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Canon Lenses: The Complete Guide

Lesson 47 of 58

Macro Lens: Reproduction Ratio


Canon Lenses: The Complete Guide

Lesson 47 of 58

Macro Lens: Reproduction Ratio


Lesson Info

Macro Lens: Reproduction Ratio

specialty lenses. We're gonna be talking about macro lenses, fisheye lenses and tilt shift lenses. And so these are really special lenses that the manufacturers, when they list all their lenses, here's a resumes and our primes. And then down here, the specialty lenses. There's something unusual, something different for very special purposes. And you might be wondering, Well, why do I care about thes? I just need a basic zoom lens, take a picture of my kid and probably not necessary. This is probably one of those extra credit things you can do just to gather mawr photographic knowledge. Along with that, I think they're just kind of fun and interesting. And so I think it's good for a couple of reasons. So what we're gonna be doing this will first be going through the macro lenses and then the fish I in the tilt shift, and I got all sorts of technical and visual examples for all him, so I think it should be pretty good in this section. First off, I want to talk about the macro lens. A lot...

of people have an eye for details, and there is kind of a whole other world when you get into macro photography. And so if we want to get into macro photography before we even look at the lens is we need to understand some of the terminology that's being used on the terminology that you really need to understand is reproduction ratio. And we're not talking about geography and population growth here. Reproduction ratio on photography One of the things that you need to understand is what 1 to 1 reproduction ratio is. It's where the object size and the image size are the same. And frankly, this was a lot easier back in the days of film because we used to get our film back from the store and we could see how big the objects are on it. So let's say we're gonna photograph a coin, all right. These coins are both about the exact same size. They're very close to one inch in whip, very close to 24 millimeters in width. And so if you were to photograph one of these coins with a 1 to 1 reproduction lens, that coin would be exactly the same size on the film. All right, so the coin and the picture of the coin are exactly the same. And now we're using digital sensors, and it's a little hard to look at your digital sensor to see what size your subject is. But this is the size of this is the shape of our final subject or a final picture, so we will be able to tell it's just not quite as directive a comparison. So when we photographed with a 1 to 1 lens in our digital sensor, it's going to fill up pretty much the entire frame on the short edge because it's 24 millimeters in this short height and it's 24 millimeters roughly across each of these coins. What about if you're using a crop frame camera? Well, the object size in the image size are still the same. It's just that we have less area here. And so if we were to compare the size of our coin in each of these frames, they are going to be the same no matter what size sensor using. So those crop frame sensors are just simply cropping in and giving you covering less area of that coin, and so the final result is the same as the original, and this is a standard, and it's usually what most photographers. I mean, when they talk about a macro wins, they're talking about a lens that gets 121 close. Although there are macro lenses that are not this good, they are kind of the next step down, and that would be 1 to 2 half life size. So it's 1 to 2 real reproduction ratio, So it is gonna pier 1/2 the size on the sensor or in the final image. And so in this case, our final subject is about 12 millimeters across the originalist 24 so it has been reduced to 1/2 size. This is still pretty good, close up capability, but not as good as 1 to half. Life size works out a little bit better on the crop frame because that's not quite full frame, but it's filling up more of the frame over here. We're ending up with a lot of white space. So what is the reproduction ratio of your lens? How big can it reproduce an object quarter? Life size is going to be much more common on lenses that have the normal ability, with a little bit of close up capability. We're gonna be able to measure this and test this on a variety of lenses, including you can do it on your own lenses. I'm gonna show you how to do here. How to do that here in just a little bit. And so 1/4 size going to be a little bit smaller in screen. If you find a macro lens, if you turn the focusing ring, you're probably going to turn. The focusing rang. There we go, and you're going to see these numbers on the top row, which indicate the reproduction ratio size. You can dial it in ahead of time. I know I need a 1 to 5 reduction reproduction ratio, which means it's 1/5 the size in the final image as it is in the real world. If you want to get pretty close, you're gonna probably want to get 1 to 2. If you want to get really close, you're gonna want to go all the way to a 1 to 1, which is usually the closest. Most subjects will be able to focus on a good macro. Let's so 1 to 1 has another way of being illustrated defined. It's a one times magnification. The final image is exactly the same size as the original. If you have something that is a 1 to 2 reproduction ratio that is known as a 20.5 magnification cause it's magnified half of lights, life size. And so what we're doing is we're basically basically dealing with fractions and decimus. They're equal, but they're illustrated differently in the text. So quarter size now the millimeter lens 1.8, which I really like for portrait work, is one of the worst canon lenses. When it comes to close up capability on its own, it only does 10. magnification, which