Macro (or Micro) photography typically refers to photography which (using a combination of longer focal lengths and close-focusing lenses) aims to achieve a high magnification rate.

Macro photography can typically be divided into three categories based on the level of magnification achieved:

  • ‘True macro’, reaching a 1:1 magnification (an object’s image is projected onto the sensor/film in real-life size)
  • ‘Supermacro’, reaching higher than 1:1 magnification
  • ‘Close-up photography’, reaching a magnification of greater that 1:3 but less than 1:1

(The issue is somewhat confused by many lens manufacturers calling their lenses ‘macro’ even though the actual maximum magnification would fall significantly short of 1:1.)

Besides using dedicated macro lenses, macro photography can also be achieved using:

  • close-up -lenses (in essence, a filter acting as a magnifying glass)
  • extension tubes (tubes moving the lens further from the film/sensor, thus shifting the lens focusing range closer)
  • teleconverters (teleconverters do not change the MFD, but increase the focal length, thus increasing magnification)
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