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Macro Photography

Lesson 44 from: Nikon Lenses: The Complete Guide

John Greengo

Macro Photography

Lesson 44 from: Nikon Lenses: The Complete Guide

John Greengo

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Lesson Info

44. Macro Photography


Class Trailer



Nikon Lens Class Introduction


Nikon Lens Basics


Focal Length: Angle of View


Focal Length: Normal Lenses


Focal Length: Wide Angle Lenses


Focal Length: Telephoto Lens


Focal Length Rule of Thumb


Field of View


Aperture Basics


Equivalent Aperture


Depth of Field


Maximum Sharpness




Hyper Focal Distance


Nikon Mount Systems


Nikon Cine Lenses


Nikon Lens Design


Focusing and Autofocus with Nikon Lenses


Nikon Lens Vibration Reduction


Image Quality


Aperture Control and General Info


Nikon Standard Zoom Lenses


Nikon Super Zoom Lenses


Nikon Wide Angle Lenses


Nikon Telephoto Zoom Lenses


3rd Party Zooms Overview


3rd Party Zooms: Sigma


3rd Party Zooms: Tamron


3rd Party Zooms: Tokina




Nikon Prime Lens: Normal


Nikon Prime Lens: Wide Angle


Nikon Prime Lens: Ultra-Wide


Nikon Prime Lens: Short Telephoto


Nikon Prime Lens: Medium Telephoto


Nikon Prime Lens: Super Telephoto


3rd Party Primes: Sigma


3rd Party Primes: Zeiss


3rd Party Primes: Samyang


Lens Accessories: Filters


Lens Accessories: Lens Hood


Lens Accessories: Tripod Mount


Lens Accessories: Extension Tubes


Lens Accessories: Teleconverters


Macro Photography


Nikon Micro Lens Selection


Fisheye Lenses


Tilt Shift Photography Overview


Tilt Shift Lenses


Building a Nikon System


Making a Choice: Nikon Portrait Lenses


Making a Choice: Nikon Sport Lenses


Making a Choice: Nikon Landscape Lenses


Nikon Lens Systems


Lens Maintenance


Buying and Selling Lenses


Final Q&A


What's in the Frame


Lesson Info

Macro Photography

So specialty lenses are just that these lenses are special they are different than our normal lenses they just don't fit in to the normal categories the lenses we're gonna be talking about our micro sometimes referred to his macro in the general industry fisheye lenses and tell schiff lenses is how they're known in the industry nikon calls in perspective control and I have a little bit of an issue I've already ranted about nikon not naming things correctly their pc lenses do a lot more than perspective control we're going to talk about that and that's why I left the name tilt shift on there it's not just what one other company but that's what the industry calls those type of lenses and those type of movements on a camera but first up the close up lens is nikon calls their lenses micro lenses micro meaning very small so the ideas for photographing very small objects and they have a special collection of lenses that do specifically that now before we even show talk or demonstrate any of ...

