An Introduction to Macro-Land


Through a normal lens, the world is pretty darn cool. There are films galore, to say nothing of filters and settings, to make that world even cooler. But with a macro lens, even the smallest parts of your world can come into focus. So come on along for a series of tipsters on how to get the most out of your macro lens.

I felt like I was right on top of this flower, but I could have gone way tighter!

So what the heck is a macro lens, anyhow? It’s any lens that basically blows up whatever you’re looking at beyond its normal size. In other words, if there’s something tiny that you want to take up most of the shot, this is the lens for you.

This shot totals about two inches or so of width, yet it makes these notebooks look giant!

The first thing you’ll need is a camera capable of using a macro lens. I’m using a Canon AE-1 Program with a Vivitar 55mm 1:2.8 lens. It’s the setup my friend is letting me use indefinitely, the macro lens one of five I get to play with (alongside a fisheye, a couple of zooms, and a “normal” lens). But as the huge fan of the Diana F+ that I am (I have the Glow, and I’m saving up for the Buttercup and True Blue with accessory lenses),the 55mm close-up lens is what you need (and it comes paired with a wide angle lens–awesome!).

This is a less than 2″ × 2″ square on a postcard. Neat, eh?

With this series, I’m going to go through a few different scenarios for using your macro lens and how you can see your world differently. There is a lot of tiny detail out there just waiting to be captured.

One ring + one light leak = something pretty darn cool!

Look for updates from Macro-Land every week or two, depending on how quickly I get film developed. The first entry will be a typical indoor setup, reminiscing on my recently closed retail shop with Macro-Land: Sold!

Even something like the stitching on a steering wheel takes on a whole new feel!

See you soon!

Words and photos by Kevin Hodur. Previously calling suburban Chicago and Portland home, Kevin now lives and works as a writer on Upper Michigan’s Keweenaw Peninsula. Catch editions of The Road Rarely Traveled, his regular dispatches from a very northern life, as well as all of the tipsters from Macro-Land!

written by kevinhodur on 2013-05-13 in #gear #tipster #tipster #f2-8 #tutorial #close-up #macro-land #55mm #camera #macro #lens


  1. bsdunek
    bsdunek ·

    I sure can't see doing close-up work with the Diana F+. You would never be sure what you're getting. To me, a SLR is the way to go for close-up work. You can frame your shot exactly the way you want.

  2. sandravo
    sandravo ·

    How is a Vivitar 55mm 1:2.8 lens a macro lens? it barely reaches 1:1, so I'm confused...

  3. kevinhodur
    kevinhodur ·

    @sandravo: Hmm. Well, now you've brought up an issue I have to investigate! I'm no expert on lenses, and it's off of stuff I've borrowed (and is labeled as such). I spoke with a couple of photographer friends and that's how they referred to it as well. I'll post the full specs and perhaps can use your expertise? I might need to rename this thing!

  4. kevinhodur
    kevinhodur ·

    A-ha! I found a thread talking about it, as a macro lens, but describing it as f2.8, going to 1:1, and ultimately, not really being all that great of a lens! Yeah, well, but the price was right...

    Despite my father being an expert in the field, I'm terrible with optics. My apologies if I'm using terms wrong... I'm trying to ultimately describe a style of shooting, and I'm probably trying to punch above my weight. :(

  5. sandravo
    sandravo ·

    Many lenses are described as macro lens without actually being a true macro lens (even expensive ones). I'm not sure about the vivitar lens you are using, but as you have one you could easily test its magnification factor. Either way, there is an easy trick to get macro shots: just flip your lens. Lens reversal rings are sold on ebay, but just for fun, give it a try. Get your usual set up going, disconnect your lens and turn it around, front side facing the camera. Try to hold it as steady as you can. You'll find you need to get extremely close to things to focus, but magnification goes through the roof!

  6. kevinhodur
    kevinhodur ·

    @sandravo: Hey, that's cool... thanks for the tip! I'm going to give that a shot and see what shows up!

More Interesting Articles

  • Lomography Official Petzval Launch Party in Hong Kong

    written by lomographygallerystorehk on 2014-08-26 in #events
    Lomography Official Petzval Launch Party in Hong Kong

    After a long wait, the Lomography Petzval lens has finally officially landed on our online shop and in our gallery stores. To celebrate and to get a glimpse of this legendary Petzval Lens, which was first conceived of in 1840 and reinvented by Lomography last year, we gathered media personalities and photography lovers at the Hong Kong Gallery Store for this very special evening.

  • Fun Close-Up Portraits Courtesy of the Lomo'Instant!

    written by chooolss on 2014-06-24 in #news
    Fun Close-Up Portraits Courtesy of the Lomo'Instant!

    Lomography's on a mission to conquer the world of instant photography, and we need your help to reach this goal. Find out how you can contribute (and be rewarded with a super cool close-up lens, too!) after the cut!

  • Total Eclipse of the Sun Competition

    written by jacobs on 2015-03-20 in #gear #news #competitions
    Total Eclipse of the Sun Competition

    Did you catch the solar eclipse that happened recently? Word on the street is that it even resulted in a total eclipse in some areas of Europe, making it a pretty rare occasion for the folks that got to see it! We're guessing that some of you even had your cameras to catch the whole shebang on film — which is why we're throwing a competition for the best eclipse and sun inspired shots out there. Come on in and check out the details!

