This guide offers a little bit of everything when it comes to macro lenses, specifically for macro lenses that fit Canon DSLR cameras. You’ll see that we were able to choose the Sigma 18-250mm f3.5-6.3 DC Macro Lens as the best macro lens for Canon, but we didn’t just come to that conclusion on a whim. Instead, this guide is prepared to explain exactly how we picked the best macro lens, what you can do to pick your best macro lens, and many other recommendations other than the one we consider first.
It’s not to be forgotten that there are budget alternatives when it comes to macro lenses, as well as a macro lens that’s a pretty penny, but still worth every single one. Not only that, but you’ll get to see our idea of what specialized picks are out there, and you’ll get the tools you need to find the best macro lens for your specific needs. Every photographer has different preferences, requirements, and variables that they must consider when choosing a lens – this goes double when you’re trying to look for the best macro lens.
- 1 Common Myths About Macro Lenses You Thought Were Fact
- 2 How We Picked the Best Macro Lens for Canon DSLR Cameras
- 3 Our Pick for the Best Macro Lens for Canon DSLR Cameras
- 4 Our Second Pick
- 5 Budget Alternatives
- 6 Specialized Picks
- 7 Best Macro Lens for Optical Quality
- 8 Best Macro Lens for Autofocusing
- 9 Best Macro Lens for Switching Focus Modes
- 10 Best Macro Lens for Distances
- 11 The Competition
- 12 Best Macro Lens for Manual and Automatic Focus Types
- 13 Best Macro Lens for Full Frame Use
- 14 Best Macro Lens for Full Frame Sensors and APS-C Sensors
- 15 Commonly Asked Questions About Macro Lens for Canon DSLR Cameras
- 16 Wrapping It Up
Common Myths About Macro Lenses You Thought Were Fact
There are many misconceptions regarding macro lenses, especially for Canon camera models, that even some professionals may not be aware of. It can be easy to get caught up in a myth about camera lenses that you thought was truth for the longest times. We’re here to break down everything we’ve learned to get to the gritty truth of the matter – here are the most common myths and misconceptions about macro lenses that you may have thought was true. This is an especially good section for beginners or those looking to brush up on their skills before getting back into the photography game.
Macro Lenses Are Really Expensive
We can’t lie and say that macro lenses aren’t expensive, because some definitely are. However, they don’t have to be. In fact, there are many reasonably priced macro lenses, as well as budget alternatives that we’ll discuss later in the guide. You don’t have to break your piggy bank to have to afford a new macro lens for your Canon – you can just find one of the same quality that’s cheaper.
Maximum Aperture has to Be F/2.8
The most common aperture setting and what you’ll see on a lot of cameras if you hang around photographers is f/2.8. Given this, it’s easy to think that your maximum aperture needs to be at this setting for pictures. On the contrary, having your lens at this setting all the time can actually hinder certain types of photos. For example, actual macro photos need a smaller aperture, most of the time. An aperture of f/8 or even f/22 is recommended for this instead of the average f/2.8.
Macro Lenses Are Only Good for Macro Photos
Macro lenses were designed for macro photography. While that is their primary function, there are other types of photography that macro lenses are capable of capturing. For example, the majority of macro lenses on the market can also double as excellent portrait lenses. It’s a good way to save on costs by doubling up or even tripling up in the uses for each lens you have.
Macro Lenses Need a Longer Focal Length
There are advantages and disadvantages to using a longer focal length for your macro lens, so it’s not required. It’s really based down to preference, lighting for each image, and more. For example, 50-60 mm for a focal length is recommended for floral photography, while anything between 90 and 105 mm is perfect for insects and other small subjects. Keep in mind, the longer your focal length is, the more stable you’ll need to be in order for it to capture a sharp image. Also having appropriate lighting and a tripod to sit the camera on will only enhance the overall sharpness of the picture.
