Lenses Designed for “Photomacrography” - dummies

By Thomas Clark

Photomacrography refers to the art of photographing small subjects larger than life-size on your digital sensor. (But for the most part, people still use the term macro photography.)

You can buy lenses that were designed specifically for creating extreme macro shots of tiny subjects. For example, the Canon MP-E 65mm 1-5x Macro Lens offers 1x up to 5x magnification (or 1:1 to 5:1). This lens begins where most macro specific lenses stop, and its unique design limits it to macro photography.

This type of lens is for photographers who are very serious about photomacrography and who are willing to take the time to become familiar with their gear. The Canon MP-E 65mm 1-5x Macro Lens provides manual focus only.

The working focal distance between the subject and the lens at 1x magnification is about 100mm. At 5x magnification it’s reduced to 41mm. These distances provide little room for additional lighting, and even less room for errors in positioning the point of focus and for minimizing camera shake and subject movement.

An alternative to this type of lens is to use macro bellows. This piece of equipment fastens between the camera and lens on your DSLR. It works in a similar way to an extension tube but enables you to alter the distance between the camera and lens, depending on how much magnification you require. The farther you stretch the lens from the camera, the closer you can get to the subject while still achieving focus.