I have a Nikon D5100 with the 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 kit lens.

I am an amateur interested in: 1. macro - insects, flowers, objects. 2. portraits- love blurry backgrounds, focused and unfocused body parts. 3. occasional landscapes

To avoid buying an expensive macro lens, should i buy filters, reversing ring, extension tube for macro?

I dont like the portraits I got with kit lens. Any suggestions, or must I buy a new lens? And would any of the above options improve portraits?

  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ Why didn't you like the portraits shot with your kit lens? Depth of field not shallow enough, not sharp enough? \$\endgroup\$
    – MikeW
    Feb 9, 2013 at 10:41
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ How long do you have your DSLR? Give your self a time with picturing, and you will perceive what is exactly your interest. For example, when I bought my DSLR, I was interested in portraits, but now is completely different, I'm very interested in night photos. So time is maybe your first criteria. \$\endgroup\$
    – D4Am
    Feb 9, 2013 at 11:10

2 Answers 2


About macro: I used everyone of them, including a macro lens a friend borrowed me and in the end my favorite solutions are:

  • A close-up filter (but a good one with multiple elements, like the Canon 500D close up filter) for portability - it's one less lens to carry around, is extremely light and mounted on even a kit telephoto zoom it gives wonderful results with a good working distance. Bad side: cost as the cheap ones are of terrible quality. This was taken with the close-up and no flash, if I remember correctly: http://www.flickr.com/photos/marcomp/7529094508/in/photostream

The bad side of both is convenience - be ready to focus manually and in the case of the ring also expose manually. If you prefer AF and AE, go the dedicated macro lens route.


Why don't you like the portraits from your kit lens? you should take a long hard look at your pictures and decide exactly what it is you want to improve.

Then you should try to solve the problem without getting a new lens - if you ask here how to do something specific with your kit lens you will probably get a good answer.

Only when you are sure it's a lens limit you buy a new lens - or lighting equipment or whatever you need.

A portrait is mostly about posing and lighting, it's unlikely a new lens will automatically improve your portraits (on the other hand new techniques tend to offer immediate improvements)

And about the macro (that should really be a different questions) a real macro lens is best, the filters are pretty bad and extension tubes and reversal rings are both good, I would get a cheap extension tube set to experiment with but a reversal ring will also do the job (I'm just a little nervous about exposing the back element of my lens, but that's just me)

  • \$\begingroup\$ Actually good filters (which are expensive) like the Canon 500D or Nikon 5T are pretty good in quality, and are made of multiple glass elements to minimize CA. But they cost 5-10x the cheap filters around. \$\endgroup\$
    – Marco Mp
    Feb 9, 2013 at 13:31

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