A Macro Lens is Required for Macro Pictures
Since macro lenses can do more than just capture macro photos, macro photos, all the same, can be captured without macro lenses. There are actually alternatives, which are recommended if you’re not absolutely sure about getting a macro lens just yet. The most commonly used and known substitute is a close-up filter, but there’s an even better alternative than that. Reversed lenses seem to do the trick for a lot of people prior to their getting their first macro lens. Simply reverse the side of the lens that you normally screw into the camera.
How We Picked the Best Macro Lens for Canon DSLR Cameras
We have a team of experts that we compiled specifically for this list. They were able to do all the necessary research and testing to put together a list for high-quality macro lenses, as well as come to a unanimous decision on which lens is the best macro lens for Canon DSLR cameras. While we did come to the decision of the Sigma 18-250mm f3.5-6.3 DC Macro Lens as the best, we do find it necessary that we explain how we came to that decision at all. This will allow you to see the purchasing cycle and everything we did prior to coming to the decision.
First, price does play a factor in our decision. As we said, macro lenses are not as expensive as the majority of consumers think they are. On the contrary, they’re reasonably priced, and as long as we have a range to stick to, we can find the best macro lens within that range.
We need a versatile range for the focal length, some sort of technology in place that helps to stabilize the image, and any other features that we can get our hands on. The more features and the better the features of a product, the more we’re inclined to narrow that one down to one of the final nominees. Every letter and number printed neatly on the side of a macro camera lens is analyzed with every lens we looked at.
Finally, we narrowed it down all the way to one macro camera lens for Canon DSLR cameras. The Sigma 18-250mm f3.5-6.3 DC Macro Lens checked a mark for each factor on the list every step of the way. We’ll explain more in detail as we give you a summary of everything this particular lens has to offer so that you can see why we chose it as our idea of the best macro lens for a Canon DSLR.
Our Pick for the Best Macro Lens for Canon DSLR Cameras
Top Pick: Sigma 18-250mm f3.5-6.3 DC Macro Lens
Once we put together the final list of factors and variables to put into consideration, we were able to narrow down the results with each one. Finally, we settled on the Sigma 18-250mm f3.5-6.3 DC Macro Lens, which met every single factor we had in play to a tee. There were, of course, other macro lenses almost of equal caliber, but they missed one factor or another that put them out of the running altogether.
The Sigma 18-250mm f3.5-6.3 DC Macro Lens doesn’t disappoint on any spectrums, though.
The Sigma 18-250mm f3.5-6.3 DC Macro Lens impressed us with the collaboration of different features that it possesses, like an impressive 18–250 mm focal length, a fantastic and steep range that’s exactly what we were looking for. Even better, it has a 27–375 mm focal length for all compatibles APS-C cameras. It’s got exemplary image stabilization technology and has up to 4 stops already claimed.
This particular macro lens is also compatible with a lot of cameras and a lot of camera mounts. It’s compatible in Sigma SA, Nikon F, Pentax KAF3, Sony Alpha, and the Canon EF. While the Canon EF compatibility sealed the deal for us, since we’re looking for the best macro lens for Canon DSLR cameras, the versatility of compatibility might peak other photographer’s interests. You may have a variety of different cameras, so compatibility with different mounts is always a plus.
Our Second Pick
Canon MP-E 65mm f/2.8 1-5X Macro Lens
Now that you understand the list of requirements that we had for any particular macro lens to be considered for the best macro lens for Canon DSLR camera models, you get a better idea of why these macro lenses are on the list the way they are. Only our number one met all of the factors in play, but the Canon MP-E 65mm f/2.8 1-5X Macro Lens came close – it was only lacking one important factor.
The Canon MP-E 65mm f/2.8 1-5X Macro Lens is a quality lens that’s worth every penny you spend on it. The only thing is, you spend quite a pretty penny on this particular lens.
The Canon MP-E 65mm f/2.8 1-5X Macro Lens does come with a one-year warranty, and it has free shipping. It’s a manual focus macro lens that comes with a tripod mount ring included, as well. It’s also got an impressive range for the maximum magnification, which can vary between 1x what you see in real life all the way up to 5x. Basically, you can fill the entire frame of 35 mm with a single grain of rice with how excellent the zoom and magnification can render the image.
