The Best Cameras for Up-Close Pictures

By Kylene Arnold

Using macro lenses, you can take spectacular close-up shots.
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Close-up photography is known by photobugs as macro photography. Macro photography is frequently used to take extreme close-up shots of flowers, insects or any other small, detailed object. The camera itself is not as important as the lens, although a single-lens reflex (SLR) camera will produce a higher quality image than a point-and-shoot.

Basic Camera Requirements

To produce high-quality macro photographs, you need a camera with manual focus and aperture as well as a high-quality macro lens. Macro lenses are long lenses that have been designed to focus at short distances. SLRs are the best camera option for this kind of photography because they give the user complete control over focus and exposure. Without this control, a macro photograph may be focused on the wrong spot or underexposed.

Lens Types

There are several types of lenses that lend themselves to macro photography, but some are more effective than others. The first type is called a close-up lens. This type of lens can be screwed onto a normal lens receptacle and provides additional magnification. It works on the same principle as a magnifying glass, but doesn't provide the clarity some other types of lenses do. Another type of lens is a macro zoom lens, which provides a range of focal lengths from moderately wide to moderately telephoto. These usually have clearer optics than a close-up lens, but do not provide as much magnification as a true macro lens. Last of all, there are macro lenses, which are long lenses of varying focal lengths designed specifically for macro photography. This will create the most crisp photographs.

Focal Lengths

The focal length of a lens is the distance from the glass to the focal plane inside the camera. Macro lenses come in 50mm, 60mm, 100mm and 105mm focal lengths, each of which is useful for taking photographs of an object at different distances. The smaller the focal length, the cheaper and lighter the lens will be and the closer you will need to be to your subject, while longer focal length lenses allow you to take photographs at greater distances. Each will produce a beautiful photograph, but the shorter lenses may require you to be impractically close to some subjects.


Among the best-known manufacturers of macro lenses are Canon, Nikon, Leica and Zeiss. Canon and Nikon use proprietary mounts, so these two lenses cannot be interchanged. Leica and Zeiss, on the other hand, create lenses that fit a variety of mounts, either natively or through the use of mount adapters.