what is a macro lens used for

what is a macro lens used for

Having a macro lens in your meals images equipment will permit you to take a look at your meals in new, artistic methods, creating some jaw-dropping, cease in your tracks pictures. Who doesn’t need that?

Everything you need to know about macro lenses

However what is a macro lens?

You're reading: what is a macro lens used for

I requested you all on Instagram what your greatest problem was when it got here to macro meals images, and the commonest reply was nailing focus – I hear ya!

On this put up we’re going to have a look at what makes a macro lens totally different, and how you can use it so that you’ll be capable of create these tack sharp, stunning macro meals pictures you’re simply dying to create.

What makes a macro lens totally different?

A macro lens is a particular kind of digital camera lens that has the power to work with very brief focusing distances, taking sharp pictures of very small topics.

A real macro lens has a magnification ratio of 1:1 (or better), and a minimal focussing distance of round 30cm.

So what does that imply?

A magnification ratio of 1:1 implies that the ratio of the topic dimension on the sensor aircraft is similar, or better than the precise actual life dimension of your topic. That’s what makes macro lenses in a position to take these tremendous sharp, shut up pictures of issues like bugs.

In case you see a lens with a magnification ratio of 1:1 or 2:1 or 3:1 and so on… it’s a macro lens.

If the magnification ratio is 1:2, 1:3, 1:4 and so on… it’s not a macro lens.

However macro lenses aren’t solely good for capturing shut up detailed pictures. Relying on the focal size you select, your macro lens additionally makes an unimaginable portrait lens, which is right for meals images.

Associated: How to decide on your meals images lenses

Selecting the Focal Size of your macro lens

When selecting a macro lens, step one is to know whether or not you’re capturing on a full body or a crop sensor digital camera.

A lens on a crop sensor digital camera will act just like the focal size it’s, multiplied by the crop issue of the digital camera. For instance, in case your crop sensor digital camera has a crop issue of 1.6x then a 50mm lens will act like the next:

50 x 1.6 = 80Subsequently the equal focal size = 80mm

Find out: what is the difference between autism and aspergers

After I was working with a crop sensor digital camera, I used a 60mm macro. This acted like a 90mm on my crop sensor Canon, permitting me to get a shallow depth of discipline in my images, in addition to a good crop.

Nevertheless, on a full body, should you have been to make use of a 60mm macro, you wouldn’t get the identical tight crop impact in addition to the depth of discipline.

In these two images, I’ve shot the identical scene on the identical angle with a 90mm lens, and a 55mm lens, so you possibly can see the impact this has on the picture. Regardless that the entrance of the baking tray is in the identical place in each images, the sector of view is far wider.

  • Everything you need to know about macro lenses for food photography
  • Everything you need to know about macro lenses for food photography

Neither of those focal lengths are “proper” or “incorrect”, however a tighter crop sometimes produces a extra visually pleasing composition for these sorts of pictures of small topics.

It’s essential to notice that if you’re capturing the sort of picture above (ie. not the tremendous shut up vary images), you’re not truly utilizing the macro capabilities of the lens – at this level it’s performing in the identical manner as another 90mm lens.

So why would you trouble shopping for a macro? Nicely… merely for versatility. By having the choice to create stunning, tightly cropped compositions and tremendous sharp, detailed shut ups, you are able to do a LOT extra with only one lens.

Now I shoot with a full body digital camera, I’ve modified my macro lens from a 60mm to a 90mm. This permits me to take these 45° angle pictures with a very shallow depth of discipline, and loads of focussed element on the highest of issues.

Everything you need to know about macro lenses for food photography

Minimal Focus Distance

The Minimal focus distance of a lens determines how shut you may be to your topic with it nonetheless in focus.

Usually talking, the longer the focal size, the additional you should be out of your topic to have the ability to give attention to it.

For instance, the Canon EF 100mm f/2 USM (not a macro lens) has a minimal focus distance of 91cm, whereas the Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro USM has a minimal focus distance of 31cm.

