Macro and Micro Photography


New photographers are sometimes confused by the abundance of terms that are associated with the hobby and profession. Perhaps two terms that cause some of the greatest confusion are macro and micro photography. Macro lenses and micro photography are both developed by different companies to do the same thing — to take detailed photographs of objects up-close. There is a substantial difference between the two, however, which all photographers must learn in order to get the best results from their images.  

Macro lenses are specially designed to offer the greatest detail of objects at very close distances. In order to do this, the lenses are made to provide superior focus capabilities and resolution. When one sees photographs of insects in magazines, for example, showing minute details of eyes, hair, and antennas, this is accomplished with the use of macro lenses. Such photographs have sharp edges, deep contrast, and rich colors that can only be accomplished by the use of these professional photography lenses*.

As one would expect, the ability to take true macro photographs is very important to serious hobbyists and professionals alike. The lenses can cost hundreds of dollars each and only the very best DSLR cameras support this kind of technology. For the lower end consumer market, however, many of the more expensive digital models come with a micro feature that is meant to provide a similar function but at a less cost to the consumer.

Micro photography was created so that cameras could offer close-up image-taking capability as a feature without having to be as expensive as the DSLR models with macro lenses. Such settings can be used to photograph the same images one would shoot with a macro lens, but offer far less resolution and focus capability. The end result is an image that may look less professional than one shot with a macro lens, is probably good enough for the general consumer or hobbyist to use**.

While both macro and micro are capable of producing life-size images with excellent contrast and resolution, only the more expensive macro lenses can shoot the details required for professional photography. There is a reason why these types of lenses cost hundreds of dollars each, as the technology used to create them is complex and they’re more expensive for the manufacturer to make.  The results, however, are second to none, which is why professional photographers everywhere rely on the macro lenses when it comes to capturing the most intricate features of small objects. For everyone else with the exception of the most serious hobbyists, the micro photography features available with most digital cameras is adequate and the best value.


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