Macro photography - using the right lens

In macro photography, the camera is positioned very close to the subject, requiring a lens that can focus at short distances. The 0.5x Ultra Wide lens on newer iPhones is perfect for close-up photos, focusing as close as 2cm. On older models, the 1x Wide lens is used for macro shots. Telephoto lenses, like the 2x, 3x, and 5x, are not suitable due to their longer minimum focusing distances; for example, the 1x wide lens on the iPhone 15 Pro Max requires at least 20cm, and the 5x tele lens needs 135cm.

Automatic A mode: selects lenses for you

In ProCamera's automatic A mode as well as in the native iPhone Camera app, switching between lenses for macro shots doesn't mean you're changing lenses. In both cases the app uses Multi-Lens Fusion, automatically selecting the most suitable lens or combination of lenses for the scene.

For instance, if you select the 5x tele lens but the subject is closer than 135cm (135cm is the minimum focus distance for the 5x tele lens on the iPhone 15 Pro/Pro Max), the app will switch to the 1x wide lens, cropping the image to appear as a telephoto shot. If the subject is closer than 20cm, the app will use the 0.5x lens, again cropping the image to mimic a telephoto shot. This automatic lens switching happens without any visible indication in the app.

To verify the primary lens used for a macro photo, open it in ProCamera, tap the info button in the top toolbar, and double-tap the table in the EXIF data view. Alternatively, open the photo in the iPhone Photos app and tap the info button. A macro photo taken at 2x/3x/5x in ProCamera's automatic A mode or in the native Camera app may actually use the 0.5x Ultra Wide lens, as shown in the screenshots below.

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Manual M and semi-automatic SI mode: provide full control of lens selection

Gain full control over your camera in ProCamera's semi-automatic SI or manual M mode, where the selected lens is the only one used, unlike the fusion camera in automatic A mode. For example, in SI/M mode, selecting the Tele lens means only this lens will be utilized, without automatic switching.

This distinction is crucial for macro photography. In SI/M mode, the Tele lens will not automatically switch, which may result in blurry photos for subjects that are too close. For example: a photo taken with 5x Tele lens of the iPhone 15 Pro Max of a subject closer than 135cm will result in a out-of-focus photo, as the Tele lens can't focus at such short distances.

For macro photography on newer iPhones, we generally recommend to use the 0.5x Ultra Wide lens. You might consider increasing the digital zoom level of the 0.5x Ultra Wide lens to get even closer to your subject. For maximum control, we suggest using manual focus with focus peaking. Simply tap the MF button to enable manual focus control.

For quick and easy manual macro photography settings, you can apply the Macro preset. In semi-automatic SI mode or manual M mode, (1) tap and hold the MF button, (2) select Macro, and the camera will switch to the macro lens at 1x zoom level with the closest possible focus distance active. The macro preset is available to all ProCamera users, regardless of ProCamera Up activation.

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Tip on maintaining the minimum focus distance

Instead of adjusting the focus distance using the focus dial, you can maintain the minimum focus distance and physically move your camera closer or farther away to achieve sharp focus on your main subject. On iPhones with a macro-capable Ultra Wide lens (13 Pro and newer), the minimum focus distance is 2cm.

The Lens selector looks different in the automatic A mode and in the semi-automatic SI, manual M modes, so you immediately see if the fusion camera or individual lenses are in use.

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In automatic A mode, a white outline around the Lens Selector indicates all lenses being active, which enables Multi-Lens Fusion. In this case, similar to the native iPhone's Camera app, the app automatically switches between all available lenses as needed. 

In manual M mode or semi-automatic SI mode, a blue outline around the highlighted single lens-button indicates the currently active lens. Only the selected lens will be used. 

When taking macro shots, ensure you have ample light to allow for short exposure durations. To avoid camera shake, utilize ProCamera’s Anti-Shake feature.

To learn more about optical and digital zooming in ProCamera, check out: Zooming in Photo modes

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