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Top Canon-Compatible Lenses For Macro Photography

By Matthew Rivera
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If you’re a photographer who enjoys getting up close to your subjects with your Canon camera, you should consider a dedicated macro lens. There are many macro lenses on the market today, but what is the best macro lens for Canon cameras? In this article, we’ll go over both the top 9 Canon lenses, as well as some great third-party lenses that are strong contenders. We’ll also go over what features to consider depending on your photography style.

Best Macro Lenses For Canon

If you’re searching for the best lens for macro photography, Canon has some of the best out there. Here are some of Canon’s best macro lenses for up-close photography.



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4.8
5/5
Best EF mount macro lens
Its build, features, and high-performance qualities make this lens perfect for food, product, nature, and portrait macro photography. It’s a macro lens with a 1:1 macro ratio, and its image quality is superb. It’ll give you incredible bokeh, or background blur, while sharply focusing on the details of your intended subject. Because of all the amazing features of this lens, professional and beginner photographers alike give this macro lens a five-star rating, with many saying it is their absolute favorite. Professional macro photographers also state that this is the best macro lens for the Canon 5D Mark IV full-frame DSLR. One notable feature is the built-in stabilization, which creates sharper images when doing handheld photography. It also comes with the Super Spectra coating, which reduces flare and ghosting. On top of that, it’s an L-series, where the “L” stands for luxury. This means it’s weather sealed and very durable, which makes it ideal for your outdoor macro photography adventures.

SPECS

This tripod is made out of high-strength aluminum, making it durable while being relatively lightweight at 4.74 pounds. It also features an ergonomic handle – should you need to quickly carry it in and out of venues or even just get another angle, you can do so easily and conveniently.

PROS

  • Mount: Canon RF 
  • Focal length: 100mm
  • Max/min aperture: f/2.8 – 32
  • Maximum Magnification: 1.0x
  • Minimum focusing distance: 11.8in (30cm)
  • Image stabilization: Yes, 4 stops 
  • Dimensions: 3.06 x 4.84in (77.7 x 123mm)
  • Weight: 1.38 lbs (625g)

 

CONS

  • Image stabilization can be loud


4.7
4.9/5
Best Canon lens for macro photography

This L-series (Luxury) is an exceptional, professional-grade macro lens. Some of the amazing features of this Canon lens are its Hybrid IS tech and optical image stabilization. The Hybrid IS technology, exclusively found in Canon lenses, corrects for camera shake in both angle and shift, making it super useful in close-up, handheld-camera nature photography.
Furthermore, it’s a true macro lens with 1.4x magnification. This allows you to capture close-ups of small insects or blooming flowers in larger-than-life proportions. When compared with its EF-mount alternative, it captures sharper macro photos, has greater magnification, and improves focus.

Specs

  • Mount: Canon RF
  • Focal length: 100mm
  • Max/min aperture: f/2.8 – 32
  • Maximum Magnification: 1.4x
  • Minimum focusing distance: 10.2in (26cm)
  • Image stabilization: Yes, 5 stops
  • Dimensions: 3.2 x 5.8in (81.5 x 148mm)
  • Weight: 1.6lbs (730g)

PROS

  • Hybrid IS
  • Spherical Aberration Control ring
  • Fast and quiet autofocus
  • Super Spectra glass coating
  • Excellent image quality
  • Weather sealed

CONS

  • Quite expensive


4.8
4.9/5
Top travel macro lens
Among the best macro lenses for Canon is the 35mm f/2.8 Macro. It’s a true macro lens, unlike its RF-mount alternative. Designed for APC-S format cameras with an EF-S mount, this lens performs like a 56mm lens due to the crop factor of APC-S cameras. That makes this the best macro lens for the Canon 80D cropped sensor camera. If you’ve upgraded recently, it’s also the best macro lens for the Canon 90D APS-C. Its focal length of 35mm means that you have a very short working distance – these 35mm Canon macro lenses are best suited for flower photography or stationary subjects. If you’re capturing macro photos of live subjects within this short working distance, you will likely frighten them and ruin your shot. Nature macro photographers praise this lens for its built-in LED lights. When you’re close to your subject, you’re prone to blocking natural light – built-in LED lights in the lens illuminate your subject, allowing you to take clear, beautiful macro photos.

