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macro photography up close vs. far away
A lot of macro-photography seems to be produced from telephoto lenses, from afar, so as to blur our the background and give more central importance to the object of interest..

However, it seems to me that one consequence of this is that the three-dimensionality of the object of interest is partially lost. Perspective becomes muted from afar, but is more prominent up close. E.g., from 20 feet away, your nose isn't that much closer to the camera than the rest of your face; but from a few feet away, such isn't the case..

Any thoughts?..

Comments (14)

I'm kind of confused here. Yes, many macro lenses are short telephoto, but macro shots made with these lenses are not really far, but rather really close in order to achieve maximum magnification..

'I reject your reality and substitute my own' -Adam Savagehttp://www.flickr.com/photos/mrnoronha/sets/..

Comment #1

USACanuck wrote:.

I'm kind of confused here. Yes, many macro lenses are shorttelephoto, but macro shots made with these lenses are not really far,but rather really close in order to achieve maximum magnification..

Not only are macro shots taken from fairly close (to get the magnification required), but even with a very short focal length, the depth of field will always be very shallow..

This is not particularly an artistic choice made by the photographer, but a consequence of the optical principles. Often in fact the photographer might want greater depth of field, but even at a small aperture such as f/22 or f/32 it might not be possible to achieve sufficient DOF.Regards,Peter..

Comment #2

First, at very close range. Olympus C5050. 11.9mm lens. 1/3 sec at f/2.

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And from a little bit further away. Pentax K100D, 105mm lens. 1/6 sec f/2.8.

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The perspective of the first image is more interesting, the close range shows the battery wider where it is nearer to the camera. The second picture from just a few inches further away, but a different camera and lens, shows a more "straight" perspective, though the camera angle was exactly the same (only the height was changed..

This is not an attempt at a precise technical test, but in both cases the paper background is extremely far out of focus because of the shallow depth of field..

Stopping down the lens helps with the depth of field, but at this kind of magnification getting the whole subject and the background sharp is difficult..

So if the type of perspective in the first shot appeals, don't use a DSLR, use a compact camera which can often get really close to the subject for macro shots.Regards,Peter..

Comment #3

... just because I happen to like this shot:.

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1/200s f/3.5 at 105.0mm, Pentax K100D..

Although not an outstanding picture, what I like here is the way the change in focus creates an impression of depth. I can almost feel the three-dimensional blackberries (or brambles).Regards,Peter..

Comment #4

Macro photography has one major physical limitation - Depth Of Field..

The out of focus blur is a consequence of the very limited depth of field. You could not avoid it if you wanted to. The fact that you cannot avoid it is also why Macro photographers obsess about out of focus blur quality ( 'bokeh' )..

Longer lenses are used mainly because they let you step a small bit further back. This has two desirable consequences. It lets light get at the subject ( if you get too close you might block light - very easy to do ). Secondly for insects you want to avoid getting too close or they just go away..

StephenG.

Fuji S3 ProPentax K100DFuji S9600Fuji E900PCLinuxOS..

Comment #5

Sherwoodp,.

Are you saying that a P&S can take better macro pictures than a DSLR? Seriously? Huh? Why?..

Comment #6

David J Heinrich wrote:.

Sherwoodp,.

Are you saying that a P&S can take better macro pictures than a DSLR?Seriously? Huh? Why?.

In the topic of this discussion it is like this. The P&S has a small sensor. The lens is correspondingly small. The focal length of a 3x zoom lens (such as that on the C5050) is around 7 to 21mm. When taking macro shots with such a short focal length lens, the subject needs to be very close to the front of the lens, maybe one or two inches away (25 to 50mm). The result of having the subject very close is the more extreme perspective..

There are of course other factors that determine what makes a good picture. Very often macro shots from the P&S suffer from barrel distortion, where straight lines appear curved. A good macro lens on a DSLR will generally have very low distortion..

In any case, there are many different macro lenses available for DSLR cameras. As has been said by another poster in this thread, insects will make an exit, and lighting can be difficult at closer distances. But you coould look for a 50mm or 35mm macro lens for a DSLR which would allow shooting from closer distances if that is your preference. My example shot used a Sigma 105mm macro lens..

I should point out that it is possible to get closer and hence more magnification with the lens, but I would then have been unable to fit the entire battery in the picture (at least from that angle).Regards,Peter..

Comment #7

David J Heinrich wrote:.

Sherwoodp,.

Are you saying that a P&S can take better macro pictures than a DSLR?Seriously? Huh? Why?.

IF what you want is more DOF. The smaller sensors in P&S cameras result in near infinite DOF at all apertures. That does reduce some when shooting in macro mode, but there is still often more DOF than a typical DSLR can get..