is not very good, considering one 0.5 point two. And so this is getting down here, too. Probably. What is that about one 18 reproduction ratio? A little better than that is point to one on that really inexpensive 50 millimeter lands. Better yet again, as these numbers get larger as they get closer to one, that means we're able to reproduce something larger and larger in the lens. So this is even better than the previous lenses over here at close up capability, I believe, and I havent tested all of them, but I believe that 24 to 70 is the best close up lens that you can get that isn't specifically designed as a macro lens. It's 700.7 in the magnification, so that's over half life size, which is really good for kind of a standard general purpose lens. But if you're really wanting to get into this, you need a macro lands. In most of them, there's a wide variety with cannon. This one gets one times magnification, which is kind of that gold standard for most macro photographers. So there is a way to estimate the ratio that you have in your camera and in your lens if we think about our sensor. If you have a full frame sensor, it's 24 millimeters or roughly one inch on the short side, and we can photograph a coin and we can see if we can fill the coin with that. But if we don't have a coin, you can use a ruler and to see if you can see one inch focused as close as you can get, you have a to 1 reproduction ratio. Now, if you have a crop frame sensor. It is about 22 millimeters, which is pretty close to that 24 millimeters, which is pretty close to that one inch. And so you could bring a yardstick in, and you could measure one inch down here. Or you could look at 22 millimeters and so how much? How close can you get to a ruler and how much distance can you see in there? So, looking through the viewfinder of a full frame camera, find a ruler but it right up to the edge and see what you get in there. If you see one inch on the short side of the frame, you have a 1 to 1 reproduction ratio. We're also looking at 25 millimeters. If you prefer the metric system. Wonder one reproduction ratio is the same as one times magnification. If you see two full inches or around 50 millimeters than it's going to be half life size, and so for most of your lenses, you're probably only going to be able to see three inches. You can't get any closer than this, so you're at 1/3 reproduction ratio. And so these air fairly easy numbers and this is where. Actually, I prefer the metric system. But this is where inches worked pretty well because one inches equal to the height, or at least very, very close to it in a normal full frame camera. So if you can see five inches, that's a 1 to 5 reproduction ratio. It's 1/5 life size. Now, if you have a crop viewfinder, I think it's easier to measure across the long side cause the long side is very close to one inch. So it depends on what type of camera you have as to what sort of reproduction ratio that you're going to get in there. The best way to measure it in my mind and so two inches simply means we're going to be at half life size. And it depends on what you were going to be photographed. You know you're gonna be photographing coins or small dolls. How big is the subject that you want a photograph, and that will help determine how good or how intensive macro lens that you need to get. And so what we're gonna do is we're gonna do a first time John gringo tethering live in the studio on. We're gonna test out a few of these lenses over here. And so I think, Let's see, well, we'll just go through a slider to Maurin the keynote and then we'll be ready to go. So if you're trying to figure out well, I want to know how good Mind lands is at close up capability. You're trying to figure out what the ratio is. It's one to something, and we're trying to figure out what the excess you need to set your lens to minimum distance. And this is easiest done if you manually focus your land. So we're going to do this as an example here in just a moment. We're just simply going to move the camera closer to our subject in order to focus, and we're gonna measure the short side and millimeters. If you want to get really exact and then what we would dio is we would divide by 24. So if you want to get very exact, or you could do it in inches and you can kind of do an estimated ratio. If you have a crop frame sensor, set the lens to the minimum distance. So the same same set up on this, you're gonna move the camera closer to focus. You're gonna measure the long side in millimeters, which is, ideally gonna be 22 for a 1 to 1 reproduction ratio. And then he would simply divide by 22.4 if you want to get very exact in this process. And so I'm gonna be working with inches just cause they're a little bit simpler to work with. And so what we're gonna do is we're going to switch over and we're gonna get the keynote off, and we're gonna took our camera up Tethered. Where is my camera? My cameras over here. And so let's go ahead. And Emily, would you mind helping out helping me out in this section? Because I don't want to appear that I have set things up. So what I'd like you to do is come up here to the lenses and I would like you to select a lens and let's let's not go with the 800 millimeter huge lens. You can pick anything on the top row anything back in here and we're gonna measure how good these lenses are. Remember a good macro lenses 1 to 1 And so what I'm gonna be doing is I'm gonna be photographing this very exciting ruler. Yeah, We're going to set this up here, and I'm just gonna shoot it like this. Have you had have you assist me? Hold that. And she chooses. Probably the most expensive Flynn's here. Just put that there, and we'll just put this right here. This is the what do you What did you select 85 millimeter. 