The Big Picture of MACRO Photography

#15 4

Let’s focus on Macro

Macro photography is close-up photography of usually tiny objects. Different brands have varying terms to indicate that the lens has the macro feature. For Canon and Olympus, the lens code is Macro, while Nikon lens code is Micro.


One of the most important factors in macro lens is the magnification ratio that measures the apparent size of the object is in real life in comparison to when projected on the imaging sensor.


If you do not adjust to a smaller aperture when photographing a tiny object at a close distance, what you get is the image on the left where all the details are lost due to a shallow depth of field (DOF).
What tools can you use?

  1. Tripod
    Pro: Useful for slow or stationary objects, like wrist watches.
    Con: Difficult with certain objects like fast-moving insects.
  2. Flash
    Helps to add light to increase your shutter speed with small aperture. For macro photography, macro-ring flash is
    most commonly used.
  3. Focus stacking
    This allows you to use fast aperture (shallow DOF) to produce a clear image. You simply take a collection of images with different focus and process it to create a clear image.



Not to worry, if you would like to save cost or want to engage in an extreme macro with higher
magnification ratio, here are some options for you!

  1. Extension Tube
    This creates an additional distance to allow your lens to focus more closely. The number on each tube determines the macro magnification ratio where Magnification = Total Extension : Focal Length. For instance, if you use normal lens 50mm F1.8 with 12mm, 20mm and 36mm extension tube, you will get 68 : 50 = 1.36 magnification.
    In extreme macro, you can attach this tube with macro lens.
    Pro: Optical image quality will not be compromised
    Con: It is not convenient to change the lens
  2. Macro Conversion Lens
    Pro: Easy to remove from camera lens.
    Con: Optical image quality is compromised.
  3. Lens Reversal
    Writer’s pick! This is the most affordable tool as you can get 1:1 magnification ratio and all you have to do is to reverse your mounting lens on the camera body with a reverse ring.In extreme macro, reversed lens is attached to another lens as a magnifier (lens stacking).
    Pros: Low cost and high magnification ratio.
    Con: Focus of the lens can only be controlled by manually moving back and forth.

Hopefully these tips will be helpful for those learning photography and who knows, macro photography may help you to appreciate the little things in life!

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