  • Shop News

    Lomography Diana Mini Double Rainbow

    Lomography Diana Mini Double Rainbow

    An analogue camera inspired by Tara Mcpherson, A highly recommended gear for Lomography beginners and visual art lovers! With this edition see how Tara Mcpherson’s art joins the world of analogue cameras. Get it now for a special price!

  • The Great Lomo'Instant Tag Competition of 2015!

    written by jacobs on 2015-01-15 in #competitions
    The Great Lomo'Instant Tag Competition of 2015!

    Looking for a chance to share your best Lomo'Instant snaps with the world and win seriously cool prizes? Then we've got good news for you — The Great Lomo'Instant Tag Competition of 2015 is on! And even if you don't have a Lomo'Instant yet, now is the perfect time to get one. Pick one up now so you can join in on the fun!

  • Wanderlust-Inducing Lomographs Taken with the Horizon Kompakt

    written by chooolss on 2014-08-05 in #lifestyle
    Wanderlust-Inducing Lomographs Taken with the Horizon Kompakt

    We're onto the final stretch of summer, so hop on a plane or a bus and set off to the destination of your choice if you haven't still. Oh, and make sure to bring your photographic essentials along!

  • The New Petzval Lens Is Now Available For Regular Purchase!

    written by tomas_bates on 2014-08-14 in #news
    The New Petzval Lens Is Now Available For Regular Purchase!

    The day has finally come! We are very excited to tell you that you can now order the Lomography New Petzval Lens for immediate delivery from the Online Shop or purchase it in your hands at Gallery Stores. To put full focus on our favorite portrait lens, soon we will be hosting special launch parties in our Gallery stores all over the globe! So do not miss an opportunity to become part of the sensational New Petzval Lens family today.

  • Shop News

    Special Apertures for Petzval

    Special Apertures for Petzval

    Want to be more creative and level up your bokeh shots? A wide selection of special apertures for Petzval are here to blend with your artistic side and give your Petzval images some analog twists!

  • Journey to the Ends of the Earth: From the Arctic to Antarctica

    written by pan_dre on 2015-02-10 in #world #news
    Journey to the Ends of the Earth: From the Arctic to Antarctica

    Very few of even the most intrepid travelers get to set sail to the Arctic and the Antarctic. A lomographer known to the Community as stouf, however, was able to set foot on both polar regions. While the rare opportunity to visit these uncommon destinations came in parcel with his profession, he did not forget to bring along his trusty cameras and favorite film to capture scenes from the expeditions.

  • Danika's Analogue Petzval Adventures: Volume 2 - Finding the Roots

    written by danika on 2014-11-17 in #news
    Danika's Analogue Petzval Adventures: Volume 2 - Finding the Roots

    In the second part of my analogue Petzval Adventures, we set on a quest to find the roots of this amazing lens in a small Slovakian village.

  • Petzval Artist: Portraits from Adam Bronkhorst

    written by hannah_brown on 2014-05-05 in #people #lomoamigos
    Petzval Artist: Portraits from Adam Bronkhorst

    Adam Bronkhorst is a Brighton-based photographer who focuses on people and portraiture. He teaches all kinds of photography through different means – using a DSLR, studio lighting and even film cameras. His portfolio of work is so stunning, we decided to crown him as one of our Petzval Artists. We let him test the new Petzval lens to its full potential and the results are just beautiful.

  • Shop News

    Wear lomo-love on your skin

    Wear lomo-love on your skin

    You’ve shouted your analogue love from the rooftops and worn your heart on your sleeve – Now it’s time to take it to the next level and wear it on your skin! Our new Lomography Tattoos are fun, easy to apply and come in five designs.

  • Shoot Dreamy Photos with a Teardrop Backdrop with the New Petzval Lens

    written by shhquiet on 2014-10-27 in #news
    Shoot Dreamy Photos with a Teardrop Backdrop with the New Petzval Lens

    The premium New Petzval Lens allows you to set your subject against a soft, beautiful background of bokeh. But how about making the bokeh even more interesting by using shapes? Simply use the special aperture plates exclusively made for the Petzval and have fun!

  • Secure Your Cameras in Style with the Zkin Camera Straps!

    written by Julien Matabuena on 2015-02-03 in #gear #news
    Secure Your Cameras in Style with the Zkin Camera Straps!

    Cameras might come in neutral colors, more often than not, but don't be afraid to let a bit of your personality shine through even on your photography gear with the Zkin Camera Straps!

  • Tinker on the fly: A color filter made from spoiled film

    written by dopa on 2014-05-25 in #gear #tipster
    Tinker on the fly: A color filter made from spoiled film

    Probably each one of you has been annoyed with failed film. This is particularly annoying when you get the developed film back from the lab, but you get blanks because the film was not exposed. It's either the film transport didn't work, or you have not taken the lens cap off, etc. Read on and I'll show you an alternative to just throwing away the film: Simply use it as a color filter for your camera, with the La Sardina for example.