This image was shot using a macro lens to close focus on the fork and crumbs.
8. Macro Gets You Closer There are many accessories that can allow any lens to focus extra close. But for this task, nothing beats a macro lens. These are formulated to focus very tightly without any accessories, and are optimized for those distances.
The close-focusing distance of a lens, though, is not a good measure of macro capability. (A 100mm lens that can focus to 4 inches will give you a tighter close-up than a 50mm lens that can focus to 3 inches.) Instead, macro lenses are rated by magnification, determined by the focal length divided by the closest focusing distance of the lens. That 100mm lens that can focus to 4 inches (about 100mm) is said to have a magnification of 1X, also called 1:1 or life size.
Unfortunately, the term macro has marketing value, so makers of lenses with magnifications of, say, 1:5, call them macro. Not in our book. We list maximum magnification in our lens tests.
TIP: When focusing at very high magnifications, it’s often better to move the camera back and forth than to turn the focusing ring. To be really precise, use a focusing rail.