Macro Lenses: 14 Recommendations You’ll Love (2022)

As you begin to gain experience as a photographer and become an expert in handling your camera, I am convinced that you will want to enter new and exciting worlds within this wonderful art.

The macro lenses they are like a one-way ticket to a new world where everything is yet to be discovered. But, as in any journey, taking the first steps can be somewhat disconcerting and even more so if you take into account the number of available alternatives that exist in the market. It can be a real dizziness.

That is why today I present you this guide to macro lenses, classified by focal lengths, so that you can have an idea of ​​which is the ideal macro lens for you.

Buckle up, because this approach ride is about to begin!

What is a macro lens for?

Macro photography, as its name suggests, is a branch of photography that is dedicated to photographing subjects or objects that will look “very large” in the final photograph; in actual size (1:1) or even more. In order to achieve this, you need a special lens that allows you to photograph them in such conditions, that is, a macro lens.

macro lenses They allow you to reproduce a subject in a photograph, whatever it may be, in real size, or even much closer, thanks to its magnification capacity and its minimum focus distance.

This means that, if you take a photograph of a bee one centimeter long, it must occupy at least one centimeter on your camera sensor, that is, a large portion of the frame will be occupied by it.

Macro lenses specially designed for this purpose have a magnification ratio of 1 or a 1:1 ratio between the size of the subject and the size it occupies on the sensor. Despite this, there are macro lenses capable of focusing at a ratio of 5 to 1, which makes them almost microscopes.

Macro lenses are characterized by a shallow depth of field or area in focus in the image. In this video I explain what depth of field is in a super easy way:

Recommended Macro Lenses by Focal Length

Let’s now see what lenses I recommend according to their focal length. you do not know what it is? In the following link we explain in detail what the focal length is and how it influences your photographs.

Short Macro (from 30 to 50mm approximately)

Macro lenses with “short” focal lengths (number hmm small) will allow you to take close-up pictures with a greater depth of field than the “longs” (number hmm large) since, the shorter the focal length, the greater the depth of field achieved in your photographs. This can be really helpful if you want your motifs to be fully in focus.

This great advantage can be overshadowed by an associated disadvantage: you will have to get very close to your subjects to get a real size image (1:1). If you have in mind to photograph insects or other elusive subjects, with these objectives the task is complicated since you will have to bring the front lens of the objective very close to your subject, being able to scare it away.

Another disadvantage of having to get very close is that the camera itself tends to obstruct the light source you are using, be it natural or artificial, due to the short distance that must exist between the subject and your camera.

So why take them into account? Choosing a macro lens will not only depend on what you are going to use it for, but also on your budget. Keep in mind that these lenses are much cheaper than “long” macro lenses.

If you are thinking of getting one of these macro lenses, be sure to take a look at the following models:

  • Nikkor 40mm f/2.8 AF-S DX VR Micro 1:1 for €349.00.
  • TTArtisan 50mm F1.2 APS-C MF Lens (for micro 4/3 cameras) at €119.00.
  • Canon EF-M 28mm f/3.5 Macro IS STM (for M-mount cameras) by N/A.
  • Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 30mm F3.5 Macro (for micro 4/3 cameras) at €290.99.
  • Sony SEL Macro FE 50mm F2.8 for €449.00.

Macro Long (60-105mm approximately)

This type of macro lens are the most common since they allow you to take pictures in almost any situation. Its “longer” focal length provides greater comfort and without losing magnification.

By not having to get as close to your subject, you can take some amazing macro shots without risking scaring your subjects or blocking the light, but unlike ‘short’ frame lenses they often cost more than twice as much. The greater the focal length of the macro lens, the greater comfort you will have when photographingbut also its price will rise.

In any case, there are many excellent alternatives on the market so you can get yours. Here my recommendations:

  • Nikkor 50mm f/2.8 DX AF Micro 1:1 with motor focus by N/A.
  • Nikkor 105mm f/2.8G ED-IF AF-S VR Micro 1:1 at N/A.
  • Tokina (for Canon) AT-X 100mm f/2.8 Macro 1:1 at €449.00.
  • Sony FE 90 f/2.8 G (Full-Frame), Macro at €999.00.
  • Pentax D-FA 100mm f/2.8 Macro WR 1:1 with a lens coating that repels water and dust for about 590 euros.
  • Sigma F2.8 DG Art 70mm (for Sony E mounts) for €452.99.
  • Sigma105mm F2.8 DG DN Macro Art (For Sony E mounts) at €749.00.

Best of all, you can also use these “long” macros like lenses for your portraits.

Tele Macro (approximately 150-300mm)

Macro telephoto lenses are widely used for nature photography. These types of lenses are ideal for portraying plants, animals and insects without invading their natural space. Its extremely long focal length allows you to photograph in a 1:1 ratio, that is to say at real scale, at a much greater distance even than the “long” macro without your subjects even knowing that you are there.

As you can imagine, these types of telephoto lenses are quite expensive, so it is not common to see a photographer not specialized in macro nature photography with one.

This is an example:

  • Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 300mm F4.0 PRO lens for micro 4/3 cameras, for around €2,573.27.

Alternatives to macro lenses

Ok, the ideal to take a macro photo is to get a lens specially designed for this purpose, however, it is possible to convert any lens into a macro lens. How? Using these accessories: the inverter rings and the extension tubes.

  • Reversing rings: These reversal rings sit between the front lens of your lens and your camera body to allow your lens to be reversed. In this way, you will be able to turn any lens into a macro lens, albeit sacrificing a bit of sharpness and quality, of course. An advice! Use them with short focal length lenses for best results.
  • Extension tubes: extension tubes, as long as they don’t have glass in between, don’t affect the quality of your photographs, on the contrary, they will subtract a lot of light. Despite this drawback, they are widely used to turn any lens into a macro lens. The longer the focal length of the lens you attach the tubes to, and the more tubes you connect, the closer you’ll get (because the minimum focus distance is reduced).
Reversed lens with reversing ring

I hope this buying guide will help you find the best macro lens for your camera. This discipline offers very rewarding results when you have the right tool.

As always, I would appreciate it if you share this article on your favorite social network, so you help us move forward. Thank you very much 🙂

Note: If you are looking for general information about lenses, what to look for when buying or recommendations of the best lenses, in this guide you will find what you are looking for.