Here is a macro photography taken at 5:1 magnification on a Canon Rebel T1i (500D).  The lens used was a Canon MP-E 65mm f/2.8 Macro 1x–5x macro lens. This means, considering the crop factor, 1.6X-8X lifesize.  This flower shows, un-cropped, as capture by a sensor that is a 14.9mm by 22.3mm.  At 5X, the resulting capture was about 3mm by 4.5mm.  This flower is about 2 x 3 mm in size.

This is a flower of a Heucherella.  Heucherella are better known for their colorful leaves that stay on the plant for the winter and regenerates at spring time.  Flowers are so small that they are seldom seen.

There are multiples properties to this picture that are worth considering.  These properties are helping us appreciate the peculiarities of Macro photography magnification greater than 1:1.

Macro photography magnification at 1:1+

  • On this 8:1 magnification picture, the depth of field is roughly 1/10 of an mm;
  • This picture is recorded at f/2.8 aperture which translates to f/16 based on the design of the lens;
  • Distance from subject was only a few centimeter from the front of the lens;
  • Getting enough light is a real challenge at this magnification level.  When looking through the viewfinder, the subject was very dark;
  • Out of focus is just a dream.  We seldom see out of focus areas that have such properties;
  • Noise is far more apparent.  Since there is so few details, the smallest noise is more apparent.

Going for 5:1 magnification means that you are going for fine art pictures.  In order to take a documentary type of picture you would probably put the camera farther away, take a picture and crop this picture.  The depth of field would be right for documentary.  You can also rely on focus stacking.  However, with only 1/10 of a mm, this would means 20+ pictures to achieve something ok.

If you are in fine art, the Canon MP-E 65mm Macro lens might be good for you.  The challenges associated with it will make you unique!  However, for moving subject…