If you’re considering using a macro lens because you’re interested in getting started with this kind of photography or improving your learning, you need to know all about these types of lenses.
In general, the price of the lenses is usually high, especially for some brands. For macro lenses, the price is usually higher than usual. Therefore, we want to know very well which one is best for our needs, and inform ourselves in good time before we buy one.
In this article, we will talk about the macro lenses so you can tell which you want to buy for your camera and some highly recommended lenses for their value for money.
Macro Lenses: Reality from Closer
A macro lens is an optic that has been specially designed for minimal focusing distance and can take close-up shots. However, the ultimate goal of the macro lens is usually to render (or even zoom in) the photographed object or object in its original size.
What does the latter mean? Well, we’re used to seeing big pictures of little things, like a poster-sized flower. In this case, the flower on the poster is much larger than its natural size because it has been enlarged.
However, with the macro lens, it has been possible to take a photograph that reproduces the actual size of the photographed object, ie, maintains an aspect ratio of 1: 1 between the size of the camera’s sensor and the size of the photographed object. While you can find lenses that can take pictures with an aspect ratio of 5: 1, the level of detail is impressive.
If you want to know more about the characteristics of a macro lens, read this article to find out what you should have if you want to do macro photography.
How to Understand Focal Length in Macro Photography
When talking about macro photography, focal length is one of the most relevant aspects as it determines the ‘distance’ between the camera and the photographed object or object. The larger the focal length, the greater the distance between the two to achieve an aspect ratio of 1: 1.
With a 100mm lens, you can have a greater distance from the subject than with a 50mm lens. With this last you need to be much closer to get the same frame.
You must remember that the fact that you can be far away can come very well to you if you want to take pictures of insects or living subjects that can put you off with your presence.
10 Highly Recommended Macro Lenses
Obviously, the lenses of firms like Nikon, Canon and other well-known brands will offer you excellent results. We have chosen these for their good value for money.
As we already know the importance of the focal length in macro, we will divide the recommended lenses into three groups according to the length of the scope . Nor will we leave aside any recommendation for evil cameras. Let us begin!
Short Focal Macro Lenses (30-50 mm)
Lenses with shorter focal lengths will require you to get closer to the subject or object photographed . Are those that comprise 30 to 50 mm.
1 . Nikon 40 mm f / 2.8 AF-S DX Micro
This Nikon lens has a focal length of 40 mm in DX format (FX format / 35 mm equivalent: 60 mm). Ideal for approaching subjects, it has a fast maximum aperture of 1: 2.8 and a 1: 1 aspect ratio.
Although no image stabilizer is available, it has an exclusive ‘Silent Wave Motor’, which guarantees a low-noise autofocus. In this way, you can take pictures from a short distance without scaring live images. You can buy it in Amazon.
2. Sigma 50mm f / 2.8 Macro
This macro lens was developed for DSLR cameras and is compatible with brands like Nikon, Canon or Sony. It covers a focal length of 50 mm with an aspect ratio of 1: 1 and a maximum aperture of 1: 2.8.
It has a floating internal focusing system (FIF) and a coating layer (SML). You will find it on Amazon from about 300 €. Of course, you should make sure that it is compatible with your brand and model, depending on the type of bracket.
– Sigma 50mm f / 2.8 Macro for Canon (For Canon, this lens is discontinued by the manufacturer but you can still find used and acceptable ones from Amazon
Standard Focal Macro Lens (60-105 mm)
Macro lenses ranging from 60 to 105 mm are usually the most used in macro photography . An average distance can be maintained between the camera and the subject or object photographed and the prices that are shuffled are still affordable.
1. Tamron SP 60 mm f / 2 Di II Macro
This lens has a focal length of 60 mm, a macro-capability of 1: 1 and is characterized by a good brightness even in low light conditions. It is also part of the Tamron SP (Super Performance) lens line, whose optical and mechanical quality is very impressive.
On the other hand, Tamron’s Di II technology minimizes the occurrence of aberrations. The minimum distance for this lens is 100 mm. At Amazon you will find Tamron SP AF 60 mm f / 2 Di II depending on the camera (Canon, Nikon or Sony/Minolta at different prices.
