People are naturally drawn to things and images that are presented in a different perspective – something that isn’t really seen every day. That is precisely the reason why macro photography is so fascinating. Let’s take a closer look, shall we?
Pardon the pun, I just couldn’t resist.
It is a common belief that macro photography is just a jargon for close-up photography. Well, that’s close enough, but not quite.
Technically speaking, macro photography is based on the subject’s image as it appears magnified on the film negative in comparison to the subject’s actual size in real life. Traditionally, macro is meant for any image that possesses a 1:1 ratio of magnification or higher. (However, 1:2 (0.5X) is accepted as well.)
One of the aims of macro photography is to capture the subject’s detail sharply, therefore magnification power (or a high reproduction ratio) as well as great focusing range for the lens is a priority.
Macro lenses of different focal lengths find different uses:
- Continuously-variable focal length – suitable for virtually all macro subjects
- 45–65 mm – for product photography, small objects that can be approached closely without causing undesirable influence, and scenes requiring natural background perspective
- 90–105 mm – for insects, flowers, and small objects from a comfortable distance
- 150–200 mm – for insects and other small animals where additional working distance is required
One option is the use of extension tubes or bellows to add more distance between the lens and the negative. This is due to the fact that as the distance between the lens and the film increases, so does the magnification. (Although the focusing distance and the light that passes through the aperture is noticeably affected. In the latter’s case, it can be remedied by using a ringflash.)
Another alternative is using a reversed lens wherein a reversing ring is attached to the filter thread in front of the lens so that it can be used in reverse. Usually, the reverse lens is combined with another lens, leading to what is called “stacking”, and increasing the magnification.