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Photography Question 
Tarah Dawdy
BetterPhoto Member Since: 2/29/2008

Telephoto Lens Vs. Macro Lens

I would like to purchase a lens for my camera. Can you please fill me in on the difference between a macro and telephoto lens? Thanks so much! =)

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3/25/2008 10:57:44 AM

Jon Close
BetterPhoto Member Since: 5/18/2000
  A telephoto lens technically is one that is designed such that its actual length is less than its optical focal length. More generally, it refers to long focal length lenses that give a narrow angle of view and "bring distant objects closer."
A macro lens is one that focuses very close so that it can project a 1/2 life-size or larger image onto the film or sensor. Macro lenses can be wide angle, normal, telephoto or zoom. The camera makers (Canon, Nikon, etc.) tend to reserve the term "macro" for their lenses that are capable of 1:1 (life size) or greater. The third-party makers, like Sigma and Tamron, are a bit looser in their definition and will use the "macro" label on zoom lenses capable of focusing close enough to give 1:4 magnification (1/4 life size) or larger.

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3/25/2008 12:02:28 PM

Paul D.
BetterPhoto Member Since: 1/25/2006
  Hi Tarah!

OK, simple answer: if you want close-ups of your nephew in his soccer game, you'll want a telephoto lens. If you want to squat down and get 2 inches away from a tiny flower and have it look big in your photo, that's what a Macro is for.

Here's a great article that JUST came out in email from B&H Photo yesterday:



PS: my 70-200mm telephoto zoom is my favorite lens...

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4/1/2008 6:08:23 AM

Tarah Dawdy
BetterPhoto Member Since: 2/29/2008
  Thanks so much Paul! I really appreciate your help! =)

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4/1/2008 9:23:23 AM

Oliver Anderson
BetterPhoto Member Since: 11/16/2004
  Exactly what Paul said, soooo did you shoot your Avatar with a Micro lens that makes the big cars Small????? hmmmm

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4/1/2008 9:50:11 PM

Gaiil R.    Dear Paul and Tarah,
Thanks so much for the info. I just got a Canon Rebel XS and a telephoto lens - 75-300mm. I am just learning.
Thanks again,

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12/19/2008 4:39:45 PM

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