Macro Lens Questions...

 
Old 03-28-2009, 06:42 AM
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For those of you who do any macro photography, what exactly does a dedicated macro lens buy you? How is the lens setup for strictly that purpose that is different from a regular lens? Is this recommended if you want to do any macro shots? If so, what should one look for in a macro lens?
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Old 04-16-2009, 06:36 PM
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Biggest special criterion for a Macro lens is short focal distances.

That way, you can get up real close. Technically speaking, I believe the definition of a macro lens is a lens capable of reproducing an image on a sensor/film negative that is at least the same size as the subject itself. So, a macro image of a penny would be at least as large as a penny when viewed by the sensor/film. They call that a 1:1 ratio.

Another feature is that almost all macro lenses are a fixed focal length, not a zoom lens. And, generally speaking, all things being equal, fixed focal length lenses tend to be noticeably sharper than zoom lenses.

Another feature many macros have is a wide maximum aperture, because you often need to let a lot of light into the camera for good macro shots (which is also why they sell things like ring lights and special macro flashes). That said, using the max aperture while taking macro shots often reveal a subject that is about 80% out of focus because the DOF is so remarkably narrow at the short focal lengths. So, while your macro lens might come with the capability of f/1.2 or f/2.8, you're better off in the f/5.6-f/8 range if you can still take the picture.

Also, invest in a good tripod and a cable release/remote for your camera. Absolute stillness of the camera is essential to macro work. Read up on locking the mirror up on your camera too.

Hope that helps.
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