The Macro Ring Lite and the Macro Twin Lite are compatible with the Canon MP-E 65mm f/2.8 1-5X Macro Lens. This is convenient for a lot of photographers because it removes the need for any awkward bellows accessories altogether. The lens also features a special UD-glass element that helps to preserve the optical quality at different focusing distances.
The experts on our team don’t just stick their nose up at the macro lenses that were under that budget range we had set. On the contrary, we’re always on the prowl for the best frugal buy. We understand that there’s a difference between getting a deal on a high-quality lens and sacrificing quality in the name of cheapness. We went with the former option, only focusing on affordable macro lenses that also had all the best features and necessary standards we had to uphold. We narrowed it down to two different budget alternatives for the best macro lens for Canon DSLR cameras.
Sigma 70-300mm f/4-5.6 DG Macro Telephoto Zoom Lens
Telephoto lenses and wide-angle lenses are vastly different, but both of these types can still fall under being macro lenses as well. The Sigma 70-300mm f/4-5.6 DG Macro Telephoto Zoom Lens is a telephoto lens that hits the mark on everything you want out of a telephoto lens. Typically, most photographers are concerned with the zoom range and maximum zoom and magnification settings, for this type of camera. It’s ideal for nature photography, sports, portraits, and much more.
We can’t simply narrow it down to just one macro lens that we think is the best. There are simply too many categories to be able to say that. While the Sigma 18-250mm f3.5-6.3 DC Macro Lens is the best general macro lens for Canon DSLRs, it’s not the only one that qualifies as the best in one department or another. On the contrary, there are plenty of different macro lenses that are the best for certain specialized situations. That’s why we put together a list of specialized picks so that you can see what can be offered for a particular need, setting, or environment.
Best Macro Lens for Optical Quality
Canon EF 100mm f/2.8L IS USM Macro Lens
With a 4 stop hybrid interface system and image stabilization technology to make the sharpest pictures even sharper, the Canon EF 100mm f/2.8L IS USM Macro Lens is one of the best of its year. If you’re looking for the best optical quality, this is the most recommended option.
The f/2.8 maximum aperture with the minimum aperture of f/32 is definitely something that caught our eye. A range that far apart is always a plus, especially when it’s combined with a beautiful 100 mm focal length. The AF motor is ultrasonic-type and ring-type, also giving you full-time manual focusing for every image. This is the best for optical quality.
Best Macro Lens for Autofocusing
Canon EF-S 60mm f/2.8 Macro USM Fixed Lens
The ultra-sonic monitor of the Canon EF-S 60mm f/2.8 Macro USM Fixed Lens is perfect for autofocusing. It’s silent and powerful with a 25-degree angle of view – the equivalent of a 96 mm lens on a 35 mm camera. The set maximum aperture of f/2.8 also means that the camera adjusts aperture on its own, which is a setting that a lot of photographers prefer.
The optical quality of this macro lens and the ability to autofocus immediately and automatically are where this camera lens shines, but the ratings and reviews speak for themselves.
Best Macro Lens for Switching Focus Modes
Tamron AF 90mm f/2.8 Macro Lens
Autofocus may be the most important feature for some photographers, but others enjoy simply being able to switch from autofocus to manual focus with just one button, which is something the Tamron AF 90mm f/2.8 Macro Lens offers. This opens up the door to more types of shooting giving you the most versatile range with a macro lens. This also relieves some cost constraints, as you can double or triple up on the uses for this macro lens instead of having to get a lens for each use. It is a reasonable recommendation if you want to switch between autofocus and manual focus whenever you want.
Best Macro Lens for Distances
Tamron Auto Focus 70-200mm f/2.8 Macro Lens
The Tamron Auto Focus 70-200mm f/2.8 Macro Lens packs a punch with its size. It has a focal length of 70-200mm, a minimum to maximum aperture range of f/32 to f/2.8, and a minimum focusing distance of 37.4 inches. This is not a macro lens designed for shots that are horribly up close and personal. On the contrary, this is designed more for zoom shots and shots that you want to capture but you’re far away from physically. It’s an excellent lens for when you need a picture of a big landscape or large group.
