Best Macro Lenses of 2020 – Ultimate Buyer’s Guide

Small objects such as insects and flowers are really interesting and eye-catching if you ever observe them closely. This is where macro photography shines.

It is a really interesting type of photography that can capture really close-up shots of different objects. However, taking a picture so up close can be tricky and requires specific lenses.

In this article, we will review the best macro lenses available today and will also provide you with a helpful buying guide.

Comparison of the Best Macro Lenses

PRODUCT
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Tamron AF 90mm f/2.8 Di SP A/M 1:1

  • Weighs about 0.89 pounds
  • Has a maximum aperture of f/2.8
  • Best overall features a focal length of 90mm
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Sigma 150mm f/2.8 AF APO EX DG OS HSM

  • Weighs about 2.6 pounds
  • Has a focal length of 150mm
  • Runner-up has a magnification ratio of 1:1
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Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 60mm F2.8

  • Weighs roughly 6.56 ounces
  • Comes with a focal length of 60mm
  • Best for the money lens is equipped with 13 lens elements
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Nikon AF-S VR Micro-NIKKOR 105mm f/2.8G IF-ED

  • Best macro lens for Nikon
  • Features a Nanocrystal coating
  • Has a maximum aperture of f/2.8
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Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro USM

  • Best macro lens for Canon
  • Has a maximum aperture of f/2.8
  • Features a full-time manual focus functionality
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Sony SEL90M28G FE 90mm f/2.8-22 Macro G OSS

  • Best macro lens for Sony is
  • Equipped with 1:1 magnification ratio
  • Features a maximum aperture of f2.8
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Sony SEL30M35 30mm f/3.5

  • Best macro lens for Sony A6000
  • Has a maximum aperture of f/3.5
  • Features 7 elements from 6 groups
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AUKEY Ora

  • Features a 140-degree wide-angle lens
  • Constructed with aluminum alloy and glass
  • Best macro lens for iPhone that features a 24-month replacement warranty card
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What is a Macro Lens and What is it Used For?

Macro lenses are particularly designed to capture really detailed, sharp images of small objects from a very close distance. However, they are not only for capturing close-up shots but can also be used in other situations.

A prominent feature of macro lenses is their magnification ratio. This is the amount by which they zoom in and focus on the object. They also usually have an infinity focus feature, which allows them to capture other objects from different distances as well. 

How to Choose a Macro Lens 

Some important features of macro lenses that make them the best include the following:

Magnification Ratio

The magnification ratio is the size of the object that the lens captures compared to its size in reality. Usually, 1:1 lenses are the perfect ones for macro photography. This means that the lens produces the same size of the object in the image as it is in reality. You can also opt for 1:2 and 1:3 ratios. 

Minimum Focal Length

The focal length determines the distance from which you can shoot. If you want to capture objects that are likely to be disturbed due to proximity, you can opt for lenses with greater focal length or focus distance. Wide-angle lenses are more likely to capture wider compositions, therefore, going for a telephoto lens is much better if you want a minimum background with good sharpness. 

Maximum Aperture

The more focal length, the less the aperture of a lens. For sharp images, go for lenses that have a maximum aperture of at least f/1.8. This will put the object in great focus and will smooth the background blur. 

Quick Take - Best Macro Lenses

Before we dive into our review, here are the best macro lenses:

  1. ​Tamron AF 90mm f/2.8 Di SP A/M 1:1
  2. Sigma 150mm f/2.8 AF APO EX DG OS HSM
  3. Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 60mm F2.8

Review of the Best Macro Lenses

Let’s take a thorough look at the best macro lenses in the market. Each has something unique and distinctive to offer. From iPhone lenses to Sony and Canon lenses, you get to choose from a wide variety of competitive products. 

Tamron AF 90mm f/2.8 Di SP A/M 1:1 Macro Lens for Canon Digital SLR Cameras (Model 272EE)

PROS

  • Has both manual and autofocus functionalities
  • Lightweight lens, which makes it easy to carry
  • Maximum aperture is great for creating sharpness
  • Versatile compatibility for use with different models
  • Budget-friendly alternative, making it affordable for beginners

CONS

  • Does not come with a carry case or UV filter

What Recent Buyers Report

Buyers and users report the lens to be really good for creating a nice blur in the background. Buyers also used it for creating bokeh and found it really useful for that purpose as well. A lot of buyers were also beginner photographers and therefore, reported it to be user-friendly as well.

Why it Stands Out to Us

The reason this macro lens by Tamron stands out so much to us is its versatile, top-notch features that actually come with a budget-friendly price tag. The lens has both auto and manual focus features and is great for creating sharp images with a good depth of field. The f/2.8 maximum aperture also makes it really good for macro photography. It’s an all-in-one package and therefore, stands out to us.

