Micro - Macro

Discussion in 'Mirrorless Digital Cameras' started by lauriee, Dec 3, 2005.

  1. Ok this may be a silly question but I'm stumped. The photos I see
    here at P.N of insects that are REALLY close up. So close you can
    see the hairs on their legs...Are those taken with a Macro lense? I
    always thought they were..but someone told my husband that Macro
    lense and a Micro lense are totally different and it is a Micro
    lense that takes the pictures of the insects and Macro that does the
    close ups of flowers...

    I'm really curious now...Thanks in advance

  2. Hi Laurie, It's just semantics but the closeups you see are generally referred to as "macro" photography. I think there was a manufacturer (can't remember which one) who stuck with the word "micro" but in effect, they mean the same thing: extreme closeup. "Macro" seems to be the word used the most... here's a definition from Google's "define:" feature to get the definition of a word: Macro: "The ability of a lens to focus just inches away from an object or subject so as to produce big close-ups, sometimes even larger-than-life size." (There were other definitions as well)
  3. Macro lenses usually focus from infinity to close up (maybe 1:1 or 1x). There are lenses designed ONLY for close focusing like the Canon MP-E65mm f/2.8 1-5X which I suppose could be called micro by some people - though Canon call it a macro. I think Nikon tend to use the term "micro" to refer to what Canon call "macro".

    I don't think there's any established definiation that splits "micro" and "macro" lenses.
  4. It might also be useful to point out that manufactures have sort of bastartized the term because many Zoom lens will also include the term "Macro" in their description. However, in this case it just means focuses closer, but 'closer than what' depends on the manufacturer if it means anything at all. A true Macro lens is defined by its focal length (singular) and maximum magnification. Once you have a set up (macro lens, extensions tubes or diopter) and are working at magnifications 1:2 or higher, you are generally considered to be working in Macro photography. As is implied in the previous statement, a Macro lens is not the only way to get high magnification photographs.
  5. AHA...So put a point up for the wife then! I thought I was loosing my mind!(well I may have but not on this point!) I have another question...My husband bought me a Nikon D70 for Christmas. He evidently bought the "Package" offered with it. Including two lenses, He was told that although these two lenses were NOT wide angle and Macro (what I wanted) they essentially did the same thing. That doesn't sound right to me...Unfortunately the camera is hidden away so Santa can put it under the tree (OH BROTHER...:) ) so I cant tell you what kind of lenses they are. If you need to know that information I can find it out though!
    Hubby has very little camera experience and I am scared he may have gotten BS'ed with the "package" deal. He bought it online from a store out of California...Any thoughts?
  6. It must be the D70S kit with 18-70mm f/3.5-4.5 G-AFS ED-IF DX Nikkor Lens, AF-S DX Zoom-Nikkor 55-200mm f/4-5.6G ED Nikkor Lens.
  7. ON the new question. Keep the peace and wait for Christmas, unless that might really complicate the return process. What is it you want exactly, things like insects you mention, or more like Flowers, door handles and larger butterflies. If it is the insects, almost certainly anything that came in the kit will not do the job. There are lots of great stuff on Macro photography, and if you really need that you need specific equipment. As for Wide angle, you may be covered.

    You might also want to start a new thread for the new question. Something like. I have xxx camera... what are the best lenses for xxx and xxx. Then show your husband what you decide would work for you and just say, "are these the lenses in the kit?".
  8. As mentioned above these days macro is a bastardisation of the term and marketing hype.
    Macro photography is when the image on the sensor/film is the same size or larger than the subject matter.

    However all is not lost with your present. There are three ways to take bigger close-ups if that is what you want to do, could say four ways.
    1] you place a CU lens on the front of the telephoto lens you are getting and that permits it to focus closer than it can.
    2]you place an extension tube between the camera and the lens to enable it to focus closer.
    3] Similar is the use of a bellows attachment to hold the lens further in front of the camera to enable it to focus.
    4? ] is working with a good resolution camera with a relatively small requirement, such as posting to the net, one can crop the picture to what you want to show.
    http://www.geocities.com/nikon5700itee/extubes.html and replace the end with bellows.html and dioptres.html for more info. Dioptre is an alternative name for a close-up lens, probably a mis-naming like macro.

