What is Macro Photography? What are the right equipment for Macro Photography?

What is Macro Photography? What are the right equipment for Macro Photography?

Macro photography is a huge and super exciting field of photography that is just as exciting and fascinating for beginners as it is for professionals. It allows an incredible number of opportunities to play and try out. For the beginner, getting started with macro photography is easy and the first successes with unusual motifs can be achieved very quickly. However, macro photography always presents new challenges – both in terms of creativity and technology. And so it is a field that even long-standing and experienced photographers can still have a lot to nibble on.

What is macro photography difficult?

The special challenge of macro photography can be easily summarized: The sensor has to get as close to the subject as possible. This leads to certain difficulties, for example:

1. The close focus limit of normal lenses limits you far too early.

2. The focus area is extremely small and it is very difficult to focus precisely. Every small movement of the photographed object and every small shake of the camera leads to blurred photos.

3. Probably the most interesting motifs in macro photography i.e. small animals have no interest in remaining frozen a few millimeters in front of your lens.

Equipment required for Macro Photography

The right camera

Which camera do you need for macro photography?

It really does not matter. Almost every compact camera now has a macro function that has a flower symbol. You can also take really great macro photos with your smartphone. There are special clip-on lenses that act like a magnifying glass. You attach it to the lens of your smartphone.

The ideal equipment for macro photography is an SLR or mirrorless system camera with an interchangeable lens. Here you can either get a special macro lens or take pictures with inexpensive extension rings that you screw between your normal lens and your camera body. Both variants allow you a very close focus limit and a large image scale, which you need for macro photography. If you take photos close to the ground, a folding display is also helpful.

The right lens

You can photograph small objects and motifs with any lens. For the right macro photography, however, you need a special macro lens, as you can no longer focus with normal lenses. Normal lenses specially do not work well if you move camera close to the subject.

As an alternative to special macro lenses, you can use macro extension rings. Typical macro focal lengths are around 100 mm, but there are also macro lenses with 50 or 200 mm.

The following applies here:

If you want to photograph animals, a longer focal length is more appropriate in order to be able to keep a greater distance from the subject.

Macro photography with extension rings

If you don’t want to buy an extra lens for macro photography, extension rings are the perfect solution for you. You screw this between your camera and your normal lens. The intermediate rings enlarge the image scale of your lens and allow you to take photos with your normal lens in the macro range.

Extension rings are usually much cheaper than macro lenses and are a good solution for you if you have a tight budget or if you want to try out macro photography first.

  • Disadvantages of Extension Rings

Unfortunately, intermediate rings also have two disadvantages:

1. The first downside is that they reduce the speed of your lens. The wider the ring or the more rings you combine, the more your lens loses light intensity. So here you have to worry more about the lighting of your subject, which we will go into in more detail below.

2. The second downside to extension rings is that they reduce the area in which your camera can focus. The wider the spacer rings or the more you combine, the smaller your possible focus area will be.

Macro photograph with retro adapter

Have you ever looked the wrong way through your lens? What do you see? With a telephoto lens everything is suddenly far away with a wide-angle lens everything is close. This is what a retro adapter does.

The principle of the retro adapter is simple. They allow you to use your lens in reverse. You mount the adapter on your camera and then place your subject the wrong way round. Retro adapters are cheap and can be used with almost any lens. The wider your lens, the greater the magnification with the retro adapter.

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