What's the difference between a lens labeled "Macro" and one that isn't?

Started Aug 3, 2012 | Discussions thread
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locke42 Regular Member • Posts: 169
What's the difference between a lens labeled "Macro" and one that isn't?

I've been looking for a fast, wide angle prime lens that will give me a normal focal length equivalent on my 60D. My choices seem limited to Canon's 28mm f/1.8 and Sigma's 30mm f/1.4. Both are a little long for my taste (I'd prefer something closer to a 35mm equivalent), but if those are my only choices, then those are my only choices.

However, I see that Sigma has a 24mm f/1.8 lens, but it's labeled "Macro." That fits my focal length need almost exactly (38mm EFL). My worry is the "Macro" label. I realize that this means that it's designed to focus close up, but does this somehow also limit its ability to focus at a distance, as well? I'd very much like this to be my walkaround street lens when I don't have my 15-85mm on, but if it's not great at focusing beyond macro distances then that makes it kinda useless for what I need.

This isn't the only one, of course. Canon has a range of macro primes that match the focal lengths of their other primes, but are slower and more expensive. I'm just wondering what's the difference between a non-macro prime and a macro prime, and if a macro prime can still be used for every day shooting.

 locke42's gear list:locke42's gear list
Sony RX100 II Canon EOS 60D Sony Alpha 7 Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM Sony FE 55mm F1.8
Canon EOS 60D
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