    But I wouldn't be at all suprised if what you get will do what you want it to do ... so have fun come Xmas Day :)
  9. Have a look at the cameras that took the pictures. I have noticed that lots of them were taken with cameras with a small sensor, this allows for a larger DOF than with a SLR with APS-C sensor. But even with a D70 and some cropping you can reach very impressive results. Practice is the keyword here.
  10. As Jos, I always recommend newbies to buy digital cameras (with macro/micro capabilities) with large MPixels (5 or more) for micro or macro works since the results are simply amazing because of the larger depth of fields (due to smaller sensors) that they have. In addition to that it is also an advantage if you do not want to carry the bulky slr and the lenses around. Its more than enough for amateur backyard micro/macro shots.
  11. Here is a sample shot with a Nikon 5700 digital camera--handheld
  12. Whoa, that was too big, here I try again
  13. You will find this review of wide angle lenses available for Nikon DSLRs a very useful resource:


    The site seems to be having problems at the moment, but I'm sure you'll also find information and guidance about macro lens choices there (both Nikon's own Micro Nikkors and also some excellent lenses from Tamron and Sigma), along with other equipment you might find useful for macro such as flash units.
  14. Take marketing aside, macro lens are those used for photomacography. These are special lens that are designed for magnification range from 1X to 40X. Below 1X magnification (1X=23.7mm in width for D70), Nikon call them Micro lens to differ from the macro lens which they also used to make (also expensive). Everyone else call Nikon's definitition of micro lens macro lens. Confused? A name should not effect optical properties. For your D70, you may want Santa to put a AF105mm/f2.8 micro nikkor under your tree. If Santa has time, get a PN-11 to go with that as well. It will go to 1.6X and have good working distant with this set-up. 3rd party macro lens such as the Tamron 90mm/2.8 and Sigma 105/2.8 or 150mm are also good. Picture of a old (pre-modern day marketing) 50mm macro lens (1.5-10X) and a old 55mm Micro Nikkor.
  15. When I used to do scientific macro and micro photography professionally (in research proposals and reports/papers), the terms meant:

    Macro: Magnified image of subject that was visible to the naked eye, usually about 0.5x (1:2) to about 10x (10:1).

    Micro: Magnified image of features invisible to the naked eye, usually approx 40x to 1000x (if optical), or 10's of thousands of x if electron microscope.

    Today, the scanning electron microscope works well over the range of a few x to significantly more than 10,000x so the meaning of macro & micro are a bit blurred, but are still used as stated above.

    Confusing the issue is photo equipment marketting. Nikon calls lenses "micro" that other companies call "macro". By the definitions above they would all be macro.

  16. Whew! My head is spinning! I appreciate everything that's been shared here. My husband showed me the site that he purchased the camera it is this one http://www.geniuscameras.com/prodetails.asp?prodid=103867&start=1 and he chose either the second, third or fourth package. He can't remember because they have raised the prices since he purchased it.

    I love to take photos of everything. However when I see those really up close shots of insects I am facinated. So I would like to be able to attempt that. Whatever I end up with is fabulous..and I can add to my lense collection as my desire and finances allow. :) Right now I have an Olympus C725 and it has been my best friend for about a year now. It just doesn't have certain things that I think I'm ready for. Thanks for the help!

  17. If I had known what you already had I would have given you a completely different answer. Despite it's apparent simplicity your existing camera is likely to be better than the new camera you are getting for Christmas .... not to denigrate the new one.

    As mentioned above apparently most of the super close-ups are taken with P&S or Pro-sumer cameras becuase of their small sensors they have greater depth of field.