Specs

  • Mount: Canon EF-S
  • Focal length: 35mm, or 56mm on APC-S format
  • Max/min aperture: f/2.8 – 32
  • Maximum Magnification: 1.0x
  • Minimum focusing distance: 5.12in (13cm)
  • Image stabilization: Yes
  • Dimensions: 2.72 x 2.2in (69.2 x 55.8mm)
  • Weight: 6.7oz (190g)

PROS

  • Hybrid IS
  • Spherical Aberration Control ring
  • Fast and quiet autofocus
  • Super Spectra glass coating
  • Excellent image quality
  • Weather sealed

CONS

  • Too-short working distance for most live subjects
  • Only works with cropped sensor cameras


4.5
4.9/5
Best Canon macro lens for insects
The features of this lens make it perfect for nature macro photography of tiny insects. Its long focal length gives you a larger working distance – this is essential when capturing macro photos of small, easily startled insects. This lens also has a floating elements system combined with internal focusing, which gives you clear and sharp images throughout its focusing range. Additionally, it’s an L-series lens which means it has a durable, weather-sealed build. You can take this lens with you in a rainforest without worry, which is why it’s undoubtedly one of the best Canon macro lenses for very small insects or wildlife.

Specs

  • Mount: Canon EF
  • Focal length: 180mm
  • Max/min aperture: f/3.5 – 32
  • Maximum Magnification: 1.0x
  • Minimum focusing distance: 1.57ft (48cm)
  • Image stabilization: No
  • Dimensions: 3.25 x 7.35in (82.55 x 186.69mm)
  • Weight: 2.4lbs (1090g

PROS

  • Three Ultra-Low Dispersion elements

  • Super Spectra coating 

  • Internal floating focusing system

  • Fast and quiet autofocus

  • Focus limiter switch

CONS

  • Heavy
  • No image stabilization


4.6
4.9/5
Best Canon macro lens for low-light environments

This is a versatile telephoto lens that performs well for both portraiture and macro nature photography. A telephoto lens is especially useful when you need to keep some distance from your subject. When you get up close, your proximity might block the light. It can also scare your subject away when you’re shooting macro photos of small wildlife.
Additionally, this RF-mount lens has amazing image stabilization at low shutter speeds. This is incredibly useful for photographers who shoot in low-lighting situations, like in a forest where foliage often makes good lighting impossible.
This lens’ versatility, macro capabilities, and excellent image stabilization make this lens a favorite among dedicated macro photographers and portrait photographers.

Specs

  • Mount: Canon RF
  • Focal length: 85mm
  • Max/min aperture: f/2 – 29
  • Maximum Magnification: 0.5x
  • Minimum focusing distance: 1.15ft (35.1cm)
  • Image stabilization: Yes, 5 stops
  • Dimensions: 3.07 x 3.56in (78 x 90.5mm)
  • Weight: 17.64oz (500g)

PROS

  • Focus limiter switch
  • Hybrid IS technology
  • Up to 8-stop image stabilization with EOS R5
  • Gorgeous bokeh
  • Best budget macro lens for Canon RF mount

CONS

  • Not a true macro lens
  • Slow autofocus 
  • Not weather-sealed


5
4.9/5
Best Canon macro lens with tilt-shift function
This tilt-shift macro lens was designed specifically for professional, high-requirement commercial shoots. Its tilt-shift function and macro capabilities make it perfect for close-ups of subjects like packaging, products, and food. It can also be used as a standard 135mm lens, giving you a larger variety of compositions and perspectives than standard prime or zoom lenses. Its 135mm focal length is the largest focal length you’ll find on tilt-shift lenses. This allows you to step further back from your subject, giving you a greater working distance. This is especially useful in portrait photography because the greater working distance can allow your subject to feel more at ease. As long as you have the space to have some distance from your subject, this lens can produce amazing full-body portraits as well as gorgeous headshots.

