Its been a pretty warm month. And warmth is great for a lot of things like not wearing winter jackets and... insects! The other day I noticed a ladybug on the glass of my back door. It is a little late in the year to see them around (at least outside) in the Northeast, but alas, the weather apparently was about right for this ladybug. Seeing it, I quickly snapped on my Tamron SP 60mm 1:1 macro lens and had a go of trying to get a nice image of this colorful insect. The great thing about using true macro lenses, like the Tamron 60mm is that you can magnify your subject at 1:1 or true life size. This maximum magnification is always found at the minimum focus distance of the lens.
The closest you can focus the lens is just over 9 inches, which, by the way is always measured from the focal plane (where the actual chip is) of your camera. For those who are really interested, it is inscribed into your actual camera body. You will see a circle with a line through it on the top of your camera towards the back of your body.
The best way to get the most macro your lens has is to manually focus it to the closest focus point, sometimes referred to as the MOD (minimum object distance) and physically move back and forth until the object is in focus. You can of course use the auto focus, but then you risk not getting the most macro that your lens has!
There are a few things you may want to know about macro. True macro lenses, give you actual life size, 1:1 magnification. This means the size of the image you see in the viewfinder is the actual size the object is. One of the results of this feature is that you "lose" about 2 stops of light, so the F2.0 in the Tamron 60mm shoots at F4.0. This is normal for all true macro lenses. Though many zoom lenses have a macro feature, they are not in fact true macro. True macro lenses are fixed focal length lenses, this means that they do not zoom.
Anyhow, enough about the backstory and let's talk about the images. The first image has a blue background because the window was reflecting the blue sky and so the background is blue. It was taken at 1:1, the minimum focus distance of the Tamron 60mm macro. For the second image, I put on a Tamron 2X teleconverter. A 2X teleconverter increases the focal length of the lens by 2, so the 60mm effectively becomes a 120mm. But the effect of using it on a true macro lens increases the macro power by 2 making it a 2:1 macro. That is twice the size of reality!
All 2X teleconverters also take away 2 more stops of light (so this image was taken at effectively F8. But they increase the focal length and don't change the minimum focusing distance. What this all really means is that the subject appears bigger in your frame, making it larger than life.