"Closest Focusing Distance"

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by gunar, Jul 22, 2009.

  1. gunar
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    gunar New Member

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    Okay.
    As I'm looking around at lenses, particularly macro ones, I notice that it says "Closest focusing distance" or "Minimum focus distance" and its usually around a foot to a foot and a half.

    Even on macro lenses?!

    Am I missing something?
    (Sorry. I'm such a n00b.)

    How can this lens have a focusing distance of 1 foot and 2.4 inches and be able to take images like this and this?

    Sorry. But I just don't understand.
    Can someone explain?
    Like. Is it the 100mm making it be like THAT close or are they fibbing on focus distance. Or are they cropping in after the picture??
    Hahaaa. Thanks for any help, I'm just so used to being able to put my camera in macro "mode" and touching the object with the lens! :lmao:
    Last edited: Jul 22, 2009
  2. Big Mike
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    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member

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    The minimum focus distance for many lenses is several feet. So if you can focus at 14" with a 100mm lens, that is pretty close.
  3. Stosh
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    Stosh New Member

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    With macro lenses the first thing to look at is maximum magnification. Assuming you know what that means, the next thing to look at is working distance. Longer focal lengths allow you to be farther away from your subject and still obtain whatever magnification they claim to have. This is especially useful for skittish subjects like bugs. For studio work you probably wouldn't care as much. Longer focal lengths usually cost more too.
  4. NickRummy
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    NickRummy Member

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    I've been reading up on macro lenses recently to as I'm in the market for one. I'm still new to it but think I have a good understanding. Here are a few examples of how I see it working.

    A 50mm macro lens might have a minimum focusing distance of 7.4" at 1:1 magnification which means it'll be life size and can focus when it's 7.5" away from the lens.

    A 105mm macro lens might have a minimum focusing distance of 12.3" at 1:1 magnification which means it'll be life size and can focus when it's 12.3" away from the lens.

    A 180mm macro lens might have a minimum focusing distance of 18.1" at 1:1 magnification which means it'll be life size and can focus when it's 18.1" away from the lens.

    What this all means is that each lens will achieve the 1:1 magnification but longer focal length while remaining at 1:1 magnification will allow the camera to be further from the subject which makes it nice for different flash options and to help keep from scaring off the subject (if an insect) not to mention the use of extension tubes and teleconverters.

    EDIT: which is basically exactly what Stosh said :D
  5. Flashsync7
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    Flashsync7 New Member

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    Re:

    A 50mm macro lens might have a minimum focusing distance of 7.4" at 1:1 magnification which means it'll be life size and can focus when it's 7.5" away from the lens.

    A 105mm macro lens might have a minimum focusing distance of 12.3" at 1:1 magnification which means it'll be life size and can focus when it's 12.3" away from the lens.

    A 180mm macro lens might have a minimum focusing distance of 18.1" at 1:1 magnification which means it'll be life size and can focus when it's 18.1" away from the lens.


    Slight Adjustment... When you say 12.3, or 18.1 inches away, the distance is from the film plane, not the lens. i.e. a 180mm Macro lens with an 18" Min focus distance may only be 9 inches from the subject at the FRONT of the lens.
  6. Tiberius47
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    Tiberius47 New Member

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    And bear in mind that it's the distance from the sensor in your camera, not the front of the lens.
  7. jake337
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    jake337 Well-Known Member

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    Yup distance from subject to sensor, so depending on the size of you lens + hood your subject is going to be alot closer than you think.

    Also, at 1:1, your seeing your subject at life size. So a ladybug will fill the frame more than a small fly and you may only fill the frame with the head/eyes of a large dragonfly at 1:1.

    Our human eyes see allbugs as relatively small, at 1:1 your seeing the difference in 10mm much more clearly.

    Shot at min focusing distance of .30m on my tokina 100mm f2.8 macro, I can't recall if this was cropped(most likely)
    [​IMG]
  8. mjhoward
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    mjhoward New Member

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    ^ Nice shot Jake! Any additional lighting used?
  9. jake337
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    jake337 Well-Known Member

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    If anyone wants to make one:
    [​IMG]
    Heres how my first one turned out.
    DIY diffuser holder, diffuser from cheap pop-up flash diffuser and sb600 on camera.
    [​IMG]
  10. cgipson1
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    cgipson1 New Member

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    Keep in mind that while the more expensive, longer focal length macros all have longer "closest focusing distances".. the lenses are longer also... so the distance from the front of the lens to the subject is still minimal. The longer ones do have more distance though... proportionately. Subtract the length of the lens and another inch or so.. to get a more accurate idea of actual lens to subject distance. I have found that anything under 85mm usually requires you to get so close that you spook most subjects (if you are shooting insects)... and this also gets in the way of using flash (unless OC) since you are so close.

    I highly recommend 100mm and up... although something in the 85 range can do nicely. most 50mm\60mm's.. you just have to get TOO CLOSE! Of course if you shoot Canon... the MPE65 is the ultimate macro lens (DROOL)! I wish that Nikon made a similar lens!
  11. Overread
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    Overread has a hat around here somewhere Staff Member

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    psst guys check the first post date - its 2 years old
  12. cgipson1
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    cgipson1 New Member

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    hahahah.. busted! I just read the couple of posts above me.... and ran with it! Cracks me up when noobs open up old posts... and usually I catch it! Thanks! :)

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