Copyright Michael Karbo, Denmark, Europe.

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    Chapter 32. Macro photography

    If you photograph very small things, very close to the lens, it is called macro photography. Itís an exciting way of taking photographs, suited to most digital cameras. Macro photography gives masses of new subjects!

    Figure 151. Close shot of dried chick peas.

    Minimum distance

    All cameras have a minimum distance. This is the shortest distance a lens can focus on. A traditional film camera can seldom get much closer to a motive than 40- 50 cm unless it has a special macro lens.

    A digital camera has an advantage in this area because the lens can be set to macro exposures so that the minimum distance can be adjusted right down to 20, 10, 5 or maybe just 1 cm ! In this way, the camera can take photographs of tiny things. The macro function is activated with a button, which can always be recognised by its flower symbol.

    If you are taking photographs with a distance less than the minimum distance of 50-60 cm, then the macro mode should be activated with a push on the button:

    Figure 152. The button is shifted to macro mode.

    You must remember to de-activate the macro function before taking pictures at a greater distance or otherwise it will take a very long time for the lens to focus.

    When you have selected macro mode then the lens is optimised to focusing at short distances. Some zoom cameras have, in fact, three focus modes so you can select super macro for focusing under the distance of 10 cm. When the lens works in macro mode, you can see it by the little flower on the LCD screen:

    Figure 153. The little icon on the left tells us that the lens is working in a macro mode. In this case, in addition, super macro. A lot of zoom cameras have, in fact, two macro modes. (Fujifilm S7000)

    A new world of subjects

    Macro photography is fun and something everyone can enjoy. Everything, which is small, can be photographed: small animals, insects, coins, fancy goods, flowers and all sorts of other things.

    Figure 154. Roots from plants in water, photographed with macro.

    You can get both entertaining and surprising exposures and it gives, in fact, a completely new world of possibilities. The macro function can also be good documentation as photographs of serial numbers, tiny things, which maybe are broken, different sorts of documents and installations, etc.

    Different degrees of macro

    You should be aware of the fact that some cameras can focus right down to a distance of just 1 cm. Others can go down to a 5, 10 or 20 cm distance. It has to be recommended that you choose a camera, which has good macro qualities because there are so many good subject opportunities within short distances.


    Focus in macro mode

    Canon A70

    5 cm - 46 cm

    Sony DSC-V1

    10 cm - 40 cm

    Fujifilm S7000

    10 cm - 80 cm
    1 cm - 20 cm


    20 cm - 80 cm
    5 cm - 40 cm

    Minolta A2

    13 cm - > 60 cm

    Nikon 8700

    3 cm - 40 cm

    Figure 155. Macro modes are very different from one camera to another. Some have two macro fields.

    Figure 156. Macro exposure of a Christmas decoration. Itís not difficult to find subjects around you at home Ė summer or winter. (Olympus 5060Z)

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