2. Sigma 70 mm f / 2.8 DG AF Macro
This is a macro target that is strongly recommended for its value for money. For SLR cameras with APS-C sensors, the focal length is 70 mm, corresponding to 105 mm. It also features a special low dispersion glass (SLD) that guarantees more natural colors and corrects any deviations that may occur.
It also includes the option to enable a focus limiter to improve the accuracy of the autofocus. Check it in Amazon.
3. Tamron SP 90 mm f / 2.8 Di Macro
The macro lens 90 mm of Tamron is one of the best known among macrophhotographers . The reputation of the models predecessors to this, has become a myth and has been improving with each new version.
The optical design of this model uses a high power XLD (Extra Low Dispersion) element , made of special glass and with an extremely low color dispersion index. If we compare it with other similar options, it stands out for offering a good balance between lightness, price and performance .
You can find this lens from Amazon depending on your camera.
4. Tokina AT-X 100 mm f / 2.8
This is a lens designed specifically for full-frame cameras. It has a focal length of 100 mm and a maximum aperture of 1: 2.8, which ensures a high brightness. On the other hand, it has a one-touch focus system and a focus limiter for better results when used as a telephoto lens or in portrait orientation.
It is easily interchangeable, very durable and very resistant, so it is great for photographing insects or nature. In Amazon, you can find it for Nikon and Canon
Macro telephoto lenses (150-200 mm)
Lastly, macro telephoto lenses allow us to perform macro photography from far distances. They are capable of achieving the highest level of detail , almost microscopic. However, you also need a good budget to access them.
1. Sigma 150 mm f / 2.8 HSM Macro
This lens is designed for both APS-C and full-frame cameras. It is characterized by excellent optical stabilization, which enables manual detection even in low light conditions. On the other hand, it has a special splash-proof lens, so you can use it in adverse weather conditions without damaging it.
In addition, it includes an HSM (Hyper Sonic Motor) engine that guarantees silent and fast autofocus. You can buy it in Amazon .
2. Tamron SP 180 mm f / 3.5 Di Macro
It is an SP lens with a focal length of 180 mm and a maximum aperture of f / 3.5 that offers excellent image quality, highlighting in terms of sharpness, contrast and brightness. In addition, it minimizes peripheral vignetting and the appearance of chromatic aberrations.
It also has a removable support for filter effect (FEC), which allows you to rotate the polarizing filter even with the parasol mounted. It offers a similar performance to Tamron’s 90mm, being a telephoto lens very affordable in terms of budget.
Macro Lenses for Cameras Without a Mirror
The Evil or Sensorless 4/3 sensor cameras also have macro lenses of very good quality. We see some whose value for money are also very interesting.
1. Olympus M-Zuiko Digital ED 60 mm f / 2.8
This macro lens, which is compatible with most 4/3 sensor cameras on the market, is characterized by its image quality, versatility and durability. It allows you to get full-size images (1: 1) when taken close up. The wide and fast aperture of 1: 2.8 enables spectacular shots even in low light conditions.
It also has a LED crystal that reduces the occurrence of chromatic aberrations and with the Focus Stacking feature. The latter allows the realization of eight images with different focus points of the same scene and thus the greatest possible clarity.
Worse, it’s a lens with a protective layer that makes it an all-rounder that is resistant to dust and splashes. You can find this lens on Amazon
2. Yasuhara Nanoha Macro 5: 1
This super-ultra-macro lens (as it is christened by the same brand) is available for Sony E-Mount cameras. The lens offers up to 5x magnification when we have seen the 1: 1 format. If you think about it, it’s like we could connect a microscope to our camera and get as close as possible.
In fact, this lens focuses on the subject or object through distances of 11 to 19 mm since the LED lights contain the lens (rechargeable via a mini-USB cable). The focus is fixed, 84 mm for the Micro 4/3 and 86 mm for the Nex. The approach is done manually. Check it in Amazon . This one is a bit difficult to find but I think you can find at least a used one.