In this guide to macro photography, we’ll cover how to start shooting fantastic macro images, consisting of the kit you’ll need, and techniques for enhancing your close-up photography
Macro photography– what is macro photography?
Macro photography is quite just extreme close-up photography and is traditionally defined as taking a photo of a subject in “life-size” so that it is recorded at the exact same size (or bigger) on the video camera’s sensing unit. When you’ve recorded the image, you can then display it bigger on-screen or in print.
Macro photography lens– what is a macro lens?
A “real” macro lens is a lens that can use 1:1 reproduction of the topic on the cam’s sensor. This is sometimes, but not constantly, described as 1x magnification. Some offer additional magnification, such as 1.25 x magnification with the Olympus 30mm f/3.5 Macro, 1.4 x with the Canon RF 100mm F2.8 L Macro IS USM lens or 2x with the Laowa 65mm f/2.8 2x Ultra Macro lens.
Macro image recorded with a devoted macro lens, the Canon RF 100mm. Canon EOS R6, 1/1000sec at f/11, ISO 25,600. Picture: Andy Westlake
Did you understand? Beyond the standard macro lens, there are specialist macro lenses readily available, which can offer 1-5x magnification such as the Canon MP-E 65mm f/2.8 1-5x Macro, and Yasuhara Nanoha x5 (Micro Four Thirds). These are not for the faint-hearted, as they can just be utilized for severe macro photography and can’t be used for basic photography.
A dedicated macro lens ought to use 1:1 recreation, but some offer even better magnification, with this Olympus 30mm Macro, which offers 1.25 x magnification
How close can your lens focus?
You’ll discover the close-focus distance on the side of many lenses. If it’s not close enough, then you’ll need to look at the alternatives available, whether that’s an extension tube or other device, or for the best results, have a look at a devoted macro lens.
What are “Short”, “Mid”, and “Long” macro lenses?
You might come across this term on the web, and this is merely to help direct you in the different focal lengths of macro lenses. Here we run through the benefits and possible downsides of each type.
Short: 50-60mm (or equivalent), can be beneficial where you desire to utilize the lens as an everyday lens. Frequently compact, lightweight, and budget friendly.
Mid: 90-120mm (or comparable), 90mm and 100mm or 105mm prevail focal lengths, and very extensively offered for several electronic camera systems. The lens gives a good range from the topic, along with a fairly excellent balance in between size and weight. They also make for beneficial portrait lenses.
Long: 150/180mm (or equivalent) where you desire as much range from the subject as possible. These lenses are frequently larger, and more expensive.
Can I utilize my existing lens as a macro lens?
The brief answer is yes you can, however … you might not be able to get close enough to your topic without extra accessories. If you’re on a limited budget, there are a number of alternatives that can assist enhance your lens’s ability to focus on close topics. These include extension tubes, close-up filters and reversing rings.
If you’ve used your current lens( es) and can’t get close enough to your topic, then there are a number of reasonably wallet-friendly choices for those on a budget plan. These let you utilize your existing lens for close-up and macro photography, and while your results might not be as bitingly sharp as those from a devoted lens, they may be excellent enough for you.
Canon EF 18-55mm lens shows the close-focus range on the side: 0.28 m or 28cm
Some zoom or kit lenses are better than others, and while some do use a sensible close-up focus range, others do not quite cut it.
You must be able to see the close-up focus range on the side of your lens, but if not, you can look it up on the maker’s website.
Alternative 1: Extension tubes
Meike MK-P-AF3A 10mm + 16mm extension tube set
Guarantee you get extension tubes with electrical contacts (and AF assistance) as this will enable autofocus in addition to lens settings to be controlled by the cam. Know that the cost of these might be put towards a spending plan macro lens rather. However, you can get a set of spending plan extension tubes for as low as $28/ ₤ 22.
Alternative 2: Close-up filter
NC Macro Close-Up Lens 58-52-49mm– NiSi UK– NiSi Optics, NiSi Filters
These are available for around $12/ ₤ 10, or you can invest up to $84/ ₤ 65 on a high-quality filter from NiSi. They can be an enjoyable method to get closer to a subject, but don’t expect best image quality from the cheaper filters.
Even buying a spending plan macro lens will offer better results, and a devoted 1:1 macro lens will get you much better to true macro photography.
Alternative 3: Reversing ring
A reversing ring is created to permit you to completely reverse your lens so that you’re shooting through it backwards. You lose all electrical connection (with many reversing rings), and therefore this works best with manual-focus lenses and those that have a manual aperture ring.
There is the choice of a reversing ring with electrical contacts, however these are much more costly (around $100/ ₤ 80), and with macro lenses being readily available from around $300/ ₤ 269 (Panasonic 30mm macro, M43) we ‘d be lured to suggest you put your cash towards a macro lens.