One way to get really, really close is to turn a lens around and attach it to the camera backward. All it takes is a simple adapter that screws on to the lens' filter threads and has the male connecter to attach to the camera. Here is the one I use with my EF 50mm f/1.4 USM lens.
This method is easier and more effective with some camera brands and types than others. The Canon EOS system I use happens to be one of the more difficult systems with which to use this technique. By reversing the lens you lose all electrical contact between the lens and the camera and all lens functions in EF lenses are electrical.
In order to use the lens reversed you have to first select the aperture you want to use with the lens mounted normally and the camera turned on. Then, while pressing the depth of field preview button, remove the lens from the camera. The diaphragm will stay at the aperture you selected. For closeup work, you will want to use at least f/8 or smaller.
After you attach the reversed lens to the camera, use manual mode and adjust the shutter speed as suggested by the camera's metering system. You can adjust the ISO setting to help get a shutter speed you're looking for. If you're using flash, set the shutter speed to 1/60 sec. and let the flash metering adjust the exposure.Your only means of focusing is by moving the camera.
The first picture below shows the closest focus possible with the EF 50mm f/1.4 USM lens mounted normally, a distance of 18 inches. The second picture shows how close it focuses reversed.
|Canon EOS 5D, EF 50mm f/1.4 USM at f/8, 1/60 sec, ISO 100, Speedlite 270EX|
|EOS 5D, EF 50mm f/1.4 USM reversed at f/8, 1/60 sec, ISO 100, Speedlite 270EX|