Using macro lenses enables you to focus up close so you can really fill the frame with your subject, and let you reproduce a life-sized image of an object on the image sensor of your camera. In this article, I compiled a list of the best macro lenses that can be used in shooting amazing photos of flowers. The list covers the three well-known camera models: Canon, Nikon, and Sony
Mixing a comfortable short telephoto focal length with optimized close-up capabilities, the EF-S 60mm f/2.8 Macro USM from Canon is an EF-S-mount prime designed for APS-C-format DSLRs. As a true macro optic, this lens affords a life-size 1:1 maximum magnification along with a 7.9″ minimum focusing distance, and it’s 96mm equivalent focal length also makes it an ideal option for portraiture. The optical design affords a high degree of sharpness and resolution across the image frame and individual elements have been treated with a Super Spectra coating to minimize lens flare and ghosting for greater contrast and color accuracy when working in strong lighting conditions. The lens also employs an Ultrasonic Motor along with an internal focusing design to realize quick, quiet, and precise autofocus performance as well as full-time manual focus override.
Primarily designed for close-up shooting, the EF 100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM from Canon is a versatile L-series short telephoto prime that is also well-suited for portraiture and other mid-range subjects. As a macro lens, however, this 100mm offers a life-size, 1:1 maximum magnification, and an 11.8″ minimum focusing distance. Complementing close-up shooting, an Image Stabilizer is featured that minimizes camera shake by two stops at full 1:1 magnification or up to four stops at lower magnifications for sharper handheld shooting. Also contributing to smooth and intuitive handling, a ring-type USM and internal focusing design offers quick, quiet, and accurate autofocus performance along with a full-time manual focus override. In regard to its optical assets, one ultra-low dispersion element is featured, to control color fringing and chromatic aberrations, and a Super Spectra coating has been applied to suppress flare and ghosting for improved contrast and color fidelity. Additionally, as an L-series lens, this 100mm f/2.8 is weather-sealed for working in inclement conditions.
A classic for close-ups, the Nikon F-mount 105mm f/2.8 EX DG OS HSM Macro from Sigma is a short-telephoto prime characterized by its ability to achieve a 1:1, life-size magnification along with a 1′ minimum focusing distance for macro applications. The optical design employs two SLD elements to virtually eliminate chromatic aberrations and color fringing throughout the focusing range for improved clarity and color rendering. A Super Multi-Layer Coating has also been applied for greater contrast when working in strong lighting conditions.
Balancing the optical assets, this lens also features a floating internal focus design that maintains consistent sharpness throughout the focusing range. A Hyper Sonic Motor affords quick and quiet autofocus performance while an Optical Stabilizer minimizes the appearance of camera shake for sharper handheld shooting.
Optimized for close-up shooting, the SP 90mm f/2.8 Di Macro 1:1 VC USD Lens from Tamron is a short telephoto prime designed for FX-format Nikon F-mount DSLRs. Offering a life-size maximum magnification ratio of 1:1, this lens benefits working with small and nearby subjects and employs a Floating System for maintained image quality throughout the 11.8″ to infinity focusing range. One Low Dispersion and two Extra-Low Dispersion glass elements are incorporated into the optical design to minimize chromatic aberrations and color fringing for clean, consistent sharpness and clarity throughout the magnification range. BBAR and eBAND coatings have also been applied to minimize flare and ghosting for increased contrast when working in strong lighting conditions, and a rounded nine-blade diaphragm contributes to a pleasing bokeh quality to benefit shallow depth of field imagery. As an update to the classic 90mm macro, this enhanced version is well-suited to the high-resolution crop of DSLRs and blends timeless appeal and functionality with current imaging performance.
Supporting the imaging attributes is Vibration Compensation image stabilization, which minimizes the appearance of camera shake by up to 3.5 stops for sharper handheld shooting. Also aiding in creating sharp imagery, a precise, macro-optimized ring-type USD autofocus motor provides fast and well-controlled focusing performance. A dedicated USD actuator is used to refine focusing precision at close distances and also compensates for small amounts of camera shake common to working at higher magnifications. Additionally, the focus motor affords full-time manual focus control for a greater range of adjustment capabilities. Moisture-resistant physical construction enables its use in trying environments and the front element has also received a fluorine coating to guard against smudges and moisture from affecting image quality. Additionally, this lens is compatible with the optional TAP-in Console for fine-tuning focusing performance and updating the lens’ firmware.
