Extreme Macro Adapters

by Johan J Ingles-Le Nobel
Last updated August 31, 2017


You'll get used to dealing with boxes and boxes of adapters when you start extreme macro, and I have a couple of them filled with all sorts of weird and wonderful things.

But there are some especially useful adapter sites and sellers that I'd like to point people towards as they've proven especially useful to me over the time that I've done extreme macro.

For what it's worth, eBay is usually the first place I always look for adapters and the choice on there is usually very good. But two things to watch out for: in the long run it will help you to get an adapter that is marked with what it does (ie has 49 - 62 in white writing on the side), and watch out for the delivery times.

Macro adapters

Lens adapters. I have boxes and boxes of them: ebay seller Jinfinance is always the place I look first or mail if I need something especially weird and obscure.


The ebay seller Jinfinance is always the place I look first or mail if I need something especially weird and obscure.

For example he is the only one who I know of who does the M42 diaphragm and the M25 Nikon infinite adaptor.

Jinfinance is also always open to ideas for new things to make so if you have a weird and wonderful adapter requirement it's worth popping him a mail.


Although I tend to eschew generic marketing driven sites like this, macrorings has proven to be quite useful on occasion. For example they do a nice 49mm-49mm female-female which is harder to find than hen's teeth.

Adriano Lolli

A specialist Italian source for some very unusual adapters in both the macro and micro worlds, Adriano Lolli will also custom build adapters to your exact requirements. Adriano Lolli has a well-earned reputation in photomacrography and photomicrography circles.


Good European source for adapters and cine lenses for old ex Soviet bloc brands such as Lomo, Helios etc. Also makes custom adapters in unusual sizes. For example a 34.5mm adapter to 48mm, which lets you mount a Baader Venus filter onto a 80mm El-Nikkor f/5.6 (older version with chrome) for UV fluorescence photography.

Adapter Delivery Times

Beyond these two Internet shopping sites that I especially like, ebay is a very good source for adapter rings of all shapes and sizes, especially if you search by global delivery (as opposed to UK sellers with UK delivery).

Seems to me that UK sellers selling into the UK typically charge between 2x and 10x as much for the same item that you can order directly from a reseller in the Far East, ie China.

I've made several hundred eBay purchases of which quite a few were adapters from the Far East, and as long as you make sure that you're ordering the correct item, the quality of good that they provide is as good if not better than the goods sold by UK camera shops and sellers.

But you will have to wait a bit longer, that's the downside. So expect to wait 2-4 weeks for a cheap £5 adapter that'd cost you £15 and arrive in a couple of days if you bought it from a UK person.

Adapter Strategy

If you're planning to get serious about extreme macro then it's probably worth your while planning an adapter strategy. What I mean by this is some common size, that you choose all your adapters round: a size that you make all your adapters fit to because you have both male to males and females to females, and you already have the bellows end at this size so you only need to buy one adapter for the next unusual lens that you purchase. Mine happens to be 49mm but I know of others who use M42.

Step Up Rings

Step-up rings have an end with a male thread to be mounted on the camera lens and the other end, with a female thread, that accepts filters, more rings or other photography accessories. A step up ring has two size markings in millimeter: the first number is the male thread, closest to the camera, and the second is the size of the female thread. For example, a step-up ring marked 49mm-52mm means the male and female thread sizes are 49mm and 52mm, respectively. Step down rings are similar to step ups except instead of increasing in size they decrease. Ie a step-down marked 52mm-49mm means the male and female thread sizes are 52mm and 49mm, respectively. If you buy a filter larger than the largest filter ring on your largest lens you can use these to make it fit any lens.

Watch Out For

It's worth doublechecking your 42mm adapter purchases that it's the right one. "M42" means M42 x 1 mm standard, which in turn means that it is a metric screw thread of 42 mm diameter and 1mm thread pitch. There is also a T42 mount which also uses a 42mm thread, but the pitch is finer at 0.75mm. The two pitches are not interchangeable, and attempting to mount an M42 lens on a T mount or vice-versa, may damage the thread of lens or mount. T42 is a common mount in astronomy circles; the T is said to stand for Tamron, a Japanese manufacturer that released in 1957 the first of a line of aftermarket camera lenses that fit 35 mm SLR cameras built by various manufacturers using their universal T-mount. On the first model, the T-mount used a M37x0.75 thread; Tamron's M42x0.75 T-thread didn't appear on the market until about 1962. The company referred to it variously as a T-mount, T-thread, T-adapter, or a T-400.

Comments (10)

Article: Adapters
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Harold Gough says...
In the last few days I have received, from RAfCameras, a cone tube for mounting RMS (20mm) mount lenses onto m42. It gives 50mm of extension.

The tip, which is slightly narrower than the lens I use on it, makes lighting tiny subjects, at working distances of down to 20mm, much easier than alternatives and the lens can be inserted into gaps where extension tubes and some lenses cannot go. It will be of particular help to me when subjects (e.g. tiny mushrooms or slime moulds) are on branches and logs, where the curvature of the substrate would otherwise limit approach, especially at low angles.
29th March 2019 4:11pm
Andy Baptist says...
What an excellent resource. Andy

24th February 2019 11:05pm
Michael says...
Thanks as always thoughtful and helpful advice.
Here's a link to a reversed lens protector for Nikon F lenses at a budget price, via this Australian eBay seller camgear2u who has a good range of adapters and couplers etc for Nikon and Canon and many filter sizes (except 67/67 male).


30th November 2018 8:35am
Harold Gough says...
I'm not sure how much use that would be but I thought it worth the modest price for something so unusual. There is now only one left.
16th December 2018 6:00pm
Baldilocks says...
Had the same difficulty finding F-F coupling rings so I tried Macrorings. Arrived today from them in 8 days, well ahead of schedule but cost $5 for the ring plus $10 for shipping! Bit steep. Box was labelled Sonia, a name I've seen before so I searched for it. They do lots of other camera gear but not the rings that I knew them for. I searched AliExpress and struck gold. A company on there called Happytopstar do several F-F rings, always 'same size' ie 49-49 or 55-55, for £7.76 inc p&p. Mostly labelled 'double female' or 'dual female'
19th July 2018 11:42am
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