It seems like a year ago, but only last month I started a series of posts about fly photography. The last post showed the benefit of using a dedicated macro lens to take clear photos of flies. In my opinion, a dedicated macro lens is the way to go, but is also the most expensive option. There are less expensive ways to start.
One way is to us close up lens filters, which act like reading glasses for your camera. These allow you to get much closer to your subject, a fly in this case. These can be found on ebay and other sellers for less than $20, while dedicated macro lenses can cost $500 or more. The close up lens filters usually come in a kit with 3 filters of varying strength, +1, +2, and +4.
The filters screw onto the front of the lens, like a UV or polarizing filter.
The kits usually come with 3 filters, +1, +2, and +4 strength. These can be stacked on the lens for a total power of +7.
Here are shots of a size 14 Renegade fly taken with each filter combination, starting with no filter and finishing up with +7 (all 3 filters stacked). With each shot, the fly was moved closer to the camera to the minimum focus distance, getting much closer with each additional filter.
My camera has 15 megapixels. This is 4750 pixels across. This allows about 1200 pixels across for this fly, taken with the +7 filter configuration, which is plenty to post online.
Close up filters provide a very inexpensive way to get into close up photography. Comparing $20 to $500 and you can almost not go wrong by picking up a set and trying to see if these meet your needs before investing in a dedicated macro lens.
The next blog entry on this topic will cover extension tubes, the middle ground in lens options.