    Referinbg to my 'dioptre' page will give you the information to make your Oly do the job you appear to require. Using the zoom to get the tight framing rather than it's somewhat limited focusing power.
  18. Thanks! I'll have a look! Well I was planning to give my olympus to my son but I may keep it now and use it as needed for those up close "Bug" shots! I'm not sure why I love those so much...:)

    Thanks again!
  19. http://www.beautifulbugs.com/beautifulbugs/howto.htm

    The best howto on the net and some great images too. Ignore the references to Canon equipment - Nikon and third parties offer some excellent options too.


    shows how to get a lot of depth of field in macro shooting.
  20. Tom's answer pretty much meshes both with that I was taught a couple of decades ago, and with the usage in Lester Lefkowicz's book on macro and closeup photography. Below 1x is "close up" photography, 1x-10x is macrophotography, and beyond 10x is microphotography.

    Some people might draw the dividing lines in slightly different places, I prefer to think of them as having to do with different procedures.

    For close-up photography, you pretty much do "regular" photography, just closer. Handheld or tripod, regular flashes, you can chase living subjects.

    For macro photography, things start to get a bit different. You may still be using a conventional tripod (albiet a sturdy one) but you're probably focusing using the geared motion on a bellows or maybe a geared focusing rail. Hand held work is very difficult. You might be looking at special lights: ring lights, or small maneuverable flashes.

    Somewhere between 5x and 40x, depending on the comfort level of the user, you switch over to micro photography, using either a microscope or a fully dedicated macro setup that has elements in common with a really big microscope. Your camera is often stationary, and you move the subject towards the camera with a lab jack or a geared focusing stage. Lights are the same ones you use on a microscope, either a lighted state (translumination) or fiber optic light sources (or white LED these days) shining on the subject, or even an epi (coaxial) illumination system. You might have this on a granite slab, a cast iron microscope bench, etc.
  21. Ok so this is what I've learned from all of you helpful people! Let me know if I've gotten it right! :) I do NOT want a true macro lense (YET) I can't afford it. A lot of what I've seen on P.N isn't done with macro lenses anyway it's done with a point and shoot.Point and shoots work better for close ups than SLRs because of the DOF...

    Soooo when I started this thread what I really should have asked (had I known better) was "How do I take a really great close up shot of an insect or a flower WITHOUT a macro lense?" The answer so far seems to be to keep my olympus for that OR by an extension for the lense that comes with my SLR.

    So here is my plan... I will wait until Santa delivers my camera and then I will play with whatever lenses I have as well as use my olympus and chase some bugs! Finally I will compare the results...THEN I will MAYBE have some idea about what I am talking about! WOW! Can't say I didn't learn anything from ya'll..can you? :)

    Thanks a million!
  22. The contributors to this thread seem to be mostly polarised between the esoteric (electron microscopes!) and those who advocate the advantages of digicams without mentioning the downsides of them.

    I couldn't find a detailed enough specification for your Oly C 725 to get precise information on its macro capabilities, so I did a bit of guesswork with Julian Loke's excellent Lens Calculator:


    Setting the format to 1/2.5" CCD, the focal length to 6.4mm and the focus distance to 0.1m (10 cm or about 4") gives a field of view of 62.7x84.2mm which is quite large by macro standards. Compare with the 15.5x23.7mm that you would get with a 1:1 macro lens on your forthcoming Nikon DSLR, and you see that the latter gives you about 4 times as much effective magnification. To get a similarly small size of subject, the Oly would need to focus as close as 3cm (about 1.2") - which gets impractical (not least because of difficulties of making sure you can get light on the subject - the flash will be shaded by the lens). Adding diopter lenses to the front of the camera will allow you to focus closer, but you will suffer the disadvantages. The working distance with macro lenses for SLRs depends on the focal length and the magnification you use, and is much more manageable with a lens of around 90-105mm (a popular choice).

    Another disadvantage with a digicam is that at the wide angle setting that usually gives the largest magnification (because it allows the lens to be focussed much closer) there is usually very pronounced barrel distortion. Macro lenses for SLRs on the other hand are some of the best lenses for lack of distortion and sharpness that you can buy - even a Cosina/Vivitar 100mm f/3.5 gives very good results and is not very costly.

