Macro Lens Vs. Standard Lens

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by nico, Aug 20, 2007.

  1. nico

    nico TPF Noob!

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  2. JeannetteK

    JeannetteK TPF Noob!

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    Great question. I'd love to know the answer as well.
     
  3. lifeafter2am

    lifeafter2am TPF Noob!

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  4. Don Simon

    Don Simon TPF Noob!

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    Well there are a few things to mention.

    Firstly the 100mm macro does not have any added zoom range, in fact it has no zoom range at all... "zoom" does not mean longer, it means the lens has more than one focal length; it means the focal length is variable. Therefore a 10-20, an 18-55, a 70-200, anything with a hyphen is a zoom. The 100mm however only has that fixed focal length of 100mm. A fixed focal length lens is often also known as a "prime" lens.

    As the previous poster said, a true macro lens will be 1:1 magnification or higher. Generally this does require a closer focusing distance. Now the 18-55mm may have a closer focusing distance than the 100mm, but this is because it covers shorter focal lengths with a wider angle of view. The longer 100mm lens is a telephoto which also has a short minimum focusing distance, so it is still much better... the 18-55 may get physically slightly closer to the subject, but the 100mm macro will still be a much better lens for magnification of small subjects...
    ... perhaps the best way to understand that is this: consider that using a 100mm lens at normal distances would appear to bring you much closer to the subject than using an 18mm or 50mm lens from the same spot. Now imagine having that ability at very short distances.

    In addition to the different focal length and the macro capability, the 100mm will also be significantly different from the 18-55mm in terms of the optical quality. Because it is a prime (which are easier to design to a higher standard than a zoom), and one designed for macro use, it will give higher resolution, be far less prone to various aberrations, and generally be of a higher quality.
     
  5. TCimages

    TCimages TPF Noob!

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    the 18-55 will only allow you to get close up images, not true macro. As posted above, 1:1 is true macro. When you select the Macro switch on the 18-55, it allows you to focus at a minimum focus distance (280mm), but at this distance, your magnification is only 55mm.
    The 100mm macro allows a shorter minimum focus distance (149mm), but at this distance the magnification is at 100mm.

    So, the 100mm is not only a greater magnification, but it's a greater magnification at a closer minimum focus distance.

    I hope this helps. I think you may have misread the minimum focus distances of the lenses. The 18-55 is .09 ft or (280mm), the 100mm is 149mm. If you are interested in true macro, a dedicated macro lens is the way to go.

    *edit* The below poster is correct, but this is film plane to subject, In the overview and in my own personal experience, the minimum focus distance is around 6 inches which is approx. 149mm .
     
  6. Don Simon

    Don Simon TPF Noob!

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    According to the Specifications sheet the closest focusing distance on the 100mm macro is 31cm or 1 foot. This would be in line with most macro lenses of similar focal length.
     
  7. Sideburns

    Sideburns TPF Noob!

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    Well, those two in particular...
    the macro is 699 CAD, the 18-55 is about 100 CAD with the kit...
    You get what you pay for.
    You can make tiny things seem huge, and you can bring little barely noticeable details into your everyday pictures.
    Also, you can get in closer to your subject because of the added focal length, not to mention the magnification...
     
  8. Don Simon

    Don Simon TPF Noob!

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    Oh and I forgot to mention... the 100mm is f/2.8. The kit lens is f/3.5 to f/5.6 depending on focal length. Larger max aperture on a longer lens is pretty much always going to cost more.
     
  9. TCimages

    TCimages TPF Noob!

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    I think it's .31m or 1ft, but this is film plane to subject.
     
  10. nico

    nico TPF Noob!

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    Wow, lot's of explanations.
    I think I get the idea.
    To clarify, I already have the 18-55 when I bought the Rebel XT. I'm considering getting the macro 100mm in a month or so and was just wondering how "good" it was. When I read about the closest focus distance I got a little confused (since I knew macro lens are supposed to be superior in high quality, up close and personal shots).

    I even went as far to see how close my 18-55 could get before the AF would get a little wacky. So for example, if I took a penny and got really close with my 18-55 and focused on it, and did the same with the 100mm, the 100mm would come out the winner?
     
  11. lifeafter2am

    lifeafter2am TPF Noob!

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    The 100mm would make a MUCH larger image. For instance you could focus in on just the eye of Lincoln on the penny vs the whole penny.

    Some Examples

    You can get really nice and very magnified images with this lens. Look at the bug pics, and just imagine how small those bugs are!
     
  12. TCimages

    TCimages TPF Noob!

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    Yes, If you want a full frame penny, the 100mm macro would be the best. This lens is an amazing lens. I will add this tho, Macro takes practice to master lighting and aperture. If you haven't already done so, learn how aperture affects DOF (depth of field), it's critical. In fact, the one thing about the 100mm that makes it an amazing portrait lens is the F2.8, but this is almost useless in the world of macro. The closer you get, the more shallow the DOF. Sorry for info overload, but it's a subject I love most.

    If you can handle looking at insects, check out my site, most all of them are taken with the 100mm macro.

    Good luck.
     

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