Best Macro Lenses for Canon DSLRs for High Quality Images
Macro Lenses the Work Best with Your Canon DSLR for Unbelievable Image Quality
Who wouldn’t want to capture the most heart melting moments in life? Wouldn’t you want to cherish the beauty of nature even when the moment you witnessed is long gone? The macro lens is the best invention for enabling users to zoom in on the smallest of objects and get sharp, full bloomed images, without having any pixelation of the image quality. A good macro lens can bring life to your still images. If you are looking for the best macro lenses for your Canon DSLR, fit for close ups or scenic photographs, here is your list of the best macro lenses in the industry along with the reasons that make them amongst the top 9.
Best Macro Lenses for Canon DSLRs
|Picture||Macro Lens Model||Focal Length||Price||Our Rating|
|Tamron AFF017C700 SP F/2.8 Di||90mm||$$||5|
|Sigma F2.8 EX DG OS HSM||105mm||$$||4.9|
|Tamron AF 60mm f/2.0 SP DI II LD IF 1:1 Macro Lens||60mm||$$||4.8|
|Canon EF Macro Lens||100mm||$$||4.7|
|Canon MP-E f/2.8 1-5X Macro Lens||65mm||$$$||4.6|
|Canon EF f3.5L Macro USM AutoFocus Telephoto Lens||180mm||$$$||4.5|
|Sigma F2.8 EX APO DG HSM OS Macro||180mm||$$$||4.5|
|Zeiss f/2.0 Makro Planar ZE Manual Focus||100mm||$$$||4.4|
|Tokina AT-X f/2.8 PRO D||100 mm||$||4.3|
Table of Contents
- 1. Tamron SP 90mm f/2.8 Di VC USD Macro for Canon
- 2. Sigma 105mm f/2.8 EX DG OS HSM Macro for Canon
- 3. Tamron SP AF 60mm f/2 Di II LD (IF) Macro
- 4. Canon EF 100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM Lens
- 5. Canon MP-E 65mm Macro Lens
- 6. Canon EF 180mm f/3.5L USM Macro Lens
- 7. Sigma APO Macro 180mm f/2.8 EX DG OS HSM
- 8. Zeiss 100mm f/2.0 Makro-Planar T ZE Lens
- 9. Tokina AT-X 100mm f/2.8
A Basic guide to buying Macro lenses for Canon DSLRs
The market is filled with multiple lenses, each with unique and amazing features; although it gives you all the more choice to base your decision on, it could also lead to utter confusion. You may be tempted to buy more than one lens to suit your varying requirements, but the price could be a real downer.
You just need to know which lens best fits your camera and all your requirements.
For this, you need to know the basics of all the leading macro lenses in the market and select the one best fit for you and your DSLR.
Here are some key points to keep in mind when buying a macro lens for your canon DSLR:
The focusing distance and the focal length: The actual angle of view of the lens.
Aperture: This mainly measures the amount of light that enters the lens.
Stabilization: For sharp results, many lenses come with a built-in stabilization feature to eliminate undesired distortion, blur, and shadowy images.
Macro lens adapters: These are very important! You need to ensure that the lens is compatible with your DSLR.
The focusing distance and the focal length
The macro lens offers the prime benefit of allowing the user to be at a distance from the actual object, yet be able to capture a crisp image. If the camera is at a good distance from the object, it also reduces the chance of overshadowing the image.
When you look for moving a tiny object like say, insects, a longer lens works the best. This way, they will most probably stay their ground and go about their natural habitat and you can keep your safe distance from them.
It is also well suited for landscape photography. You can let go of your imagination and get wonderful results with this lens. For example, in a field, it gives a sharp focus to say, a ladybird, while the rest of the field in the background stays little blurry. So the ultimate focus of the picture is the main object, without any distractions in the background.
Macro lenses also come with a shorter focal length. They are far cheaper and hence low on the sharpness. However, they yield great three dimensional results by providing a wider scope for the field view. They give a greater depth and magnified effects to your images, no matter how close you work with them
Now there are two types of lenses: the zoom lens and the non-zoom lens. The zoom lens is usually named as “##-##mm”. Here the number specifies the range on which the lens functions. Usually, they have the focal length of 18-55mm.
The fixed, non-zoom lenses or the ‘Primes’ have a single focal length of 50mm. Click here to see our review of these lenses.