    So far as depth of field is concerned, with macro work this depends on the actual magnification that the lens achieves and the aperture you use - the focal length essentially drops out of the equation. The only reason you apparently get more depth of field with a digicam is that the actual magnification is much less because the sensor is so tiny.

    One other point is that although you have the benefit of some greater depth of field with a digicam, it is still not large. With the low resolution image on the camera LCD or EVF, it is actually very hard to judge accurately where the camera is focussed, so you are likely to find that focus isn't ideal in a proportion of shots. The optical viewfinder in an SLR makes it much easier to judge focus accurately.

    There are as you see a number of reasons (also some other more techincal ones I haven't explained here) why digicams haven't completely taken over in the world of macro photography.
  23. Not to get off topic (too far that is) but I was shocked to see where your husband bought your camera. With the prices they list on their website I thought for sure they were going to be another grey market/high pressure sales camera shop. I'd be interested to know if he bought an extended warranty or other overpriced accessories from them to get your camera at their advertised price.
  24. I don't know why we want to make it so complicated, she said she can't afford to buy the true macro lens..a Nikon 105mm 2.8 is above $500.00, even Tamron 90mm 2.8 is somewhere around $350.00 not to add that D70s or D200 aka Digital SLRs that someone is trying to propose...gimme a break...a digital camera will do for her..
  25. OOps, as she did get the D70 from her hubby, a manual Nikkor lens is good for her budget.
  26. Hi Mathew,
    No my husband didn't buy any kind of extended warrenty of that I can be sure. He won't even do that on things we purchase for the household like appliences. He also didn't buy any extra things from them because the package included what I wanted anyway...I haven't seen it yet but your question concerns me. Do you think the prices are too low and it might not be legit? ( I always stress when he buys things online!)

  27. Ok..I spoke to my hubby over dinner. He said that the store asked him to "call and confirm" the order and YES they did pressure him and try to get him to buy "extras". He said that was part of their "gimmick"

  28. A quick glance at the page shows that Genius seem to split up what should be the standard package that comes with the camera - it should include a battery, charger, cables, and software, not to mention a manual. They then seek to charge outrageous prices for these essentials to make up for the fact that the price for the camera itself is cheap. The memory card that is bundled is really wholly inadequate in size, and their prices for larger ones are extortionate. If you find that elements are missing you would do much better to source them from a reputable supplier such as B&H or Adorama. Here's a link to B&H's page on the D70s for comparison:

  29. I absolutely don't want to be an alarmist or seed a dark cloud over your Christmas but when I read your last post it reminded me of this recent post...


    ...your hubby may want to do some followup and asked them directly if the camera has the NikonUSA warranty or the store's.

    Again not trying to worry you, things are probally just fine but better to know IMHO. (If you are the kind of person that would just rather avoid potential bad news, completely ignore this post.)
  30. L.F. Point and shoots work better for close ups than SLRs because of the DOF...
    I don't think I could agree with that without quite a few qualifiers. BUT, I agree with your approach to work with the new camera and then based on that equipment, see what might be the best and most affordable method to get more magnification if required.
    I really hope you don't have any problems with the vendor.
    Have a wonderful Christmas.
  31. Well here is an update...I was under the misconception that the camera had already arrived and was hidden. Truth be told there has been some serious screwing around happening. My husband said that first, they attempted to charge $2.000 to his account along with the price of the camera. Naturally the credit card company alerted him and wouldn't let either transaction happen. So then they apologize and say that they accidently rang up the wrong order. SO hubby gives them the benifit of the doubt and goes ahead with the order. Today he tells me that they sent him an e-mail saying that the package we want is on backorder and he can cancel the order if he wishes. So with the previous mess and now with this and the things I read to him here he has decided to cancel the order and go somewhere else. Thank you all so much for the warnings. I'm glad it wasn't too late!

  32. So now you get the chance to influence the lenses he gets with the camera ;).
  33. Just wanted to update all of you who helped me out! Santa came early and left me a gorgeous Nikon D70! I'm still reading and practicing with it so I haven't had a chance to test out any Macro/Micro shots...but I'm looking forward to it! Thanks again for all of your help and good advice! I think you saved us some big problems! :)


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