Who Will Use This Most

The lens is great for beginners and amateurs who are beginning to learn macro photography. It’s also good for traveling and people looking for portable lenses, given its low weight. In addition, it is affordable, so if you have a tight budget, you can avail this easily.

Bottom Line

Wrapping it up, it is a great-quality lens that has an exceptional build quality and top-notch features. From versatile compatibility with different brands and different camera bodies to an affordable price tag, it is made for everyone.

Sigma 150mm f/2.8 AF APO EX DG OS HSM Macro Lens for Nikon Digital SLRs

PROS

  • Comes with a lens case and cap
  • Has a solid splash-proof construction
  • Ideal magnification ratio for macro photography
  • Stabilization feature creates great, quality images
  • Super-multi-layer coating ensures great quality of images

CONS

  • Heavier than other similar models.
  • Optimal stabilization is not durable and reliable 

What Recent Buyers Report

Recent buyers of this macro lens have made some impressive and positive remarks about its performance. Buyers are highly satisfied with its build quality, which has proven to be really durable and long-lasting. In addition, some buyers report that the stabilization feature stops working after some time and is, therefore, unreliable.

Why it Stands Out to Us

The reason why this lens by Sigma stands out to us is the brand reliability it has to offer along with its versatile features and compatibility. It is available for Nikon, Canon, and Sigma cameras. Plus, it also has top-notch features like a hypersonic motor and an exclusive splash-proof body to last you a long time while promising incredible performance.

Who Will Use This Most

If you want to find an alternative for fast lenses that are expensive, then this one will be perfect for you. Professional photographers will be able to make great use of it as it has all the essentials, as well as extra added features. It is heavy, so it might not be the handiest and most travel-friendly lens in the market.

Bottom Line

Wrapping it up, this lens is an amazing choice for professionals. It has versatile functionality, along with a construction that stands out from other products in the market. If you want a good price and performance ratio, this model for macro photography is your best choice.

Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 60mm F2.8 Macro Lens, for Micro Four Thirds Cameras

PROS

  • Great for nature photography
  • Backed by a worldwide warranty
  • Lightweight model for increased portability
  • 13 lens elements ensure great, quality images
  • Buyers report image quality to be really sharp

CONS

  • No stabilization feature
  • Might not work in all kinds of lighting

What Recent Buyers Report

Some buyers were dissatisfied with the fact that the lens has no stabilization feature, which makes capturing macro shots challenging. However, many intermediate-level photographers used it for their pictures and found it to be really useful and were able to get sharp images. Buyers were also happy with the value for money since the model came with both front and back lens caps.

Why it Stands Out to Us

The lens is a budget-friendly alternative to pricier macro lenses that might push you off from investing in them. It has all the essential features that guarantee sharp and desirable macro pictures. It’s also backed by a warranty, so it definitely makes a better choice than many other products in the market.

Who Will Use This Most

We would strongly recommend beginners and professionals both invest in this lens. It’s going to help them capture a number of pictures in several situations. However, if you plan on using it in low-light situations or for taking pictures of moving objects, then this might not work the best for you.

Bottom Line

Wrapping it up, the lens by Sigma is a versatile product, no matter what camera you are using. It’s an affordable alternative to other pricier models but with similar, top-quality performance and a range of features to offer.

Nikon AF-S VR Micro-NIKKOR 105mm f/2.8G IF-ED Lens

PROS

  • Works great even in low light
  • Creates a good depth of field
  • Good for taking sharp portraits as well
  • Has both manual and autofocus features
  • Vibration reduction technology creates incredible image quality 

CONS

  • Might have a limited compatibility
  • Slightly heavyweight, limiting its portability

What Recent Buyers Report

This Nikon lens is backed by a lot of really positive customer reviews and reports. Users have particularly commented and appreciated the sharpness of images it produces. People have used it for product photography and have gotten some really detailed images. In addition, buyers also report it to be useful for both portraits as well as macro photography.

Why it Stands Out to Us

For photographers, lenses are a one-time investment that last for a very long time. Therefore, durability and practicality of use are really important. This Nikon lens is well-built with professional-grade construction quality. It is also a multi-functional lens that can be used to capture some outstanding close-up shots along with sharp portraits.

Who Will Use This Most

The lens is a complete package of both performance and affordability. Therefore, we think that it will be a good choice for both beginners and professionals. It promises great quality of images with fast and reliable focus functionality, making it a great choice for beginners.

Bottom Line

To sum it up, Nikon has never failed to produce some really impressive lenses that work for all kinds of situations. With 2.8 being the maximum aperture and having an incredible stabilization feature and vibration reduction functionality, this one offers a lot at a price that is really affordable.

