Macro Photography Options

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by BoxPhotographer, Dec 6, 2009.

  1. BoxPhotographer

    BoxPhotographer TPF Noob!

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    Why would I want a Macro lens over a macro filter? There are so many alternatives, why would you want a macro lens then?
     
  2. BoxPhotographer

    BoxPhotographer TPF Noob!

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    Bump
     
  3. Bitter Jeweler

    Bitter Jeweler Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Quality.
     
  4. Wolverinepwnes

    Wolverinepwnes TPF Noob!

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    its like getting from point A to point B, you can either walk or drive a Ferrari
     
  5. Overread

    Overread has a hat around here somewhere Staff Member Supporting Member

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    There are many reasons for wanting a dedicated lens over a filter or alternative option.

    1) Infinity/versatility - macro filters (or correctly diopters)/ extension tubes/bellow and reverse mounting lenses all work on a similar principle - that of reducing the minimum focusing distance of the lens your using so that you can focus close - focus closer and thus get a macro image of the subject. However all these methods not only reduce the minimum focus distance but the maximum focusing distance (which is infinity for most lenses). This can be a few feet down to only an inch (depending how on the setup you use).
    Clearly this is limiting when you're out in the field and want to focus on something further off quickly, though some macro diopters (filters) like the Raynox range do have a clip based fitting which can allow for quick changes.

    2) Longer working distance - that is the distance from camera to subject - typically most of the alternative setups result in you having very small distance between the front of the lens and the subject - this is a very big consideration when working with insects - though not impossible it is certainly far harder to work with only 3 cm of distance over say 10cm or 20cm.

    3) Improved image quality - a lens dedictated and optimised for macro work at 1:1 magnification is going to beat most alternative setups to get to 1:1. That is not to say all alterntaive setups are poor in image quality, but just that they are not as good. It should also be noted that macro lenses tend to be very sharp lenses indeed (infact with hte macro prime lenses on the market there is little image quality difference between the different brands)

    4) Finer Focus control - a dedictaed macro lens has avery fine control of its close up focus, the focusing wheel has a long way to turn and move you through a very tiny change in focus. This greatly helps focusing when your working with macro setups, over regular lenses which are not aimed at such fine tuned control at close focusing distances. Note that most macro lenses do suffer from having a lack of finer control at the longer distances - which means manual focusing them on further off subjects can be more tricky.

    5) Brighter viewfinder image - most alternative macro setups can result in very dark viewfinder image, something that makes framing and focusing much harder to deal with. This is why most macro prime lenses are f2.8 or wider at their max aperture even though very few people use f2.8 at a macro distance for a macro shot (due to the tiny depth of field).

    6) Increased magnification - there is no reason why tubes, bellows, diopters etc.. can't be used on a macro lens, infact they most certainly can be and give you even more magnification - which is great fun (if tricky).

    Overall whilst there are alternatives to dedicated macro lenses if you're going to do macro work a lot then the best thing really is a dedicated macro lens.
     
  6. Shockey

    Shockey TPF Noob!

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    What Overread said.
    But unless you are going to get into it seriously try the filter first.
    A lot of people get excellent results with them.
    Macro photography is very difficult to do very well.
     

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