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Cameras, Lenses and Accessories: Discuss Macro...What is the difference between say a 200mm macro lens and a 200mm lens, i understand one is specific fo ...
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Old 14-04-2011, 00:03   #1 (permalink)
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Talking Macro

What is the difference between say a 200mm macro lens and a 200mm lens, i understand one is specific fo macro, but cant you do macro photography at all on the normal 200mm lens?
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Old 14-04-2011, 07:14   #2 (permalink)
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Re: Macro

A macro lens has the ability to close focus - a true macro allows 1:1 whereas many zooms only go to 1:2 (although you can still achieve good closeups of bugs, etc). Due to the compexity of close focussing, the true macro lenses are usually only primes
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Old 14-04-2011, 12:59   #3 (permalink)
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Re: Macro

As Marklous says macro lenses are usually primes and as such tend to be much sharper then zoooms which by their nature are a bit of a compromise. Macros usually have a wider maximum aperture than zooms with the shallower depth of field options that brings.
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Old 14-04-2011, 13:46   #4 (permalink)
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Re: Macro

You should look closely at the quoted macro ratio on the lens.

True macro is 1:1 meaning the image is the same size on the sensor as it is life-size.

Some lenses say macro when they aren't really. They can get reasonable close ups.

If the ratio is 1:2 then the image is half it's size on the sensor as it is life-size.

Some lenses now state macro and are only 1:3 which is only 1/3 their life-size on the sensor.

As stated above, true macro lenses are almost (i can't think of one that isn't) prime lenses not zooms.
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Old 14-04-2011, 15:07   #5 (permalink)
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Re: Macro

I have an old Canon zoom lens 70-210mm which I have not used for some time which claims to have a macro mode. It does focus much closer in its "Macro" mode but only achieves around 1:4 which is a very long way from true Macro. I also remember that the lens was a little soft in this mode as well. It is not that Macro lenses are more difficult to design if you design it for that purpose rather than compromise by combining with an entirely different lens. I keep promising myself that I will buy a Macro lens one day and I would like the Canon EF 100mm f2.8 L Macro IS which is a true 1:1 and has a hybrid image stabilisation but costs £689. Still too many other subjects to photograph so this will have to go on the back burner.
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