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If you are just getting started in photography or you are hoping to not blow your budget on a dedicated Macro Lens then you need to read this article. We explain the 1:1 magnification ratio and how you can achieve it without a dedicated Macro lens.
We are hoping to take some of the mystery out of Macro.
Let's just start by saying, you will likely get the best results from a dedicated Macro Lens. This is known. But all of that aside, what we want to talk about today is how to shoot Macro on a budget. Specifically, by using Macro Extension Tubes.
By definition, Macro photography is photography that produces photographs of small items, larger than life size. This means that in order to capture a close-up Macro image your magnification ratio must be at least 1:1.
What does 1:1 magnification mean? Do I have to get close?
1:1 magnification means that you can capture a life sized image on your image sensor when focused as close as possible.
One of the greatest challenges in Macro Photography is magnification and one of the greatest technical issues is minimum focusing distance. You might ask "why can't I just use my 50mm 1.8 and get really close"? The answer is that your 50mm 1.8 (generally) has a minimum focusing distance of around 18 inches. This means that you have to stand 18 inches away from your subject in order to focus your lens.
For Macro purposes, the lens does not allow you to get close enough to your subject.
You can however, stack Macro Extension tubes on your 50mm lens to change the minimum focusing distance and achieve 1:1 magnification.
Achieve 1:1 Magnification With A Macro Extension Tube!
The reason your 50mm 1.8 will not focus to a 1:1 magnification is because the front element is too far back. Through extension, you are able to move the front element forward and therefore move closer to your subject while retaining focus. An extension tube fits between your lens and the camera mount, moving your lens away from the camera and allowing you to focus closer. Closer = more magnification. Extension can be achieved with Macro Extension Tubes. These are widely available at a relatively low cost. Note that I have only provided links to Extension Tubes with electronic connections. There are tubes out there for even less than the ones below but they do not electronically connect to your camera and therefore give you little control. It is better to spend a couple of more dollars than to have less control. Trust me.
Where Can I Find Macro Extension Tubes that will achieve 1:1 Magnification?