I’ve prepared a short series of photos taken with Sony NEX 6 with reversed SEL 18-55 mm f/3.5-5.6 lens for you to compare. In the future (soon…) I’ll try to add a similiar set taken with Jana’s Canon 500D with reversed 18-55 mm IS lens for comparation.
Let’s begin at the short end of the lens, 18 mm with the widest aperture. I recommend using an aperture priority mode…after all, aperture is what we’re after. Set ISO to your liking and surroundings – this macro work relies heavily on good light as your scene is pretty damn small! Just use an IKEA lamp and you’ll be fine. As a subject, I’ll be using a coin as it shows the depth of field very nicely. The camera is placed on a tripod for stabilization as the shutterspeed decreases with increasing aperture. At the long end of the lens with F 32, the shutterspeed (the slowest shutterspeed overall) was 3.2 seconds with ISO 1600. What would generally work the best for me would be the shot with focal length between 24 and 35 mm with aperture between 13 and 20. Shutterspeed in this case would be between 1 and 2 seconds, which is quite a lot, but you can usually get a better source of light than a small IKEA lamp and it is possible to drop the shutter down to about 1/60 s. You can work with a flash too, just remember you have to reflect it to your subject somehow. A speedlite would work even better. Also note the working distance – at the 18 mm, it’s less than 2 centimetres and so you probably will block a lot of light coming to your subject with your lens. At 35 mm, it’s about 6 centimetres – with this you can actually work and get decent light at your subject. At the 55 mm focal length, the focusing distance is about 12 centimetres – lots of space, but not much of a macro I’d say.