A couple of months ago an amazingly kind friend donated me a macro lens. It has made me happy.
Macro lenses focus at extremely short distances, and generally allow 1:1 magnification, meaning an object can be the same size on the film/CCD as it is in real life. To demonstrate how excellent this is, here is a regular-lens photo of my new chum, Colonel Frank:
Colonel Frank has taken up residence in my bathroom, and is the reason my portable radio is now misnamed. Still, he is my friend. And as with all my friends, I wanted a decent picture of him. Unfortunately Colonel Frank is pretty tiny – he’s, what, 2mm across? – so I broke out the macro lens:
Hopefully you’ll agree that’s a much better shot of him. I’m quite pleased with it.
The challenge with macro lenses is the tiny depth-of-field: as you’re so close to an object, even tiny movements are a large percentage of the distance, so it’s very difficult to keep objects in focus without a tripod (or whatever). In this case the problem was compounded by the web wavering in the heat from a radiator, and I was very lucky to get this hand-held shot. Even so, if you look at the full-size version you’ll see that Colonel Frank’s back leg (you can see the hairs!) is in focus while his near-side legs are not. That’s pretty amazing.
In short: macro lenses are awesome. I like. While my friend is quite possibly sick of my saying this, I must once again thank him for the very kind gift.