Since the zoom lenses are expensive, people often look for the mid-ranged ones with a focal length of about 90-100mm. They are your safe play; they give good quality results and provide multiple options for the users.
However, an important point to note here is that often, the zoom lenses are discussed on ‘equivalence terms’. For instance, one general lens may be said to be ’28-90mm equivalent’. This means that a normal lens on APS-C works the same as a 28-90mm lens works for a 35mm camera. The focal length remains the same.
An important point to note in the given specifications of a good macro lens is its aperture. An aperture basically tells you the amount of light the lens is able to capture.
The smaller the aperture, the more the capability of the lens to capture more light. If a lens has a larger aperture, it is best suited for indoor photography i.e. without the use of flash.
You need a smaller aperture for field photography like f/16. A full aperture lens has a focal length of f/2.8 or f/4.
Many lenses listed above include this feature. It basically reduces the blur and image distortions caused due to a jerk to the camera at the time of taking the picture or by the movement of an object. This feature enables the user to take sharp and crisp images even if the light conditions aren’t right or the focal length is long. It is an important point to keep in mind when buying your macro lens.
It may be referred by various other terms by different manufacturers like ‘Vibration Reduction’ feature, ‘Optical Steady Shot’, ‘vibration Control’, etc.
Macro lens adapters
Often the lenses made by another manufacturer cannot fit your camera. It is the most important to find out if the lens which appeals the most to you, will actually fit your DSLR. Many websites selling these lenses make you check the compatibility of your DSLR with each lens before you make the buying decision.
Many other manufacturers like Sigma and Tamron discussed above, make compatible lenses for all known DSLRs.
There are also many lens adapters now widely available in the market, to make the lens fit your camera. However, often the camera is slow and does not yield good results upon using these adapters.
If the prices of these lenses are putting you off, why not check out our full review of the top affordable digital cameras.
The Difference Between Zoom Lens and the Prime
Nowadays, the zoom lens has dominated the world market as it allows you to adjust the angle and focus as and in whatever way you require. However, the Prime has several benefits too. For instance, design wise, the prime lens is much more portable and easy to carry. It also gives much sharper results and hence is very useful for locations where the lights may be dim or a larger aperture may be required.
The zoom lens has an adjustable focal length and offers a far more flexible zoom. However, most zoom lenses are not designed to have great apertures. They are, however, more pocket-friendly as compared to the primes. However, if you want a certain depth to the background and better, sharper results, then you need to go for the Prime.
Some other important aspects to think of when looking for the best lens for yourself, include:
Most of the macro lenses this day are equipped with an autofocus, which yields much higher quality and sharp images. The performance of a lens is greatly influenced by its focus.
The best lenses have a fast and silent autofocus to enable you to capture the nature’s beauty at its best. However, they are higher in price than the noisy ones but work the best for shooting live birds or insects. There are many focus motors built-in the lens which offer different benefits to the user.
Focus by wire
Many mirror-less cameras use this system for focusing manually. The focus by wire gives the user a precise focus whereby keeping the lens size at a minimal.
Use of the manual & auto focus
Most of the cameras today provide both the options of a manual as well as an autofocus. However, you cannot and should not try to focus yourself when using the autofocus, as it can affect your camera results. Still, there are a few cameras that allow the user to use the manual focus even during the autofocus.
Manual focus lens
Many lenses have both the options for manual or auto focus. while others may come without any autofocus feature.
Water and dust proof
The good quality lenses, although may be heavy on the pocket, but provide additional features such water repellant front, smudge and dirt proof lens and body etc.
Types of lenses
1. The standard Lens:It comes with a fixed focal length and gives real close to the actual image results.
2. The fish eye lens: As the name suggests, this lens is known to have the ability to yield convex, circular images by totally reversing the image. It is a wide-angle lens and is best suited for wide imagery.
3. The telephoto lens: These offer a narrow view and give lesser depth to the image. Ideal for capturing animals, insects, outdoor and documentary photographs.
4. The Macro lens: These have a focal length of 50-200mm and hence the best for up close photographs. They yield very crisp and sharp, life-size and even larger images of the object.
5. The wide angle lens: It has a comparably shorter focal length, which gives you a wide angle perspective on the image (hence the name). Ideal for field photography as well as portraits.
