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Macro Lenses
Old 07-08-2006, 02:45 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Okay...another long time lurker here. I have a question about macro lenses. I've seen some amazing work with them lately and I'm in the market. Hopefully, my question is simple. I feel stupid since I should be able to figure this out on my own but I want to be sure before I spend the money. Here's the question...which is going to get me closer? A lens with a 1:1 ratio or one with a 1:2.9 ratio? The close focusing distances on the lenses I'm looking at are roughly the same (around 7") but it's that magnification that I'm worried about. Is the 1:1 ratio what I'm looking for? I'm wanting to see compound eyes on a fly here. Any help would be greatly appreciated.
Jim
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Re: Macro Lenses
Old 07-08-2006, 03:39 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Hi Jim,

In this case 1:1 is better, i.e. closer focusing. With 1:1 you could take a picture of a coin, develop your film, place the coin on the film, and the coin in real life would be exactly the same size as the coin on film.

With the 1:2.9 ratio lens, the coin on film would be 2.9 times smaller than the real coin. (I completely stole this analogy from here. You may wanna check it out.)

If you can find something where the first number is bigger in the ratio instead of the second, that'd get you even closer (the example wikipedia has is 5:1).

Hope this helps!

Sam
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Re: Macro Lenses
Old 07-08-2006, 06:32 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Yep, that's exactly the answer I was looking for. I really appreciate that. It seemed like an easy question but I really wanted a second opinion on it. Thanks so much!
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Re: Macro Lenses
Old 07-08-2006, 07:17 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Jim,

Aside from the magnification ratio, the other thing you want to keep in mind is the focal length of the lens. This has to do with the distance from the lens to your subject. If you are shooting coins or other objects, it is not a problem, but if you are a Dentist shooting inside a mouth or going after a Bumblebee, the extra distance that a 200mm lens offers over a 60 or 90mm may be significant. The longer focal length also allows you more freedom for placement of lights if you are using flash.
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