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DPChallenge Forums >> Photography Discussion >> Macro versus Micro
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12/02/2009 06:04:20 PM · #1
It seems to me, that some folks are not aware of the full use of the word, Macro.

They assume that macro means only one thing, for example, close up, perhaps since some manufacturers call lenses macro lens. Others, such as Nikon, use the correct term and call their close up lenses micro lens. So, to cite the dictionary, macro means

Main Entry: mac·ro
Pronunciation: \ˈma-(ˌ)krô\
Function: adjective
Etymology: macr-
Date: 1923
1 : being large, thick, or exceptionally prominent
2 a : of, involving, or intended for use with relatively large quantities or on a large scale b : of or relating to macroeconomics
3 : gross 1c
4 : of or relating to a macro lens or to close-up photography

So, well common usage in English can mean micro, proper use of this word is derived from its source as macro, from the Greek for big or far

The prefix macr- or macro- means "large" or "long."
The prefix micr- or micro- means "small" or "tiny."

Examples: macroeconomics - the study of economic systems. In contrast to microeconomics - the study of a specific transaction or market.

If DPC meant this challenge to be exclusively for micro photography, then my apologizes for my submission. However, I read the challenge as being macro and having studied the concept extensively in grad school, so I felt that I understood the opportunity. Perhaps I misunderstood... But, I still believe that my submission is compliant to the DPC Challenge description. Sadly, I am being punished for language use...YIKES!

Message edited by author 2009-12-02 18:08:59.
12/02/2009 06:15:15 PM · #2
Remember that this is a photography site, so most things relate to the field specific usage, ergo "macro" refers to "macro photography." Admittedly, though, I have no clue why Nikon calls its lenses "micro" instead. I can't think of any other manufacturer that does such a thing.
Don't worry about it though, there were a good deal of challenge entries that didn't mesh with the photographic usage of "macro."
12/02/2009 06:40:17 PM · #3
Probably called it Micro since it is used to photograph tiny things. In that respect a macrolens should almost be a wide angle or something, since it should cover LARGE areas, haha.

Oh well... Macrophotography is the correct term I guess, and Nikon just wants to be fancy some times. I wonder what entry that is yours, Morgan!
12/02/2009 06:49:53 PM · #4
A "microphotograph", by definition, is a very tiny photograph. The most common example of "microphotography" is producing "microdots", as in spy paraphernalia.

A "micrograph" is an image made with a microscope.

"Macro photography" is defined as "close up photography". That's just the way it is...

R.
12/02/2009 07:24:01 PM · #5
when I was going through and doing my voting earlier...I noticed that several pictures are not by my definition "Macro" ...that being said, they may have been taken with a lens that has a "macro" range. But for me that does not make it a macro shot. My Macro lens will take "distance" picture very well, but that does not make it a macro shot.

And everyone's idea of "close-up" is not all alike. For me close up...is CLOSE-UP - I was probably about 1-2"s away from my subject with a very, very tight focus and my subject was no bigger than the end of my thumb, but in the picture it looks huge and very detailed. for me the details of the shot are also very important...I never noticed when I took my picture of the drill bits that there was "wood" bits in the bits until I pulled the pictures up on my computer then they looked like rocks/boulders when in actuality they are super, super small
12/02/2009 08:06:58 PM · #6
Originally posted by Bear_Music:

... "Macro photography" is defined as "close up photography". That's just the way it is...

R.

I always considered Macro to be magnification of at least 1:1. So if the image/photo shows the item at actual size or greater it's Macro. JMO of course. :-)
12/02/2009 08:19:23 PM · #7
Isn't the idea of macro photography to shoot a subject at "life size"(or better magnification)in relation to the image size?
12/02/2009 08:26:17 PM · #8
Originally posted by kleski:

Isn't the idea of macro photography to shoot a subject at "life size"(or better magnification)in relation to the image size?


