Re: Macro mode

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by David J Taylor, Jul 9, 2008.

  1. Alfred Molon wrote:
    > What exactly happens when a camera is set to macro mode?
    >
    > And why are some lenses "macro lenses" while others are not? Can a
    > lens which is not a macro lens take close-ups?


    Which camera?

    Usually macro lenses have better performance than "standard" lenses in the
    1:1 reproduction region as they are designed to work at that ratio,
    whereas standard lenses are designed for typical "near infinity" subject
    distances. Another example: field flatness may be better in a macro lens.

    David
     
    David J Taylor, Jul 9, 2008
    #1
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  2. Alfred Molon wrote:
    []
    > Well, all cameras I've used so far had a macro mode and to be fair
    > even the Sony A350 has one. But the CZ 16-80 lens for instance is not
    > marked as macro, while instead the Tamron 70-300 has a macro mode
    > available between 180 and 300mm focal length. I'm wondering what on
    > earth this macro mode means and why it's only available between 180mm
    > and 300mm.


    Alfred,

    I think that there are several different things here:

    - cameras with a "macro mode" usually mean: (a) the focus range is
    extended to include nearer objects than normal and perhaps (b) a slower
    focus speed is used.

    - The Tamron, i suspect, allows a slightly different internal arrnagement
    of its elements, but one which only works in the focal lens range you
    stated. It will allow you to focus much close than normal.

    - a true "macro lens" is likely to be an expensive fixed-focus lens,
    optimised for excellent performance in the reproduction range 1:2 (half
    scale) to 1:1.

    Cheers,
    David
     
    David J Taylor, Jul 9, 2008
    #2
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  3. David J Taylor

    Cynicor Guest

    Alfred Molon wrote:
    > In article <Dn3dk.23629$>, David J
    > Taylor says...
    >
    >> - The Tamron, i suspect, allows a slightly different internal arrnagement
    >> of its elements, but one which only works in the focal lens range you
    >> stated. It will allow you to focus much close than normal.

    >
    > I read the minimum focus distance for this lens in macro mode is around
    > 1.20m.
    >
    >> - a true "macro lens" is likely to be an expensive fixed-focus lens,
    >> optimised for excellent performance in the reproduction range 1:2 (half
    >> scale) to 1:1.

    >
    > Well, compact cameras excel at macro mode because the sensor is smaller.
    > With a DLSR instead you have to buy an expensive dedicated lens.


    Or a $100 50/1.8 and a $169 set of Kenko extension tubes, which can then
    be reused on other lenses. This combo allows you to take shots like this:

    http://trupin.smugmug.com/gallery/824734_LQr7A#36825916_4UQLG-O-LB
     
    Cynicor, Jul 9, 2008
    #3
  4. David J Taylor

    Paul Furman Guest

    Alfred Molon wrote:
    > In article <Dn3dk.23629$>, David J
    > Taylor says...
    >
    >> - The Tamron, i suspect, allows a slightly different internal arrnagement
    >> of its elements, but one which only works in the focal lens range you
    >> stated. It will allow you to focus much close than normal.

    >
    > I read the minimum focus distance for this lens in macro mode is around
    > 1.20m.


    That's darn close for 300mm (450mm equivalent).

    >> - a true "macro lens" is likely to be an expensive fixed-focus lens,
    >> optimised for excellent performance in the reproduction range 1:2 (half
    >> scale) to 1:1.

    >
    > Well, compact cameras excel at macro mode because the sensor is smaller.


    They have more DOF by default but with a DSLR you can stop down with
    high ISO, flash and or a tripod & get better.

    > With a DLSR instead you have to buy an expensive dedicated lens.


    The larger sensor does mean you need a bigger lens. As mentioned, many
    lanses can be used for good results with extension tubes including most
    telephotos, or the cheap 50mm which are quite sharp. Cameras with macro
    mode do the same thing (extension 'tube' built in).

    --
    Paul Furman
    www.edgehill.net
    www.baynatives.com

    all google groups messages filtered due to spam
     
    Paul Furman, Jul 9, 2008
    #4
  5. Alfred Molon <> wrote:
    >In article <Dn3dk.23629$>, David J
    >Taylor says...
    >
    >> - The Tamron, i suspect, allows a slightly different internal arrnagement
    >> of its elements, but one which only works in the focal lens range you
    >> stated. It will allow you to focus much close than normal.

    >
    >I read the minimum focus distance for this lens in macro mode is around
    >1.20m.


    Then Tamrom is honest about the magnification: below a focal length of
    180mm at 1.2m you don't get the 1:1 or 1:2 magnification required to
    call it 'macro'.

