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Macro lenses open up new possibilities for you to explore. You’ll likely find it just as entertaining and educational setting up the shots as you do sharing them. It also allows you to flex your creative muscles with a new perspective. You’ll likely find that it will spur your interest in your hobby with more subjects to add to your resume.
Specs are critical to choosing the best macro lens. Our guide will tell what you need to know, along with detailed reviews of our favorites to get you started.
|Canon EF-S 35mm Macro IS STM Lens||
|SeaLife Super Macro Lens||
|Fujinon WR Macro Lens||
|Panasonic LUMIX G Macro Lens||
|Sigma 105mm HSM Macro Lens||
|Focal length:||35 mm|
|Focus Distance:||Up to 35 mm|
The Canon EF-S 35mm f/2.8 Macro IS STM Macro Lens has a user-friendly design with a relatively affordable price that puts it on the top of our list for one of the best overall macro lenses. It ticks off many of the boxes that make it the natural choice. It has optical stabilization, which can help control motion blur if you don’t have a tripod. It is lightweight, making it comfortable to use.
It only works with crop cameras, which isn’t a dealbreaker for many enthusiasts. It’s hard to find anything to complain about with this lens. It hits all the right buttons for the hobbyist who wants to take their pastime to the next level.
|Focal length:||52 mm|
|Focus Distance:||4 cm to 10 cm|
The SeaLife Super Macro Lens is an excellent choice for close-up work in land and underwater conditions, hence its name. It is durable and well-built for this use, making it the best macro lens for the money. It’s easy to use, which undoubtedly is a significant factor in its usability. It’s also lightweight, making it effortless to use no matter what the conditions.
On the downside, it’s a proprietary product that doesn’t cross the brand lines. While not unusual, it does affect its compatibility with other users.
|Focal length:||Up to 120 mm|
|Focus Distance:||Up to 120 mm|
The Fujinon GF120mmF4 R LM OIS WR Macro Lens is the cat’s meow if you want the Swiss army knife for your camera. It does everything but make toast. It is heavy, which isn’t unexpected. Yet, it is well-balanced. It’s also well made and weather resistant. It excels at capturing the bokeh effect for gorgeous shots. It even has lockable aperture settings to ensure great pictures every time.
Of course, the price will deter hobbyists. However, this lens is best served by the experienced user or professional. You won’t be disappointed with your purchase.
|Focal length:||30 mm|
|Focus Distance:||Up to 60 mm|
The Panasonic LUMIX G Macro Lens is best used with objects where you need to get up close to capture the best detail. The minimum focusing distance (MFD) is pretty close, otherwise. It’s an excellent choice for someone new to the hobby who wants to up their game. This lens will make it a piece of cake. You’ll undoubtedly be pleased with the shots you’ll capture with it.
The lens is easy to use because it’s lightweight. It has a limited capability range, which isn’t unexpected in this industry. If it works for you, you’ll have an excellent addition to your camera bag.
|Focal length:||105 mm|
|Focus Distance:||3 inches|
The Sigma 105mm F2.8 EX DG OS HSM Macro Lens is an excellent entry-level lens. It has the essential features to make it a worthwhile choice. The images are sharp with the necessary detail that we look for in these products. It’s an excellent value for the price. It’s a great way to dip your toe into the possibilities of taking your hobby to the next level.
This product makes the transition easy. It’s a breeze to use, particularly with its auto-focus feature. The construction struck us as a bit flimsy, which comes from using plastic in your materials.
|Focal length:||40 mm|
|Focus Distance:||Up to 64 inches|
The Nikon AF-S DX Micro-NIKKOR 40mm Macro Lens is one of the most affordable products you’ll find in this category. It gives you the 1:1 ratio we want to see in these lenses. It has some of the bells and whistles we like to see in these items, such as its lens hood. It’s easy to use and built to last, the things that we’d expect from this manufacturer. The auto-focus feature is excellent.
You can’t zoom in with the lens, so you have to get pretty close to get your subject in focus. Nevertheless, it’s fun to use to take advantage of the possibilities this style offers.
|Focal length:||65 mm|
|Focus Distance:||65 mm|
The Venus Laowa 65mm f/2.8 2x Ultra Macro APO Lens is an excellent investment. The pics are sharp with lots of detail to make them post-worthy. Bear in mind that it’s a two-way street—make sure your lens is clean. While it’s a bit pricey, it’s an excellent segue if you want to delve deeper into your hobby. This one will support your journey.
