WHICH MACRO LENS DO I BUY? – UDO KIESLICH
Macro / close-up photography is one of the more popular types of photography as it allows us explore a world which we tend to ignore on a day to day basis. This miniature world provides a wealth of photo opportunities and best of all you can do it wherever you are. If you would like to learn more about macro photography, please join us on our next Advanced Photography course.
There are a number of options if you want to get into macro photography -close-up filters, extension tubes, extension bellows, a reversal ring, a lens with a macro function and then buying a dedicated macro lens. In this blog I want to focus on the dedicated macro lenses. These lenses are specifically designed for close-up work, they all tend to be pin-sharp and most of them give you true 1:1 magnification.
This means that when the lens is used at its closest focusing distance the image captured on the sensor / film will be the same size as the subject being photographed. A 1:2 magnification lens would mean that the image on the sensor is half the size of the subject being photographed.
Macro lenses are generally available in three different focal lengths – 60mm, 105mm and 200mm. All three give 1:1 magnification but their working distances are different.
A 60mm lens will require you to be very close to the subject in order to get 1:1 magnification, whereas a 200mm macro lens has a greater working distance allowing you to be quite a bit further away from the subject at this magnification.
This is particularly useful when photographing insects, reptiles and other skittish / venomous creatures. In addition a 60mm macro lens will include more of the background due to its wider angle of view, whereas the 200mm macro will only include less of the background behind the subject.
So,which one is the best? Well, it depends… If you´re mainly using your macro lens for studio work / product photography, then the 60mm focal length is fine. If you´re photographing insects, flowers and also enjoy portraiture, then the 105mm is the one to go for as this focal length is perfect for head and shoulders portraiture.
It doesn´t distort facial features and the maximum aperture of f2.8 is great for throwing the background out of focus. If you enjoy photographing skittish bugs, venomous insects / reptiles, or small animals then a 200mm macro lens would be the best choice. Personally I´d go for the 105mm as it´s the most versatile of the three.