Why aren't macro lenses for telephoto usage more popular?

Started 2 months ago | Discussions thread
Michael Fryd
Michael Fryd Forum Pro • Posts: 15,932
Re: Why aren't macro lenses for telephoto usage more popular?

jackwelch wrote:

Prime macro lenses seem to offer lower apertures compared to it's telephoto counterparts. They also seem to cost less than their telephoto counterparts.

For example the Tamron SP AF 180mm f/3.5 macro lens, something at this focal length is usually f/5 or f/6 and above and would usually cost more.

Wouldn't it make more sense going with the macro version seeing that it let's in more light?

I am made to understand that macro lenses can be used for non-macro work too and the only difference are the lens elements and close focus distance.

Did you mean to say "Prime" rather than "Macro"?

A "Prime" lens is a lens with a fixed focal length.

A "Macro" lens is a lens that is capable of focusing on very close subjects.  A Macro lens can be either a Zoom (Variable focal length) or a Prime lens.

Prime lenses tend to cost less than zoom lenses.  This is because they are simpler to design and manufacture.  It is also easier to get wider maximum apertures, higher quality, and lower weight.

Macro lenses are optimized for close focusing distances.  Although most will also focus at infinity.  Macro lenses tend to be very sharp, have lower distortions, and have a flat field of focus.


In terms of letting  in more light, that's a function of the maximum aperture.  Canon's 70-200 f/2.8 zoom lets in the same light as their 100mm f/2.8 macro.

Keep in mind that larger apertures let in more light, but also result in shallower Depth of Field (DoF).   If you need enough DoF to keep your entire subject in focus, you may not be able to use a very wide aperture.

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