the lenses, there is one concept that everyone needs to understand before we get into micro lenses themselves and that is reproduction ratio this is not world geography class we need to talk about what we're doing with our cameras and reproducing subjects and what this means is object size and image size are the same and to be honest with you this was a whole lot easier to explain and demonstrate back in the days of film all right and the reason is because we got the film out of our cameras and we could actually look at the size of the subject that we recorded now thirty five millimeter film has a height to width ratio of twenty four by thirty six in size and with a one to one reproduction ratio it would mean that if we photographed a quarter like a euro coin or a u s quarter which just so happens to be almost exactly twenty four millimeters in diameter and we photographed it on film it would be the exact same size on that negative or slide film as that coin was in real life so we could take out the film we could compare it next to the coin and we can see there the same size we know that that lens goes to one to one reproduction ratio but it's a little difficult to pull out the sensor of your camera and look at how big the images on that sensor but we can look at the final image but the same concept applies if we are filling this from top to bottom that's twenty four millimeters the quarter is just slightly over that the euro coin is just a slightly under it and so if we can fill a quarter in our full frame cameras we know we have a full frame or a one to one reproduction ratio which is kind of a very high but achievable standard when it comes to a close up lance, what about if I have a crop frame sensor? Well, the oneto one still applies and so the object will be the exact same size on the sensor as it is in real life and so you can figure this out with coins or with other devices as you will see us do here hopefully here in just a moment. So this is kind of a standard goal for a lot of close up photographers is tohave a lens that does one to one reproduction ratio. Now many of the earlier micro lenses from nikon did one to two which at that point was kind of considered as good as you get. This is half life size, so our subjects now are going to appear half the size on our sensors as they do in the actual world themselves. And so with a crop frame sensor half sizes starting to fill the frame just because it's a smaller crop size sensor and so one of the things is that I personally who in a full frame camera and a crop same camera when I'm shooting close up work, sometimes I choose a crop frame camera it allows me to get into smaller areas with the exact same lands so it's that same telephoto effect that you get that has a telephoto advantage in the macro world can be very helpful a lot of lenses that are not specifically close up lenses might get us close as one quarter reproduction size and so it is one quarter the size of the original object itself and so understanding this one two one one two two one two four is very important because this is actually listed on many of the different lenses that we're going to be looking at and so in some of the micro lens is not only is the distance in meters and feet going to be listed but the reproduction ratio will be listed so if you wanted a reproduction ratio of one to three one third life size you could dial that in on your camera and just move the camera in in order to focus on the traditional older macro lenses like the manual focus ones usually did one to two but generally the standard these days is for a good micro lenses to go all the way down to one to one and so we have the one colon over here so we're looking for the one in orange on the nikon scales so one to one is a standard it is also known as a one times magnification which means that object is the same size on the sensor as it is in the real world so one two two is equal to point five magnification so this is just basically the difference between a fraction and a decimal two different ways to write the same mathematical formula one four is not is good, so what we're looking for one to one is the best one to two is half as good a quarter is good and then it's going to go on down the scale now different lenses that are not well all lenses will have some sort of magnification ratio that you can figure out so one of the worst is going to be the eighty five one eight hey wait didn't I just say this was a great lands? I highly recommend it well, we weren't talking about the close up capabilities when it comes to close up capabilities this lens is not a very good land's because it doesn't allow you to get very close point one two is not very strong compared to point two five point five compared to one lens that's a little bit better would be the fifty one point eight it's a bigger number point one five is bigger than point one two betterthan that eighteen to fifty five one of their least expensive most basic lenses one of the most popular lenses does about one third life size just in and of itself the zoom lenses tend to be pretty good in this regard now they make some lenses that we're going to talk about later in the section the pc lenses and you'll notice that they also rpc and micro lenses, so they allow you to get fairly close and this gets you to have life size so it's not only good at perspective control it's also good at close up talk about versatility, and then we have an eighty five for instance, that does a one times magnification, which is a full on macro lens micro lance, I'm sorry if I call it macro it's because everyone else in the industry calls it macro and nikon just wants to be different and call it micro it's a very subtle difference. It's just the name of difference. All right, so if we want to measure how we do it ourselves in our cameras, what we need to know was first off, what size sensor we have in our camera and then we need something to measure it with. You can use a quarter, but a lot of times we're gonna be using lenses that you would need multiple quarters lined up, and so the good old ruler or yardstick would be a better choice. Now, with a full frame camera, we know that it's twenty four millimeters, or about one inch and height, so if we photograph a ruler and we can get it one inch, we know it's a one to one lens that we're looking through if you have a crop frame sensor, we know that it is about one inch from side to side on the long side, so you measure on the long side, you can either measure one inch or if you want to be very exact, you could measure twenty four millimeters. If you get twenty four millimeters, then you have a one to one let's, and so this is what it would look, what you looking through the viewfinder of your camera, you focus your lens to minimum distance, and you basically see what fits in the frame for a full frame. If you get a one full inch it's a one to one magnification in there and you know that that's a very good macro lens, if you can see two inches, then you know you're a half life size because you're resulting subject is goingto your resulting photograph is going to be half the size of the original subject that you shot and it's pretty easy just to take this math on and on out, and so if you see three inches, then it's going to be one third life size and so it's kind of need to check your lens is to see what sort of reproduction ratio you're going to get in a particular lands now all of this that I've been talking about right here for the last thirty seconds herself is a full frame sensor. Okay, for those of you who have a crop frame sensor, you do the same thing, but you measured across because it's about one inch across the side, so if you see an inch that's a one to one magnification ratio, if you see it two inches that it's going to be half life size, and so what we're going to do here is we're going to try and see if this works. We're going to see test a number of lenses here and tethering the camera up and show you the results with different lenses. And so let me just make sure you get through our final slides here, so one, two, four would still pretty good that's not bad when it comes to a close up reproduction ratio if you could get down to four inches and so at this point, let's see anything else? So if you want to figure out the exact ratio, we're going to try to just estimate the ratio. If you want to get