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Disadvantages of Macro Lenses

By Anna Roberts ; Updated September 15, 2017
A macro lens captures tiny subjects.

A macro camera lens is designed to be used for photographing subjects at extremely close range. This requires a great attention to detail, sharpness and technical accuracy. Macro lenses can be used for other purposes to some extent but their main use is high-quality close-ups. While there are several advantages to macro lenses, there are also a few possible disadvantages to be aware of and consider when purchasing a new camera lens.

Versatility

One disadvantage of purchasing a macro lens over another type of photography lens is that it is just one lens, designed for a very specific purpose. In other words, it only does one thing. According to professional photographer Rob Sheppard (see ref. 1), you can get great shots down to macro distances with other types of lenses. You don't necessarily have to buy a whole new lens just to do close-ups with. He suggests using extension tubes or an achromatic close-up lens.

Expense

Another disadvantage of macro lenses is the cost. In general, the longer and heavier the lens, the more expensive it's going to be. If you aren't doing enough extreme close-up shots to warrant buying a dedicated lens at significant cost, it may not be worth purchasing a macro lens; try more cost-effective methods like extension tubes.

Handling

One more disadvantage of macro lenses is ease of handling. A longer and heavier lens like a macro can be unwieldy in some situations, particularly if you want to hand-hold. A macro lens can also be slow because of a smaller depth of field and aperture. Imagine using your setup in the field and consider your need for speed and convenience before deciding on a lens and accessories.