Thats my understanding as well. When voting on this challenge i'm giving some leeway though but some are really not macro or close up in my view.
12/02/2009 08:37:06 PM · #9
I agree that macrophotography is a misnomer... But, for most photographers, macro usually means in broad terms "taking a close-up of something."
12/02/2009 09:12:30 PM · #10
Originally posted by glad2badad:

Originally posted by Bear_Music:

... "Macro photography" is defined as "close up photography". That's just the way it is...

R.

I always considered Macro to be magnification of at least 1:1. So if the image/photo shows the item at actual size or greater it's Macro. JMO of course. :-)


That's changing quite a lot in modern days. After all, 1:1 in relation to what display size? So people are loosening the definition to, for example, "1:1 when printed at 4x6", which is actually more like 1:4 at the sensor level. And of course lots of manufacturers are calling 1:2 lenses (like my 28-75mm Tamron) "macro focusing" lenses, so...

We can hardline the definition all we want, but popular usage is changing regardless.

Anyway, the challenge description permits "extreme close up": Take a macro shot (or at least an extreme close-up) of something that is not a bug or flower. So it's kind of wide open...

R.

12/02/2009 09:16:21 PM · #11
You got to love the English language and the changes to it over time. It is so easy to change words to be whatever you want them to be.

By definition of the challenge, my submission is perfectly correct. Too bad there are too many definitions used to judge, it is so subjective.
12/03/2009 08:46:49 AM · #12
Originally posted by Bear_Music:

Originally posted by glad2badad:

Originally posted by Bear_Music:

... "Macro photography" is defined as "close up photography". That's just the way it is...

R.

I always considered Macro to be magnification of at least 1:1. So if the image/photo shows the item at actual size or greater it's Macro. JMO of course. :-)


That's changing quite a lot in modern days. After all, 1:1 in relation to what display size? ...

800px x 800px of course! :-)
12/03/2009 03:44:42 PM · #13
According to:
//homepages.tig.com.au/~parsog/photo/macro.html

The term "macro" is used very loosely and tends to mean any photographic situation where you get close to the subject.
Real macro photography is where you are working around 1:1 ratio and closer thereby giving an image on film that is equal in size or larger than the subject being photographed. The range from life size on film (1:1) up to ten times enlargement on film (10:1) is the strict definition of macro photography. The range from 1:10 (1/10 life size on film) to 1:1 on film should properly be called "close-up" photography.
12/03/2009 04:10:59 PM · #14
Originally posted by rrdjserv:

The range from life size on film (1:1) up to ten times enlargement on film (10:1) is the strict definition of macro photography. The range from 1:10 (1/10 life size on film) to 1:1 on film should properly be called "close-up" photography.

I think "life size on film" probably applies/applied only to large/medium format view cameras -- it would seem pretty meaningless on a 24x36mm frame -- you couldn't shoot a "true macro" of anything larger than a medium-sized bug ...
12/03/2009 06:59:32 PM · #15
Originally posted by GeneralE:

Originally posted by rrdjserv:

The range from life size on film (1:1) up to ten times enlargement on film (10:1) is the strict definition of macro photography. The range from 1:10 (1/10 life size on film) to 1:1 on film should properly be called "close-up" photography.

I think "life size on film" probably applies/applied only to large/medium format view cameras -- it would seem pretty meaningless on a 24x36mm frame -- you couldn't shoot a "true macro" of anything larger than a medium-sized bug ...

"Probably" ??? I think that's making an assumption also. 35mm film was used for a long time also. It would be interesting to see how long the term "macro" has been in use. I would "assume" it applied to 35mm format too... ???
12/03/2009 07:03:23 PM · #16
Originally posted by glad2badad:

"Probably" ??? I think that's making an assumption also. 35mm film was used for a long time also. It would be interesting to see how long the term "macro" has been in use. I would "assume" it applied to 35mm format too... ???


It did. It does.

R.

Message edited by author 2009-12-03 19:03:47.
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