Review The best macro lenses on the market: our selection

By | November 2, 2021

Do you like to photograph and capture even the most imperceptible details? Surely you have happened to see snapshots of flowers, insects or other objects in the foreground. It is surprising to observe so clearly the stamens of a flower or the ocelli that make up the eyes of a fly. The accessory that makes such photographs possible is the macro lens.

There are various types of macro lenses, with models that are technically more advanced than others. In this article, we will try to recommend the ones that seem most suitable to us. In addition, we will see the main technical characteristics and the most important ones to look for in a macro lens. This will make it easier for you to choose such an important accessory for your camera correctly.

The macro lens is a must have accessory for any photographer. It allows you to focus on the elements photographed in a sharp and detailed way. It is ideal for both professional photographers and amateurs who are taking their first steps in the world of photography.

There is a huge range of macro lens models. In each, you will find certain technical characteristics. The quality of the photographs you take will depend on these characteristics. You need to pay special attention to the magnification ratio and aperture.

One of the criteria for purchasing a macro lens is the type of items you plan to photograph. Depending on whether they are inert objects or living beings in motion, you will need different objectives, to obtain an optimal result. This is why professional photographers usually own more than one macro lens.

The best macro lenses on the market: our selection

In this section, we present our selection of macro lenses for this 2020. In reality, it is about showing various models that stand out in different categories. Like any other technological product, the macro lens can also be classified according to several characteristics. Here, for each of the most relevant, we have chosen a model.

  • Buyers’ preferred macro lens
  • The best medium to high-end macro lens
  • The best value Canon macro lens
  • The best macro lens in the cheapest range

Buyers’ preferred macro lens

The preferred option for buyers who want to get closer to the world of macro photography, without having to spend big bucks, is undoubtedly this Tamron telephoto lens with macro function and focal length of 70-300. Used as a macro lens, it guarantees a magnification with a 1: 2 ratio and a minimum focusing distance of 95 cm, which can be automatic or manual.

Being a telephoto lens it does not stand up to comparison with dedicated macro lenses, but on the other hand the price is much more accessible and ensures a certain versatility. To ensure its success there is also the availability, also bundled with other accessories, of lenses suitable for cameras of different brands: Nikon, Canon, Sony and Pentax.

The best medium to high-end macro lens

The best-selling and best-reviewed 1: 1 magnification macro lens is offered by Sigma, and is available for Canon, Nikon, Sony, and of course Sigma cameras. It has a maximum aperture of F / 2.8 with 9-blade closure, and is compatible with full-frame or APSC sensors (with two lens hoods included).

Finally, the lens has autofocus and the stabilization function, both vertical and complete. The reviews are very positive, and users share a series of great photographs that testify to the quality of the product, which is the best in its price range.

The best value Canon macro lens

The Canon EF-S 35mm f / 2.8 lens is probably the proposal that guarantees the best ratio between quality and price, thanks to the 1x magnification and the extremely competitive price. It mounts a hybrid image stabilizer, while the autofocus is of the STM type.

The dimensions are rather compact and the weight is just 190 g, and is also appreciated by buyers for its quietness. Also included is an ES-27 lens hood, as well as two lens caps.

The best macro lens in the cheapest range

Photography has always been seen as one of the most expensive hobbies, but it is not always necessary to spend an arm and a leg for each new component, especially when you want to experiment with new techniques that require specific lenses, such as macro photography. Neewer has an answer to needs of this kind, proposing a 0.43x wide angle lens with macro lens included.

It is a cheap product but one that ensures good quality photographs, as buyers testify, especially when used in macro mode. It is suitable for novice users and SLR users with 52mm lenses.

Shopping Guide: Everything you should know about macro lenses

Before launching yourself to buy a product, of whatever type it is, it is essential to inform yourself about it. What knowledge about macro lenses can someone have who have never used them? Certainly, few. It is natural not to know the specific technical aspects of technological products. This is why we will try to resolve some of the most frequent doubts.

