All About Macro Lenses And Macro Extenders

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As you get more serious about photography, the urge to build on your lens collection becomes stronger. You probably have a long list of dream lenses that would look very at home in your camera bag. 

But then the next question is which lens to buy next. That depends on your budget, the type of photography you do and what you want to use to bring your photography portfolio up a level.

Macro Lenses

A macro lens is a great lens to own. While you might not use it during every photoshoot, it is invaluable for the times you need to get those close-up shots that show the details of your subject. The 1:1 magnification from a macro lens enables you to capture wonderful close-up images of nature, including insects, flowers, plants, and water. 

If you take photos of food, a macro lens can capture the delicious garnishes, icing sugar flowers or other culinary details that the chef has so carefully created. For jewelry or fashion accessory photography, a macro lens can show the workmanship of the items and even give hints of the quality of the gems.

A macro lens can even be useful for portrait shoots. For example, you might like to get a cropped image showing a newborn baby's tiny fingers and toes. Once you start to think about your next photoshoots, you will probably get ideas of how a macro lens can enhance your work. Macro photography is a fascinating genre to explore.

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If you have a side hustle selling items online, you can increase your sales by showing images taken with a macro lens. Customers like to see what they are buying and there is no better way to showcase items than with a macro lens. It will be especially relevant if you sell small items like jewelry or ornaments or high-value items such as designer gear. 

If you are photographing events such as weddings or parties, a macro lens will be very helpful. Those kinds of events are full of details and are very appreciated by your clients and vendors whose work is being showcased. If you are photographing a wedding for the bride and groom, you might send some photos of the food and drinks to the caterer that leads to another job. You can also ask them to tag you in social media posts to boost your marketing and brand awareness. Even if you are not a professional photographer yet, you should ask for credit for your work.

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Macro Extenders

A macro extender is a great way to experience what a macro lens could do for your work. The 1:1 reproduction ratio is achieved, and it's also a much more affordable option than purchasing a lens. What is a macro extender? Basically, it is a lens extension tube that fits onto your lens. It acts as a magnifier that gives a similar effect that a macro lens gives. You can stack macro extenders for maximum impact. 

The advantage of using a macro extender is cost. It is much more affordable to buy an extender than a macro lens. If you are unsure about spending money on a macro lens, you can try an extender. The quality of a lens is superior to an extender, so if you like the results, an extender gives you, you probably will end up investing in a quality macro lens. 

There are two kinds of extension extenders, also known as extender tubes. The non-electronic tube is the cheapest. They don't keep any form of connection between the body of your camera and your lens. 

The second version features electrical contacts which keep your camera and lens connected. You can control exposure and focus with these ones, so the extra cost is worth it. Also, you can toggle between manual and automatic focus modes.

If you buy an extender then a macro lens, the extender can still come in handy if you are shooting small objects from afar. An extender can fit on a zoom lens, so if you were trying to snap a photo of the woodpecker in your backyard tree, you might use the extender on your zoom. In that case, your macro lens wouldn't be so useful. So both items can be great inclusions to your camera kit.

Most major lens makers offer more than one macro lens model. For example, focal lengths for Nikon include 40mm, 60mm, 85mm, 105mm and 200mm. We always recommend buying the best quality lens you can afford. Many people will buy the mid-range lens option only to upgrade later. Try to borrow or hire a lens to try before buying if you are unsure. Even professional photographers will hire lenses and take them for a spin before making a final purchase sometimes. 

Lens Recommendations

The Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 macro USM lens is a great macro telephoto lens. It is a fast-focusing sharp lens wide open and stopped down. Those flower photos will be perfectly in focus. You can also use this lens for portraits, so it's quite versatile. The L version of this lens is even more impressive if your budget allows it. 

The Nikon AF-S 105mm f/2.8G ED-IF VR micro lens delivers impressive results. Your close-up images will be pin-sharp with this advanced technology lens. 

Sony, Tamron, Olympus, and Sigma are also good brands to consider. 

In conclusion, a macro lens or macro extender will be helpful for most photographers. You might even wonder how you ever lived without a macro lens once you start shooting with it.

Depending on your requirements, a macro extender can do the job for a much more affordable cost. But nothing beats a beautiful high-quality macro lens for super sharp photos that will show the smallest details. Do your research and consider what kind of photography you love doing and what you plan for future shoots. There's little doubt you will fall in love with your new macro extender or macro lens after experimenting with it a few times. You will experience a new world you didn’t see before including our little friend below.

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