Can someone please explain macro lenses to me

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by Boz Mon, Apr 4, 2008.

  1. Boz Mon

    Boz Mon TPF Noob!

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    I am interested in macro photography but I dont know what kind of lens I need. Before I got my D40, I had a Canon Imageshot IS S3 which had a super macro feature built in, and it was awesome. I just dont know what I am looking at as far as macro lenses, with the S3, I could focus pretty much at point blank range and get super crisp photos.
     
  2. KOrmechea

    KOrmechea TPF Noob!

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    A lens has to be a certain distance from its subject in order to focus properly. With a macro lens, this distance is much shorter than what it would be on a normal lens (as far as I've gathered).

    An example:

    Imagine you've stumbled upon a beautiful flower and you wish to photograph it. Choosing a macro lens will allow you to get closer to the flower while still allowing sharp focus. This enables you to capture small details of the flower that may have been lost because a normal lens couldn't focus.

    There are also alternatives to macro lenses (they can be cheaper too). These include extension tubes/bellows (they move the lens further from the sensor of the camera which also allows closer focusing) and reverse lens mounts (these mount a lens backwards allowing extreme close-up photography).

    I hope that helps. If I've made any mistakes, someone please correct me. While interested, I haven't diven too deeply into the macro world yet.
     
  3. Mystwalker

    Mystwalker TPF Noob!

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  4. Marco

    Marco TPF Noob!

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    Be wary that some lens that have macro in their title may not be true macro lenses, just lenses that have a fairly close focus ability.
    What you are after is a lens that has the ability to get a 1:1 ratio between the size of the subject and the size of the sensor on your camera.
    eg if the size of your sensor was 30x20cm then a 1:1 macro lens would allow you to take a fullsize photo of a subject that was 30x20cm, if that makes sense :p
     
  5. TCimages

    TCimages TPF Noob!

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    You really need to decide what type of images you want.
    With the right setup you can have the best of both worlds (Macro and Closeup). However for extreme macro the gear becomes much more limiting.

    I would recommend a dedicated macro lens capable of 1:1 with infinity focus. This type will give you a great prime lens for portraits.

    The other thing to consider is lighting. This is the trickiest to master in macro work. Consider an external flash or macro flash. With true macro work the DOF is very thin so you have to use a small aperture (larger number) making the use of external light critical.

    Close-up:

    [​IMG]

    or True Macro:

    [​IMG]

    or more extreme: (note: I don't have a lens capable extreme work this is done with extension tubes on a macro lens.
    [​IMG]
     
  6. asfixiate

    asfixiate TPF Noob!

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    Very nice photos TC
     
  7. TCimages

    TCimages TPF Noob!

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    I can't answer the math question as I personally never found it important.

    1-If you stack a full set of extension tubes you can get that magnification. If I remember correctly, 100mm lens with a full set of tubes will get you around 2:1. However it depends on the focal length of the lens being used. In my experience the minimum useable focal length you can use is 50mm. Focal lengths much lower than this and you don't have adequate working distance from the front of the lens.
    Extension tubes have limitations as they do not allow for infinity focus. You have a small range in which you can focus.

    2- no, thats a close up filter.

    3-Yes, you could do that but with a reverse ring for your particular mount. However, I'm not sure what the results would be. Sounds like you're interested in extreme close up. Consider the Canon MP-65
     
  8. Mystwalker

    Mystwalker TPF Noob!

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    TC, I am constantly amazed by the clarity of your macros.

    Your third photo, I'm thinking it's a bug on flower stem - I can see it's legs wrapped around something "stemy". But IQ is identical to shots I have of my dog.
     
  9. TCimages

    TCimages TPF Noob!

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    Thank you. I hope I helped ya some with the info.
     
  10. lilpup

    lilpup TPF Noob!

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    TC, for your second photo, the one you call true macro, how far away from the subject were you?
     
  11. TCimages

    TCimages TPF Noob!

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    I would say around 6 inches. This is the minimum focus distance for the 100mm. It's been cropped. I crop most all my images because I use AI servo to focus and this doesn't allow you to reframe your shot. I also take advantage of focusing further back when I can as this also helps to open the DOF a little.
     
  12. TCimages

    TCimages TPF Noob!

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    thank you
     

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