    >> - a true "macro lens" is likely to be an expensive fixed-focus lens,
    >> optimised for excellent performance in the reproduction range 1:2 (half
    >> scale) to 1:1.

    >
    >Well, compact cameras excel at macro mode because the sensor is smaller.


    No, they don't. The marketing departments excel in redefining the
    meaning of 'macro'.

    >With a DLSR instead you have to buy an expensive dedicated lens.


    If DSLRS suck so badly then why don't you stick with a P&S?

    jue
     
    Jürgen Exner, Jul 9, 2008
    #5
  6. Alfred Molon wrote:
    []
    > Well, compact cameras excel at macro mode because the sensor is
    > smaller. With a DLSR instead you have to buy an expensive dedicated
    > lens.


    Not so. Yes, they can focus close, but often the distortion (e.g. barrel
    distortion) is very bad, and the field in nothing like flat. With an
    SLR-class macro lens, you could expect zero linear distortion etc., such
    that the lens could be used for making accurate copies fo documents etc.

    It's the difference between "getting an image" and "getting a quality
    image". Oh, and a "macro" lens might be expected to produce a 1:1
    magnification, so the field of view might be about 24 x 16mm. On a
    small-sensor camera, a true 1:1 macro might be a field of view of about 6
    x 4.5mm.

    Cheers,
    David
     
    David J Taylor, Jul 9, 2008
    #6
  7. Alfred Molon wrote:
    > In article <%B5dk.23703$>, David J
    > Taylor says...
    >
    >> Not so. Yes, they can focus close, but often the distortion (e.g.
    >> barrel distortion) is very bad, and the field in nothing like flat.
    >> With an SLR-class macro lens, you could expect zero linear
    >> distortion etc., such that the lens could be used for making
    >> accurate copies fo documents etc.

    >
    > A non-issue. Use the PTLens filter to correct the distortions. Besides
    > there are P&S cameras with good lenses


    No - once the edges of a subject are out of focus, the information is
    lost. It's not /just/ about geometric distortion.

    >> It's the difference between "getting an image" and "getting a quality
    >> image". Oh, and a "macro" lens might be expected to produce a 1:1
    >> magnification, so the field of view might be about 24 x 16mm. On a
    >> small-sensor camera, a true 1:1 macro might be a field of view of
    >> about 6 x 4.5mm.

    >
    > Yes, and that is why P&S more easily can capture small items. Lots of
    > people who moved from a P&S to a large sensor camera were surprised
    > that they needed a special lens to capture small objects.


    ... and what compact camera has an unaided field of view of 6 x 4.5 mm?

    David
     
    David J Taylor, Jul 9, 2008
    #7
  8. Alfred Molon wrote:
    > In article <jI9dk.23931$>, David J
    > Taylor says...
    >
    >>> Yes, and that is why P&S more easily can capture small items. Lots
    >>> of people who moved from a P&S to a large sensor camera were
    >>> surprised that they needed a special lens to capture small objects.

    >>
    >> .. and what compact camera has an unaided field of view of 6 x 4.5
    >> mm?

    >
    > I don't know, but I also didn't claim that. IIRC the Olympus 5050
    > and/or the Olympus 8080 could fill the frame in the supermacro mode
    > with something like 2x3cm.


    OK, but if the sensors ar 6 x 4.5mm, and the subject is 30 x 20mm, that's
    nothing like the 1:1 or 1:2 reproduction ratio which "macro lenses"
    provide. "Macro" traditionally means 1:1, rather than just "close focus".
    So, yes, compact (i.e. small-sensor) cameras can have a smaller field of
    view than a DSLR while using a "standard" lens. With a 50-100mm SLR marco
    lens, you will also find that the working distance to the subject is
    greater than with the compact, allowing more control of lighting etc.

    Cheers,
    David
     
    David J Taylor, Jul 10, 2008
    #8
  9. Neil Harrington wrote:
    []
    > That's really applying a false standard, as far as I can see. There's
    > no reason why the entirely arbritary 1:1 or 1:2 requirement should be
    > applied to compact cameras.
    >
    > The important thing is the magnification of the final image. That's
    > what the end viewer sees. If a 35mm or full-frame digital camera with
    > a macro lens at 1:2 fills the frame with about a 2" x 3" subject,
    > then for practical purposes a compact digital camera that does the
    > same is equally a macro camera. Why should it matter if the actual
    > in-camera magnification is only 1:10 or even less?
    >
    > The "macro lens" requirement of 1:1 or 1:2 was set in the days of
    > 35mm when such lenses were almost always used with that frame size.
    > That's no longer the case -- sensor sizes are all over the place. My
    > D80 with a macro lens at 1:3 produces the same size *final image* as
    > the same lens would at 1:2 on a full-frame camera. And my little
    > Coolpix 4600 in macro mode can produce just about the same size final
    > image when it's in macro mode.
    > That's all that should matter. Requiring a compact camera with, say,
    > a 1/2.5 type sensor to reach 1:1 or 1:2 would be demanding that it
    > produce an image of far larger *final magnification* than any
    > full-frame camera with macro lens could do. That just doesn't make
    > any sense.
    > Neil


