Have an account? Login | New to Lomography? Register | Lab | Current Site:

Diopters In Every Camera Bag

Diopters, also known as macro or close-up lenses. At most times, you may think you couldn't be bothered with them, but honestly, they are some of the most useful accessories a Lomographer might need! And i am here to show you the reasons why.

A diopter is a small magnifying glass that screws on to the lens like a filter. They come in different versions, from plus 1, which is the weakest, to plus 10, the strongest. It’s possible to find very cheap sets online. I bought the cheapest one I could find, a set of four diopters: plus 1, plus 2, plus 4 and plus 10. To produce any steps you don’t have, you can screw the diopters together, i.e. 1 plus 2 = 3 and 2 plus 4 = 6. But if you use more than two diopters at once, you’ll probably get a bit of tunnel vision effect.

A piece of good advice is to buy a set that fits the filter threads on your biggest lens (mine is 58mm), and use inexpensive step-down rings for your other cameras/lenses. For cameras without filter threads I just hold the diopter in front of the lens.

When you’re using diopters, the depth of field becomes very shallow – the higher the the number of the diopter, the more shallow the depth of field. If you’re shooting with an SLR you can see whether or not the subject is in focus, so it’s no biggie. But with other cameras you need to know the right focus distance.

With your camera set to focus on infinity:

diopter focus distance
+1 1m
+2 1/2m = 50cm
+3 1/3m = 33cm
+4 1/4m=25cm

… and so on. You get the picture, right?

Some people like to use a measuring tape or a piece of string tied around the lens with the distances marked out. Since I’m nothing of a perfectionist I just guesstimate.

With macro photography, it’s always important to have plenty of light. Shoot outdoors in bright sunlight (being careful not to block it), or use a flash, like the ringflash, that lights the subject from all angles.

If it’s raining outside and you only have a crappy, regular flash, try using a pc flash cord and experiment with different angles of lighting – from above or from the side. If you just leave the flash in your camera’s hot shoe the lens will usually create a big fat shadow right where you wanted the light to go!

Sarah Joncas, Sylvia Ji, Angelique Houtkamp, Juxtapoz, Neil Gaiman

written by eggzakly


  1. cyan-shine


    Great article!

    over 4 years ago · report as spam
  2. dogma


    Nice love this review!

    over 4 years ago · report as spam
  3. paramir


    great stuff! I am going to get me a set! thank you @eggzakly!

    over 4 years ago · report as spam
  4. herbert-4


    Excellent article!! Also you can stack them!!

    over 4 years ago · report as spam
  5. grady60

    is it possible to attach diopters to the Nikon d3000 DSLR?
    over 4 years ago · report as spam
  6. lageos


    Great articel and amasing fotos!

    over 4 years ago · report as spam
  7. eggzakly


    @grady60 Yes! Any camera/lens with filter threads - and if it doesn't have filter threads just tape/hold them to the front of the lens!

    over 4 years ago · report as spam
  8. takeaphotoitlllastlonger


    If the wolves come out of the walls, it's all over. :s

    about 4 years ago · report as spam
  9. eggzakly



    about 4 years ago · report as spam