Magnification rate and how to choose the right one

You may see the 0.5:1, 1:1 or 2:1 marking before but may not really know their meaning. Or how to choose the right one to use when shooting? Don’t worry! We are here to give you some advice.

To put it simply, 1X magnification means: if the object is 1mm long, it would be exactly 1mm long when projected to the sensor. Let’s say you are shooting 1X magnification with a full-frame camera (36X24mm), an object with the size 18x12mm would take 1/4 area of your photo.

You can record the whole insect and keep a little bit of the environment. It’s quite handy for most of the situation but if you want to get closer to the subject, Or get much more details of the insect, you have to get a lens at least able to do 2X macro. Take a look at the illustration below. assume you want to fill the frame with the whole insect, you can know how much magnify power may need by guessing the size of the target:

So does it mean getting a lens with the highest magnifying power is always the best? Yes and no. Take the Laowa 25mm f/2.8 2.5-5X Ultra Macro as a sample, this is a great option for small subjects such as aphid and ant. The details reveal under the 5X magnification are unbelievable. You can not do the same with a 1X or 2X lens. However, the 25mm does not has the ability to focus infinity which means you can only use it for extreme macro photography.

On the other hand, if you need to record different species in the field. The 100mm f/2.8 2X Ultra Macro APO would be your best choice. It allows you to capture larger subject like a butterfly and relatively smaller Jumping spiders. You can either photograph the whole insect or get a close-up shot of it. The lens is also able to focus infinity which means you can also use it for even larger subjects or use it as a portrait lens.