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Author Topic: Why some lens says "macro"?  (Read 5808 times)

JRS

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Why some lens says "macro"?
« on: March 19, 2013, 01:55:54 PM »
Some lens have written on them the word MACRO to show the minimum focusing distance, why do they use the word "macro"? Or, at what minimum focusing distance a lens can be called macro?

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Why some lens says "macro"?
« on: March 19, 2013, 01:55:54 PM »

3kramd5

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Re: Why some lens says "macro"?
« Reply #1 on: March 19, 2013, 02:02:25 PM »
Macro traditionally has to do with magnification, in specific a 1:1 or better ratio of size-on-film/sensor to real life.

Somewhere along the way lens makers muddied the waters. I don't know if there is a clear definition as to when they put a macro label on a lens, but suffice it to say that if it isn't a dedicated macro lens, it's not macro.
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RLPhoto

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Re: Why some lens says "macro"?
« Reply #2 on: March 19, 2013, 02:03:08 PM »
Its a marketing term, I consider a lens macro when its reproduction ratio is at least 1/2:1.

neuroanatomist

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Re: Why some lens says "macro"?
« Reply #3 on: March 19, 2013, 02:27:50 PM »
There's no real rhyme or reason.  For example, the 24-70/2.8L has the 'macro' designation on the barrel (and in the distance window) and it delivers a 0.29x mag.  The 24-70/2.8L II does not have 'macro' printed on the barrel, it delivers a 0.21x mag.  Lots of lenses with macro printed on them are in that range.  The old 24-85 lens has an MFD of 20" and only reached 0.16x yet has the 'macro' designation.

As stated above, it's marketing.  I think Canon prints it on the lens if they think they can get away with it, either because the lens focuses kinda close or because it gets a reasonable mag, but sometimes neither (for some consumer lenses), and sometimes they leave it off (which I expect they did intentionally with the 24-70/2.8L II because the max mag took a big drop with the redesign of the lens, and to distinguish it more from the forthcoming-at-the-time 24-70/4L IS.
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RS2021

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Re: Why some lens says "macro"?
« Reply #4 on: March 19, 2013, 02:55:21 PM »
Pure marketing... Even the  kit 24-105L carries the macro label at ~0.23x... 100L is a true macro at 1x and even higher with ET added.
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charlesa

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Re: Why some lens says "macro"?
« Reply #5 on: March 19, 2013, 02:59:18 PM »
Pure marketing ploy, only macro lenses are those with 1x magnification capability or larger... or you could always reverse your lenses!

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Re: Why some lens says "macro"?
« Reply #6 on: March 19, 2013, 04:40:06 PM »
Macro basically means close focusing, but there is no written or published standard. 
There are standard lenses with closer focusing than usual that sometimes have Macro tacked on to the lens, and there are what I think of as true Macro lenses which have a 1:2 or larger ratio.   

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Re: Why some lens says "macro"?
« Reply #6 on: March 19, 2013, 04:40:06 PM »

Mr Bean

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Re: Why some lens says "macro"?
« Reply #7 on: March 19, 2013, 06:13:33 PM »
.....either because the lens focuses kinda close or because it gets a reasonable mag.....
Yeah, I discovered that recently, with my 300mm f4L. It has a "Macro" range "|_____|" indicator at the closest focusing point. It really meant that I could use it to take decent close-ups without resorting to the 100mm Macro all the time :)

I took a beaut pic of a Wolf spider with it last week, that really came up well (the hairs on the legs were tack sharp in the image). It surprised me how good the IQ was for a tele at the extreme focus range.
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JRS

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Re: Why some lens says "macro"?
« Reply #8 on: March 19, 2013, 06:40:19 PM »
thanks for the replies!
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wickidwombat

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Re: Why some lens says "macro"?
« Reply #9 on: March 19, 2013, 06:41:15 PM »
by the way pop a 12mm extension tube on a 40mm and it does a pretty decent job of being a macro :)
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Re: Why some lens says "macro"?
« Reply #10 on: March 19, 2013, 06:47:38 PM »
Just to add to the confusion...some wide-angle lenses that can focus very closely, such as the TS-E 24 II and the 8-15 fisheye, can make for much more interesting "macro" lenses than a true, dedicated macro lens. They let you get super-close to your subject for an interesting perspective and generally do a great job at including enough of the surroundings to put it in context.

Further, with the TS-E 24, you can tilt the plane of focus so you get that small wildflower, the cactus in the midground, and the mountains in the background all in sharp focus.

But, to me, an actual macro lens is a fixed focal length lens that at least does 1:1 reproduction, though I'll give a pass to the 50 Compact Macro that can take that addition to reach 1:1. Anything else is marketing bullshit. And a real macro lens starts at 1:1, and typically has a focal length of 65 mm....

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neuroanatomist

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Re: Why some lens says "macro"?
« Reply #11 on: March 19, 2013, 07:47:26 PM »
The 8-15mm fisheye zoom achieves 0.39x mag!
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Re: Why some lens says "macro"?
« Reply #12 on: March 19, 2013, 08:20:35 PM »
The 8-15mm fisheye zoom achieves 0.39x mag!

Awesome, innit?

And it does it at 6" from the focal plane, too -- which is like a gnat's whisker from the front element.

It's a macro perspective that has to be seen to be believed, and even then isn't quite believable.

Fill half the frame, maybe even more, with a golden poppy, and still have the whole rest of the 360° diagonal in view.

Now that's what I call closeup photography!

The wildflowers are in bloom here in Arizona right now, and I'm really hoping to play hooky later this week and spend a day out at the Superstition Mountains. I know I'll have the 8-15 and the TS-E 24 with me. I'll toss the 1.4x in my pocket because it's so small and it works so great with the TS-E 24. And, of course, I'll have the Shorty McForty next to it partly because it's so small so whatthehell and partly because it's so great for panoramas. But, frankly, I'm having a hard time thinking of any other lenses I'd want with me.

Cheers,

b&

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Re: Why some lens says "macro"?
« Reply #12 on: March 19, 2013, 08:20:35 PM »

preppyak

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Re: Why some lens says "macro"?
« Reply #13 on: March 19, 2013, 11:16:50 PM »
As stated above, it's marketing.
Yep. Especially when it comes to putting it into the lens title/description. Tamron are one of the worst offenders of this; to them it means anything that does better than 1:10 magnification; which is basically every lens Canon makes, for example.

It has two meanings. To most photographers, it means 1:2 magnification or better; as both Canon and Nikon traditionally actually market lenses as "macro" or "micro". And, to companies making a consumer grade zoom, where macro might fool consumers into purchasing it, it means they can charge $40 more.

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Re: Why some lens says "macro"?
« Reply #14 on: March 21, 2013, 07:18:17 PM »
Some lens have written on them the word MACRO to show the minimum focusing distance, why do they use the word "macro"? Or, at what minimum focusing distance a lens can be called macro?



To add the mystique of greater value.  In the opinion of some product manager, the lens can focus close enough to warrant this claim.  They figure it adds value to the lens or meets an annual review goal they had - develop xxx lens with macro capability.

Sorry for the snide comments but I have worked in a major corporation before and seen this before (albiet in a different product area).

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Re: Why some lens says "macro"?
« Reply #14 on: March 21, 2013, 07:18:17 PM »