Accidental Macro Photos Using an Old C-Mount CCTV Lens and M42 Extender

If you just so happen to have both a C-mount CCTV lens and a M42-mount teleconverter lying around, try combining the two: you may find a makeshift macro combo on your hands.

That’s what photo-enthusiast Bradley Thompson discovered recently. He tells us,

I was fiddling around with an old M42 mount teleconverter I purchased off of eBay, and was seeing if an old CCTV lens I had lying around would fit into it. Somehow, it worked, and it could take some surprisingly close-up images with it! The threading on the inside of the teleconverter fit the small lens perfectly, who knew an old M42 Lentar 3x converter had a C-mount thread on the inside?

I mounted it on the Canon 600D (T3i) and went to town; the focus on it is very narrow, only a few millimeters, hence the blurriness around everything except for the center of the image. I just took these photos freehand to test it out, especially surprised at the detail; you can see the dust on the edge of my USB!

Here are some quick sample shots he snapped using his new macro lens:

The iTunes icon on an iPhone 4

Closeup of a male USB end from a mouse

Closeup of a male USB end from a mouse

The ‘0’ key on a laptop keyboard

An icon on a laptop LCD screen

If you have a C-Mount lens but no M42 teleconverter/adapter, you can also buy yourself a C-Mount adapter for whatever mount your camera uses. The resulting combo won’t not have the macro abilities seen here, though, unless you also find one with 3x magnification.

Image credits: Photographs by Bradley Thompson and used with permission

  • slvrscoobie

    As a manufacturer of Cmount cameras, its is VERY unusual to cover even a APS-C (1.5x crop) sensor with a CCTV lens. Most of these cover a at most an 11mm diagonal. thats 1/4 of the full frame diagonal.

  • Bradley Thompson

    Hey, I’m the photographer from the article. Yes, CCTV lenses commonly aren’t used for larger sensor cameras, but I bought mine solely for macro purposes. They are great for extreme closeups, and with the teleconverter it was just an easy way of mounting it/gave it an even longer zoom :D

  • Kodachrome64

    I have a Fotasy 35mm 1.7 that I got off Amazon which I use on my X-Pro1. It covers the sensor fine and it’s really quite a fun lens. I’ve heard that the 25mm 1.4 almost covers an APS-C sensor, and does fine on micro four-thirds. Using it on a mirrorless camera also lets you get the lens close enough to the sensor to allow for infinity focus, so there’s a whole bunch of stuff you can do with it.