Most photographers are familiar with what a macro lens does and how it differs from conventional optics, of similar focal lengths. However there are multiple types of macro lens available in the modern age of photography, as well as several options of camera format. This can complicate the choice of gear considerably and it is critical to understand just how various items impact the type of creative macro shots we can capture.

Magnification ratio is the first important factor to consider, as this will directly influence how close you can get to your subject. To clarify, this does not necessarily refer to the minimum focus distance of a lens, rather the magnifying power of the optical design and the resulting reproduction size of the subject in the final frame. For beginners, many lenses have a ‘macro’ function, especially telephoto zooms, such as a 70-300mm.