Macro vs. Zoom?

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by rfosness88, Nov 30, 2008.

  1. rfosness88

    rfosness88 TPF Noob!

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    Hey,

    So I just bought a Canon 40D and am a total noob. I have no lens. I was wondering what makes a lens a macro lens. I Know they are good for closeups of bugs and marijuana. I think macro lenses


    1. Can a 50mm lens be macro?
    2. If so, is a x-300mm lens a better macro than a 50mm macro?
    2. Does a lens that is x-300mm automatically make it a macro lens?

    Thanks for the help.
     
  2. Harmony

    Harmony TPF Noob!

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  3. tirediron

    tirediron Watch the Birdy! Staff Member Supporting Member

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    A macro lens is a special-purpose lens that is designed to focus closely enough on the subject that it can produce a 1:1 image; that is, if the subject is 10mm across in real life, its image will take up 10mm of your sensor. Macro lenses can be almost any focal length, but are mostly commonly found between 50 and 150mm.

    Many of the consumer grade zoom lenses which say they have a macro mode (such as the 70-210 that almost everyone made a version of) aren't in fact true macro lenses; they can produce images of half size or one-third size at best (1:2, 1:3). The advantage to focal length in true zooms is the ability to get further back from the subject. In other words, with a 60mm macro lens, I might have to be three inches away to get a 1:1 close-up, but with a 150mm macro, I can be twelve inches away. A distinct advantage if you're shooting jump insects.
     
  4. rfosness88

    rfosness88 TPF Noob!

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    @tiredironThanks, that helps a lot!

    one more question, Does a macro lens only shoot closeups? Could i also take good telephoto pictures with a 70-300mm lens that is designated to be "macro".
     
  5. anubis404

    anubis404 TPF Noob!

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    Closeups of marijuana? Lol.
     
  6. Harmony

    Harmony TPF Noob!

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    You can take pictures of anything with a 70-300. They just have to be within your focusing range. So if you're focusing range is a metre, then you can focus (theoretically) from one metre in front of you to infinity, and have your camera take the picture.
     
  7. elemental

    elemental TPF Noob!

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    I'm glad someone else wondered about that. . .

    As for focal lengths, longer lenses (the 150mm end of the spectrum) is generally more expensive, while many manufacturers have a 50mm macro that is relatively inexpensive. In fact, I read a recent review that argued that Pentax's new 50mm macro is also their best 50mm (and they make a few that are very well regarded). In short, a 150mm will allow you more distance and likely be more usable as a pure macro, but a 50mm macro may well be a more useful all-around lens. It depends on your price range and exactly what you want.
     
  8. Dao

    Dao No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I do not think the 70-300mm is a true macro lens. But it is capable to do close focusing. As tirediron said, that maybe 1:2 or 1:3, not 1:1. I do not own any true macro lens, but I believe you should be able to use it as a regular lens. For example, the EF 100mm macro lens from Canon

    http://www.usa.canon.com/consumer/controller?act=ModelInfoAct&fcategoryid=155&modelid=7400

    You can also use it as a regular telephoto lens.


    However, if you use this one from Canon, the MP-E 65mm f/2.8 (http://www.usa.canon.com/consumer/c...t&fcategoryid=155&modelid=7325#ModelDetailAct). It is only used for Macro work.
     
  9. anubis404

    anubis404 TPF Noob!

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    Yea lol, I was gonna say that maybe this isn't the right website for that :p.
     
  10. FlyingFly

    FlyingFly TPF Noob!

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    How close a lens can focus on is not the only essential difference between a micro /macro lens and a normal lens.

    Micro or macro lens is not only capable of focusing on close range but also optimized for close range in distortion, resolution, sharpness, field flatness and etc. It's also capable of infinite focusing, but it's best in close range.

    Some zoom lens capable of macro is just able to focus on close range, but it's not optimized for that and can hardly achieve the quality as a true micro/macro lens does. Normal lens generally achieves its best quality at a range around 50*focal length.

    Micro/Macro lens is much more expensive than a normal lens of the same focal length and max. aperture. A used Nikkor AF 70-180/4.5-5.6 Micro's price may be more than 5 times of a new Nikkor 70-300/4-5.6G. A used Nikkor AF 200/4 Micro's price may be 30% more than a used Nikkor AF 180/2.8 (Note the max. aperture). And a true micro/macro lens' maximum aperture is usually thinner than a normal lens. You can find normal 50/1.2, 100/2, 200/1.8 and etc., but you can only find macro 60/2.8, 100/2.8, 200/4 and etc.

    To try close up photography without requesting high quality, you don't have to buy a true macro lens. You can buy a close up lens (an extra lens to screw on top of a normal lens), for example Canon 500D close up lens. You can also buy a close up tube to shorten the min. focus range of a normal lens (Nikon can easily adapt such tube while Canon is a little difficult due to aperture control problem).
     
    Last edited: Dec 1, 2008
  11. rfosness88

    rfosness88 TPF Noob!

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    awesome thanks for all the help guys....just added the marijuana aspect for some excitement....haha...

    Thanks again, cant wait to start taking some photos!! not of plants of coarse... ;)
     

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