The design gives the budding photographer a lot of flexibility to explore their creativity. You’ll get a lot of use of this lens before you feel a need to upgrade.
|Focal length:||Up to 100 mm|
|Focus Distance:||100 mm|
The Canon EF 100mm f/2.8L IS USM Macro Lens is an excellent upgrade to the macro world with a high-quality lens that makes stunning photography accessible. It’s easy to use on all fronts, making you free like a professional the first time you use it. This lens makes it possible for hobbyists of all skill levels. You won’t regret your purchase.
We’d consider it a multifunctional lens that gives you the latitude to explore the possibilities. It’s an excellent choice for serious hobbyists that want to do more with macro photography.
|Focal length:||90 mm|
|Focus Distance:||28 meters|
The Sony SEL90M28G FE 90mm Macro Lens tries hard to make it easy to use. The specs support a wide variety of uses. You can also up your game with an optional ultraviolet (UV) filter. We liked the auto-focus feature for when we want the camera to do the work for us. The compatibility range with Sony products is extensive, which we like to see since it increases the lens’ value.
The lens isn’t cheap, but neither is the range of effects you can get with it. We’d put it in the intermediate or the professional category because of the price and the features.
We included the Xenvo Pro Lens Kit for iPhone and Android to cover the smartphone segment of the market. Admittedly, it’s not on par with the serious macro lens. However, it does open up the possibilities that embrace the better quality that we’re seeing in these cameras. It makes sense to explore what you can do with these devices.
The picture quality is decent. You can’t argue with the convenience of getting your images into a photo editing app. This segment is new but evolving. We’ll follow it closely to see where it goes.
A macro lens is a smart investment if you want to explore the possibilities of close-up photography. There are several specs and features to know about for such a narrow field. The first thing to think about is your intended use. You’ll find a lot of specialization in this product line, so it pays to give it some thought. Of course, all-purpose models exist. Other things to consider include:
Cameras are no different from many devices. Proprietary accessories are the rule instead of the exception. You’ll need to begin with your camera’s model and specs to ensure that you’re getting a macro lens that will work with it. You’ll likely find that the range is narrow instead of universal. That’s true even with the various manufacturers. Remember that this industry is constantly evolving, as are its products.
This feature will likely be the limiting factor for a macro lens. However, you’re also getting a compatible kit when you combine it with the right camera. We suggest you check your device’s warranty terms if you opt for a third-party product.
The focal length will directly affect the price and usage of your macro lens. This figure isn’t a measure of the lens. Instead, it’s an internal spec that will affect how you use it. The smaller the number, the closer is the minimum focus distance. That means you’ll need to get up close and personal with an object or organism if it’s small. It works for an object, but for an insect, not so much.
It’s also a practical consideration, depending on your typical subject matter. You may have limits to how close and safe that distance is. However, convenience comes at a price, with longer focal lengths costing and weighing more.
Magnification is the money shot. Ideally, it’s a 1:1 ratio. The first number is often higher, resulting in greater degrees. However, the balance should be on the left instead of the right. A 1:2 ratio leans toward a normal or standard lens without the benefits that a macro product offers. Again, your subject matter makes a difference. Sometimes, more is better, but not always.
After going through our reviews, the Canon EF-S 35mm f/2.8 Macro IS STM Macro Lens came out on top of our list. It’s so versatile to make it a no-brainer choice. The SeaLife Super Macro Lens is a proprietary brand that excels in its niche. You can get some great underwater shots with this one to take your hobby to the next level. It is a worthy companion on your photography journey.
Featured Image Credit: Piqsels
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Robert’s obsession with all things optical started early in life, when his optician father would bring home prototypes for Robert to play with. Nowadays, Robert is dedicated to helping others find the right optics for their needs. His hobbies include astronomy, astrophysics, and model building. Originally from Newark, NJ, he resides in Santa Fe, New Mexico, where the nighttime skies are filled with glittering stars.
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