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What is a Macro Lens?

A Beginners Guide
up close picture of a bee

What is a Macro Lens?

The google definition of a macro lens is "a lens that is suitable for taking photographs unusually close to its subject." However, what truly defines the lens is its magnification ratio.

The magnification ratio compares the size of the image captured by the camera sensor to the actual size of the object being photographed. This means an optic with a 10:1 ratio can project an image up to 10x the size of the object. This can be compared to a macro lens with a 1:2 ratio which then projects only half the size of the object.

Another defining characteristic of the macro optic is its close focusing distance. A close focusing distance requires the photographer to get very close to their subject in order to create a clear image through the camera sensor.

The typical macro lens has a focusing ratio of 1:1. However, optimal shooting distance varies dependent on what type of camera and lens you’re shooting with. True macro lenses will be primed - meaning that the focal length will be fixed without zoom capabilities.

Macro Lens for iPhone

A lens attachment for your Canon or Nixon can cost well over $800. For someone who is interested in experimenting with macro photography for the first time I recommend starting with a lens attachment for your iPhone. By opting for a lens attachment created for your iPhone camera you can explore the art of macro photography without a large up front investment on expensive equipment.
macro lens attachment for iphone

Up Close....

When paired with a macro lens your iPhone camera is transformed into a high powered optic perfect for shooting close up and detailed photos. The compact size of an iPhone lens attachment is convenient enough to bring anywhere and everywhere without weighing you down. Lens attachments for iPhone allow photographers to increase the capability of the already complex camera that are built right into their smartphones.
up close picture of a blue eye

... And Personal

The affordability and convenience of an iPhone lens attachment creates a great value for any individual trying to refine their skills in macro photography. Now it’s possible to expand your portfolio without having to invest hundreds of dollars on a new lens for a DSLR camera.

When to Use a Macro Lens

Macro lens photography offers endless possibilities for creating new content. This lens can be used whenever you want to capture up close details and enlarge the size of your subject. Using the macro lens you can virtually photograph anything that you want to see magnified.

The pictures below were all shot on an iPhone using the SANDMARC Macro Lens Attachment. When paired with the telephoto lens built into newer iPhone models the macro attachment can take your step up the quality of your images to a professional level.

Three Takeaways

When shooting with a Macro Lens there are a few rules of thumb to keep in mind.

up close picture of ants

1. Magnification ratio

It’s important to know the magnification ratio of a lens before you purchase it. A true macro lens will have a magnification ratio of 1:1 and does not have a zoom feature. The SANDMARC macro lens attachment for iPhone is a true macro lens with 10x the zooming capability of an iPhone camera.

Macro Lens with lens hood by SANDMARC

2. Shooting Distance

Because shooting on macro requires the photographer to get very close to their subject the best macro lenses are usually long-barreled. A macro lens for DSLR cameras should be about 45mm-65mm long with a fixed focal length. The macro lens for iPhone is scaled to be compatible with the iPhone camera lens. The SANDMARC Macro lens is 25mm with a fixed focal length. It comes with a lens hood which is designed to rest against the subject to make focusing easy.

macro photography of nature

3. Image sharpness

The lens system on newer iPhone models that come with a built in telephoto lens are great for achieving optimal sharpness when shooting with a macro lens attachment. The combination between the two lenses increases image sharpness and can shoot images of even higher quality than some DSLR cameras.

For more detailed information about shooting with a macro lens attachment for iPhone check out Micael Widell’s youtube video iPhone Macro Photography with the Sandmarc Macro Lens.

Or for a beginners guide to shooting with the SANDMARC Macro Lens attachment for iPhone checkout SANDMARC “Getting Started” tutorial on youtube