I have a Canon EOS 450D and the three following lenses :

  • Canon EF-S 18–55mm lens f/3.5–5.6
  • Canon EF-S 55-250mm f/4-5.6 IS
  • Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II

I would like to give Macro photography a try (lego or tiny people photography) and I would like to know which caracteristics of my lenses would fit best this exercise.

Is there one of my lenses that will give me overall better results with macro photography ?

A very neat example of what I think

Attempt(s) with my Canon EF-S 55-250mm f/4-5.6 :

First attempt with Canon EF-S 55-250mm f/4-5.6 IS

  • What is "tiny people photography"? Are you talking about "fake miniature photography" such as photo.stackexchange.com/questions/15929/… or tiny toy photography or something else?
    – dpollitt
    Jul 1, 2013 at 15:12
  • Edited the question with an example!
    – Andy M
    Jul 1, 2013 at 16:55
  • Some very interesting images, very creative, but... none of them are actually macro images. I doubt any of those toys are smaller than the sensor, so you don't actually need a macro lens to achieve the look, just some patience to learn the characteristics of the lenses you have. Spend some time on your stomach too. :)
    – Joanne C
    Jul 1, 2013 at 22:56
  • Oh, this could be a good news if I don't need any macro lenses ! I'll give a try and post some result with the different lenses...
    – Andy M
    Jul 2, 2013 at 8:49
  • Added a first attempt with a simple shot... I'm a beginner at photography so, the picture doesn't look so good... I took it with my Canon EF-S 55-250mm f/4-5.6 IS... It's not macro obviously and I couldn't find any "Tiny people" in shops around my home... So I gave this Lego cowboy a try :)
    – Andy M
    Jul 4, 2013 at 17:06

4 Answers 4


None of the lenses have macro capabilities - but you can probably get good images of lego-sized objects (maybe with a little cropping).

Just try, set up some object similar to what you want to photograph, make sure you have lots of light and the entire object is well lit.

Hint: for a static indoor scene low ISO, a tripod, cable release and a window that isn't in direct sunlight will do wonders

Now take each lens, zoom in all the way and get as close as possible before the lens no longer focus (this will get you the maximum magnification of the lens) and take a photo.

Do only basic processing on all images - but do process them (straiten them if need, crop to taste, do basic WB and color corrections)

After you try all your lenses you can look at the images and decide what image (if any) best fits your artistic style and is closest to the images you want to produce.

  • Great answer, thank you very much ! I'll give it a go !
    – Andy M
    Jul 1, 2013 at 13:01
  • 1
    You bring up an important point, if you are photographing lego structures, macro is basically unnecessary unless you want to read the lego lego off of a block. But if you do want macro, the equipment that the poster has is not going to cut it, at all.
    – dpollitt
    Jul 1, 2013 at 15:14
  • @dpollitt - I agree, I didn't mean to imply any of those lenses can do real macro work
    – Nir
    Jul 1, 2013 at 22:10

Of the three lenses you listed, none have a maximum magnification (MM) greater than 0.31X. Conventional wisdom is that a lens needs to have 1.0X MM to be considered a Macro lens. Since you are shooting with a 1.6x cropped sensor body, a lens with a MM of 0.62x would give similar results.

Here are the maximum magnification (MM) of your lenses. Listed first is the lens alone, then the lens with a 12mm extension tube (ET), then with a 25mm extension tube. The zoom lenses indicate a range between the longest and shortest focal length. The prime lens indicates a range based on the position of focus.

  • EF 50mm f/1.8: 0.15x; w/12mm ET 0.39-.024x; w/25mm ET 0.68-0.53x
  • EF-S 55-250mm f/4-5.6 IS: 0.31x; w/12mm ET 0.6-0.05x; w/25mm ET 0.48-0.11x
  • EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS II: 0.28x; w/12mm ET 0.57-0.23x; w/25mm ET 0.92-0.51x

For an explanation of what extension tubes are and how they work, see What are Extension Tubes?

  • Impressively detailed answer, thank you very much!
    – Andy M
    Jul 1, 2013 at 16:59

None of your lenses are macro lenses.

Go buy or rent the Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro or the Canon EF 60mm f/2.8 if you need a true high quality macro lens.

Alternatively for less money you could add extension tubes to one of your existing lenses. See: What are Extension Tubes? and What am I losing when using extension tubes instead of a macro lens?

  • Thank you for your answer ! Those lenses are a bit expensive for me, especially because I'm not sure I want to jump into macro photography on the long term... But I'll keep those references, it's interesting !
    – Andy M
    Jul 1, 2013 at 13:11
  • 1
    If dedicated macro lenses are too expensive for your purposes, extension tubes are the way to go. If you only stick with the equipment you only have, I'm afraid you won't be anywhere near macro and never really get to see the exciting photos it has to offer.
    – dpollitt
    Jul 1, 2013 at 13:14
  • 1
    I agree that the lenses he has aren't even close to macro but for lego-sized scene, especially a minfig with some objects around it, you don't need true 1:1 macro, you can get good results with a non-macro lens and maybe a little bit of cropping. true macro will probably be too much for this size.
    – Nir
    Jul 1, 2013 at 14:06
  • The meaning of "macro", particularly outside the SLR world, seems to have diluted somewhat to denote close-up photography in general. The 55-250 should be quite sufficient for the latter.
    – JohannesD
    Jul 2, 2013 at 8:55

I did take a look at the site you are referring to (great photos by the way), and none of those can be considered macro shots. There are merely close-up shots of very small subjects.

The photographer himself state that they are shot using a fisheye lens in order to get so much of the background. He is also very to the miniatures when shooting. There are a few pictures of him shooting on the faq page.

So if you want to do something similar to him, you should use your widest angle, i.e. the 18-55, set it to 18mm, and the largest possible aperture, f/3.5.

You might have a problem being able to focus close enough, in which case you could invest in a set of inexpensive extension tubes. These are simply a set of tubes that you put between the lens and the camera. There is only air, so it will not degrade image quality. And they will allow you to focus closer to the lens, at the expense of not being able to focus on subjects far away.

p.s. This is actually the exact opposite of the currently accepted answer, but this is based on the example site that you linked to.

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