This implies should you have been capturing with the 100mm f/2 (not macro), you’d have to be not less than 91cm away out of your topic to even be capable of focus in your topic.

Whereas with the 100mm f/2.8 macro lens, you could possibly be anyplace from 31cm away and create a tack sharp picture.

This offers you an additional 60cm of area to play with in your compositions. So extra than simply these tremendous shut up pictures, you possibly can create utterly totally different compositions with the macro lens and nonetheless have your topic in focus.

Photographs like this of those cupcakes simply aren’t doable with out the macro lens.

Everything you need to know about macro lenses for food photography


A macro lens has a magnification issue of 1.0x or 1:1, which permits it to breed a life sized picture of your topic on the digital camera’s sensor.

Read: what is alum used for medically

This implies you may get actually, actually near one thing and it’ll nonetheless be in focus.

Generally you will note lenses which have a magnification ratio of 1:2 labelled as “macro”, however a real macro lens has a magnification ratio of 1:1.

Depth of Subject (DoF)

One essential factor to remember when doing macro images is that the DoF may be very restricted when capturing at shut vary.

With a view to create pictures the place every part in your scene is in focus (ie. sitting inside the DoF), you’re going to have to make use of a a lot narrower aperture (greater F-Cease quantity), to get the identical impact of the depth of discipline you’d at regular vary.

In macro images, we sort of must throw out all our preconceived notions of what a “slim” and “vast” aperture are. To attain the identical look we’re used to getting at f/5.6, we’d want to make use of f/16 when working with shut vary aperture.

In these examples of frozen raspberries taken at shut vary, you possibly can see the distinction in how a lot of the shot is in focus, even at slim apertures like f/14. Significantly take a look at the raspberry on the highest left to see the distinction within the DoF, even at f/8 we’re seeing loads of background blur.

  • Everything you need to know about macro lenses for food photography
  • Everything you need to know about macro lenses for food photography
  • Everything you need to know about macro lenses for food photography
  • Everything you need to know about macro lenses for food photography

At any such magnification, it doesn’t take a lot for issues to begin to go mushy. Getting nearly all of your topic on the identical aircraft of focus will make it easier to hold as a lot of it as sharp as doable. Many macro shooters make use of a way known as “focus stacking” to fight this softness, however that’s a subject for an additional put up!

Need to know extra concerning the Aircraft of Focus? Take a look at this put up from my expensive buddy Rachel.


I take into account a tripod a should in meals images nearly all of the time. Not solely does it permit you to nail down your compositions, however an excellent tripod will maintain your digital camera regular so your pictures are clear and sharp.

Having your digital camera on a secure base can even permit you to cease down your aperture and shoot with a slower shutter velocity in an effort to get extra of your topic in focus, and compensate to your lighting state of affairs.

Having the ability to use an extended shutter velocity can even let extra mild in, which is beneficial when capturing in darker locations (e.g. utilizing pure mild in the midst of winter.), and when capturing at very slim apertures like f/18.

Need to be taught extra about utilizing guide mode? Take a look at my FREE 5 day e-course “Guide Mode Necessities”


Because of the magnified nature of macro images, nailing focus is extremely essential – plus that is the factor that most of you mentioned you battle with in macro meals images on Instagram.

While you’re capturing such a fantastic quantity of element in your meals, the smallest adjustment in focus could make or break your picture.

Everything you need to know about macro lenses for food photography
Nailing the main focus allowed me to seize each ripple of element on this chocolate cake batter

Whereas most macro lenses have built-in autofocus, I actually suggest you shoot in guide focus mode. Guide focus means that you can manually outline precisely the place the aircraft of focus lies relative to your digital camera’s sensor.

In case you do desire to make use of autofocus, utilizing single level (usually labelled as AF-S) is probably the most correct manner to do that in meals images. This can permit you to choose the precise level in your sensor that your focus level ought to be, permitting your digital camera to precisely focus at that distance.

You might want to know: what is the difference between graffiti and street art?