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Close-up Lenses

A close up lens is a lens that fits like a filter onto the end of another lens, allowing it to focus closer. They come in different strengths measured in dioptres, and can be used on their own or added together. They can be purchased singularly or in sets.

Sets often come with a set of four lenses  1, 2, 4 dioptre and a higher one, sometimes labelled macro and usually 10 dioptre. By using several of these together you can get 1-7 and 10-17 (dioptre).

The lens its connected to

Close up lenses can be used with any lens including telephotos.

You need one that is at least as big as the lens, so the set shown here would work with a lens with a 62mm filter size or smaller. You can connect this to a smaller lens using a stepping ring .



There is a lot of difference in quality between different lenses, some are little more than moulded glass while others are complex sets of coated lenses within a holder. The better ones produce far clearer images, particularly when used with a good lens.

The part of the image in the centre can nearly match the quality of a good macro lens but towards the outside there is usually some distortion.

You get different quality out of different aperture, and focal length combinations.


Nikon Close Up lenses

Nikon did produce, up to a few years ago, a number of close up lenses including two that were 62mm fit, labelled 5T and 6T.

5T is 1.5 dioptre and the 6T is 2.9 dioptre, they can be used on their own or combined. Both contain several lenses and the quality of the image produced with these is far superior to the set shown above.  A pair of these together second hand was recently sold on eBay for 129.

Images right and below: Nikon T5 and T6 close up lenses.

Special effect use

While most will connect close up lenses onto their cameras filter rings allowing a lens to focus closer, some may also use them as special effect lenses, with a clamp holding them in front of the lens but at an angle and maybe off centre, which allows either greater depth of field, the forced out of focus effect or spot focusing. This is not easy to achieve but if your camera has live view and you can connect it up to a computer,  for example a later pro Nikon used with Nikon Capture Pro 2, then you can see the effects that you can get.

See Also


By:  Keith Park Section: Key:
Page Ref: Close_up_Lenses Topic: Photographic Techniques  Last Updated: 05/2009

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