    The original question, IIRC, was why extra lenses might be needed with
    SLRs, and the answer there is that for "small subject" photography, the
    SLR lens is working in a different operating regime, where the subject
    distance is no longer "near infinity", and therefore to get the best
    performance a different optical design may be required.

    Agreed that compact cameras inherently have a smaller subject area at a
    given reproduction ratio, and therefore are more likely to be working in
    the "subject is near infinity" region, and hence not need the special
    macro-lens design.

    Cheers,
    David
     
    David J Taylor, Jul 10, 2008
    #9
  10. Neil Harrington wrote:
    []
    > Yes. However, at least some compact camera zoom lenses do change to a
    > "special macro-lens design" when put in macro mode. Of course I'm not
    > suggesting that it's as sophisticated an arrangement as is the case
    > with a "true macro" lens, but it can still be remarkably good.
    >
    > My cheap little Coolpix 4600, mentioned above, when at maximum
    > magnification in its "green macro" range, produces images which look
    > quite sharp from edge to edge and with no barrel distortion that I
    > can see. And that's producing a final image size that's roughly the
    > same as a full-frame camera with a macro lens at 1:2. That's pretty
    > good.
    > My older Minolta S404 has a more interesting scheme. When its 35-140mm
    > (equiv.) lens is put in macro mode, it no longer serves as a zoom
    > lens at all! Its f.l. is then fixed at about 70mm (equiv.) and the
    > internal movement of its elements is devoted entirely to the macro
    > function.
    > Neil


    Indeed - I still have my Nikon Coolpix 990 which probably had the best
    "macro" of any of those cameras - a field width of 19mm (0.75 inch).
    Sensor size 7.2 x 5.3mm.

    http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/nikoncp990/page12.asp

    One of the advantages of not having to accomodate interchangeable lenses -
    you could match the lens and sensor very well.

    Cheers,
    David
     
    David J Taylor, Jul 10, 2008
    #10
  11. "Neil Harrington" <> wrote:
    >The important thing is the magnification of the final image. That's what the
    >end viewer sees.


    So you are saying that if I take a totally normal photography of let's
    say my dog and enlarge it for a billboard, then the picture of the dog
    is certainly larger than the actual dog. And that makes it a macro
    photography?

    jue
     
    Jürgen Exner, Jul 10, 2008
    #11
  12. Neil Harrington <> wrote:

    > "Jurgen Exner" <> wrote in message
    > news:...
    >> "Neil Harrington" <> wrote:
    >>>The important thing is the magnification of the final image. That's what
    >>>the
    >>>end viewer sees.

    >>
    >> So you are saying that if I take a totally normal photography of let's
    >> say my dog and enlarge it for a billboard, then the picture of the dog
    >> is certainly larger than the actual dog. And that makes it a macro
    >> photography?


    > Do you actually do that sort of thing often?


    > But no, a billboard is a billboard and not what is usually meant by "a
    > photograph."


    > Here it is again, posted in from my earlier post which you've apparently
    > missed:
    > _______________________


    > The "definition of 'macro' in its photographic context" is given on p. 901
    > in the Focal Encyclopedia of Photography (1956, rev. desk ed. 1969) as
    > "taking larger-than-life photographs with ordinary camera lenses" (as
    > opposed to microscope lenses). It's really just that simple. If you have a
    > photograph of a bug that's larger than the original bug, that's macro.


    > At the time the section on macrophotography was written, the kind of lenses
    > we now call "macro" must have been uncommon if they existed at all, since
    > they are not even mentioned in the text. The methods mentioned are 35mm
    > cameras with normal lenses on extension tubes or bellows, and large-format
    > view cameras with short-focus lenses.
    > ______________________


    > Now you can probably invent some other far-fetched situation for the purpose
    > of creating another quibble, but in the ordinary usage that an ordinary
    > reader would take Focal Encyclopedia's definition of macrophotography, it's
    > still a reasonable definition.


