There are many lenses emerging for our mirrorless cameras, including macro lenses. The thing is about macro lenses that they are often a very good portrait length, and they often offer incredible edge-to-edge sharpness and contrast, but they are usually not as fast and bright as similar lenses intended for portraiture. I used to use Nikon’s 105mm f/2.8 Micro for everything, and it’s a terrific lens, but now I’m used to the shutter speeds I get with the Leica 42.5mm f/1.2 Nocticron, and shooting at f/2.8 just seems so slow. Which is the main reason I don’t use the terrific Leica 45mm f/2.8 Elmarit macro lens for my portraits–it’s just not as bright, and when it counts I need all the extra aperture I can get. However, I own the 45mm macro and often use it for close-ups and florals.

45mm lens–90mm equivalent on 35mm sensor.

But many of you would rather have a super telephoto lens for wildlife and sports, and I think that’s not a bad idea. There’s certainly no substitute for a long lens when you need to fill the frame with a far-off subject. My suggestion today, however, is that you should maximize that telephoto lens for more than far away work. You should utilize it for close-ups and especially floral photos.

I made these pictures with the Leica 100-400mm lens. Even though the aperture is only f/4-f/6.3, you won’t miss any shallow depth of field on your close-ups with this lens. Remember the three things that affect depth of field? Distance to the subject, focal length, and aperture (but when we talk about mirrorless we could also add sensor size to that list). A long focal length makes the depth of field super shallow and makes the background super creamy and dreamy. This is a great way to isolate your flowers from the background. Plus, this lens focusses close enough that I can photograph my own feet at 400mm, and the focus doesn’t change as you zoom.

Not only does shooting with a long lens isolate your flowers from the background, it also views a much smaller section of the background. When you zoom in, you narrow the width of the background that will be visible behind your subject. That makes it simple to compose your photograph with a simple and distinct backdrop.

Go ahead and utilize your telephoto lens for making telefloral photos. Not only will you make striking and painterly pictures of flowers, but you’ll also hone your skills with the big lens and that will make you a better shooter next time it counts. Use the money you save not buying a macro lens and take a trip to Oregon where these wild foxglove flowers abound.

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