Reversing the lens is an old trick for macro photography when using bellows. The main reason was because the front element is often recessed and with macro photography the working distance from the front element to the subject is often only a few millimeters.
A shorter lens should give you more magnification. Try a 35mm or shorter lens.
Words of caution:
Put a "skylight" or UV filter on your camera lens to protect it from being damaged by the other lens.
Lens to subject distance can be very short. Be careful not to damage the lens or subject.
The additional weight on your camera lens can damage and wear the focus threads and motors.
As for me, I use a dedicated macro lens or macro bellows with my old film camera. Bellows can be used with digital cameras with interchangeable lenses with proper adapter but you will have to focus, set exposure and aperture manually. Bellows will allow you use a variety of lenses including enlarger lenses. Enlarger lenses like true macro lenses are corrected to have a flat field of focus so there will be very little pincushion or barrel distortion - very important if you are photographing flat subjects such as stamps.
Here is a list of some of the lenses and optical magnification I can get with my bellows:
100mm macro bellows lens - 1.2x
50mm - 3.1x
35mm macro - 5x
28mm - 7.8x
25mm enlarger lens - 10x
Magnification is defined as to how large the image appears on the full 35mm frame. Thus at 1x an object 35mm wide would fill the entire 35mm frame of film. At 10x a 3.5mm object would fill the full 35mm frame.
For those who have never seen macro bellows here is my latest acquisition, the Minolta Auto Bellows III with auto bellows 100mm macro lens and X-700 body. The AB-III was one of the ultimate in bellows development having swing and shift capabilities so that you can get greater depth of field and perspective correction:
Here is my older Auto Bellows I with focusing rails (no shift, swing, fixed rear mount) with the same camera body, macro ring flash and 50mm "normal" lens. I picked up the bellows and rails with a 35mm macro lens off eBay for about 80 bucks, 20 bucks for the lens and the flash for about $100 (much sought after - allows through the lens metering with this camera, flash tubes can be turned off (4) to create shadowing). I only bought this lens so I could use the slide copier attachment. If I bought this stuff new mid 80s-mid 90s it would have been around $700. Focusing rails are critical with macro work because the depth of field can be only a few milimeters.
Here is a photo I took of a Pinguicula cyclosecta using a 28mm lens with a reverse mount. Leaf was maybe 1-1.5 centimeters across. You can see how shallow the depth of field can be.:
(nearly) Full frame (~7.8x):
Crop of same frame:
Here's the same plant a couple days earlier using the 100mm macro lens (~1x magnification). Plant is in a 52mm pot (2.25 inch), edges of the pot are slightly outside the frame:
Grand Hotel... always the same. People come, people go. Nothing ever happens.
Sweet setup Warren! I really need to get some focusing rails and a decent tripod so I can do some digital focus stacking. They're so damned expensive though!
I picked up an old macro zoom lens in a pawn shop a while back for my Canon AE-1 Program. I was lucky enough that it fit the set of closeup lenses I have. I haven't used it much lately, but here's one from when I visited the huntington a while back.
LOL! I think it's easier to have one of you visit me, at regular intervals, and take some pictures!
Nice photographs everyone. Wow.
"Fox terriers are born with about four times as much original sin in them as other dogs." - Jerome K. Jerome
great stuff guys.....though its a tad cheaper if yah live somewhere bigger than me and have alot more places to cruise for the parts to put this kinda stuff together....ill be buying a dedicated macro lens this year rather than playing the ebay gamble and all that.....
another thing on the focusing on stuff so close to the lens light gets interesting which is why they use ring lights.......if your going to be doing some of these without a ring light i would highly recommend in investing in a couple LED book lights with the positionable lights......IIRC i bought one for $7......buy 2 of them so yah can place one on either side...
wow! That is truly amazing! You can see the hairs so clearly!