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07-25-2008, 02:40 PM   #1
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the difference between

Hi guys, what is the difference between a prime lens and a macro lens ?
For instance what is the difference between a 50mm prime and a 50mm macro lens ?

BARCUD

07-25-2008, 02:52 PM   #2
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Prime just means non-zoom.
07-25-2008, 03:00 PM   #3
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A macro lens is going to be able to focus closer to the object and will have 1:1 magnification of the object you're trying to shoot.
07-25-2008, 03:03 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by BARCUD Quote
Hi guys, what is the difference between a prime lens and a macro lens ?
For instance what is the difference between a 50mm prime and a 50mm macro lens ?

BARCUD
A prime lens is any lens with a fixed focal length, in other words any lens that is not a zoom lens..Thus, any macro lens that is fixed focal length, such as a 50mm f2.8 or f4 macro lens would also be a prime lens..In general everyday photographic speak macro lenses tend to be spoken of separately from "prime" lenses..I believe this is so due to a true macro lenses special purpose function..Although, as many posters here on this forum have shown, a macro lens can also double as an everyday lens..As long as you the photographer are comfortable with the maximum aperture of a true macro lens there is no reason that one cannot be used in that way..A macro lens' only real limitation for everyday use might be the longer throw of it's focusing mechanism as regards to being able to quickly focus on fast moving objects or people..Most older true macro lenses have at least a 1:2 magnification ratio..Most modern macro lenses tend to have a 1:1 magnification ratio..

Bruce

07-25-2008, 03:41 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by BARCUD Quote
Hi guys, what is the difference between a prime lens and a macro lens ?
For instance what is the difference between a 50mm prime and a 50mm macro lens ?

BARCUD
I have not really seen your question answered properly yet so here goes.

the real differences between a macro, and non macro lens of the same focal length can be explained in about 3 or 4 specific design constraints.

first and foremost, macro lenses focus closer (in order to achieve the magnification ratio) and because of that may require unique barrel designs to allow for the very large displacements (forward extension) that is required for close focusing.

second, all lenses are a design compromise, and when trade offs are made, it is because of the intended use of the lens. Macros are designed to give best image quality when close focused i.e. less than 3 feet, normal prime lenses give best image quality focused from probably 3 feet to infinity,

third, macro lenses are designed to be "flat field" as opposed to having the focus distance on an arc as a normal lens would. this is because part of macro work is focusing on flat objects.

fourth (and I think last) macro lenses are generally not as fast as primes, because they are intended to work stopped down anyway to achieve Depth of field, and will generally stop down further (for depth of field, at the expense of some sharpness fall off due to defraction around small apatures. A fast 50mm for example would only go to F16 or perhaps F22 but a macto would stop down to F32.

A macro can serve as a normal lens, and many work well in this roll but perhaps not as sharp and definitely not as fast as a regular lens of the same focal length when focused at distant objects.

I trust this helps
07-26-2008, 01:11 AM   #6
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yes . . .

. . . that clears that up nicely for me.

I'm not intending to concentrate on micro work but rather more landscape so a prime would suit better after reading the above. Though the macro appears to have a dual role i.e. both macro and non macro, the prime would benefit in terms of sharpness at distance and speed.

many thanks once again, BARCUD
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