Macro economics


I have found that people often assume that they will not be able to do macro photography without expensive kit. Certainly, I now enjoy using Canon’s 100mm L IS macro lens on the full-frame 5Dii, hardly inexpensive equipment. However, looking back through my macro shots I was surprised how many, fairly decent, images I had achieved before I bought my current kit.


Most of the shots in today’s post were taken using my 400D, a fairly old, entry-level DSLR with only 10mpx at its disposal. All of them, except the last one, were taken using the Sigma 50mm f2.8 EX DG Macro, a nice little lens that you can pick up for £250 or less.


True macro lenses have a fixed focal length. They are prime lenses and, therefore, usually produce higher image quality than a zoom.


A 50mm prime has many uses beyond macro. 50mm is a nice length for portraits, for example. So your macro lens is a good and versatile purchase.


I recently read in a photography magazine that anything less than 100mm was too short for shooting insects. Hopefully, this post proves otherwise.


Another item often touted as essential for macro work is an expensive flash, usually a ring flash for insects. Not so. All of my macro work is done in natural light.


If you are not yet ready to buy a macro lens, there are other options. Extension rings, dioptres, or reverse mounting a regular lens, all achieve good image magnification although handling them well takes some practice.


Finally, do not assume that without dedicated macro equipment, close-up work is out of reach. This final shot was taken using a 24-105mm zoom lens.


Outdoor macro photography is my favourite genre. You can do it at almost any time of day and it is best when the sun is not shining. Perfect for those of us who live in a country the sun has forgotten and whose other commitments prevent them spending hours waiting for the light at sunset and sunrise.
Are you already a macro fan, or are you thinking of taking it up?