Spring 2012

Spring 2012
by ani

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I am confused about macro lenses (or micro as Nikon calls them). Can we shoot normal (Nature) scenes using the macro lens?

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possible duplicate of What's the difference between a regular lens and a macro lens? – mattdm Mar 9 '13 at 13:21

Yes.

Macro lenses can be used on subjects at more normal distances. They are not just for close up objects. You can shoot portraits with the 60mm or 105mm Micro for example, as those are good focal lengths for portraits.

Macro lenses are generally very sharp, but bokeh may not be as nice as a standard lens.

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There are, though, a few notable exceptions. Both Canon (the 65mm MP-E f/2.8 macro) and Minolta (AF 3x-1x f/1.7-2.8 Macro, no longer beng produced under Sony) have dedicated macro-only lenses that will not focus further away than 1:1, and most of the bellows macro lenses from the manual focus days are mechanically prevented (by the bellows) from getting close enough to the sensor for infinity focus. But they are exceptions, and their macro only nature is almost always pointed out in catalogs, etc. – user2719 Mar 9 '13 at 15:25
    
great....this helped indeed – Martha James Aug 28 '14 at 7:45
    
I was with you right until when you said macro lens don't have good bokeh. – Matthew Whited Jun 17 at 20:41

Macro lenses are optimized for close-up photography and small f-stops (because depth of field is reduced the closer you get to a subject, so small f-stops (larger numbers) are usually required). They will focus closer than non-macro lenses. They work quite well for everyday photography, too. However, they are usually not "fast" lenses, quite often around f4. So, you won't be able to get the "subject-in-focus-and-background-totally-blurred" image as easily than if you had a fast f1.7 or f1.4 lens. But if you move close to an object, because your depth of field is reduced, you can still get this effect, even at f4.

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There are plenty of fast macro lenses. Sigma has a 105mm, 150mm and a 180mm f/2.8 Macro. Fast glass is actually important for macro as you need shallow depth of field to just select you target and because of how close you are to the subject you need more help getting light. (Nikon has a 40mm, 45mm, 55mm, 60mm, 85mm, 105mm that are all f/2.8.) – Matthew Whited Jun 17 at 20:37
    
Hmm. I guess I have to disagree about needing shallow depth of field for macro. You get it whether you like it or not, and the faster macro lenses do not, in my opinion, help macro photography with the lenses. It helps the use of the lens for non-macro photography, though. – Andrew Sharpe Jun 17 at 22:38
    
Matthew Whited couldn't not be more wrong if he tried. I have never missed faster then F2.8 for macro, actually I do not EVER use anything near F2.8 for macro, I work in the F11-F32 range almost exclusively. I do use the macro lenses F2.8 for portrait use, but then again it's not maco work is it. – Goat Jun 17 at 23:10
    
Depends on what you are trying to do. I want shallow depth of field on macro and with small insects and such it's nice because it allows you to easily blur the background and shoot handheld and without a flash. Most of my macro is either 200mm at f/2.8 or 400mm at f/5.6. – Matthew Whited Jun 18 at 2:42

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