Best Macro Lens for Canon:
Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro USM

Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro USM Fixed Lens for Canon SLR Cameras

PROS

  • Backed by a 1-year warranty
  • Ultra-sonic motor makes it super-fast
  • Lightweight and compact for reduced fatigue
  • Secondary diaphragm reduces flare and distortion
  • 12 elements in 8 groups ensure minimum distortion and best picture quality

CONS

  • Not zoomable
  • Only suitable for Canon cameras

What Recent Buyers Report

While the lens is overall backed by a lot of positive reports, some users report that it might not be the perfect choice or have the most reliable autofocus functionality for macro photography. Other than that, buyers report that it has worked really well for them in low-light situations by keeping it at maximum aperture settings. Additionally, some buyers have also used it for distant portraits and found it to be really useful.

Why it Stands Out to Us

The most distinctive feature of this lens is its all-time manual focus functionality. This feature allows professional users to have greater control over their functionality and the quality of image they are able to produce.

Who Will Use This Most

We think that this lens is more appropriate for professionals than for beginners. It does not have the most reliable autofocus feature, and therefore, is better used at manual focus. This makes it a better product for professionals who want more control over their depth of field and focus center of their image.

Bottom Line

For macro photography with a Canon camera, this lens will prove to be really useful. It has great construction quality along with versatile features such as the 12 glass elements, all backed by a 1-year warranty to ensure longevity and security of purchase.

Sony SEL90M28G FE 90mm f/2.8-22 Macro G OSS Standard-Prime Lens for Mirrorless Cameras

PROS

  • Resistant to dust and moisture
  • Direct drive feature for precise focusing 
  • Has both auto and manual focusing features
  • OSS stabilization feature creates great, quality macro pictures
  • Super ED glass elements ensure minimum flare and distortion

CONS

  • Pricier than other alternatives

What Recent Buyers Report

A bunch of buyer reports suggest that it is the perfect equipment for beginners and people who are starting with macro photography. Moreover, buyers are also impressed with the depth of field it has to offer. A lot of buyers also have used it for portraits and found it to be really useful.

Why it Stands Out to Us

The most prominent feature of this Sony lens is its construction quality. A lens that is resistant to moisture and dust is crucial in terms of durability and longevity. It will prove to be really useful for travelers and on-the-go photographers due to its lightweight, yet truly sturdy build.

Who Will Use This Most

User reports suggest that a lot of beginners were able to make great use out of this lens’ features. Therefore, we think it will be great if you want to explore macro photography. It is also good for people who want to shoot in low lighting.

Bottom Line

Summing it up, this is a fine lens from a market-leading brand as big as Sony. It has remarkable performance in terms of speed, durability, and quality of the image. It has an extraordinary build quality that is meant to last you a long time.

Best Macro Lens for Sony A6000:​
Sony SEL30M35 30mm f/3.5

Sony SEL30M35 30mm f/3.5 e-mount Macro Fixed Lens

PROS

  • Good for videography
  • Ideal 1:1 magnification ratio
  • More affordable than other alternatives
  • Lens-based stabilization offers a great quality of images
  • Compact and lightweight design, making it travel-friendly

CONS

  • Not zoomable

What Recent Buyers Report

Some users found the f/3.5 to be too much and preferred a greater aperture than this. However, with its outstanding lens elements, buyers were still able to create great images, even in low lighting. In addition to this, a lot of buyers specifically comment on its size and weight, stating that it makes the perfect companion wherever you go. Buyers have also shared incredibly sharp and clear shots of really small objects taken with it.

Why it Stands Out to Us

The most prominent features of this Sony lens are its size and weight. It proves to be truly travel-friendly and portable since it is one of the smallest in size. Another unique feature is the rear motor design, which allows you to capture great quality videos as well, making it truly versatile and multi-functional.

Who Will Use This Most

Anyone who wants a really reliable, top-notch lens with exceptional performance at an affordable rate should be able to make good use of it. It is a good lens for all professionals as well as beginners, not only for macro photography but for other purposes too.

Bottom Line

Summing it up, Sony has never disappointed us when it comes to manufacturing some high-end lenses that have to offer you a lot. Similarly, this small and lightweight model comes with a range of unique and extraordinary features, such as a 1:1 magnification ratio that creates the best macro pictures, even in low light.

Best Macro Lens for iPhone:
AUKEY Ora

AUKEY Ora iPhone Camera Lens, 0.45x 140° Wide-Angle + 10x Macro Clip-On iPhone Lens for iPhone 8/7 / 6s / 6 Plus, Samsung, Other Android Smartphones

PROS

  • Easy and quick set-up
  • Backed by a money-back guarantee
  • Lightweight and compact, making it portable
  • Supported by a 2-year replacement warranty
  • Versatile compatibility with various smartphones 

CONS

  • Only usable with smartphone cameras
  • Not the best for professional-level photography

What Recent Buyers Report

Buyers report that the lens produces great, quality images if the lighting is good. However, it has not worked the best for users in low-light conditions. Apart from that, buyers have also appreciated the little to no distortion they get in images it produces. People have also used it for Samsung phones and were satisfied with its quick setup and user-friendly functionality.