What is a macro lens?

A macro lens is a camera accessory. This type of lens – there are others – is attached to the camera and is used to make enlarged photographs of considerable size. Like any other lens, it has a tubular appearance and varies in size and weight. The macro lens is one of the best-selling accessories for cameras.Not all macro lenses offer the same performance nor are they useful for the same purposes. Each photographer will have to decide which is the most suitable for their needs. In general, macro lenses can be grouped into three broad categories. There are, in fact, short, long and telephoto lenses, depending on the focal distance. We will talk about this concept later.

Why can a macro lens be useful?

The macro lens is useful for obtaining high-quality, magnified photographs taken from a short distance away. Both professional photographers and amateurs can find ways to make the most of it. With a macro lens, some elements that are almost imperceptible to the human eye can be portrayed in detail. We could say, by analogy, that it is the camera microscope.Most photographic uses of the macro lens are related to nature. Flowers, plants and insects are some of the most photographed elements using this accessory. Thanks to it, the photographer can portray and enlarge any object without loss of quality. Otherwise, it would be impossible to focus on the stamens of a flower or the sting of a wasp.

Which macro lens can I use with my camera?

Not all macro lenses are compatible with all cameras. As with other electronic products, care must be taken. While there are models that are universal or compatible with cameras from various brands, many others are not. So when choosing a macro lens, you need to check this.
Compatibility varies for each camera brand.

The type of camera – full frame or APS-C – will also be a determining factor. In general, full frame lenses will work on APS-C cameras. Otherwise, it will be impossible to mount them, because they will be incompatible. Full frame cameras are those of professional photography, more expensive.

What is the magnification ratio and why is it important in a macro lens?

The magnification ratio is the characteristic that indicates the degree of magnification of the photographed object. This ratio is expressed in X: X format, where one of the two Xs is always number one. If the one is on the left (1: 1, 1: 3 or 1: 4), the photograph will not be larger than the actual size. If the one is on the right (2: 1, 3: 1 and the like), there will be magnification.The degree of enlargement is indicated by the ratio element other than one. So, a 3: 1 ratio, in which there is magnification, tells us that this is three times the actual size. The 1: 1 ratio is what allows you to photograph the object in its real size, without enlargement or reduction. In this case, the object will occupy the entirety of the photo frame.

The stabilizer is a very important element that sometimes goes unnoticed. Its main function, as its name indicates, is to stabilize the image. This means that we will get a photograph without motion blur. It should be borne in mind that, by photographing any element that could move, there is a risk that it will do so in an inappropriate way.
If we don’t have a tripod, the stabilizer is very important.

Think of a butterfly sitting on top of a flower. It is probably the most classic example of photography that justifies the use of a macro lens with stabilizer. On the one hand, close and detailed focus is achieved. On the other hand, no movement, however minimal, will ruin the shot.

What is the minimum focusing distance of a macro lens?

The minimum focus distance is a very common and important parameter in photography. Especially in the field of macro photography, that is, the one that requires the use of macro lenses. We can define it as the physical distance necessary for the photographed object to be in focus. Below that distance, it will be blurry and the result will not be optimal.The minimum focusing distance is directly related to the focal distance. This focal distance is expressed in millimeters (mm) and varies from lens to lens. The greater the focal distance, the greater the minimum focus distance. So, when choosing your macro lens, you will have to take this into account.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of attaching a macro lens to the camera?

When deciding whether to buy a macro lens or not, you need to weigh all the pros and cons. As we have said, it is a very useful element if you want a certain type of photographs. Well, being an accessory that must be bought separately, is it really worth it? Let’s see, in this table, what are the advantages and disadvantages of a macro lens:
  • Ideal for macro photography.
  • Large enlargements without loss of quality.
  • Professional and amateur ranges.
  • Lots of online resources to learn how to use them.
  • Generally high cost.
  • Incompatibility problems with cameras.
  • A certain technical complexity.

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