    > Again, nothing in Focal Encyclopedia's four-page article on macrophotography
    > says anything about the term requiring 1:1, 1:2 or any other specific
    > magnification at the focal plane.


    It looks to me as though the definition of "macro" photography derives
    from a photographic era in which many prints were made as direct
    contact prints from the same size of negative, and what enlarging was
    done was mostly routine fixed enlarging, such as turning 35mm
    negatives into postcard size prints. In those days there was a much
    firmer relationship between the size of the final print and the
    effective sensor size.

    Today the relationship between sensor size and final photograph size
    is much more variable and much more widely variable. It seems to me
    that this has blurred the definition of "macro" in ways which can't
    rationally be corrected by going back to the original definitions with
    their obsolete references to "size of photograph".

    --
    Chris Malcolm DoD #205
    IPAB, Informatics, JCMB, King's Buildings, Edinburgh, EH9 3JZ, UK
    [http://www.dai.ed.ac.uk/homes/cam/]
     
    Chris Malcolm, Jul 11, 2008
    #12
  13. David J Taylor

    Cynicor Guest

    Neil Harrington wrote:
    > "Jürgen Exner" <> wrote in message
    > news:...
    >> "Neil Harrington" <> wrote:
    >>> The important thing is the magnification of the final image. That's what
    >>> the
    >>> end viewer sees.

    >> So you are saying that if I take a totally normal photography of let's
    >> say my dog and enlarge it for a billboard, then the picture of the dog
    >> is certainly larger than the actual dog. And that makes it a macro
    >> photography?

    >
    > Do you actually do that sort of thing often?
    >
    > But no, a billboard is a billboard and not what is usually meant by "a
    > photograph."


    I just wanted to say that this entire thread makes me weep actual blood.
     
    Cynicor, Jul 11, 2008
    #13
  14. David J Taylor

    ASAAR Guest

    On Wed, 9 Jul 2008 15:10:07 -0400, Neil Harrington wrote:

    > As a practical matter it isn't really the lens to focal plane magnification
    > ratio that matters, it's the final image size. So in a sense you're right,
    > the compact camera's smaller sensor has the advantage that it can achieve
    > the same final image size with a smaller in-camera magnification, since more
    > magnification is necessarily applied *after* the on-sensor magnification.


    Have view cameras (using say, 8"x10" plates) been used to take
    larger than life images, such as for a portrait of a baby's face or
    pictures of other objects of similar size? If so, were contact size
    prints called macro photos?
     
    ASAAR, Jul 11, 2008
    #14
  15. David J Taylor

    Peter Irwin Guest

    ASAAR <> wrote:
    >
    > Have view cameras (using say, 8"x10" plates) been used to take
    > larger than life images, such as for a portrait of a baby's face or
    > pictures of other objects of similar size? If so, were contact size
    > prints called macro photos?


    I don't think people called the resultant photos macro, but
    the working techniques would certainly make it macro work
    or photomacrography. The defining feature of photomacrography
    is that the lens is closer to the subject than it is to the
    image. If you were to watch someone take a picture such
    as the one you describe, you would be sure to notice the
    photographer focussing by moving the rear standard. If you
    have done macro work, then you know why the plate or film
    rather than the lens was moved to focus.

    Peter
    --
     
    Peter Irwin, Jul 11, 2008
    #15
  16. savvo wrote:

    > On 2008-07-10, J?rgen Exner <> wrote:
    >> "Neil Harrington" <> wrote:
    >>>The important thing is the magnification of the final image. That's
    >>>what the end viewer sees.

    >>
    >> So you are saying that if I take a totally normal photography of let's
    >> say my dog and enlarge it for a billboard, then the picture of the dog
    >> is certainly larger than the actual dog. And that makes it a macro
    >> photography?
    >>
    >>

    > Yes. He really is that ignorant.


    I think the real problem is his use of "final image". It seems to me like
    "macro", as defined by image:subject ratio, is about "the magnification of
    the image *on the original medium*"; i.e., the film or electronic sensor.
    Original. Not "final". The use of "final image" doesn't seem to me to
    make sense, and allows arguments based on "final images" that are
    billboard sized. IOW, no, a billboard-sized "final" image of a Lambo is
    not macro, because the "original" image of the car - on the recording
    medium - was not equal to or larger than the physical vehicle. I don't
    know where this "final image" criterion sneaked into the discussion, but
    it's a shame it did.


    --
    Blinky
    Killing all posts from Google Groups
    The Usenet Improvement Project: http://improve-usenet.org
    Need a new news feed? http://blinkynet.net/comp/newfeed.html
     
    Blinky the Shark, Jul 11, 2008
    #16
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