Macro Lens

What is Macro Lens?

A Macro lens is a type of camera lens specially used in photography for its ability to capture small subjects at very close distances with much detail, thanks to its much nearer focal length. Ever wondered while looking at a photo of an insect or a flower taken from an extreme closure, what on earth made it possible? All thanks to a macro lens. It takes an ample amount of technical prowess to handle a macro lens; however, it can be addictive when mastered perfectly. The domain of photography that centres on using a macro lens is called Macro Photography, and it has been quite popular since its dawn. It is unlike any other camera lenses; it renders a tiny object with outstanding detail. 

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How Macro Lenses Work?

No need to ponder on the working principle of a macro lens, here we will look into the matter of what goes behind a macro lens using the minimum of technical terms-

  • Magnification Ratio - If you are studying about camera lenses you have got to condition yourself with this term. The term simply means that how much enlarged the subject that you are trying to capture will be in the final image. It is otherwise termed as the Reproduction Ratio. 

The magnification ratio of a macro lens should be 1:1. It means that when the camera is positioned at the closest focusing distance, the image that will be ‘reproduced’ into the sensor will be of the exact size of the subject. For this reason, 1:1 magnification ratio is called ‘life-size’. The focal length of a macro lens is relatively nearer; it stays between 35mm-50mm (more on this later). Thus practically, the magnification ratio of a macro lens stays at 1:2. However, the 1:1 dream mark can be achieved if one uses an extension tube. 

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  • Focal Length - As we mentioned earlier, macro lenses have a nearer focal length. The most popular focal length choice for a macro lens is 90mm-100mm. There is a reason behind this. Stay with me here, the more the focal length of a lens, the more working distance you have between you and your subject. Larger focal length grants you a narrower depth of field so that you can throw the background out of focus a little further. Also, you can snap your shot from a distance. But it comes with a price like literally they are expensive.

In case of lower focal length, you have to be much nearer to your subject to capture your perfect shot. In this process, unwanted things are also prone to happen; for instance, your shadow can get in your way, darkening your field. Insects are prone to fly away if you get closer to them. However, they are much cheaper as well.

That is the reason 90mm-100mm focal length is the most popular that mediates both the quality of your shot and also doesn't put a hole in your pocket. 


Difference Between Micro And Macro Lens

The topic which we will discuss in this section will address one of the biggest confusions photographers have in the closeup photography realm. However, though they fall under the same category, there is a difference between micro and macro lens. The main difference lies in capturing the most exquisite details. A macro lens captures far better details than a microlens. Some companies name their microlens as a macro lens when they actually are not. A macro lens has the ability to reach the magnification ratio of 1:1. Here we will put two photographs to make things easier for you. The first is taken with a Nikon telephoto lens and the second one is a micro shot. You will notice how the details are much clearer, and the image is more magnified in the second shot. 

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Nikon Telephoto Lens

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Macro Lens


Solved Examples

  1. What is A Macro Lens Used For?

Macro lenses are used to take photos of relatively small subjects, like insects or the intricate patterns of cloth. Macro lenses offer great detail. They are also called life-size for their 1:1 magnification ratio.


  1. What is The Highest Magnification Ratio That Can Be Achieved By A Macro Lens?

The magnification ratio or reproduction ratio that can be achieved by a macro lens is 1:1.


Did You Know

The depth of field of a macro lens can be extremely shallow. Even a millimetre here and there can render your object out of focus. Light is a key factor for macro lenses. More the magnification lesser the light will be in your picture. So it is advised to set up enough light resources when taking a macro shot. Telephoto macro lenses are more expensive than regular macro lenses. 

FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

1. How Do Macro Lenses Work?

The two most important things that go behind a macro lens or any lens for that matter is the magnification ratio and the focal length. The magnification ratio of a macro lens should be 1:1. The focal length of a macro lens is relatively nearer; it stays between 35mm-50mm (more on this later). Thus practically, the magnification ratio of a macro lens stays at 1:2. However, the 1:1 dream mark can be achieved if one uses an extension tube.

The most popular focal length choice for a macro lens is 90mm-100mm. A larger focal length grants you a narrower depth of field so that you can throw the background out of focus a little further. Also, you can snap your shot from a distance. But it comes with a price like literally they are expensive.

2. Difference Between Micro And Macro Lens.

Though they fall under the same category, there is a difference between micro and macro lens. The main difference lies in capturing the finest detail. A macro lens captures far better details than a microlens. Some companies name their microlens as a macro lens when they actually are not. A macro lens has the ability to reach the magnification ratio of 1:1.  Here we will put two photographs to make things easier for you. The first is taken with a Nikon telephoto lens and the second one is a micro shot. You will notice how the details are much clearer, and the image is more magnified in the second shot.