1.2. Okay, this lens is likely to be very bad. So I am going to make sure that this camera is set up for exposure wise, and I'm gonna throw this into manual focus. And let's get this eso set up a little bit. I'm gonna make sure I get a sharp shot. Okay, So the process is is mount your lens on the camera and now manually focus to minimum distance. And so I'm just gonna turn the lens to the minimum distance. And this lends says that I can focus down somewhere near just under a meter says 0.95 and it goes a little pat past it. And so what I'm gonna do is I'm looking the viewfinder, and I'm just gonna back up and I'm not gonna focus. And actually, I'm back up so far. I'm gonna need to adjust this year. And where am I? I am right here. So I'm gonna take the shot and we'll see if we can pop this up on screen. At least I think that was the hope of the plan. So we'll see if we get this up on screen and we'll see how many inches one ratio X is gonna be Our reproduction ratio on this 11 is great. 1 to 2 is pretty good. And here we go. So we're going to see 18 That's not a very good reproduction ratio. So, Emily, please choose another lens over there. Take this one off. All right. So 35 let's have you swept out that. And so if you recall that this is the 35 f two I mentioned that this lens is pretty good and close up, so I'm gonna guess when I haven't shot this, but I'm gonna guess we can probably see, like, four inches filling frame. So once again, I'm gonna throw this in the manual focus, focus all the way down to minimum distance. And I'm just gonna move in until I see this thing in focus. I'm gonna line up zero on the bottom. Wow. I'm getting nice and close here, and so I'm gonna line up one on the bottom and we're gonna see this pop up. What did I guess? 44 And let's see what we're actually getting here on our reproduction ratio. Because this is 1 to 8. Not so good. Look at that. Emily. We were not in cahoots with you picking this lens out, so let's pick another one. So this is pretty good. 1 to 4 reproduction ratio. And let's see if you can find a zoom lens. Let's get a zoom lens. Something that has a zoom. Okay, think there's like a 24 to 70 24 to 105 That might be good. Even the 72 200 would be okay, This one. Okay, it's not a zoom, but let's do it any. Well, go look for a zoom. I'm gonna do this one anyway. So this is a 400 millimeter. 5.6 manually focus all the way down. Closest focusing is 12 feet. Okay, this is gonna be interesting. And so I'm gonna have to back up. Oh, wait. I forgot to put this in manual focus. My fault. What am I focused on? I need to come back a little further, Okay? But this is a really strong telephoto lens, and I could really use some stabilization right now, and I might have a slightly blurry photo, but, uh, let's see what this looks like, and you gotta zoom lens there. Well, get ready for the next life, okay? And so little blurry, cause I was it's a hard land. Still handhold the 400. And so this lands, we can see 12718 So, 1 to 8 reproduction ratio. Not that good. You know, it would make this lens focus a lot closer extension tubes like those extension tubes that we talked about before. So now we have a 24 to 105 Let's figure out how good this is now, this one. And I don't know if you could get a fairly close shot here, actually says macro on it. And so as we focus up closer on it, it says, macro. Now macro is it's like when a car company says this car goes fast. What do you mean, How fast is fast? And so I am going to shoot this twice. I'm gonna shoot it once a 24 and once at 105 to see how good and see, see where our best spot is. And so I'll start at wide angle and set it to 24. Believe it, macro. As far as it can in minimum distance, I'm gonna make sure I'm in manual focus because I don't want my camera to refocus. And I gotta move in right here for focus. And as I said before, this lands has a lot of barrel distortion at wide angle, and you can really see that here. So let's, uh let's see. All right, so that looks a little dark. I'm gonna see if I can adjust the exposure. I will turn on the stabilization. That's that's fine. Have I'm gonna take another side. I think I can get a better exposure. Okay, so this is the 24 to 105 And we're looking at 789 10 11 12. Okay, 12 12 ratio. That's not very good. That is that our worst so far. Yes, that's are worth 1 to 12. That's our worst so far. So let's zoom this out to actually, let's thesis fun. I'm going to do it at 50 and then will do one of five. So we'll do three steps on this. So this is 50 minimum distance. Oh, yeah, we're definitely getting closer here, so we'll do a shot there on Let's take a look. Takes moment for it to come up, and we're gonna getting in a little bit closer. So if you want to shoot macro with this lands, it's better to shoot a little bit more telephoto. So now we're in the 1 to 6 rage, which is getting pretty good. That's better than the others were gonna go out toe 12 thought Oh, yeah. Now, now we're getting in there, right here. Okay, so let's see where we are here. And so this is the 105 24 to 105 at 105 at the minimum distance. Okay, My sharpness leaves a little to be desired here, but just for testing purposes that we can see it is a 1 to 4 reproduction ratio, which is quite good for a zoom. General purpose lands. And so this is one of the lenses that does a pretty good job doing that. Thank you, Emily, And sit down and so just kind of leave these up here for now. And so I think that's all we need to do in this. I don't know if I should just hand this off. And so that's how you contest your own camera is just get a yardstick. And if you have a full frame, you want to see what the short edge of it is and how many inches you see. And it's probably gonna be somewhere between those 1 to 44 inches versus maybe 10 or inches, which is not quite as good. And so knowing how close you can focus and how big of area you're gonna get to, it's just one of those nice things to know about your lenses.