Specs

  • Mount: Canon EF
  • Focal length: 135mm
  • Max/min aperture: f/4 – 45
  • Maximum Magnification: 0.5x
  • Minimum focusing distance: 1.61ft (49cm)
  • Image stabilization: No
  • Dimensions: 3.48 x 5.48in (88.5 x 139.1mm)
  • Weight: 2.43lbs (1.1kg)

PROS

  • Unrivaled color and sharpness
  • Easy-to-use controls for tilt and shift
  • Equally exceptional image quality from max to f/11 aperture
  • Subwavelength Coating that reduces flare in high-lighting situations 

CONS

  • Not a true macro lens
  • Quite heavy
  • Incredibly expensive


4.5
4.9/5
Best magnification in a Canon macro lens
This Canon macro lens can capture minute subjects in greatly larger-than-life proportions, enhancing nearly microscopic details that we can’t see with the human eye. In macro photography, a true macro lens will give you a 1:1 ratio. This lens goes above and beyond that, offering a 5x maximum magnification or a 5:1 ratio. It can magnify even the smallest details in exceptional quality. If you’re shooting miniature insects or other incredibly small subjects, this lens will make the colors and small details come to life. When looking for the best lens for macro photography, this Canon lens should be among your top choices.

Specs

  • Mount: Canon EF
  • Focal length: 65mm
  • Max/min aperture: f/2.8 – 16
  • Maximum Magnification: 5.0x
  • Minimum focusing distance: 9.45in (24cm)
  • Image stabilization: No
  • Dimensions: 3.19 x 3.86in (81 x 98mm)
  • Weight: 1.56lbs (710g)

PROS

  • Solid build
  • Floating lens system 
  • E-TTL II automatic flash system
  • Super Spectra coating
  • Removable rotating tripod collar

CONS

  • Manual focus only 
  • Very low depth-of-field
4.5
4.9/5
Canon_MP-E_65mm_f2.8_Macro


4.6
4.9/5
Best value-for-money macro lens
When talking about the best macro lenses for Canon cameras, we would be amiss if we didn’t mention Tamron’s 90mm f/2.8 macro lens that offers both autofocus and manual focus modes. One great feature of this lens is its elements, which include one Low Dispersion and two Extra Low Dispersion glasses. These glasses, when combined, greatly reduce chromatic distortion, so macro photographers can capture beautifully clear images even when getting up close to small subjects. Other great features include its vibration control and image stabilization, which are super useful for handheld photography with live nature subjects. Tamron is known for its quality lens builds and superb image quality for a great price. This lens is without a doubt the best affordable macro lens for Canon EF mounts.

Specs

  • Weight: 1.34lbs (610g)
  • Mount: Canon EF
  • Focal length: 90mm
  • Max/min aperture: f/2.8 – 32
  • Maximum Magnification: 1.0x
  • Minimum focusing distance: 11.81in (30cm)
  • Image stabilization: Yes, 3.5 stops
  • Dimensions: 3.11 x 4.94in (79 x 125.5mm)
    •  

PROS

  • Great budget macro lens
  • Weather-sealed

CONS

  • Some autofocus complaints from Canon users
  • Potential lens flare issues


3.7
4.9/5
Most versatile third-party macro lens
Sigma is another worthy contender when you’re looking for macro lenses for Canon cameras. Two of the best features of this Sigma lens are its versatility and incredible image quality. The floating elements in this lens give an image quality that rivals that of some Canon, Nikon, or Sony lenses. It’s also a fantastic macro lens for both portraiture and small wildlife photography. Additionally, food photographers who want a macro effect can also make use of this lens as it’s great for capturing 45-degree angle shots. Another reason this lens should be among your top choices is that it comes at a surprisingly affordable price. This makes it the best cheap macro lens for Canon cameras. Despite its lower price point, it has great durability and includes features that normally only come in more expensive, branded lenses.

