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Make sure you tick all the right boxes on your macro lens wish list

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Fo­cal length

Lenses with a longer fo­cal length have a greater min­i­mum fo­cus dis­tance, which is gen­er­ally more con­ve­nient for macro pho­tog­ra­phy.


Aut­o­fo­cus is great for gen­eral shoot­ing but, due to mi­nus­cule depths of field in­volved, pre­cise man­ual fo­cus­ing can of­ten work bet­ter for macro shots.

In­ter­nal fo­cus­ing

With an in­ter­nally fo­cus­ing lens, the front el­e­ment doesn’t phys­i­cally ex­tend at shorter fo­cus set­tings, which can be an ad­van­tage when shoot­ing ex­treme close-ups.

Op­ti­cal sta­bil­i­sa­tion

This is nice to have but its ef­fec­tive­ness will be much re­duced at around 0.5x mag­ni­fi­ca­tion and of lit­tle value at all at full 1.0x mag­ni­fi­ca­tion.

DX/FX for­mat

FX lenses are gen­er­ally fully com­pat­i­ble with DX-for­mat bod­ies, but you can only use DX-for­mat lenses on an FX body in ‘crop mode’.

Aper­ture rat­ing

The fairly fast f/2.8 aper­ture rat­ing of most macro lenses is a bonus for gen­eral shoot­ing but the use of very nar­row aper­tures is of­ten nec­es­sary for ex­treme close-ups.

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