Make Zoom Macro Lenses Work for Close-Up Photography - dummies

Make Zoom Macro Lenses Work for Close-Up Photography

By Thomas Clark

A zoom lens with macro focusing technology doesn’t provide the close-up and macro results that professional or serious amateur macro photographers are looking for, and it’s not an ideal lens for photographers who are interested in achieving simple and instant macro results.

However, flexibility in focal length makes these lenses extremely useful for photographers who are constantly on the move. To transfer this characteristic into the realm of macro and close-up photography, combine your zoom lens with the correct accessories.

An extension tube is a piece of equipment that you fix in place between the lens and camera body. It enables you to get closer to your subject and maintain focus.

Combine an extension tube with a zoom lens to get all the versatility of your zoom and still get great close-up (and sometimes macro) images. A 28mm to 135mm zoom lens paired with a 25mm extension tube offers an extensive range of shooting options:

  • At the lens’s widest focal length (28mm in this case), you can achieve focus while the subject is practically pressed right up against your lens. This can provide a 1:1 subject to sensor ration and a unique perspective that can produce images that really stand out.

  • Just be careful not to scratch your lens. Consider utilizing a UV filter (a transparent glass filter that covers the front of your lens) to protect the front surface of your lens.

  • At the lens’s mid focal length (50mm in this case) the 25mm extension tube enables you to capture a subject with a 1:2 ratio. This is not technically macro but does make for excellent close-up quality. When your subject is larger than your digital sensor, you may prefer a 1:2 ratio in order to fit the entire subject in your frame.

  • When zoomed in to the lens’s longest focal length (135mm in this case), a 25mm extension tube has a less drastic effect on the lens. You can’t achieve macro results (or even a 1:2) because it doesn’t allow you to focus on your subjects from extremely close distances, but this can be good for some subjects.

    Your lens is transformed into a great tool for shooting close-ups of people, or any subject that you would prefer to keep a safe distance from.