newbie question about macro lens


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jtan4

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Nov 29, 2006
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#1
Sorry if i'm going to ask a silly question... but i'm a bit curious about macro lenses.

I've seen lenses like 50mm macro, and then i've also seen lenses like 200mm macro.

I can understand if one has a 50mm macro to shoot something really close up and you move close to the object you are shooting. But 200mm macro - that i don't get. Is that to shoot something really far away e.g. a bird on a tree? But if that's the case, wouldn't a normal 200mm zoom lens be sufficient to just zoom and take the pic of the bird?

THanks in advice for all enlightenment on this.

Chrs
Jinny
 

kcuf2

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Dec 29, 2005
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#2
nonono.....for a 50mm macro lens, the minimum working distance is arnd 20cm, that means u can go up to 20cm away from the beetle to shoot it.

but for 200mm macro lens, the minimum working distance is arnd 50cm, meaning u can stand further away from the beetle to shoot it.

For a macro lens, they give 1:1 magnification, meaning if the beetle is 3cm long, it will look 3cm long in ur picture.

But for non-macro lens eg. the normal zoom lens, they dun give 1:1 magnification, they normally give 1:5 magnification. Thus if the beetle is 3cm long, it will only appear as 0.6cm in ur picture, which is much smaller.

Thus if u use ur 200mm normal lens to shoot a bird, the bird will appear much smaller in the picture compared to one taken with a 200mm macro lens.
 

ortega

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Nov 2, 2004
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#3
on a macro lens, the focusing distance is shorter and thus the magnification is bigger
normally at least 1:1 scale

so if you take picture of a 1 cent coin at 1:1 using film
the image on the film will be the same size as the 1 cent coin.
 

Clockunder

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Apr 12, 2005
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#4
Sometimes, you would scare the subject (e.g. spiders, small animals etc.) away if you go too close or you could not go very close to the subject due to some reasons (barricades/barriers etc.).

So a longer focal length macro lens would enable you to shoot a bit further away and yet be able to get 1:1 magnification.
 

ortega

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#5
the longer the focal lenght the narrower the field of view
the longer the focal lenght the less DOF you have
the longer the focal lenght the more prone to have camera shake
 

Clockunder

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#6
Just to add :

The minimum focus distance of a normal 200mm lens is much further than the minimum focus distance of a macro 200mm lens and therefore you would need to shoot much further away with a normal 200mm and thus not able to achieve 1:1 magnification which a 200mm Macro lens is able to achieve.

A 200mm Macro lens there is suitable for shooting a bit further away than shorter focal length Macro lens because you are afraid of scaring the subject away or you are prevented from going closer, and yet be close enough to be able to achieve 1:1 magnification.
 

jtan4

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Nov 29, 2006
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#7
Thanks all!!

Now I get it.. ;)

On a separate note, I've seen some kind of converter or something that attaches onto the normal lens to make it into a macro lens. is this better than getting a dedicated macro lens?

Chrs
Jinny
 

kcuf2

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Dec 29, 2005
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#8
Thanks all!!

Now I get it.. ;)

On a separate note, I've seen some kind of converter or something that attaches onto the normal lens to make it into a macro lens. is this better than getting a dedicated macro lens?

Chrs
Jinny

Thats the reverse ring. This is a very cheap way to get a macro lens, but the drawback is that u got to do manual focus.
 

ortega

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#10
Thanks all!!

Now I get it.. ;)

On a separate note, I've seen some kind of converter or something that attaches onto the normal lens to make it into a macro lens. is this better than getting a dedicated macro lens?

Chrs
Jinny
no, nothing beats the real thing
 

megaweb

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Jan 17, 2002
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#11
Refer to this thread
http://forums.clubsnap.org/showthread.php?t=250351

50mm macro lens
- short focal length lens allow you to handheld
- short focusing distance for 1:1
- light and portable
- wider angle perspective - more background

200mm macro lens
- long focal length lens allow you to take further
- longer focusing distance for 1:1
- heavy and bulky - need tripod to assist
- narrower angle perspective - less distracting in background
 

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