🌟 Exclusive 2024 Prime Day Deals! 🌟

Unlock unbeatable offers today. Shop here: https://amzn.to/3LqnCuJ 🎁

Macro lens - zoom or fixed?

dennybeall

No longer a newbie, moving up!
Joined
May 13, 2014
Messages
2,308
Reaction score
441
Location
OTOW - Ocala, Florida
Website
www.citrusphotorestore.com
Can others edit my Photos
Photos OK to edit
I've been thinking about trying some Macro shots and wanted to get a Macro lens. I see a lot of zoom lenses marked Macro and some fixed advertised as Macro also and I'm wondering which is best. Some zooms are 70-300 macro but then it says min focus distance .6 meters. Heck, that's over 18 inches - not macro in my book.
I think brand will be dictated by my wallet but the rest is ????????
 
Magnification is what makes a lens macro or not.. but yeah, different results with macro primes that focus close.
 
I've been thinking about trying some Macro shots and wanted to get a Macro lens. I see a lot of zoom lenses marked Macro and some fixed advertised as Macro also and I'm wondering which is best. Some zooms are 70-300 macro but then it says min focus distance .6 meters. Heck, that's over 18 inches - not macro in my book.
I think brand will be dictated by my wallet but the rest is ????????

The distance from the subject/minimum focusing distance doesn't determine if it's a macro. It's the reproduction size.

A telephoto macro will give you more room to work with while shooting at 1:1 while a wide angle macro will have the subject right next to the lens.

Look for lenses marked macro that will give you a reproduction ratio of 1:1.
 
Since there is no official or legal definition of 'macro', manufacturers are free to use it a liberally as they please. I recall seeing a lens labeled 'macro' when the best it could do is 1:12.

It is generally accepted that 'macro' begins with a 1:1 (or 1x) reproduction ratio.
 
Since there is no official or legal definition of 'macro', manufacturers are free to use it a liberally as they please. I recall seeing a lens labeled 'macro' when the best it could do is 1:12.

It is generally accepted that 'macro' begins with a 1:1 (or 1x) reproduction ratio.

1:12 or 1:2 ?


Either way the OP just didn't understand that minimum focusing distance does not determine magnification.
 
Since there is no official or legal definition of 'macro', manufacturers are free to use it a liberally as they please. I recall seeing a lens labeled 'macro' when the best it could do is 1:12.

It is generally accepted that 'macro' begins with a 1:1 (or 1x) reproduction ratio.

1:12 or 1:2 ?


Either way the OP just didn't understand that minimum focusing distance does not determine magnification.

1:12. One to twelve. As there is no definition to the standard, one can make a ham sandwich and call it 'macro'.
 
As far as I know there are no true zoom macro lenses (at least not generally available). If you want a true macro for any regular ilc your looking at a prime lens
 
Thanks for the replies to my question, I appreciate them.
I'm presuming I understand the 1:1 definition but let me say: that means that the subject will be actual size on the sensor. So a 1 mm subject would be 1 mm on the sensor. Also, that said it would be better to have a full frame sensor so more of the subject could be captured at the same time?
 
There was some AF 70-180mm f4.5-5.6 micro ?!? or such from Nikon in ages past that actually was a 1:1 macro lens, too.

Nikon 70-180mm Review

But AFAIK that lens is the only macro zoom anyone ever made.

And by the way, many real macro lenses are still "only" 1:2.
 
Thanks for the replies to my question, I appreciate them.
I'm presuming I understand the 1:1 definition but let me say: that means that the subject will be actual size on the sensor. So a 1 mm subject would be 1 mm on the sensor. Also, that said it would be better to have a full frame sensor so more of the subject could be captured at the same time?

It's actually one of the types of photography where a smaller sensor can benefit. Depth of field all things being equal is very small at macro distance, so a smaller sensor can help.

Also if you have a full frame 20mp camera that has a 36x24mm sensor and have a small flower say 12mm diameter, you can probably take the shot, fill a fraction of the sensor and get a full photo of the flower at maybe 9mp, on a crop it fills a bigger fraction and gives maybe a 16mp photo. There's arguements as to why this is better or worse but you can get a higher res photo in theory
 
Far as I'm aware there are no "true macro"* lenses on the current market which are zoom capable**. Thus the only macro lenses that will give you "true macro" are going to be prime (single focal length) lenses.

It's also important to remember that since magnification is based upon a ratio of "Size of the subject reflected on the sensor by the lens : Size of the subject in real life" and since we are taking true macro as 1:1 magification; this means that the frame content will be the same no matter what focal length of macro lens you use. When focused to the same magification at their closest focusing distance they achieve that 1:1 ratio and thus the frame content is the same.
Note that you will see a difference in background blurring; with longer focal length lenses blurring details more readily whilst shorter focal length have a smoother gradient. This can mean that sometimes short focal length macro lenses, with the right angle of shot, can appear to have more depth of field; this is not the case and depth of field remains the same (at 1:1 magnification) no matter the focal length.
The final thing that changes is the minimum focusing distance*** which in turn affects the working distance ****. The longer a focal length is the longer the minimum focusing distance is; which typically results in increased working distance as a result.

This latter point starts to impose practical limitations; for example I generally say nothing shorter than 60mm is viable for a macro lens for 1:1 work; and that in general you want to be at least at 90mm or longer when starting out. Shorter focal lengths like the various 60mm and 70mm options are good lenses, but the working distances are closer and more tricky in many ways; as is lighting as its gets easier to shadow the subject when working that close.


Optically speaking macro lenses are sharp. First and 3rd party (Tamron, Sigma, Tokina) options are top rate and whilst the own brand tend to have better AF performance; the 3rd party can more than equal on the optics front.



Not for reference and a rough guide.
1:2 (or 0.5:1 or half life size) is about the best the "zoom macro" like the 70-300mm lenses can get to'; and many can't even get that far
In visual terms :
1:2
3235277616_f83e34be7f_o.jpg



And 1:1
3234315137_6757fe72bf_o.jpg


As you can see its a huge difference

*Whilst there might be no official term the 1:1 magnification ratio is generally the best there is to measure it by.

**Technically a lot of macro lenses DO change their focal lengths as they focus closer, however this isn't reported to the user. It's also something a lot of regular lenses do as well and in general is a technical detail most ignore barring in reviews and side by side comparisons of some gear.

***Distance from the subject to the sensor/film in the camera

****Distance from the subject to the front of the lens
 

Most reactions

New Topics

Back
Top