Macro Photography Equipment – Choosing a Macro Lens
When choosing the next DSLR macro lens to include into your macro photography equipment collection, it is important that you choose one that caters for your needs. To determine the appropriate macro lens, you should have a rough idea about your photography subjects.
If you are intending to take photos of moving subjects such as insects, then it is advisable to purchase a macro photography lens that allows you to photograph your subject from a little further away. This will help to reduce potential shadows caused by your lens when you are too close to your subject. More importantly, this will ensure that you do not disturb them, thereby allowing you to take the perfect shot. Sometimes a little distance between you and your subject may be necessary as well, especially if your subject bites or stings.
If you think your passion is in studio close-up photography (of still objects) or flower photography, it is possible for you to use a telephoto zoom lens. This will be more versatile for you as the lens can be used for other forms of photography. However, these telephoto lenses will be unlikely to achieve the required 1:1 ratio magnification. As such, your images will be technically classified as ‘close up photography’ rather than ‘macro photography’.
Macro photography lenses are predominantly prime lenses (fixed focal lengths – eg. 50mm, 105mm, etc). Generally the optics within these type macro lenses is far better than the telephoto zoom lenses. This means that you can take sharper photos with the prime macro photography lenses.
Unfortunately, given the superior quality of the prime macro lenses, they are often much more expensive too. However, the good news is that once you have added a macro lens to your macro photography equipment, it will be your companion for life.
A range of macro lenses are currently available in the market to cater for your needs. There is no surprise that the leaders within this market are Canon and Nikon. Tamron and Sigma are quickly establishing themselves as a reputable brand in this space as well.
We have compiled a list of some of the most popular macro photography lenses below for you. As a general rule, the 50mm macro lenses will be suitable for most of your work on the field and in the studio. If you use the reverse lens technique with a 50mm, you will then be able to get even closer to your subject! As a side note, 50mm lenses are ideal for portrait shots too!.
- Nikon 40mm f/2.8G AF-S DX Micro
- Nikon 60mm f/2.8G AF-S ED Micro
- Nikon 85mm f/3.5G AF-S DX ED VR Micro
- Nikon 105mm f/2.8G AF-S IF-ED VR Micro
Macro Photography Equipment for Canon
- Canon EF 50mm f/2.5 compact macro lens
- Canon EF-S 60mm f/2.8 Macro USM
- Canon MP-E 65mm f/2.8 1-5X
- Canon EF 100mm f/2.8L-Macro-IS-USM-Lens
- Canon EF 180mm f/3.5L Macro USM
Third party Macro Photography Equipment for Nikon/Canon
- Sigma 70mm f/2.8 EX DG Macro
- Sigma 105mm f/2.8 EX DG OS HSM Macro
- Tamron 60mm f/2 SP AF Di II Macro
- Tamron 90mm f/2.8 SP AF Di Macro
If you could only purchase one macro lens, we would highly recommend the macro lenses in the 100mm range. This will generally be the macro lens you will find in any photographers’ macro photography equipment. The 100mm macro lens is often regarded as the work horse lens and you will not regret choosing it.