Difference between Macro lens and normal lens


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Sep 14, 2006
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#1
Hi all,

Can anyone enlighten me on the difference between a e.g 60mm Macro lens and a 50mm prime lens?

Or even the difference between a macro lens and a normal lens?

Would like to know the characteristic difference. e.g min focus distance, AF etc.

Thanks in advance

Andrew
 

lsisaxon

Senior Member
Nov 29, 2004
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#2
Hi all,

Can anyone enlighten me on the difference between a e.g 60mm Macro lens and a 50mm prime lens?

Or even the difference between a macro lens and a normal lens?

Would like to know the characteristic difference. e.g min focus distance, AF etc.

Thanks in advance

Andrew
Technically, in terms of the aperture, min focus etc, the differences can be found here..
http://nikonimaging.com/global/products/lens/af/micro/af_micro60mmf_28d/index.htm
and here...
http://nikonimaging.com/global/products/lens/af/normal/af_50mmf_14d/index.htm

What's not mentioned is the optical construction of the lenses. For a macro lens like the 60mm, it is designed to give a corner to corner sharp image when you shoot a flat surface. For example, like when you need to copy a flat piece of paper with text, it should be sharp from corner to corner. This is known as flat field.

In a normal lens, a flat object will not be sharp corner to corner, this is because the corners are further away from the lens than the centre. The field of focus is a curve.

Some story about the Nikon Micro 55mm lens. The first part is philosophical while the second part is more technical.
http://www.nikon.co.jp/main/eng/portfolio/about/history/nikkor/n25_e.htm
http://www.nikon.co.jp/main/eng/portfolio/about/history/nikkor/n26_e.htm
 

satay16

Senior Member
Jan 14, 2006
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#3
macro have 1:1 magnification or higher.

normal lenses dun.

so, in layman terms, macro lenses can let you shoot real big and close, but some normal lenses can actually do that too, just not as close of a real macro lens.
 

zac08

Senior Member
Feb 21, 2005
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#4
Macro's also have closer focusing distances compared to the normal lenses of the same focal length.

AF wise, only Nikon has a AF-S version, but the thing with macro is, most of the users use it in MF mode instead for better clarity and more precise options
 

Sep 14, 2006
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#5
Hi All,

Thank you all for your replies. it was very informative and helpful. Thanks. now i know the difference. Correct me if i am wrong, a macro lens can also be used as a prime right?

Thanks
 

zac08

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Feb 21, 2005
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#6
Hi All,

Thank you all for your replies. it was very informative and helpful. Thanks. now i know the difference. Correct me if i am wrong, a macro lens can also be used as a prime right?

Thanks
Yes, most of the macro lenses are made as primes, but there are some zoom macro lenses available too, ain't cheap.
 

satay16

Senior Member
Jan 14, 2006
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#7
Hi All,

Thank you all for your replies. it was very informative and helpful. Thanks. now i know the difference. Correct me if i am wrong, a macro lens can also be used as a prime right?

Thanks
yup. but you seldom see people using macro lenses as primes because macro lenses have smaller apertures than primes.
 

Scaglietti

New Member
Jan 14, 2005
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#8
Macro lenses can be used for purposes other than macro photography. I use macro lens for portraits too.

BC
 

Snoweagle

Senior Member
Jan 26, 2005
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#9
To summarise the main diff, macro lenses have the ability to focus at much closer distances than normal lenses.
 

zac08

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Feb 21, 2005
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#10
yup. but you seldom see people using macro lenses as primes because macro lenses have smaller apertures than primes.
Actually, sometimes the main reason why ppl dun use them is the fact that they are too shrp, like the 60mm Nikon... You dun want that for a portrait... all the flaws will come up.
 

Scaglietti

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Jan 14, 2005
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#11
Actually, sometimes the main reason why ppl dun use them is the fact that they are too shrp, like the 60mm Nikon... You dun want that for a portrait... all the flaws will come up.
I tend to disagree with this. The 85mm is just as sharp but it's used for portraits. I am using the 60mm Micro-nikkor for portraits too. About the same as the 85mm in terms of sharpness.

BC
 

Sep 14, 2006
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#12
Hi Fellows,

Thanks for all your reply. The info are very interesting. Cant wait to get a macro lens and try it out. Currently eyeing the Canon 100mm Macro. dont know how well it will fare if i were to use it as a protrait lens..... and for shooting at night. Any ideas, suggestion and comments?

Thanks

Andrew
 

xunjas

Senior Member
Dec 28, 2006
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#13
Hi All,

Thank you all for your replies. it was very informative and helpful. Thanks. now i know the difference. Correct me if i am wrong, a macro lens can also be used as a prime right?

Thanks
macro lens make very sharp portrait lens also.. some ppl may not like the sharpness from the macro lens..
 

xunjas

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Dec 28, 2006
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#14
Hi Fellows,

Thanks for all your reply. The info are very interesting. Cant wait to get a macro lens and try it out. Currently eyeing the Canon 100mm Macro. dont know how well it will fare if i were to use it as a protrait lens..... and for shooting at night. Any ideas, suggestion and comments?

