Do You Really Need a Macro Photography Lens?

Macro photography can be one of the most satisfying types of picture making. A macro lens is designed for taking close-up pictures. However, do you really need a special macro lens to take these kinds of photos? Can’t you just buy a cheap lens and still get great close-up pictures?

learn about macro lens

Photo by jonathan sterrick; ISO 400, f/10.0, 1/200-second exposure.

In order to answer this question, you really need to decide how good you want your images to be. And a second consideration is whether you want true 1:1 magnification. If you want excellent quality and true macro magnification, you will need to invest in a special lens.

The most common lens is in the 100mm focal range. However, you can get a decent one at 60mm as well. You can even get a super-telephoto close-up lens at about 180mm. What makes them special is their ability to get close to the subject, thus filling the frame with a subject like a bug or a flower bud.

Some will ask if there are zoom lenses that are good for shooting these kinds of shots. The answer most photographers who deal with this type of shooting is that you need to stick with a single focal length, such as 100mm. This will give you a much better quality photo.

The good news is that, even though you will need to spend quite a bit for your new friend (and it will be your friend right from your first press of the shutter button), it will be good for other types of shots too. You can get great portraits with a macro lens, and it will give you fantastic street journalism photos as well.

macro lens basics

Photo by Tom Lee; ISO 400, f/3.2, 1/250-second exposure.

When choosing your new lens, pay attention to the aperture rating. Try to get an aperture of f/2.8. This simply means that the opening will be wide enough to accomplish two things. First, you will get excellent blurred backgrounds when shooting at the wide aperture. You tiny subjects will stand out nicely because of this. The second thing is the ability to shoot in low light situations. The wider the aperture, the faster the shutter speed can be.

When you finally make the decision to add this piece of equipment to your camera bag, you will be delighted with the results and wonder why you put it off for so long. Even if you are shooting with the cheapest DSLR camera, the lens will make a huge difference.

macro lens for beginners

Photo by Richard Ricciardi; ISO 800, f/8.0, 1/500-second exposure.

The most important factor for taking great pictures is not actually the camera or the lens, it is the person making the picture. However, it does not hurt to have a good camera, and the lens is just as important as the camera that it is attached to.

About the Author:
Wayne Rasku has been an amateur photographer since 2003. He runs sites related to photography classes in Atlanta, Georgia, and a Canon lens organization site.

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