If you want to learn macro photography, you need a specialist macro lens; these offer special features, such as a closer minimum focusing distance.
Fortunately, there are plenty of low-cost options perfect for the beginner macro photographer! In this article, we’ve listed 10 of the best budget macro lenses for your consideration, including lenses from Canon, Nikon, and Sony. Enjoy!
The Best Budget Macro Lenses: Our Picks
- 1. Canon RF 35mm f/1.8 IS Macro STM
- 2. Canon RF 85mm f/2 Macro IS STM
- 3. Canon EF-M 28mm f/3.5 Macro IS STM
- 4. Sigma 105mm f/2.8 Macro for Canon
- 5. Nikon Z MC 50mm f/2.8
- 6. Nikon AF-S FX Micro 60mm f/2.8G ED
- 7. Nikon AF-S Micro 105mm f/2.8G IF-ED VR
- 8. Nikon AF-S DX Micro 40mm f/2.8G
- 9. Sony FE 50mm f/2.8 Macro
- 10. Sony E 30mm f/3.5 Macro
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1. Canon RF 35mm f/1.8 IS Macro STM
The Canon RF 35mm f/1.8 IS Macro STM offers great quality for stationary macro shots, assuming you can get close to your subject.
Currently, Canon EOS R camera system owners do not have a huge choice of lenses. As a result, one of the best budget macro lenses for EOS R cameras is the Canon RF 35mm f/1.8 IS Macro STM.
This is a midrange lens and one of the cheaper options in the RF series. At 35mm, you will have to get very close to your subject; as a result, it’s better suited for still life or abstract macro shots as opposed to moving subjects like insects. However, it also has a magnification ratio of 1:2, and a minimum focusing distance of 0.56 ft/0.17 m.
When working at shallow depths of field and a larger aperture, the built-in image stabilization will help, as will the fast and accurate STM autofocus system. We also like that this lens has a control ring that you can set for different functions like aperture or exposure compensation.
2. Canon RF 85mm f/2 Macro IS STM
The Canon RF 85mm f/2 Macro IS STM has is suitable for capturing moving subjects in great detail.
While the Canon RF 35mm f/1.8 IS Macro STM is great for stationary shots, the Canon RF 85mm f/2 Macro IS STM is a quality lens for moving subjects like insects.
This is thanks to the 85mm telephoto focal length, which lets you work from a distance without disturbing the subject. Though it still has a minimum focusing distance of 1.15 ft/0.35 m, so you can get close if you wish!
To ensure maximum detail from your macro shots, this lens has a magnification ratio of 1:2. And your photos will be pin-sharp with virtually no distortion. The aperture blades are also rounded, and at the maximum aperture of f/2, you can create beautiful bokeh effects.
Like other RF lenses, the Canon RF 85mm f/2 Macro IS STM also has a programmable control ring. This is highly useful and can make your macro photography much easier and quicker.
3. Canon EF-M 28mm f/3.5 Macro IS STM
The Canon EF-M 28mm f/3.5 Macro IS STM is a versatile macro lens with a built-in macro light.
If you have a compact mirrorless camera like the Canon EOS M50 Mark II, you’ll benefit from the specialist Canon EF-M 28mm f/3.5 Macro IS STM lens. This compact lens has some unique features that make it a great choice for macro photography.
It features a built-in macro light, which can easily be switched on or off, and offers soft lighting for your subject. As a result, you can reduce your reliance on external flashes while still capturing beautiful, bright macro shots with minimum effort.
The 28mm focal length is better suited for stationary subjects than those on the move, like insects. The lens is also capable of focusing to infinity, which gives you greater flexibility, and it has a decent magnification ratio of 1.2X.
We also like the small size of this lens; it is one of the smallest budget macro lenses available and is great for travel.
4. Sigma 105mm f/2.8 Macro for Canon
The 105mm telephoto focal length makes this an ideal option for shooting insects, small animals, and other moving subjects.
Next up we have a Canon EF lens and the Sigma 105mm f/2.8 Macro for Canon. This is one of the best macro lenses for Canon thanks to the 105mm focal length, solid build quality, and powerful features.
For example, this macro lens has a closest focusing distance of 12.3 inches and a magnification ratio of 1:1. As a result, you can expect superb detail from your macro photos.
100mm (or longer) macro lenses are often considered the best option for shooting subjects like small creatures. This is because you can shoot from a distance so you don’t have to worry about scaring away your subject by getting too close with your lens.
This is a great third-party option that many EF users will love for shooting macro photos.
5. Nikon Z MC 50mm f/2.8
The versatility of the Nikon Z MC 50mm f/2.8 makes it suitable for any type of macro shot, regardless of subject or distance.
Like the Canon RF lens series, the Nikon Z series of lenses is still developing. However, Nikon already offers some excellent macro lenses for Z-mount cameras, such as the Nikon Z MC 50mm f/2.8.
With a 50mm focal length, this macro lens offers a middle ground between telephoto and wide-angle. As a result, it can be used comfortably for various types of macro photos.