Thanks

Andrew
portrait pictures should contain some softness in the face.. not too sharp .. macro lens produce very sharp pictures instead of softness in the face..
 

zac08

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Feb 21, 2005
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#15
I tend to disagree with this. The 85mm is just as sharp but it's used for portraits. I am using the 60mm Micro-nikkor for portraits too. About the same as the 85mm in terms of sharpness.

BC
Macro sharpness is slightly different, kinda causes the picture to fall a lil flat. But that's a personal take.
 

Jun 10, 2005
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#16
In "John Shaw's Nature Photography Field Guide", John Shaw wrote (page 130):
  • "A photo shot with a macro lens will not look different from one shot with a regular lense set at the same focal length, because it is the focal length itself that determines the photo's 'look'.''
  • "the real question to ask before purchase a macro is whether or not you already own a lens in the same focal length"
  • "what is the difference between a 35-70mm f/2.8 and zoom lens used at 50mm and a 50mm f/2.8 macro lens? The macro focuses closer, but otherwise the two lenses do to an image is identical. Why double up on focal lengths?"
  • "To be honest, I don't recommended that your purchase any macro lens unless you plan on shooting a lot of closeups. The money would be better spend upgrading your tripod ..."
  • "If you're really serious about photographing closeups I would consider the long macro lens. Both Nikon's 200mm and Canon's 180mm focus from infinity to life size, and are incredibly sharp throughout the range. The longer focal lengths also offer two big advantages: increased working distance and a narrowed angle of view."
There is an entire chapter on closeup photography in this book whereby he discusses what "closeup" is and what are the various ways it could be achieved. As this book was first published in 2000, some of us might find some of its information no longer relevant.
 

#17
In "John Shaw's Nature Photography Field Guide", John Shaw wrote (page 130):
  • "A photo shot with a macro lens will not look different from one shot with a regular lense set at the same focal length, because it is the focal length itself that determines the photo's 'look'.''
  • "the real question to ask before purchase a macro is whether or not you already own a lens in the same focal length"
  • "what is the difference between a 35-70mm f/2.8 and zoom lens used at 50mm and a 50mm f/2.8 macro lens? The macro focuses closer, but otherwise the two lenses do to an image is identical. Why double up on focal lengths?"
  • "To be honest, I don't recommended that your purchase any macro lens unless you plan on shooting a lot of closeups. The money would be better spend upgrading your tripod ..."
  • "If you're really serious about photographing closeups I would consider the long macro lens. Both Nikon's 200mm and Canon's 180mm focus from infinity to life size, and are incredibly sharp throughout the range. The longer focal lengths also offer two big advantages: increased working distance and a narrowed angle of view."
There is an entire chapter on closeup photography in this book whereby he discusses what "closeup" is and what are the various ways it could be achieved. As this book was first published in 2000, some of us might find some of its information no longer relevant.
:thumbsup: :thumbsup: :thumbsup:
 

Scaglietti

New Member
Jan 14, 2005
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#18
In "John Shaw's Nature Photography Field Guide", John Shaw wrote (page 130):
  • "A photo shot with a macro lens will not look different from one shot with a regular lense set at the same focal length, because it is the focal length itself that determines the photo's 'look'.''
  • "the real question to ask before purchase a macro is whether or not you already own a lens in the same focal length"
  • "what is the difference between a 35-70mm f/2.8 and zoom lens used at 50mm and a 50mm f/2.8 macro lens? The macro focuses closer, but otherwise the two lenses do to an image is identical. Why double up on focal lengths?"
  • "To be honest, I don't recommended that your purchase any macro lens unless you plan on shooting a lot of closeups. The money would be better spend upgrading your tripod ..."
  • "If you're really serious about photographing closeups I would consider the long macro lens. Both Nikon's 200mm and Canon's 180mm focus from infinity to life size, and are incredibly sharp throughout the range. The longer focal lengths also offer two big advantages: increased working distance and a narrowed angle of view."
There is an entire chapter on closeup photography in this book whereby he discusses what "closeup" is and what are the various ways it could be achieved. As this book was first published in 2000, some of us might find some of its information no longer relevant.
One additional features that Micro-nikkors have is the close range correction which improves the corner/edges sharpness at close distances. Normal lenses tends not to be sharp at the
corners/edges at very close distances.

BC
 

xunjas

Senior Member
Dec 28, 2006
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#19
One additional features that Micro-nikkors have is the close range correction which improves the corner/edges sharpness at close distances. Normal lenses tends not to be sharp at the
corners/edges at very close distances.

BC
yup.. macro lens are sharp from corner to corner..
 

Sep 14, 2006
419
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16
#20
Wow!!! thanks for all the good info. Btw, anyone knows where i can get that book or anyone willing to borrow me a copy so that i can go photocopy it? Seems like a good read although it may be slightly outdated.

Thanks all. now i have to decide..... :)
 

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