In terms of build quality and performance, what type of reverse lens mount should I be looking at? I'm looking to use this method in place of buying a Macro lens at the moment, just to test the waters and explore the world of Macro photography. Any tips, tricks or buying advice would be great. Thanks
I've read that using this method you have to be fairly close to the subject to be in focus approx. 4in opposed to say 6in? Now for argument sake, a good Macro lens will cost $400+ were as a reverse lens mount somewhere in the range of $10+ So although some of the negitives (focusing, closeness to subject, quality of photo, etc.) out weigh the positives, I think for the price, it is a good starting ground to get my foot in the door and learn some of the basics of Macro photography. But perhaps I'm wrong, you (based on previous posts I've read) seem very knowledgable. Again any advice would be greatly appreciated.
If you can find one for $10 then go for it, what do you have to lose? Ok, $10, but that's nothing. You won't get near the detail as you would with a macro lens, and detail is a major element of macro, part of what makes it so interesting. It also requires much more fiddling than using a lens normally. I've never done it with a single lens, but I've reversed a lens onto another, and I'd guess it's a pretty similar experience. Although your minimum focus distance is more like 2 inches, not 4... it's really **bleep** close. Hard to get light in.
Biggs is right about the primes too, you're going to get much better results. If you have any intent of ever getting a fast prime like the nifty fifty, it'll do ok reversed, pretty **bleep** good normal in low light, and is fairly inexpensive. Of course, if you really want to get into macro, that's $100 you could have put towards a macro lens.
I've read that I can back a lens reversed to another. What is the benifits/cons of doing it that way instead of using a reverse mounting ring? Is one way better than the other?
Lens stacking is done to get really close, past 1:1 sizing. You're stacking up a lot of glass, so you need decent lenses, primes really. It's not without a lot of drawbacks. Your depth of field is teeny tiny, so you kind of need to stack photos to get something recognizable; so there's a lot of post processing that is time consuming. You also need a focus rail because of the size of the DoF. The focus distance is under 2 inches, so lighting these tiny subjects takes a bit of work too.
The results are a lot of fun, but resemble a microscope more than a camera. I wouldn't do it all the time, but I enjoyed playing around with the technique. I did this one with a 100mm macro stacked with a reversed 50mm, so it's 2:1. I think I used around 20 images stacked together to get the final, and you can still see slices where it's fuzzy inbetween sharp slices.
The issues you will have with a reversing adapter on the main body is lack of apeture control. This will make your depth of field VERY shallow. However, if you do do a straight reversing adapter, use it with a lens ~25-75mm focal length, this will give you ~3x to .5x magnification. Consider buying a used Canon FD 50mm lens super cheap (~$30) on ebay or the like and you should be able to keep apeture control.
When stacking lenses, you would put your 18-55 on stacked on your 55-250 (which is mounted directly to the body), this could potentially give you very good magnification, but probably not the best sharpness with those lenses.
If you are looking for a medium cost alternative, I would suggest extension tubes (~$30-100 if you want autofocus) or close-up lenses/filters (~$15-80). I got my start in macrophotography with a 58mm Canon 500D close-up filter (~$80) and enjoyed it with my 55-250mm lens (same as yours). With both options you lose infinity focus but keep apeture control and (potentially) autofocus.
The cheap close-up filters ($15) will likely have chromatic abberation but the 250D and 500D have pretty good image quality and you don't lose any light.
Consider buying a used Canon FD 50mm lens super cheap (~$30) on ebay or the like and you should be able to keep apeture control.
This is excellent advice.
I have two 35mm film SLRs. I don't use them anymore, but the 50mm primes that came with them are perfect for reversing. The manual aperture adjustment allows me to get reasonable depth of field.
Pretty much any manual 35mm film SLR lens will do. I have both Minolta and Vivitar. The only consideration is the filter size. Just make sure you order the right size reverse ring.