For stationary shots, the 1:1 magnification ratio means you can capture beautiful detail. This lens also has an improved optical design to boost image quality and sharpness. We also like the fluorine coating on the front glass, which will help reduce dust collection and fingerprint marks. Overall, this is a great macro lens for Nikon Z cameras, offering a versatile set of features.
6. Nikon AF-S FX Micro 60mm f/2.8G ED
The Nikon AF-S FX Micro 60mm f/2.8G ED is a solid choice for FX cameras with its midrange focal length and excellent optical quality.
One of the best budget macro lenses for Nikon full-frame DSLRs is the Nikon AF-S FX Micro 60mm f/2.8G ED.
This macro lens is compatible with both full-frame FX cameras and APS-C DX cameras. When used on DX cameras, it has an effective focal length of 90mm, which makes it a telephoto macro lens. If you use it on a full-frame camera though, the 60mm focal length is still versatile.
In terms of basic quality, this model has a great lens construction and advanced Nikkor optics. As a result, your macro shots will be sharp and have great contrast and colors. It also has a 1:1 magnification ratio and a minimum focusing distance of just 0.66 ft/0.20 m.
The maximum aperture of f/2.8 also means that you can achieve excellent background separation and create amazing bokeh effects to make your macro shots stand out.
7. Nikon AF-S Micro 105mm f/2.8G IF-ED VR
The Nikon AF-S Micro 105mm f/2.8G benefits from the 105mm focal length and a superior lens construction.
Next, we have the Nikon AF-S Micro 105mm f/2.8G IF-ED VR, one of the best macro lenses for Nikon FX cameras. At 105mm, this telephoto macro lens allows you to capture amazing detail from a relatively safe distance.
The basic specs of the Nikon AF-S Micro 105mm f/2.8G are also spot on. For example, it has a reproduction ratio of 1:1, which means you can capture outstanding detail.
For superior macro quality, the lens also has nano-crystal coatings and ED elements. This enhances image quality and reduces problematic effects like chromatic aberration and lens flare.
This may not be the smallest or lightest of macro lenses, but the focal length, optical quality, and top-notch features still make it one of the best budget macro lenses available.
8. Nikon AF-S DX Micro 40mm f/2.8G
The Nikon AF-S DX Micro 40mm f/2.8G is a lightweight, durable macro lens great for outdoor use.
The Nikon AF-S DX Micro 40mm f/2.8G is one of the best budget macro lenses for APS-C DX cameras. When used on APS-C cropped sensor cameras, it has an effective focal length of 60mm.
At this focal length, it offers a balance between close-ups and non-disturbing macro shots. It also features a 1:1 magnification ratio for excellent macro detail.
This lens also features a CRC (Close-Range Correction) system, which should improve the overall quality of your macro photos. The lens construction is also advanced, with 9 elements in 7 groups (including a series of special elements to reduce aberrations).
We also like that this compact lens is both dust and waterproof; as a result, it can comfortably be used outdoors.
9. Sony FE 50mm f/2.8 Macro
The Sony FE 50mm f/2.8 Macro offers premium quality at an affordable price.
The Sony FE 50mm f/2.8 Macro is one of the best Sony macro lenses and a top choice for E-mount cameras like the Sony A6100.
This lens is bursting with excellent macro features, including a magnification ratio of 1:1, a large maximum aperture of f/2.8, and a close-focusing distance of just 0.16 m/0.53 ft. As a result, you can capture various types of macro shots with consistent results.
The build quality and optics of the Sony FE 50mm f/2.8 Macro are also excellent. It has ED lens elements to reduce distortions and the exterior is dust and moisture-resistant. We also like that it has a focus range limiter and a focus-hold switch, both of which can be useful for macro photography.
10. Sony E 30mm f/3.5 Macro
The Sony E 30mm f/3.5 Macro allows for great close-ups due to it’s 1:1 magnification ratio.
Our last pick is the Sony E 30mm f/3.5 Macro. This is an older lens for Sony E-mount cameras; it’s one of the smallest macro lenses on this list and weighs just 0.30 lb/136 g. Therefore, it could make for a suitable travel macro lens.
This lens has a solid set of macro features, though, at 30mm, it is better suited for stationary subjects and artistic macro shots. The magnification ratio is 1:1. As a result, you can get incredibly close and capture exceptional detail in your photos.
Which Budget Macro Lens Is Right for You?
You don’t have to spend a fortune to take epic macro shots. Instead, you can invest in one of the best budget macro lenses listed above. Any of these lenses is a great place to start!
But which is a suitable choice for you? First, look at the type of camera you own (Canon, Nikon, or Sony).
You also want to consider the lens mount. For example, if you have a newer mirrorless camera, something like the Canon RF 35mm f/1.8 IS Macro STM or Nikon Z MC 50mm f/2.8 could be a viable option.
Alternatively, if you have an older full-frame or cropped sensor camera, a lens such as the Sigma 105mm f/2.8 Macro for Canon or Nikon AF-S Micro 105mm f/2.8G IF-ED VR is a great choice. Whatever lens you choose, make sure you have fun, experiment, and take some brilliant close-up photos!
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