Last year I bought a macro lens for the summer—just a normal one with 1x magnification—and I immediately found myself in a beautiful and mesmerizing world of minuscule flowers and bugs. I found that in macro photography, you don’t have to travel to beautiful places to take beautiful photos—you can just walk around in your backyard, and discover a whole new world. Also, you don’t have to wake up at 4 AM to catch the golden hour…
This year, however, I decided I wanted to take things to the next level. I wanted a super macro lens with 2x or more in magnification, so that I could take closeup portraits of ants and bees. I started Googling around for the right lenses and soon discovered that there are only a couple of them out there. The best known is the Canon MP-E 65, but it costs north of $1,000. There is also a 2x macro lens from Venus Optics, but it’s still $400 for the lens alone… and then you need to add some kind of flash setup.
I thought this was way too much money to just try super macro photography, so I decided to look around for cheaper solutions.
That was when I discovered this excellent article on a Swedish site. It describes how you can build your own super macro rig with cheap parts off Amazon or eBay. This build works with any Canon EF compatible camera, meaning most Canon cameras and also mirrorless cameras with adapters. After some browsing, I was able to find all the parts on Amazon and I ordered them.