What Are Macro Lenses In Photography

By | 18/11/2022

This is a guide roofing everything you need to know about macro lenses in photography.

Maybe you lot’re thinking about buying a macro lens or maybe you already bought one and have no idea what to do with information technology!

Either way, we’ve got you covered.

Let’s dive in!

What is a Macro Lens?

The macro lens is a particular type of lens that allows you to focus on a subject from an extremely close range. This lens makes your subject appear more prominently in the viewfinder and thus the final image.

Macro photography enables viewers to enjoy the incredible details of an object, which sometimes feels similar entering a whole new globe.

Insects, plants, forest texture, and other everyday things wait more entertaining to explore.

macro photography example
macro photograph example

But how practice photographers capture these tiny little details? An answer is a unique tool called a macro lens. This blazon of lens is a must-have detail for those who desire to step up their game.

Yous may already be interested in adding the macro lens to your collection. But there are things to consider earlier ownership one every bit this photography kit has many types with different specifications.

‘True’ macro lenses can projection subjects onto your camera’s sensor at a 1:1 reproduction ratio.

This gives yous a i.0x maximum magnification at the lens Minimum Focus Altitude/MFD (MFD is measured based on the subject’s distance to the sensor).

For example, the sensor will projection a subject with 18mm length as it is. At start, information technology may sound trivial and does non hold whatever value.

But, keep in heed that a 36 x 24mm subject area will fill up the frame of your total-frame camera. So, when you lot project this onto your display, the teeny tiny details volition become more apparent than before.

What is Considered a Macro Lens?

The macro lens should have a magnification ratio of ane:1 (or even greater), with a minimum focusing distance of effectually 30 cm.

That is why the subject size ratio on the sensor airplane is precisely the aforementioned as the subject area’s real size.

It besides enables the lensman to have extremely precipitous shut-upwardly images of the objects. These features distinguish the macro lens from other photography lenses.

Lenses that have magnification ratios of 1:one, 2:1, 3:ane, or more are considered macro lenses. On the other hand, those with a magnification of i:2, 1:3, one:4, and above aren’t considered a macro lens.

Depending on the called focal length, you tin achieve unique portraits and stunning shots for nutrient photography. (cheque out the best cameras for food photography)

food photography macro
macro photograph of blueberries

What is a Macro Lens Proficient For?

Many people won’t carp ownership something that isn’t multifunctional. The good news is the macro lens comes with some built-in versatile features.

Macro lenses are available with various focal lengths, starting from the ~50mm, ~100mm, to the ~150mm and in a higher place. The lenses with a tighter ingather provide more than pleasing images with a flattering limerick.

Equally a dominion of pollex, the college your focal length is, the larger your magnification ratio, lens cost, and shooting altitude.

There are also zoom lenses that label themselves as macro lenses, although the performance differences are meaning. Zoom lenses will not quite cut it because they can’t produce images sharper than the macro lens.

On the other hand, some macro lenses have a focal length of around ~35mm, which has a magnification ratio of 1:two.

But if y’all desire a multifunctional, all-rounder type of macro lens, then go for a medium focal length of ~100mm.

They are right in the heart, allowing y’all to take detailed shots from a reasonable distance.

The focal length allows you lot to take images on your full-frame camera with a shallow depth of field and add together some apparent details into the mix for the cherry on top.

What is the Divergence between a Macro Lens and a Regular Lens?

Even though information technology’s explicitly designed to have images at shut range and magnify their fiddling details, y’all can likewise use macro lenses for everyday photography.

When compared to a regular lens, the macro lens performs improve for shooting artwork and documents realistically. Thanks to its “flat field” characteristic, which makes every shot expect sharp and appealing.

Regular lenses tin can also mimic a macro lens to a certain degree. However, it cannot transcend the quality presented by the macro lens.

macro photography example snow
macro photograph of a snow waterdrop

Tin can Y’all Use a Macro Lens as a Normal Lens?

Information technology may depend on how yous define the “normal lens.” If you refer to its versatility, I will requite y’all a solid yep to answer that question.

The medium macro focal length that hovers around ~100mm will capture detailed images with loftier quality. It is also perfect to use at events that crave you to get a closer await at your subject.

You can also use the macro lens to shoot a portrait. It will capture every beautiful detail of your perfect-looking model. Retrieve to use it from a creative angle as it tin betrayal even the smallest imperfections.

A macro lens does cost (and weighs) significantly more than regular lenses with all those qualities. It will be wise to use it to its full potential.

What are Some of the Most Popular Macro Lenses?

Macro lens photography is a highly specialized niche, guaranteeing each lens has a high quality. To guide you in choosing the best macro lens, hither are my top iii recommended models:

one. Canon MP-E 65mm f/2.8 1-5x Macro Lens

If you want to dive caput-on into the world of various close-upwardly images, this lens will be your perfect partner in law-breaking. As it has a 5:ane magnification ratio, it allows you lot to fill your total-frame sensor camera with your subject of option in extreme item.

The only setback is this lens is strictly manual focus only. But it likewise comes with a tripod back up human foot that allows you to hands attach it onto your tripods or rail systems.

The lens is specially crafted for scientific imagery along with its many macro applications. It cannot focus more a few centimeters from your field of study/front element, making it less versatile than the standard macro lens. I don’t recommend using this lens to apply a standard lens equally you will waste its phenomenal potential.

Too, check out the full list of the best Canon macro lenses.

two. Nikon 105mm f/2.eight IF-ED AF-S VR Micro Lens

Putting aside the fact that it is an extremely abrupt portrait lens, information technology is equipped with a highly reliable withal crisp macro lens. It has a 12” minimum focusing distance that allows yous to get up close and personal to plants and insects, a ane:1 reproduction with astonishing details.

The lens also packs Nikon’s built-in “Vibration Reduction” which helps photographers take paw-held shots with longer shutter speeds much more than comfortably. Despite the technology, I still recommend using a tripod for a better event.

3. Sigma 70mm f/2.8 DG Macro Art Lens for Sony Due east Mountain

This more than budget-friendly lens is ideal for many occasions, from portraits, to close-ups, and even fine fine art photography. It delivers images at the magnification of 1:1 coupled with the new coreless motor that allows for a smoothen AF.

Despite information technology beingness created specifically for the line-upwardly of Sony full-frame, mirrorless cameras, you can likewise pair Sigma lxx mm on the APS-C sensor camera.

Yous tin use its ingather fashion as well if you want to. With a minimum focus distance of 10-16”, it helps you capture various subjects starting from portrait photos to small objects.

If you want the highest quality lens, look no farther than Canon and Nikon, as they are known to produce the all-time macros (at a loftier price besides).

To further explore the subject field of using macro lenses, check out this in-depth video past Peter McKinnon:

Final Remarks

Despite its specific pattern for close-upwardly shots, the macro lens is as well neat for a regular photo shoots, food photography, portrait, and fine art photography.

Some people may error a macro lens and zoom lens every bit they serve the same purpose. But the actual macro lens comes with a magnification ratio of ane:1, 2:i, v:1, and above.

Even though a macro lens tin effortlessly shoot stunning detail, it can also betrayal the smallest imperfections on your object. That is why raising your skill should come together with buying this lens.

Last just not to the lowest degree, all macro lens comes at a loftier price. It will be wise if you calculate your budget carefully or plough this purchase into something profitable.

That’due south pretty much it most the macro lens. There is a more technical side of it, but let’s keep that for another mean solar day. So, which i do you wish to buy?

Also, check out a total list of the all-time cameras for macro photography.

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Source: https://www.imaginated.com/photography/photography-glossary/what-is-macro-lens/