work when reverse mounted. Manual focus is a bit odd feeling, because the mount is so small and doesn't really give a solid "mount" feeling as a normal mount would.

You don't directly have control over aperture, but you do on a Canon body by using the depth of field preview button(Using tack on a Nikon lens). The blog post listed above has the details on how to achieve this specifically, but it is a very nice "hack" indeed.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Caveat: some lenses (e.g. the Canon 85mm f/1.2) require camera power even for manual focus, as the focusing mechanism is moved electronically even when the focusing ring is being used (known as electronic manual focusing). I know the question was specifically about the 50mm f/1.4 but thought it worth mentioning for a more complete answer. \$\endgroup\$
    – user456
    Commented Aug 13, 2012 at 22:44
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Whatever you do, don't try to reverse mount the grapefruit size Canon 85mm f/1.2! I feel sorry for the poor guy who tries that! \$\endgroup\$
    – dpollitt
    Commented Aug 13, 2012 at 22:49
  • \$\begingroup\$ What, you mean you've never tried it? You haven't lived! (Disclosure: I haven't tried it...) \$\endgroup\$
    – user456
    Commented Aug 14, 2012 at 8:11

NO. Manual focus will NOT be available with a Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 that is reverse mounted to the camera body.

Reverse mounting attaches the filter threads, and all the glass elements of the lens, directly to the camera body. When you turn the focus ring the body of the lens will move back and forth but it will not move the glass elements.

The only way to achieve focus is to move the camera forward and backward.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Moving the camera back and forth is manual focus. \$\endgroup\$
    – xiota
    Commented Aug 24, 2019 at 20:00
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    \$\begingroup\$ “Can I still use Manual Focus” means that this question is about turning the focus ring to manually focus the lens. If it were not, there would be no reason to ask the question. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Aug 24, 2019 at 20:29

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