There are contenders for the first place spot that fell just shy, but they couldn’t fit into any other category. They are the best macro lens for one use or another, though, so they do still belong somewhere on the guide. This is the competition, comparable macro lenses for the Canon DSLR camera models and the reasons they didn’t make it to the very top.
Best Macro Lens for Manual and Automatic Focus Types
Tokina AT-X 100mm f/2.8 PRO D Macro Lens
You can switch it up with the Tokina AT-X 100mm f/2.8 PRO D Macro Lens with its two different focus types. It’s got a maximum focal length of 100 mm, and a maximum aperture of f/2.8, so it’s a quality lens that can provide you with just about any image you’re trying to get. The filter thread size is 55 mm.
Best Macro Lens for Full Frame Use
Rokinon 100mm F2.8 ED UMC Full Frame Telephoto Macro Lens
You get full range of motion and full frame use when you use the Rokinon 100mm F2.8 ED UMC Full Frame Telephoto Macro Lens, even though the size would say otherwise. It comes with a removable lens hood, front and rear lens caps, a lens pouch, a one-year warranty, and an instruction manual. It comes with literally everything you need to get started with macro photography. With everything that it comes with, you don’t even have to get additional accessories.
Best Macro Lens for Full Frame Sensors and APS-C Sensors
Oshiro 60mm f/2.8 Ultra-Macro Lens
When you need the best of both worlds, you need to go for the first-ever in the category you’re looking at. The Oshiro 60mm f/2.8 Ultra-Macro Lens, for example, is the first 2:1 macro lens that’s compatible with both APS-C sensors and full-frame sensors. The all metal body ensures that it will stay durable and rigid for its lifespan, and it has 14 aperture blades that create an out-of-this-world depth of view. This particular macro lens is actually on the more affordable side, almost under our budget range that we had set for the best macro lens. Best of all, this lens also has models for Nikon, Olympus, Sony, and Panasonic.
Commonly Asked Questions About Macro Lens for Canon DSLR Cameras
There are some questions that consumers have when it comes to macro lenses. Whether you’re a beginner or just trying to brush up on information you’ve already learned, here are just a few of the most commonly asked questions when it comes to macro lenses that fit Canon DSLR cameras.
What Happens if You Exceed the Minimum Focusing Distance?
Usually, the minimum focusing distance on a camera lens is between 8 and 12.5 inches. The minimum focusing distance is simply the closest you can get to a subject while still focusing on it. If you get closer, all that happens is your lens simply refuses to focus on the subject of the picture as a whole. It can blur some of the edges of the entire subject altogether depending on how close you get.
Why is 1:1 the Desired Ratio for Macro Lenses?
The 1:1 ratio on a macro lens simply means whether the subject of your picture shows up on the film the same size as it appears in real life. There are ways to magnify this, as many camera lens offer magnifications for this ratio all the time. It’s the desired ratio, however, because you can see the subject of your picture on the film as the exact same size as you can in real life, which prevents from distorting the senses or capturing a picture that’s less than desirable.
Is There a Recommended Aperture or Focal Length for Canon Cameras?
While it’s really up to the photographer for specific settings like maximum aperture and focal length, it’s recommended that there be 100 mm at least available for the lens. Meanwhile, f/2.8 is the average when it comes to maximum aperture. While it will change the picture, possibly for the effect you were going for, if you vary from this average setting, you can still get a quality image no matter the factors in play.
Wrapping It Up
Now, if you’ve gotten to the end of the guide by actually reading all of it, you now possess the knowledge necessary to find the best macro lens for your specific needs. You can find the best macro lens for your Canon model, choose the Sigma 18-250mm f3.5-6.3 DC Macro Lens , which we thought was the best, or pick another one on the list. No matter what you decide, you now have all of the tools and skills you need, as well as the information to look back on, to pick a macro lens that will give you the quality shots you’re after. This will allow you to better invest your money in lenses that are going to last for years to come.