If you are a beginner trying to decide which field of photography you want to specialize in, or what kind of photographer you want to be and how involved into the business you want to become, your picture styles and quality are probably all over the place. But regardless of what you really intend to do with photography, if you have any intention of being good... you may want to think about getting a macro lens.
For a while, I worked on getting good ring shots with my Sony a6000 using my ZEISS 1670z lens. I could get decently close, but not close enough to give it that extra pop. I took a lot of photos zooming and using manual focus to get the subject as close and as large in the frame as possible. And I was able to get some great photos. But, as any starving artist would do, I worked and worked and figured out ways to create great shots from a distance. It worked, and I had made a few different poses with rings that turned out to be pretty decent.
For the moment, I was ok with this. I knew since I wanted to be a wedding photographer I would eventually need a macro lens, but I would rather wait until I could get a great one. That is...until I saw a video with actual photos using a Sony E mount SEL30M35 30mm macro at a wedding!
Now I am not one to just jump up and drop money on something based on what one person says...ever! Not to mention I kept hearing how important having good glass is. That's why I only had a couple of lenses; that's why I hadn't bought a macro...it wasn't in my budget yet to buy another expensive lens.
However, when I saw the amazing shots coming out of this lens, I knew I had no excuses... time to get one!
I am not writing a review on the Sony SEL30M35 macro lens. I do not have any other macro experience to compare it to...it would have no real merit behind it. Instead, I am writing this article to add insight for those who may not necessarily be interested in macro photography. I also want to try to shed a little light on a possible alternative to the waiting game for those who, like me, want to wait until they can get high end glass.
So the first question is, what could a macro lens give somebody that is not interested in macro?
1. A New Perspective!
Even though one can presumably zoom in fairly close to their subject with a beautiful sharp telephoto, or reasonably crop the image 1:1 and still have a sharp picture with quality glass...it's just not the same. When you are able to get just inches away from the subject you can see things you've never seen before. Looking at something fill the frame of your camera, showing details you never even realized were there is just astonishing. If you have shot more than one type of lens, then you know how it feels to see something through a whole new magnification. Well macro will do just that and more.
2. A reason to enjoy the little things!
I had never planned on being an insect photographer, but when you get a lens that can show you all the ridges and veins in those suckers, you kind of want to do it just because. Now, multiply that by thousands and thousands of little things that you never even thought about taking pictures of, leaves, micro machines, legos! Until you find out how spectacular they look blown up on your computer screen, you really have no idea the vast array of fun the tiny stuff has to offer.
3. Another toy to spark some creativity!
While growing your lens collection is an exciting thing...opening a box with your new 24mm f2 when you already have a 16mm and a 28mm, probably isn't going to give you a huge boost to your shooting variety. However, whip out your new macro lens, and the new toy thrill is sure to get you shooting and shooting some more. Being able to get that close to your subject, will cause you to start thinking of different things you could take pictures of. If you are constantly trying to come up with new things to photograph with your macro lens, your creativity will spill over into the other areas of photography you are currently investing your time in.
So for those of us that knew we would eventually get a macro for one reason or another, why should we settle for a cheaper one?
In essence... you are not settling for the cheap macro lens, you are giving yourself a head start into the world of macro for a fraction of the cost.
Yes, the build quality was obviously not up to par with my quality Sony glass. And yes, it does not create the greatest bokeh I have seen. It's a crop sensor lens and it's highest aperture is 3.5...But dang! It takes beautiful pictures... They speak for themselves.
So to sum up... give macro a shot! Whether you are interested or not, it has something for every photographer who likes to improve their skill. The Sony SEL30M35 allowed me to start shooting macro earlier than I had anticipated. This extra practice time will no doubt help me to become a better photographer quicker...and who doesn't want that?