A Homemade All-In-One Macro Rig for the Financially Challenged

Photographer Christian Lobo came up with this thrifty macro setup that uses his Canon Rebel T3/1100D and a 50mm f/1.8. It might look ghetto, but it actually functions pretty well for casual macro photography.

Here’s an ingredients list:

Lobo uses a well known trick to fixing his lens at f/14 (holding DOF preview and removing the lens). The flashlight is used to provide sufficient light, since the aperture used is small. Focusing is done by moving the camera forward and backward.

Here are some sample photographs captured using the rig:

Update: Here are some additional sample photographs:

Image credits: Photographs by Christian Lobo and used with permission

  • Simon Colmer

    yet again, another appalling macro posting. as much as I admire the ingenuity of hacking something together, the quality of the lighting is really really bad. macro work is so much more than this. 

  • Casey Myers

    Bad lighting and bad subjects! I am by far not the best Macro Photographer out there but good lighting, compostition and subject matter go a long way.
    Here is one of my Macro sets on flickr:

  • JohnS

    I think you miss the point. Anyone who needs this kind of setup clearly is not going to be heavily into macro photography. 

    I really appreciated this article as it has shown me how I can coble together optics that will work for macro from items I already own.If I can start doing macro with such little investment I can experiment and work on lighting and develop the technical skills and understanding needed to evaluate whether I want to invest in a proper macro setup. 

    In short obviously this is not a setup designed to create superlative images but rather to able a low entry barrier to the world of macro and act as a teaching tool.

  • Jimmy Russels

    This is a pretty poor article. Just because it’s cheap doesn’t make it worthy of a post. Stop letting the interns run the blog, yeah?

  • GG

    Your photos are better but they are not that great.

  • Wallerus

    Translation: these photos are terrible, please have a look at mine instead. Since I didn’t get featured the on the blog. Also, having a 7D goes a long way too. end. rant.

  • Shnikeys

    Wow, what a snarky,  holier than thou bunch of people!  Not everyone can afford the equipment to do this the right way.  I admire this guy’s ingenuity and willingness to experiment with things rather than just buying more gear.  Innovators experiment and learn.  Everyone else just spends more money.

  • rtfe

    unoriginal cheese, good luck at glamour shots!!

  • Casey Myers

    I didn’t say they were “that great”. There are way better macro photogs out there them myself but it is a passion of mine. Also I am not saying that cheap rigs can not produce quality macro shots. I have seen many a photog use cheap DIY rigs and create great results but a 7D, 5D II, etc. with quality glass and lighting will always create better results IMHO.

  • Casey Myers

    Let’s see your work!

  • GG

    He probably couldn’t afford the high end equipment you have. In fact he might be put off close-up photography altogether because of the negative comments.

    It might be a good idea to wait and see what sort of masterpiece he comes up with in the near future. Even Terry Richardson had to start somewhere.

  • Jeannine

    I honestly believe I have a set of screw on macro lenses that would do just as well

  • Christian Lobo

    Hey guys!  I went on a walk today during my lunch break at work and snapped some photos with this rig with about 25mm of extension tubes.  The whole setup isn’t too bad considering everything (including the camera) is the price of the Canon 100mm F2.8(non-L)!  It was the most relaxing lunch break I’ve had in a while!  Here’s an Imgur album:

  • rtfe

    you said you were “by far the best Macro Photographer out there” -before you edited it.

    who the hell says that?? 


  • Tzctplus -

     OK, are you going to give each of us a $500 macro lens and a $100 (which is cheap) lighting rig?


    I thought so.

  • Tzctplus -

     Bad subjects? That is a first …

  • Tzctplus -

    Snobbery again! I am not shocked.

  • Asherarain

    I certainly appreciate your aesthetic sensibility with the rig proposed by the article. 

  • Asherarain

    The rig is like any high-end product, IS JUST A TOOL. Like the saying goes “the clothes don’t make the man…. etc” same goes for equipment. Certainly newest on the market make life technologically “easier” but there still must be an “eye” for the craft, beginner to experienced. The post is helpful for those who have the need. If it’s not for you then move along and hopefully keep your negative and rude comments to your self, if possible.

  • Casey Myers

    In response to your comment below, I stated ” I am by far not the best Macro Photographer out there. Maybe you should learn to read, I clearly said “NOT”.

  • Casey Myers

    Ecellent work Christian, I hope you didn’t take any offense to my comments above. Keep up the great work and thanks for sharing!

  • PattersonWillard24

    my co-worker’s sister got paid $21912 the previous week. she gets paid on the internet and got a $416800 house. All she did was get fortunate and put into action the steps given on this link

    ⇛⇛⇛⇛► (Click At My Name For Link)

  • Joey Duncan

    WTF does this even mean?

  • Joey Duncan

    “for casual macro photography.” <——- understanding FAIL. (reference: See above posters)

  • Jon M

    Hi Christian,

    I enjoyed seeing your set-up and images.  If you have an 18-55mm kit lens, you should get an ebay 58mm EOS reverse ring and try some macro work using that as well; you might be surprised. 

  • Neal Kernohan

    I hear Terry Richardson had to start at the top and work his way up to the bottom. ;)