Why it Stands Out to Us

This lens has a lot to offer but costs relatively less. It has versatile compatibility, has a durable build, is backed by various warranties and money-back policies, and yet, is really affordable. Therefore, it stands out in the market due to its incredible price to performance ratio.

Who Will Use This Most

People who want to capture close-up shots of nature or anything they see along the way should use this lens. Its compact and portable design make it an incredible choice for traveling and portability. However, it might not be the best one for creating professional-level pictures.

Bottom Line

In conclusion, smartphones today are equipped with advanced cameras but are not enough for capturing macro close-ups. This is why this lens is so important. It does not cost a lot but offers good features and functionality such as easy and quick setup. It also has a wide-angle lens that can be used for landscape pictures too.

What Do I Need to Know Before Buying a Macro Lens?

The more you know about the product you are buying, the better. This section will discuss some important information and details about macro lenses that you must know before buying one. 

Warranty Details

When buying a lens, make sure that you always check the warranty details. Warranties are provided by either the manufacturer or the seller of the product. Therefore, it is important to know specific parts of the agreement such as how long the provider covers the damages and repair costs, and whether or not there is a replacement policy in case of defects. 

Fixed or Prime 

Lenses vary in terms of being fixed/zoom or prime lenses. For macro photography, prime lenses are not the best choice. Therefore, make sure to check the zoom capability of the lens, learn about its focal length, and make sure you buy the one which is fit for purpose.

Weight and Size 

Photographers are most likely to be travel enthusiasts who are always looking for new places and things to explore. Therefore, check the size and weight of the lens before buying it. Make sure you go for a compact and lightweight one. 

How to Use a Macro Lens

To make good use of your new macro lens, make sure to take the following steps and create the most beautiful and creative close-up shots. 

Decrease Shutter Speed to Increase Sharpness

Increasing the shutter speed will make sure that your lens captures the object in full focus and has a crisp touch to it. You can also maximize the aperture to give a nice blur to the background. 

Use a Tripod

Since decreasing the shutter speed increases the chances of blurry pictures, it’s better to use a tripod in such cases. This way, the pictures will turn out to be super steady. You can also hang some weight on the tripod to add greater stability. 

Open Your Aperture to the Maximum

Maximize your picture’s sharpness and create a really nice depth of field by maximizing the aperture of the lens. 

Use Manual Focus for More Control

For more precise control over your lens and the image, you should switch to manual focus. Autofocus is a good choice if you are shooting in a hurry or are not specific about the in-focus object. 

Learn more about the best way to use a macro lens with the following video. 

Conclusion

Wrapping the article up, we can conclude that the best, most suitable macro lens for you will depend on important factors such as budget, usage, and level of expertise. Make sure to go for a lighter model rather than a heavy one, since portability is an important consideration. In addition, the best macro lens should be a versatile one that can be used in other situations as well, apart from macro photography. 

People Also Ask

Investing in a good-quality lens is a big decision for all photographers. It costs a lot and also determines your photography performance. Therefore, make sure to get all your queries and confusions cleared out. Read the following section to answer some frequently asked questions. 

Can a Macro Lens be Used Normally?

The benefit of using macro lenses is that they are truly versatile since they let you shoot at normal, various distances too. Therefore, investing in a macro lens is a good, long-term choice.

Is 50mm a Macro Lens?

A 50mm is a prime lens. These do not let you zoom in or out, meaning they have a fixed focal length. They create really sharp images and are popular for their good-quality depth of field. A 50mm can be used for close-up shots, but might not be the best choice for it. 

Are Macro Lenses Sharper?

Macro lenses are really popular for the way they capture minute details of small objects in close-up shots. They are known for their sharp quality images. The sharpness of an image depends on the settings you keep for the lens, such as aperture and shutter speed. Generally, macro lenses are sharp, but you also need to tweak the settings to control the sharpness. 

Can You Use Macro Lens for Landscape?

For photographing landscapes from a distance, macro lenses cannot be usable. However, you can get really creative and take close-up shots of landscapes such as rocks and zoomed-in shots of patterns on leaves. However, you will not be able to capture the whole scene. 

How Does a Macro Lens Work?

Macro lenses have high reproduction ratios. They magnify on the basis of, ideally, a ratio of 1:1. Macro lenses are also zoomable and have auto and manual focus functionalities. Usually, they also have an infinity focus feature that makes them usable for multiple distances and situations. 

What is the Magnification of a True Macro Lens?

You will find a wide range of different magnifications on macro lenses in the market. From 2:3 to 1:2, multiple magnification ranges can be found. In the most ideal case, a good macro lens has a ratio of 1:1.