Compact, lightweight, and close-focusing, the RF 35mm f/1.8 IS Macro STM from Canon is a unique wide-angle prime mixing the versatility of a general wide lens with the specialty of a 1:2 macro optic. An advanced optical design is benefitted by a Super Spectra coating, which helps to control flare and ghosting for greater contrast and color accuracy when working in bright or backlit conditions. Capable of focusing down to 6.7″ at half life-size, this lens is ideal for photographing everything from close-ups of plants to street scenes and landscapes. The bright f/1.8 maximum aperture offers increased control over depth of field and also suits working in a variety of lighting conditions. Complementing this is a five-stop-effective image stabilization, which minimizes the appearance of camera shake for sharper handheld shooting. Also, an STM motor affords impressively quiet and smooth autofocus performance and full-time manual focus override. Additionally, a configurable Control Ring lets you adjust exposure settings, including ISO, aperture, and exposure compensation, from the lens itself.
A macro telephoto designed for DX, the Nikon AF-S DX Micro NIKKOR 85mm f/3.5G ED VR is a 127.5mm-equivalent prime optimized for close-up shooting. Offering a life-size 1:1 maximum magnification and an 11.3″ minimum focusing distance, this lens is especially adept for working with nearby subjects. Its optical design includes one extra-low dispersion element, which minimizes chromatic aberrations in order to achieve high clarity and color accuracy. A Super Integrated Coating is also used to suppress flare and ghosting for greater contrast when working in bright and backlit conditions. The Silent Wave Motor AF system produces a fast, near-silent focusing performance that suits both stills shooting and movie recording, which can instantly be manually overridden by simply turning the manual focus ring. Further contributing to producing sharp imagery, VR II (Vibration Reduction) image stabilization compensates for the effects of camera shake by up to three shutter speed steps.
A contemporary take on the classic short telephoto macro lens, the Nikon AF-S VR Micro-NIKKOR 105mm f/2.8G IF-ED excels at close range with its life-size 1:1 maximum magnification and a minimum focusing distance of 1′. Contributing to its success is an advanced optical design that includes one extra-low dispersion element, which minimizes chromatic aberrations in order to achieve high clarity and color accuracy. Both Nano Crystal and Super Integrated Coatings are also used to suppress flare and ghosting for greater contrast when working in bright and backlit conditions. A Silent Wave Motor AF system produces a fast, near-silent focusing performance that suits both stills shooting and movie recording, which can instantly be manually overridden by simply turning the manual focus ring. Further contributing to producing sharp imagery, VR (Vibration Reduction) image stabilization compensates for the effects of camera shake by up to three shutter speed steps.
A normal-length prime with close-focusing capabilities, the FE 50mm f/2.8 Macro Lens from Sony offers an impressive 1:1 maximum magnification, along with a 6.3″ minimum focusing distance, for making life-size imagery of close-up subjects. Useful controls, such as a top-printed distance and magnification scale, focus range limiter and focus hold button. Complementing the handling capabilities, the optical design also incorporates an aspherical element, and an extra-low dispersion element, which works to suppress chromatic and spherical aberrations for increased clarity throughout the focus range. Additionally, the lens sports a dust- and moisture-resistant design to benefit from working in inclement weather conditions.
Get up close and personal with the 1:1 magnification ratio of the full-frame compatible FE 90mm f/2.8 Macro G OSS Lens for Sony’s E-mount cameras. As a G series lens, it perfectly balances sharpness and bokeh through the use of various specialized elements, this ensures highly detailed images, with smooth out-of-focus areas, and an absolute minimum of aberrations. The lens also boasts a fast f/2.8 aperture for controlling depth of field and working in less-than-ideal light as well as a Nano AR coating that helps eliminate ghosting and flare.
Critical to macro is accurate focusing, which is assisted by the speedy Direct Drive Super Sonic wave Motor present in the 90mm lens. Users also have direct access to a focus hold button and focus range limiter for further optimizing the lens’ performance in certain situations. On top of this, the focusing ring slides for immediate switching between manual and autofocusing. And, the lens has built-in Optical SteadyShot image stabilization for compensating for camera shake at all focusing distances.
Optical excellence with close-focusing capabilities, the Sony E-mount 105mm f/2.8 DG DN Macro Art Lens, from Sigma, is a short-telephoto prime optimized for macro use. With a minimum focusing distance of 11.6″, and a 5.5″ working distance, this lens offers a life-size, 1:1 reproduction ratio for accurate rendering of close-up subjects. Its optical design incorporates one SLD element, which also helps to realize high clarity and color accuracy by suppressing various aberrations and color fringing. A Super Multi-Layer Coating has also been applied, which controls flare and ghosting for greater contrast.
Benefitting handling, this lens sports a Hyper-Sonic Motor for quick and quiet AF performance and intuitive full-time manual focus control. A focus limiter switch also helps to boost focusing speed and precision, and there are a customizable AFL button and dedicated focus mode switch. Additionally, the lens features a nine-blade rounded diaphragm for smooth bokeh quality and the lens housing is weather-sealed to suit working in inclement conditions.
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