Welcome to the forum!

As an adjunct to the Tangents blog, the intention with this forum is to answer any questions, and allow a diverse discussion of topics related photography. With that, see it as an open invitation to just climb in and start threads and to respond to any threads.

Macro lens question

LoriclappLoriclapp Member
edited October 2013 in Canon
I know what a macro lens is - but I have a question about it. What is the difference in a 100mm macro lens and a 100mm lens? Is there a difference? I have an 85mm 1.8 lens - is this equivalent to a macro lens? The reason I'm asking is for ring shots at weddings. I don't have a "Macro" lens, but I do have a 28-105. I don't understand if there is a difference in a 100mm macro, or what I can do with a 28-105 (I get the depth of field/ f/stop stuff - I'm only talking focus on the rings). Not sure I am even wording this right, but some of you guys are so smart, you even understand MY questions!! Thanks for any help!


  • JerryJerry Member
    edited October 2013
    Short answer...nearest focusing distance for one thing. With a macro you can focus on a subject right in front of the lens.

    With a "normal" lens closest distance where you are able to focus may be a feet or two or even more depending on the lens.

    (Plus of course the 1:1 ratio)
  • a macro lens allows you to get closer to the object, often you can fill the viewfinder with the object. You can NOT do this with any other lens.

    You cannot take the below photo with a 100 f2.8 non-macro lens:


    I would never recommend buying a non-macro 100 f2.8.
  • ..and the macro lens can double up as portrait lens as well of course. (Not possible other way around)
  • Okay, that all makes sense, but I think what is confusing me, is why does my 24-70 lens say "macro 0.38m/1.3ft" I assume this means that I can get within 1.3 feet and still focus on an object. But according to what you guys have said above, getting within a foot or two and still focusing does not make it a macro. I'm not trying to argue with anyone, I just really don't understand why some of the lenses that obviously are not macros, say "macro" on them! Thank you!
  • marketing mostly. The MACRO on the 24-70 is letting you know that the minimum focus distance (MFD) is "better" than a non macro 24-70. In the end, it is marketing. I have a 70-300L that has MACRO on it as well...and it is not a macro :)

  • Okay, thank you - that makes it easier - just ignore the word "macro" unless it is really a "macro". I've always wondered about that! Thanks!!
  • One more thing, as far as I know, with Nikon lenses the term Micro is used in place of macro. On a Nikon lens, if it says Micro, bet your bottom dollar it's a true macro lens, i.e. Nikon 60mm F2.8 D Micro Nikkor, and Nikon 105mm F2.8 Micro VR.
  • MikeZMikeZ Member
    edited October 2013
    Here is a few things I know. I just had surgery so hopefully I'm not repeating things I may have missed. A 105mm macro or micro in Nikon, means you can be 105mm from the subject and still reproduce life size. This comes in handy for bugs and such where you dont want to be 40 or 60mm away. Lil close to a spider or bee for me lol...

    The dof on a macro is such that rings shots can actually be shot at f8 or more just to get the entire diamond in focus. Try at 2.8 and youll probably just get one of the crisp edges of the diamond in focus. Vr is a good thing to have on a macro esp for weddings. A 105mm f2.8 (non macro) refers to only the focal length. Like having a 70/200 zoomed to 105mm. Hope that helps some what.

    The 105mm micro vr nikon is regarded as one of the best around.
  • Mike, that really does help - thank you!! And penndragonn, thanks for that info!
  • Mike,

    You got it correct! I have the 60mm and 105mm Micro lenses. That 105 is amazing, and I have the Nikon R1 Kit to go along with it. Can't beat the combination...ANYWHERE! The R1 Kit comes with adapters to attach to practically any lens...
  • Neil vNNeil vN Administrator
    Macro / micro means 1:1 focusing.
    In other words, if you photograph something, like a penny. The actual penny will be the same size as on the 35mm piece of film (or FF sensor).

    That's true macro.

    But many macro lenses (especially older designs), offered 1/2 life-size.

    24-70mm lenses or such that offer a macro mode, can't do this. It just means they focus really, really close. That's useful too.

    Both the Nikon 105mm f/2.8 VR macro, and the Canon 100mm f/2.8 IS macro are superb lenses. Top notch.
Sign In or Register to comment.