really, exactly, you need to know the exact size of your sensor, and you want to set your lens to the minimum distance you want to move the camera to focus, we're going to follow through on these steps here in just a moment. We're going to measure the short side in millimetres, and we know it's supposed to be twenty four, so we divide this by twenty four, and that will give us our magnification ratio. So if we saw forty eight, for instance, would be wanted to with our smaller size sensors it's twenty four millimeters on the long side, and so we follow the same set of rules as faras minimum distance moved the camera two focus in this case, rather than measuring the short side. We're going to measure the long side because it's twenty four and then we would divide that by twenty four to get our numbers, and so we can. Well, I guess we can't leave this on screen because we're gonna actually go to our live tethering. So we're going to set up our studio here, my clipboard, and we're going to be working with a crop frame camera, so we're going to be shooting horizontal. So what I'm gonna do is I'm gonna photograph this yardstick, grab our camera here, and I have a nikon nike or one oh, five micro lens and I am goingto work with this and the way that I normally work with a close up lands, which is I'm going to leave this in manual focus. I am going to make sure that v r is on because I'm not working on a tripod I would prefer to be working on a tripod, but we're gonna work through things really quickly here and I'm going to set this right about two one two, one magnification ratio and I'm going to get in and I'm just gonna I'm not going to focus its really hard sometimes you want to get in here and you want to focus, but I'm going to set the focus. I'm not going to focus, but I'm going to move in until it's sharp on and let's get the left side of line, right? It really helps when you're operating cameras to always turn them on before you want to take a picture, just just a point of tip right there, okay? So let's see if we can get up on screen the image that I just shot this usually takes a second or so kenna, you got something for me? Yeah, good question that has come in from roger's global and has a vote remember everyone you can vote on your questions more live question is is there any way to get a micro or macro lens to shoot a subject larger than at a one to one ratio? Yes, so of course, if you use the extension tube's that we talked about earlier add those on to a micro lens and you can get even closer the problem will be that you are physically moving closer and closer to your subject and it's certain point you're going to be casting a lot of shadows on there but those extension tube's are going to be the cheapest, easiest highest quality way of doing that okay, so we're gonna try another shot I got to do it again okay, so let's and so I'm just making subtle movements back and forth and so one of the things you might notice about my technique is I'm resting my hand on the table here and that is a lot easier because it gives me another basis support as close to where the camera is as possible and right about there okay, so we're going to see if this comes up correctly there we go okay, so we're not gonna worry too much about sharpness folks okay worry about sharpness but I am looking at the edge of the ruler getting all the way over to one and let me just double check my eyes so I'm gonna pump that up just a little bit higher and let's get this we could do better than that really? Okay, so let's try this one more time ve r is on I'm gonna actually rest the camera on the table if I can I can't for at least the shot okay this one will be sharp guaranteed don't ever do that okay, part of it is sharp and so we can see that we're getting the edge of the rule or all the way to one so that's that's one to one on this so what I can do is I can turn this and I'm going to turn it to the orange number four, which means one, two, four ratio how many inches are we going to see? Folks for one two, four means we get to see four inches because it's supposed to be one across, so now I'm just moving back and forth, okay, so we shot our photo at one day for reproduction ratio on here, and if we look at the final photograph, we you can see three and almost four inches and so that's how it works on the reproduction ratio because it tells us right in here, but most of our lenses don't tell us what we're gonna do is we're going to try this out on some different lenses. The first lens I'm going to try is the good old expensive fifty millimeter, one point eight lens. Now the question is how many inches are we going to be able to see it's not going to be just one? Because it's not a macro lens? And so what I'm gonna do is I'm going to manually focus to the close up region and this is one of the areas where it's really nice to have a focusing scale because I know which way to turn the lens now granted, all nikon lenses turned this direction for close up and this direction for infinity but it's nice to be able to confirm and see that in here I'm gonna make sure it's in manual focus and at this point I'm just going to move in until it's in focus and I'm gonna line the left side up with zero and that's all I'm worried about where we go and so let's see if we put this up and will instantly be able to tell what our macro magnification ranges on this one, two, three, four, five, five and a half on this and so one fifth, maybe one point almost a one six and so let's do a wide angle and so this is the twenty millimeter, one point eight wide angle lens. Now wide angle lenses typically are not good at close up work, so on this one, where do I need to be okay now this is the problem with what angle lenses you can see. I'm casting the shadow in here so I can focus nice and close, but it's too close I mean it's really inconvenient to be that close, we'll probably see some shadows in here and so here it actually does almost one third life size but you've got to be right on top of your subjects and look at all this dark area that's because I'm blocking off all the lights all right? Let's try another land this time we're going to go for the seventy two, two hundred two point eight and we're going to do a double test on this one we're going to shoot it at seventy and at two hundred to see where is it better for shooting close up work first we'll do seventy focused to minimum distance I'm going to be in manual and I'm just gonna move closer somewhere right in here uh, I think I see a problem we don't have a yard stick big enough for this one, so this one is not really good at close up on seventy, okay, so this is like, on a one to fifteen or something let's try this out at two hundred and I'll start up close I know I'm still mode manually focused close up and now I'm going to move back and so I'm back here, okay, I definitely better uh, make sure that br zone okay, that looks not too bad, so if you want to shoot close up on a seventy two, two hundred that was seventy here we are two hundred one about seven reproduction ratio not too bad so that's how you can check your lens is tell you what I want to do one more let's do a big lance let's do a really big glass you want to be careful with one of these okay so what is the reproduction ratio on this going to be and where do exactly I need to stand so let's uh definitely turn on the tv are normal mode I don't think I need to be in this sport mode minimum focusing distance and so let's back up back up backing up backing up let's see what my focusing I gotta find out what I'm okay right I think I can line that up better where we go we'll go with the second too bad there so we have now I guess I better on the first one can you go back to the previous shot there we go so I'm pretty well lined up over here so half third quarter size one point two point five so that's actually not too bad for close up capability notice the working distance I had there you could have all sorts of lights in there and so working distance is a very important aspect along with that let me swap these out and we can go back to the keen out our beautiful lens stables becoming a mess what lens should I put on this? Okay, okay so that's how you can figure out the minimum for the maximum reproduction ratio on your lenses. And you could do that. Check out all your lens is figure out which ones are actually best for focusing up close.

