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Use of "Micro" for Macro lenses

Discussion in 'Lens Lust' started by Fallys, Oct 5, 2008.

  1. Fallys


    Apr 27, 2008
    Ottawa, Canada
    Good morning all,

    I'm wondering why a lot of companies will call a lens designed for macro photography a "macro" lens, but Nikon has decided to go with the designation "micro" or "micro-nikkor"?


  2. Leif


    Feb 12, 2006
    I believe that Nikon are using the terms correctly. Macro refers to image magnifications greater than 1:1 whereas as micro refers to image magnifications to 1:1. However, for some reason most other companies use macro instead of micro. Even Nikon use the term macro when referring to a zoom lens with a close up option. Quite why is beyond me.

    Incidentally, Olympus used to make true macro lenses, and they are not cheap.
  3. AviSys


    Mar 31, 2008
    Placitas, NM
    There's the suggestion here that "Micro" is something new. The first "Micro-Nikkor" was released in 1956.
  4. Fallys


    Apr 27, 2008
    Ottawa, Canada
    Very well, I thank you for your replies.

    I'm seriously considering adding the 105 f2.8 VR into my bag after the new year. Not many bugs or other interesting creatures roaming around during the Canadian winter anyway...although I'm sure icicles would be interesting as a subject! :) 
  5. TheShotLessTaken


    Oct 2, 2008
    That lense is much more than a Macro/micro lense. Its godly for normal shooting as well. An awesome prime.
  6. Fallys


    Apr 27, 2008
    Ottawa, Canada
    Then please excuse my ignorance, what would distinguish the lens as a 105 fixed length prime from the 85 f1.8? Is there a particular setting I need to read about in my D80 manual to learn how to shoot macro? Or is it just in the build of the 105 in how the different elements reflect/refract off of one another in the 105 vs. the 85?

    Might be a stupid question, but atleast it's an honest one!

  7. mattsteg


    Aug 10, 2007
    The 105, as a macro (micro-nikkor), focuses much more closely. It can reach a magnification of 1:1 while your 85/1.8 can only reach 1:6.6. This means that you can fill the frame with something the size of your sensor with the 105 (about an inch wide for DX) while you need something 6.6x wider to fill the frame with the 85 (both lenses focused as close as possible).
  8. Fallys


    Apr 27, 2008
    Ottawa, Canada
    That makes fantastic sense.

  9. cotdt


    Jul 14, 2007
    Bay Area, USA
    Nikon makes macro lenses too. I beleive some of them can do 10x lifesize.
  10. johnmh


    Nov 21, 2007
    Greater NYC
    The 105VR is a killer lens. I bought it to photograph scale models - another hobby. My wife fell in love with it at the Bronx Botanical Gardens shooting flowers. You can get away WITHOUT using a tripod - usually required for close-up shots...... My 12 year old loves it for taking photos of bugs. Lots of strange ones out west on vacations.

    Frankly, even if you NEVER use the Macro function, it's a great 105 f/2.8 prime.

    Given all the other lenses out there, I don't see the point, but you can even stick Nikon Teleconvertors on it (stay with the 1.4 and 1.7) to make it a 147mm or 178mm.
  11. MACROPHOTO is used in the case of shooting things UP TO their "real-life" size, eg. 1:1 on the camera's sensor ! MICROPHOTO is used in the case of beiing able to get the subjects BIGGER -on the film or sensor- than their life-size, eg >1:1 !

    You can also use a lens REVERSED (with an adapter ring) on your camera, to get bigger than life-size images:

    If you use a 35mm f/2 reversed, you will get 1.4:1 ratio (so, this is allready considered as beiing MICRO !)

    If you use a 24mm f/2.8 reversed, you will get 2.5:1 ratio

    Now, you can also try to stack two lens front-to-front and you will have a longer_lens/smaller_lens ratio, eg. a 150mm lens mounted on the camera, with a reversed 50mm lens hooked on it will give a 3:1 ratio !

    Alternatively, you can use a bellow and get a much bigger enlargement, like, if you put a 24mm f/2.8 reversed on a fully extended bellow, you might get up to 11:1 !

    ...just think: a 2mm. subject will FILL your sensor (on a DX camera of course) !!! Not bad, hey ?

    ...the only problem is that, the more you enlarge the subject, the closer you must get and the less light you will have to shoot !!!

    Hope it helps ?


    PS. See http://www.cse.yorku.ca/~oz/nikon/macro/macro_adapter.htm#bellows for more tips !
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