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  1. #1
    Senior Member armando_m's Avatar
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    To Macro or not ?

    I'm considering whether to get a macro lens or not.

    I have not tried a macro lens, the way I understand them is that I get greater magnification by allowing me to be quite close to the
    subjects.

    Checking tech specs the lenses I have are somewhat similar to the "macro" lenses unless I'm missing something

    A couple of examples
    Tamron 60mm f2 has a minimum focus distance of 23 cm
    Nikon 18-55 f3.5-5.6 has a minimum focus distance of 28cm
    comparing the ffocal distance - 55- vs 60 - and minimum focus - 23 vs 28 cm - I do not see much of an advantage
    other than the great F stop ...

    Another example
    nikon 18-200mm f3.5-5.6 minimum focus 50 cm
    tokina 100mm f2.8 minimum focus 30cm
    my zoom can be set at 200mm at 50cm , vs the tokina 100 mm at 30 cm ,
    again the gain in magnification is not great

    Am I understanding this the wrong way ?

    here is a 50% crop taken this weekend with the 18-55 lens

  2. #2
    Senior Member Anbesol's Avatar
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    Re: To Macro or not ?

    The minimum focus distance will always be relative to the focal length, so comparing the magnification with that is a bit lopsided. The best way to measure how close a macro gets is the magnification ratio, a true macro is 1:1, meaning, as big as the scene is in real life is how big it is on the sensor. Non-dedicated macros typically have about a 4 or 5:1 macro ratio, a few even have a 3:1, but for a true 1:1 mag you need a dedicated macro.

  3. #3
    Senior Member armando_m's Avatar
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    Re: To Macro or not ?

    thanks for your commet Anbesol,

    I understand the reproduction ratio, and the ability of the macro lens to create a 1:1 image vs the subject being photographed

    Checking the tech specs the reproduction ration advertised doesn't make sense to me,
    the nikon 18-200 zoom , says it can focus at 0.5m , has a minimum angle of 8, at 200mm and a reproduction ration of 0.22

    a nikon 200mm macro lens has the same minimum distance 0.5m, same minimum angle off 8, but it says it has a reproduction ratio of 1.0

    where is the difference that allows at the same minimum distance and same focal length to have an image on the sensor which is roughly 5 times bigger ?

  4. #4
    Nature/Wildlife Forum Co-Moderator Loupey's Avatar
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    Re: To Macro or not ?

    Quote Originally Posted by armando_m
    Checking the tech specs the reproduction ration advertised doesn't make sense to me,
    the nikon 18-200 zoom , says it can focus at 0.5m , has a minimum angle of 8, at 200mm and a reproduction ration of 0.22

    a nikon 200mm macro lens has the same minimum distance 0.5m, same minimum angle off 8, but it says it has a reproduction ratio of 1.0

    where is the difference that allows at the same minimum distance and same focal length to have an image on the sensor which is roughly 5 times bigger ?
    Excellent observation and great question. Yes, the same focal length at the same distance will give you the same magnification (provided, of course, that the distance is within the capabilties of the lens). So I would assume that some zoom lenses, in order to boast close focusing distances, are actually "losing zoom" as they focus closer. The angle of view must also be changing but the advertized AOV is typically measured with the lens set to infinity. Always use magnification ratio as a true measure of macro capability.

    Also consider that some 3rd party lens manufacturers like to state "subject distances" as the distance from the subject to the end of the lens instead of to the imaging plane as it should be.
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  5. #5
    project forum co-moderator Frog's Avatar
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    Re: To Macro or not ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Loupey
    Also consider that some 3rd party lens manufacturers like to state "subject distances" as the distance from the subject to the end of the lens instead of to the imaging plane as it should be.
    Never thought of that, and always assumed it was the front of the lens. Makes comparison more difficult for sure.
    Keep Shooting!

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  6. #6
    Senior Member armando_m's Avatar
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    Re: To Macro or not ?

    ok , I change my question ...

    a macro lens really works ?

  7. #7
    project forum co-moderator Frog's Avatar
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    Re: To Macro or not ?

    My Tamron 90 works. And then there are extension tubes.
    Keep Shooting!

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  8. #8
    Nature/Wildlife Forum Co-Moderator Loupey's Avatar
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    Re: To Macro or not ?

    Quote Originally Posted by armando_m
    ok , I change my question ...

    a macro lens really works ?
    I don't understand your question. If they didn't, there would be a lot of upset people.

    There are many different ways to shoot macro (at least close-up) and a macro lens is just one of them. What are you trying to accomplish?
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  9. #9
    Senior Member armando_m's Avatar
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    Re: To Macro or not ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Loupey
    I don't understand your question. If they didn't, there would be a lot of upset people.

    There are many different ways to shoot macro (at least close-up) and a macro lens is just one of them. What are you trying to accomplish?
    I'm asking for an opinion on macro users, before committing hundreds of dollars on a lens that may seem - by just reading the tech specs - quite similar to what I already have.

    I want to get closer images from things, mostly nature, without having to crop or not to much

  10. #10
    Senior Member freygr's Avatar
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    Re: To Macro or not ?

    I have 2 Mirco Lenses, the old Nikon 55mm F3.5 1:1, At this focal length it is what I would call a close in lens. The other lens is a Tamron 70-300mm full frame lens with a Mirco range of 180-300mm I think, and it's a 1:2 max 1/2 size lens.

    If you wish to really get into micro photography then a view camera is in order, but the film is costly, and the digital backs can cost as much as a new car!
    GRF

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  11. #11
    Senior Member Anbesol's Avatar
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    Re: To Macro or not ?

    Armando -
    the nikon 18-200 zoom , says it can focus at 0.5m , has a minimum angle of 8, at 200mm and a reproduction ration of 0.22
    That is a 4.5:1 ratio.

    A true 1:1 macro will get a lot closer than anything you have. The difference even between a 3:1 and a 1:1 is enormous.

  12. #12
    Senior Member armando_m's Avatar
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    Re: To Macro or not ?

    ok thanks guys!

  13. #13
    project forum co-moderator Frog's Avatar
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    Re: To Macro or not ?

    Did you consider extension tubes?

    I think the main advantage of using a prime macro is that it IS a prime and more than likely sharper and with better image quality than any of the zooms with a macro feature.

    If you go with extension tubes, lots cheaper than a macro,(about a hundred bucks if you get a set of kenkos with the contacts), you will be able to focus much closer and won't lose any quality of whatever lenses you have now. May lose some stops but that's not a big deal because you should be on a tripod anyway.

    Now pair extension tubes with a macro and you can count the hairs on fly's leg.
    Keep Shooting!

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  14. #14
    Senior Member freygr's Avatar
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    Re: To Macro or not ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Frog
    Did you consider extension tubes?

    I think the main advantage of using a prime macro is that it IS a prime and more than likely sharper and with better image quality than any of the zooms with a macro feature.

    If you go with extension tubes, lots cheaper than a macro,(about a hundred bucks if you get a set of kenkos with the contacts), you will be able to focus much closer and won't lose any quality of whatever lenses you have now. May lose some stops but that's not a big deal because you should be on a tripod anyway.

    Now pair extension tubes with a macro and you can count the hairs on fly's leg.
    You forgot about reversing rings! But then you are full manual at that time.
    GRF

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  15. #15
    Senior Member armando_m's Avatar
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    Re: To Macro or not ?

    Thanks again

    I do not know what I'll get at this point

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