Specs

  • Mount: Canon EF
  • Focal length: 105mm
  • Max/min aperture: f/2.8 – 22
  • Maximum Magnification: 1.0x
  • Minimum focusing distance: 1.02ft (31.2cm)
  • Image stabilization: Yes
  • Dimensions: 3.08 x 4.98in (78.3 x 126.4mm)
  • Weight: 1.6lbs (725g)

PROS

  • Great budget macro lens
  • Maintains incredible image quality through max to min apertures
  • Splash-resistant 
  • Super Multi-Layer Coating to reduce lens flare

CONS

  • Slow and loud autofocus
  • Lens extends while focusing


How To Choose The Best Lens For Macro Photography?

Before rushing out to buy a macro lens, it’s important to know what factors to consider. Keep in mind that your subject will determine which lens you’ll need.

Reproduction Ratio

Many lenses claim to be macro lenses. However, according to the definition of a macro lens, it must have a reproduction ratio of at least 1:1. Some lenses even have a larger-than-life ratio, ranging from 2:1 up to 5:1. A 1:2 ratio or half life-size is also common but can’t be considered a true macro lens by definition. When looking for a macro lens, it’s important to pay attention to its reproduction ratio. For true macro photography, we recommend buying a lens with at least a 1:1 reproduction ratio or 1.0x magnification.

Focal Length

The focal length of your lens is another important factor to consider. Certain focal lengths are used for specific situations. The focal length affects your working distance (how far away you are from your subject) as well as how sharp your subject will appear in your photo. A greater working distance is crucial when capturing macro photos of miniature wildlife, and a larger focal length provides a greater working distance. With a shorter working distance, you will need to get very close to your subject. Lenses with smaller focal lengths are also typically more lightweight and less expensive, which makes them great for travel or tight budgets. Which focal length you’ll need entirely depends on what kind of photos you’re trying to capture or what your subjects will be.

Subjects

Macro lenses vary in their elements and properties, so some are better suited to specific situations than others. Which macro lens is best for you will depend on what your subject is – let’s go through a few common subjects and the best lenses for each circumstance.

Insects

Small wildlife is the most common subject in macro photography. When you get greatly magnified images of these tiny creatures, you can see incredible details that are undetectable by the human eye. The best macro lenses for taking photos of small insects typically have a larger focal length, such as a 180mm macro lens. However, a lens with a shorter focal length and better reproduction ratio, like a 65mm macro lens with 5.0x magnification, can also take great macro photos of insects.

Product

Product photography is often done with macro lenses, especially with smaller products such as jewelry. Macro lenses can provide beautiful images of products, creating an almost surreal effect. A medium focal length is recommended for product photography, such as a 100mm or 105mm macro lens. For commercial-level product photography, a tilt-shift lens is highly recommended – check out 135mm or 90mm tilt-shift macro lenses.

Portraits

Macro lenses are often used in portrait photography because they have an incredibly sharp focus and can maintain that focus while getting up close to your subject. This makes them especially ideal for headshots or chest-up shots. One thing to keep in mind is that macro lenses typically come in darker apertures, so good lighting is crucial. However, this shouldn’t be a problem as long as you are shooting in well-lit environments. Which is the best macro lens for portraiture largely comes down to what kind of portraits you want to capture, as well as the available lighting. Professional photographers say the best focal lengths for portraits are 85mm, 90mm, or 100mm.

Food

In food photography, macro lenses are used because of their ability to create mouth-watering photos of your dish. This is due to their short working distance, which allows you to get super up-close shots of individual details or special ingredients. Many food photographers say a macro lens is indispensable when you are looking to upgrade your kit. If you want to purchase a macro lens for capturing up-close photos of your food, a 60mm lens is highly recommended. Other great focal lengths are 100mm or 105mm.

Final Thoughts

Macro lenses have greater magnification and higher definition than standard lenses. This allows photographers to get up close to miniature subjects and capture larger-than-life snapshots in beautiful detail. Which macro lens you should go for largely depends on what style you’re aiming to achieve and what your subject is. Whether you’re a portrait, food, nature, or product photographer, macro lenses can provide gorgeously clear images with background blur that will make your subject stand out.


4.8
5/5
Best EF mount macro lens


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