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

Started Aug 3, 2012 | Discussions thread
Peter Galbavy Senior Member • Posts: 1,015
Re: What's the difference between a lens labeled "Macro" and one that isn't

Other have eluded to the fact that a Macro lens can focus closer. This isn't quite everything. Most Macro lenses will also employ a "zoom" mechanism even on a prime where the image circle will be expanded when focusing closer than a certain point - usually indicated on the focus ring. This means that the aperture will not, effectively, be as wide at all focal distances. For example both my Sigma 150mm Macro and my Canon 100mm IS Macro are labelled f/2.8 but that is only true up to the point the lens is acting normally.

Macro lenses are also labeled with a ratio which indicate how close to real lilfe the image size projected onto your sensor (or film in ye olde days) is. A 1:1 Macro means that at the closest focus the image on your sensor will be the same size as the physical object you are taking a shot of. A 5:1 Macro will actually magnify the image 5x on your sensor. A 1:2 will only project an image 1/2 the size of the real world onto your sensor etc.

Would love to post links but this is all from my aged memory, sorry.

Peter Galbavy

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