When we hear the term “Macro Lens” this is the type of shot we are expecting. Something small and up close. But a macro lens doesn’t need to be used for only macro shots. If you think about it, all a macro lens is, is just a prime lens that has the ability to focus up close. I have noticed that if I used a zoom lens at the same focal length and same aperture as the macro lens, I get better bokeh with the macro lens. This is because of the construction of the lens.
So what are macro lenses good for other than macro shots?
This portrait shot was taken with the same macro lens as the mosquito above. Notice how creamy the bokeh is in the background and how sharp the subject is. While you can get the same sharp subject with a zoom lens, the bokeh just wouldn’t be as nice. This helps the subject stand out more with less distractions.
What if you don’t do much macro shots or any portraits?
This landscape shot was done with a macro lens. Although the same shot could have been achieved with a wide angle lens, I chose to go with the macro lens and take multiple frames to stitch together in order to get a more shallow DOF which would be more difficult to do with a wide angle lens.
As you can see, a macro lens is a very versatile lens in that it can do macro, portrait, landscape, along with other types of photography. The way I look at a macro lens is that it is a prime lens that has the capability of focusing up close, producing great bokeh, and a more shallow DOF than a zoom lens at the same focus length. The advice I would give when shopping for a macro lens? Get the longest focus length you can afford as it’ll allow you to be farther away from your smallest subjects when shooting. This has the major benefits of less of a chance of scaring your subject if it is an insect and blocking out too much light.
Below are a group of images that were taken using a macro lens. All of these photos were taken with either the Nikon DX 85mm Macro or Nikon FX 105mm Macro lenses. In the coming weeks I will be putting together a couple posts on something else I have been working on utilizing only my macro lens to get a full shot of a subject and then a group of more specialized shots of that subject.