Class Description

Working with interchangeable lenses can be both exciting and daunting to all levels of photographers. Canon® Lenses: The Complete Guide with John Greengo will prepare you to select the right lens and get the most out of all of your lens investments.

John Greengo is the master of making complex photography concepts easy to understand and in this class, he’ll bring all of your Canon EOS DSLR lens options and operations into focus. 

You’ll learn about: 

  • Focal length and aperture
  • Canon zoom lenses
  • Which lens accessories to buy
  • Third-party lenses
  • Maintaining a lens system

John will cover the full range of Canon lenses, from ultra-wide to super-telephoto, zooms to primes, fisheye to perspective control. You’ll learn how to match the right lens to your needs and get insights on the best ways to use it.

Whether you are thinking about buying a new lens or just want to get the most out of what you already have, Canon Lenses: The Complete Guide with John Greengo will help you out.


  1. Class Introduction
  2. Canon Lens Basics

    John Greengo gets you up-to-speed on the basics of working with interchangeable Canon® lenses.

  3. Focal Length: Angle of View
  4. Focal Length: Normal Lenses
  5. Focal Length: Wide Angle Lenses
  6. Focal Length: Telephoto Lens
  7. Focal Length Rule of Thumb
  8. Field of View
  9. Aperture Basics
  10. Aperture: Maximum Aperture
  11. Aperture: Equivalent Focal Length
  12. Aperture: Depth of Field
  13. Aperture: Maximum Sharpness
  14. Aperture: Starburst Effect
  15. Aperture: Flare
  16. Aperture: Hyperfocal Distance
  17. Camera Mount System
  18. Canon Lens Compatibility
  19. Canon Lens Design
  20. Canon Lens Composition
  21. Canon Lens Shape
  22. Canon Lens Coating
  23. Canon Lens Focusing
  24. Lens Autofocus
  25. Canon Lens Image Stabilization
  26. Canon L Lenses
  27. Image Quality
  28. Canon Zoom Lenses: Standard
  29. Canon Super Zooms
  30. Canon Wide Zooms
  31. Canon Telephoto Zooms
  32. Prime Lens: Normal Lenses
  33. Prime Lens: Moderate Wide
  34. Prime Lens: Wide Angle
  35. Prime Lens: Ultra-Wide
  36. Prime Lens: Short Telephoto
  37. Prime Lens: Medium Telephoto
  38. Prime Lens: Super Telephoto
  39. 3rd Party Lenses Overview
  40. 3rd Party Prime Lenses
  41. 3rd Party Zoom Lenses
  42. Lens Accessories: Filters
  43. Lens Accessories: Lens Hoods
  44. Lens Accessories: Tripod Mount
  45. Lens Accessories: Extension Tubes
  46. Lens Accessories: Extenders
  47. Macro Lens: Reproduction Ratio
  48. Macro Lens: Technique and Choices
  49. Fisheye: Technique and Choices
  50. Tilt Shift: Techniques and Choices
  51. Make a Lens System Choice
  52. Choosing A Portrait Lens
  53. Choosing A Sports Lens
  54. Choosing A Landscape Lens
  55. Best Lenses for You
  56. Lens Maintenance
  57. Buying and Selling Lens
  58. What is John Greengo's Favorite Lens?



I so appreciate what a good teacher John is. I wish I would have known this much about lenses when I first started out buying my lenses. It was hard finding information about lenses. I didn't want to spend money on a lens I wouldn't use. The better understanding we have about our gear the better photographers we will be. I have never seen a class like this. Invaluable...yes I bought the class! I am really impressed with the high quality photography classes available on Creative Live!

a Creativelive Student

Have loved the other John Greengo classes I've watched & purchased - and this is another winner! Having been a high school/college science teacher, it is refreshing to take a course with someone who not only is extremely experienced, seems to be a computer having stored so much knowledge, but is equally concerned about making the information truly understandable to different levels. And he shares the information using every tool he can: slides, video, interactive presentations, and great quizzes. I learned so much about my Canon lenses - and lenses in general with their many components. I am excited about testing each of mine to see what macro ratio they handle, and especially appreciated the tutorial on testing each for their specific quirk that affects super sharpness. This class is great whether you own Canon lenses or not. Thanks John Greengo!


This was a great class not just about the lenses that Canon offers but also how each lens works. As usual, John's slides are alway informative and entertaining. There is a phrase: John has a slide for that! I am not even a Canon user and found this class to have great information for the use of each specific lens. Great work John! Thank you Creative Live for another great class!