This research is supported by you, our readers, through our independently chosen links, which earn us a commission with no extra cost to you. Learn More.

A macro lens is a short-focused camera lens that captures extremely close subjects. It is designed to focus on minute subjects such that it appears bold and sharp in the image. It usually has a magnification ratio of 1:1, 2:1, 3:1 etc. When answering questions like “what is a macro lens?” The attention must be on the details shown in the images which depends on the lens magnification. Magnification enables macro lenses to take sharp, close-up shots of very small subjects.

What is the magnification on a true macro lens?

A true macro lens is judged on the distance between the subject and the viewfinder. Macro lenses have a magnification ratio of 1:1. This means that the size of the subject in each frame is the same size of the subject in real life. And depending on the focal length, the lens can have a focusing distance of 20cm, give or take, between the subject and the camera sensor.

Quote box

With macro lenses, the tiny details become obvious features. You don’t need to get too close.

What is a macro lens used for?

One question that beginner videographers often ask is, ‘what is a macro lens used for?’ And rightly so. In this section, we highlight some common uses of macro lenses in videography;

  • Magnification

Macro lenses compress the subject and environment to make the subject pop (1). Videographers use magnification to direct the viewer’s attention when filming.

  • Tiniest details

With great depth of field, nice blurry background effect, sharp foreground and good compression, macro lenses are suitable for capturing the minute details of subjects. 

  • Focus

Not all lenses can maintain focus at such a close distance. Imagine recording the movement of a worm and how each layer moves on to the next? With a macro lens, each layer becomes more visible.

Also read: 35mm vs 50mm: Which Prime Lens is Good for You?

What is a macro lens good for?

Now that you know ‘what is a macro lens’ and why videographers use it, the next question is what is a macro lens good for?

  • Extreme close-up shots

The foremost use case for a macro lens is for extreme close-ups and close-up shots in movies. Video directors use extreme close-up shots to put the audience’s attention on specific and important details that they might otherwise miss.

  • Wedding shoots

Wedding shoots and pre-wedding shoots can always use a touch of macro shots to add color and spice to the film. Details like the wedding ring, the bride and groom’s face, details of the bride’s gown, and so on.

  • Food documentary

A macro lens allows videographers to venture into new avenues like food documentaries. Food videography is one way to start if you haven’t tried shooting with macro lenses before.

  • Portrait video shoot

With a macro lens on a camera, videographers can take portrait recordings. It also helps you get close to certain body features in your video; the eyes, nose etc. (2). 

  • Entomology

Insect videography is one of the major uses of macro lenses. A record of dragonflies, spiders, and mantises preying on other insects can be seen with a macro lens.

Also read: What is a Telephoto Lens?

F. A. Q

Videographers can use a macro lens to take close-up portrait videos, even in the studio.

Macro lenses can be any of; wide-angle lens, telephoto lens, or standard lens, depending on the focal length. The only difference is that macro lenses have higher magnification and can capture images at very close focusing distance.


Every videographer needs to know ‘what is a macro lens’ and why it is important in your camera kit. Without a doubt, this post has dealt with these subjects.

What do you think about macro lenses? Let’s get talking in the comment section below.


  1. Cox, Spencer (2021). What is Magnification in Photography? Photography Life. Retrieved from
  2. Comeau, Michael (2019). Why I Use Macro Lens for Portraits. YouTube. Retrieved from