Class Materials

Bonus Materials with Purchase

Nikon® Lenses Part 1
Nikon® Lenses Part 2
Nikon® Lenses Part 3
Nikon® Lenses Part 4
Field of View
Nikon® Lenses Part 5
Nikon® Lenses Part 6
Nikon® Lenses Part 7
Nikon® Lenses Part 8
Nikon® Lens Data

Ratings and Reviews


Outstanding class! This is a must own. You will refer back to this class many times during your photog career. John has put a ton of work into this class and it shows. Being able to download the slides and other Nikon glass info is wonderful. Even if you're not a Nikon shooter you will still gleam tons of information from this class, John covers in great detail the strength and weaknesses of each lens and when you might consider using it. I was expecting a good class, but this turned into an epic class. I watched multiple videos several times. The only bad thing I can say is I "had" to order a few more lenses! Thank you John Greengo for making a truly amazing class.

Anna Fennell

Wow! What a course! Very in depth, lots of valuable information. John instructs with great knowledge and integrity. I have taken other online courses, NOT from Creative Live (my bad!) and was left feeling like a monkey who had learned tricks without understanding or knowledge. Now I feel I have the confidence to move forward on my photographic journey securely knowing how lenses function, what to look for and what price range I can expect. Bravo John! I'd love to see a 2020 update video as an addendum.

Fusako Hara

Finally I have some sense of what lens do, know what I have, what I would like to have, what lens to use, and how I can get images that I see. Best part of this session is it was made so clear, simple, logical, and practical. I am glad that I purchased this product. Now, I am going to look for more from John Greengo so I can take better understanding and take better images. Thank You.

Student Work