The shot below was taken at f40. That's right f40. I needed that to get as much DOF as I did at the distance needed to get the frame filled how I wanted it..

Nikon D70, Tamron 90mm f2.8 macro lens at 1/500 f40 ISO200.

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Chefziggyhttp://www.pbase.com/chefziggy/lecream.

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Comment #8

Re>Any thoughts? <.

Yes..

There actually are reasons that camera companies and lens makers manufacture 50, 60, 70, 90, 100, 105, 150, and 180mm macro lenses, among other focal lengths..

BAK..

Comment #9

At 55mm[img].

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At 135mm[img].

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To me the 1st shows more depth (not of focus but of perspective), the 2nd seems more 2-dimensional, on a flatter plane.....

Comment #10

Kitacanon,.

Gorgeous flower pictures...I think that the first one is stunning, while the 2nd is merely nice..

Regarding how large you can make macro look, I do the following figure...please tell me if I'm right....

The AF-S Micro- Nikkor 60mm f/2.8G ED can focus on something 7.28 inches away from it; and has a crop-factor of 1.5 (vs. 35 mm). The Olympus Zuiko Digital 35mm f3.5 can focus on something as close as 5.75 inches. Both can focus at 1:1 at their closest focusing distances..

Hence, for a given picture, the Oly lens could make something seem (7.28 / 5.75) x (2 / 1.5) = 1.7x as big. Is that correct?..

Comment #11

I cannot comment on the details of your calculation, but I doubt that this makes a difference in practice. There are many other factors that are more important than how much magnification you can get..

To give you one example, I have both the 35mm and the 50mm ZD macro. The 35mm is 1:1 whereas the 50mm only gives me half the magnification. However, I prefer the 50mm as the additional working distance makes a lot more difference to me than the extra magnification that I can get (i.e., for the 35mm macro I need to be right on top of the subject which is not that great if you are taking pictures of spiders or other insects that you do not want to get in contact with)...

Comment #12

David J Heinrich wrote:.

Kitacanon,.

Gorgeous flower pictures...I think that the first one is stunning,while the 2nd is merely nice..

Regarding how large you can make macro look, I do the followingfigure...please tell me if I'm right....

The AF-S Micro- Nikkor 60mm f/2.8G ED can focus on something 7.28inches away from it; and has a crop-factor of 1.5 (vs. 35 mm). TheOlympus Zuiko Digital 35mm f3.5 can focus on something as close as5.75 inches. Both can focus at 1:1 at their closest focusingdistances..

Hence, for a given picture, the Oly lens could make something seem(7.28 / 5.75) x (2 / 1.5) = 1.7x as big. Is that correct?.

The key element for this is not the minimum focusing distance but the magnification, which is the 1:1 that you refer to. When the magnification is 1:1 the image of the object projected on the sensor is exactly the same size as the actual object. This is also not a function of the sensor size it is just a matter of the size of the projected image. It doesn't matter what lens was used or how far away the camera was: 1:1 is just 1:1..

However, the projected image will take up a larger percentage of the full sensor size on the smaller sensor, the Olympus. So (assuming that both sensors have the same number of pixels) if you enlarge both images to the same size, with no cropping, the Olympus image of the object itself will be larger than the Nikon image. Also, because more pixels were used to record the object itself, it has the potential to be slightly better defined. This is, of course, ignoring other variables that affect picture quality, such as noise, color, proccessing fidelity, etc., etc. But purely from the standpoint of the size of the object you are photographing, that is how it works..

I hope that helps clarify that one issue..

Dave.

Http://www.pbase.com/dsjtecserv..

Comment #13

David J Heinrich wrote:.

Kitacanon,.

Gorgeous flower pictures...I think that the first one is stunning,while the 2nd is merely nice..

Regarding how large you can make macro look, I do the followingfigure...please tell me if I'm right....

The AF-S Micro- Nikkor 60mm f/2.8G ED can focus on something 7.28inches away from it; and has a crop-factor of 1.5 (vs. 35 mm). TheOlympus Zuiko Digital 35mm f3.5 can focus on something as close as5.75 inches. Both can focus at 1:1 at their closest focusingdistances..

Hence, for a given picture, the Oly lens could make something seem(7.28 / 5.75) x (2 / 1.5) = 1.7x as big. Is that correct?.

I would say there is a simpler approach to the mathematics..

If each lens has the same 1:1 magnification at the closest focussing distance, the only thing you need to be concerned with is the sensor size. Or using the crop factors which amounts to the same thing, 2/1.5 = 1.3. So the Olympus could make the subject 1.3x bigger..

In any case trying to use the closest focussing distance in a calculation is not likely to lead to a useful result, as any figures would need to be measured from the optical centre of the lens (some unknown distance behind the front element).Regards,Peter..

Comment #14

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