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05-14-2013, 10:20 AM   #1
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Why aren't more lenses "macro" capable?

I really like some of my lenses but I keep going back to my Sigma 17 - 70mm for one reason.... Macro capabilities. Not true macro but it is very handy option to have. Why are there not more "macro" capable lenses?

Just curious
Thanks

Randy

05-14-2013, 10:25 AM   #2
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Added variability in the lens architecture and/or lens design issues either of which increase the complexity and add additional potential compromises into the design and implementation. These add either cost or decrease IQ or both in many instances. Love my F35-70 with Macro & my Tamron 70-200 macro but the FA100 dedicated macro is soooo much better than either. Of course you can add a close focusing filter on the end of nearly any lens.

05-14-2013, 10:27 AM   #3
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Zoom lenses quite often have "macro" capabilities. For example, my Tamron 70-200 is 0.3x. The Sigma 70-200 is 0.29x. The DA 16-45 is 0.26x. Your Sigma 17-70 is 0.27x. The DA 55-300 is 0.24x.
05-14-2013, 10:32 AM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by slip Quote
Why are there not more "macro" capable lenses?
A well-engineered extension to get a close focus
can often lead to a large and complex lens barrel.
A case in point is the Zeiss Makro-Planar 50/2,
which is actually a fairly small collection of glass elements
that only occupy a minor portion of the barrel.



05-14-2013, 11:55 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by slip Quote
I really like some of my lenses but I keep going back to my Sigma 17 - 70mm for one reason...
I have this lens. I just got it recently. At first I didn't think I'd like it, but I took it hiking with my family and I loved that could be snapping away at my kids one minute and up close and personal with a flower the next without changing lenses. It's extremely versatile. And it made me think of the same question.
05-14-2013, 01:21 PM   #6
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There seems to have been a jump in availability between the old manual focus days and autofocus. There are a LOT of cheap 'macro' (in quotes) lenses out there from the film days.

Looking at my collection - o - junk I have more macros than non. (28mm f2.8 macro, 135mm f2.8 macro, 28-70 macro, 70-210 macro, 75-260mm 'close focus', 70-300 super macro, ad nauseum).

I've learned that the 'macro' lenses do tend to have a better quality than the non when I pick up the old clunky stuff, probably due to the need to stay sharp when at the macro end of the lens. Oddly, of all the zooms I only have one that will allow 'macro' for the whole length and even that one explodes in a ball of glowiness if used at the 'wrong end'.
05-14-2013, 01:51 PM   #7
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I wish they stop using this term so losely, some lenses without "macro" can focus closer then those with...
I believe it are mostly the third-party brands that do that.
05-14-2013, 02:31 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by Anvh Quote
I wish they stop using this term so losely, some lenses without "macro" can focus closer then those with...
I believe it are mostly the third-party brands that do that.
Right! The Tamron AF 18-250mm f/3.5-6.3 Di II LD Aspherical [IF] macro and Pentax SMC DA 18-250mm f/3.5-6.3 ED AL [IF] are optically identical, but only the Tamron is a macro.
Neither is a macro lens, nor is the Sigma 17-70.

05-14-2013, 02:39 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by audiobomber Quote
Right! The Tamron AF 18-250mm f/3.5-6.3 Di II LD Aspherical [IF] macro and Pentax SMC DA 18-250mm f/3.5-6.3 ED AL [IF] are optically identical, but only the Tamron is a macro.
Neither is a macro lens, nor is the Sigma 17-70.
That is why I put" " around macro... Close focus would likely be a better term

Thanks

Randy
05-14-2013, 04:12 PM   #10
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I saw that so i thought we were discussing the use of it more or less?

But if you mean close focusing zoom in general then you've you answer already in the first few posts.
05-14-2013, 04:48 PM   #11
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All of my zooms, DA 18-55, 16-45, 18-135, 18-250, 55-300 would be called "macro" if they were branded Sigma or Tamron. It's meaningless marketing babble.
05-14-2013, 05:20 PM   #12
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Strictly speaking, macrophotography should be higher magnification than 1:1. But common parlance being what it is, few of us would have a problem with calling a 1:1 lens or even a 1:2 lens a macro lens. 1:3 is pretty high magnification too and if the manufacturers are using the term macro as shorthand for gets in really close and makes small things look big, I have no argument with that.
05-15-2013, 04:42 PM   #13
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You can increase the magnification of most lenses by using a close-up attachment, extension tubes, bellows or reversing the lens.

True prime macro lenses are expensive, so the above options will suffice for a lot of people.

Phil.
05-15-2013, 10:35 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by Anvh Quote
I wish they stop using this term so losely, some lenses without "macro" can focus closer then those with...
I believe it are mostly the third-party brands that do that.
The term macro is badly used, that is true. It is no longer used to define true macro lenses, which aside from having a minimum of 1:2 reproduction, were also designed to be flat field as opposed to curved field lenses, so they could produce edge to edge sharp images of a flat subject when used on a copy stand, however, now macro is used for anything that can focus with a reproduction ratio of 1:5 or better.

Sadly, many zoom lenses have huge compromises in order to achieve this, and it usually leaves hem softer at maximum aperture and focal length. The sigma 70-200/2.8 is a good example of this. The original APO 70-200F2.8 EX and EX DG lenses are very sharp wide open at 200mm, once they added the macro option, and redesigned the lens, it got soft. Only the latest HSM OS II is close to the original in performance at 200mm
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