What Is a Macro Lens?

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What Is a Macro Lens?

To achieve this, the lens generally must have a very short minimum focal distance to get the object physically close to the lens and sensor. This makes macro lenses ideal for close-up photography and still-life work. Some can even “switch hit” to produce beautiful portraits.

Some macro lenses are capable of creating images larger than their real-world counterpart, described as a “magnification ratio” in most technical specifications. When considering magnification, a multiplier greater than 1x indicates the image can appear larger than the real world object by the scale of that multiplier. Some zoom lenses marketed to include “macro” features may only reach 1:1, and only at an extremely narrow slice of the focal distance. Other purpose-built macro lenses can achieve more than a 1x magnification throughout the focal distance.

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General-purpose macro lenses will achieve a maximum magnification factor of 1x, or a 1:1 reproduction ratio. These lenses make up some of the most popular “macro” offerings, so it's important to check magnification values. Special-purpose macro lenses can achieve impressive magnification ranges, but won't be as useful for general purpose photography, thanks to this property.

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