6. The zoom lens: A very handy lens with an adjustable focal length. Also discussed above, the only downside is the small aperture with this lens.
7. Tilt shift lens: If you want to change the perspective of your image, this lens is for you. It lets you focus on some part of your object while the rest of the image will stay out of focus, on the same picture.
8. Image stabilization lens: The stabilizer sensor, also discussed above, serves to correct any blur or distortion caused by hand jerks during the capture.
Based on the vast variety of lenses available in the market, each with a distinct advantage, you need to choose the one top lens for your photography needs. Selecting the right lens enables you to present each image as you feel.
What are the basic categories of macro lenses to choose from?
Macro lenses come in four basic categories:
- The Short Macro Lens
- The Standard Macro Lens
- The Tele Macro Lens
- The Mirror-less Macro Lens
The Short Macro Lens: As the name suggests, these come with a shorter focal length of around 30mm to 50mm. Primarily manufactured for small cameras, they give a greater depth to the field. Here, the subject may be partially shadowed by the camera as you have to stand fairly close to get a good image.
The main benefit of these lenses is the cost! They are fairly low cost and great to start with.
The Standard Macro Lens: This lens enables you to capture small insects, birds or flowers at a relative distance. It has a focal range between 60mm-105mm. Best for portraits, these have a mid-price range.
The Tele-Macro Lens: With these, you may stand at a good distance of 1.5-2 feet from your object for getting the actual sized image. Priced higher than the above types, they let you take much better photographs of insects or hidden objects without disturbing their peace.
Now you may even attach extenders to increase your distance from the object when required.
The Mirror-less Macro Lens:There is a massive improvement on going in this category. These often have an internally stabilized system and a great autofocus.
If you need some great tips on how to use these lenses to improve your photography skills, here are 44 interested tips.
Why should you purchase a macro lens over other types of lenses?
Before the recent advancements in technology, macro lenses came with extender mounts. These allowed the user to adjust the length via an adjustable ring and to keep a larger distance from the subject and yet be able to capture the most stunning and sharp images.
The macro lenses available today can easily focus closely as compared to the other non-macro categories. However, some still come with the extender mounts even today. This produces clear enlarged images of the object; but the downside is the long length of the camera, which could physically affect the lighting conditions on the object.
However, good manufacturers have introduced better designs of DSLRs which enable the user to take life-sized images of the objects without moving from their standing ground.
Macro designs have great features to minimize chromatic aberrations and other unwanted distortions to the image quality.
The lenses also come in a compact design, wherein they are designed for internal focusing. This way only the internal items move to focus at a minimal distance so that the autofocus, in turn, can work more easily and quickly.
A great macro lens, yields highly sharp images, reduces aberrations if any and retains the image colors and beauty.
Basically designed for outdoor shoots and portraits,the macro lenses yield the best results enabling you to stand further away. The birds or insects for example, also carry on with their normal routine unperturbed by a human element standing on their tails to get great shots.
There are various focal lengths a macro lens comes with, but usually, it has the f/2.8 aperture as a standard.
Now, there is some entry level macro lenses and some professional lenses.
Some have an internal focus feature; this allows a closer distance for focus and a small body, instead of a long extended body of the lens. The light weighed built, further enables the lens to perform the autofocus function quickly.
A good macro lens has a 1:1 magnification, as discussed in detail above.
How to check for lens compatibility with your DSLR?
The best thing about DSLRs is their ability to provide interchangeable lenses. Often they come with an adapter, which opens up a whole market for your Canon. However, in very few cases, the Autofocus does not function as it is supposed to.
Nonetheless, life has been made much easier by these adapters, as many new manufacturers are entering the market like Zeiss, etc. and make one lens fit for most DSLRs. Looking for pop out screen cameras to record YouTube videos with? Click here for our full guide.
The Mirror-less cameras are at the most advantage in this, as they are compatible with any lens, as long as it has an adapter for them.
Still, keep in mind that you may have to tweak the focus and at times the exposure level manually.
Remember, it’s not always the lens that makes a difference. Your camera, the techniques you use and the options you explore are equally important in creating the most beautiful images. Since the lenses have a longer life than the cameras even, and a great investment, you need to make sure you have picked the right one.
Each lens has a unique advantage and maybe a downside attached to it too. You need to go through each detail, based on the above essential factors, before making the ultimate buying decision.