This continues a series of tips I’m going to publish for new photographers. For those of you who already know this stuff, I promise to keep the more advanced posts coming for you.

Alex Henderson from New Orleans, LA wrote – “What is a macro lens and why would I want one.”

Macro is another way of saying “close up.” In short, a macro lens is a close up lens and allows you to get much closer to your subject than you would be able to otherwise. For instance, the close-focusing distance of a typical 100mm lens might be several feet. A “macro” version of the same lens might be able to focus down to a matter of a few inches.

While the word “macro” technically (and typically) refers to a one-to-one ratio, i.e., a “life-size” photo, the word macro has morphed. Now it seems to be a designation manufacturers use to designate all lenses that allow close working distances but that might not deliver a one-to-one ration.

Many inexpensive zoom lenses claim to be macro lenses but only offer 1:3 magnification (1/3 life-size.) This may or may not be important to you, but you should know that true macro lenses usually come at a premium price.

You might want a macro lens if you need to make photos of smaller objects such as insects or the insides of flowers. Macro lenses are also great for making abstract images.

For more information on lenses, read my post on how to choose a new lens.

Sponsored by PMA – It’s not too early to mark your calendar because this is big. For the first time in the USA, the PMA tradeshow and conference will be open to the general public – September 6-11, 2011 in Las Vegas. See you there –