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Home » Lenses » Best Macro Lens for Canon in 2020 (10 Top Picks)

Best Macro Lens for Canon in 2020 (10 Top Picks)

Today, we shall be looking at the best macro lenses for Canon mount. A macro lens is usually the first special purpose lens that an amateur photographer dabbles into beyond the kit and the standard prime lens. The reason is simple. While there is a limited opportunity to use telephoto lenses in real life situations, with a macro lens one never runs out of subjects to photograph. With a macro lens, the whole world around us gets a fresh new perspective, just waiting to be captured.

There are a number of other ways to shoot macro photos. A photographer doesn’t always need a dedicated macro lens. These include close-focusing lenses, extension tubes and lens reversing adapter rings. For the best results, however, and for professional quality output, a dedicated macro lens is the best option.

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ProductDetails
Canon EF 100mm f/2.8L IS USM Macro LensCanon EF 100mm f/2.8L IS USM Macro Lens
  • Canon’s most popular macro
  • Great balance of focal length & magnification
  • 1:1 ratio
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Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro USM LensCanon EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro USM Lens
  • Non-stabilized
  • Affordable
  • Bestseller
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Canon MP-E 65mm f/2.8 1-5X MacroCanon MP-E 65mm f/2.8 1-5X Macro
  • Manual focus
  • 1:1 ratio
  • 5x magnification
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Canon EF 180mm f/3.5L Macro USM LensCanon EF 180mm f/3.5L Macro USM Lens
  • 1:1 ratio
  • No color fringing
  • Good color contrast
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Canon EF-S 60mm f/2.8 Macro USMCanon EF-S 60mm f/2.8 Macro USM
  • For APS-C cameras
  • 1:1 ratio
  • Auto-focusing
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Sigma 105mm F2.8 EX DG OS HSM MacroSigma 105mm F2.8 EX DG OS HSM Macro
  • 1:1 ratio
  • Optical stabilization
  • Auto & manual focus
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Tamron AF 90mm f/2.8 Di SP A/M 1:1 Macro LensTamron AF 90mm f/2.8 Di SP A/M 1:1 Macro Lens
  • 1:1 ratio
  • Lightweight
  • Auto & manual focus
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Tamron SP 90mm F/2.8 Di VC USD 1:1 MacroTamron SP 90mm F/2.8 Di VC USD 1:1 Macro
  • Vibration compensation
  • Less flares & ghosting
  • Auto-focus
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Sigma 70mm f/2.8 DG Macro Art LensSigma 70mm f/2.8 DG Macro Art Lens
  • First Sigma Macro
  • For Canon EF & EF-S mount
  • Auto-focusing
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Sigma 150mm f/2.8 EX DG OS HSM Macro LensSigma 150mm f/2.8 EX DG OS HSM Macro Lens
  • Get close up
  • 1:1 ratio
  • Good sharpness
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Note: Canon EF lenses work with full frame and APS-C Canon DSLR cameras. The Canon EFS lenses are designed for the smaller sensor found on the Canon APS-C cameras (see more details about this below).

We start this discussion with a list of proprietary Canon macro lenses, followed by a selection of third party lens options.

The Best Macro Lens for Canon

We have rated the Canon EF 100mm f/2.8L Macro Lens as the best lens for Canon DSLRs. These are the top 10 lenses (Canon & third party lenses) that made it in the list of the best macro lens for Canon in 2020:

  1. Canon EF 100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM (Editor’s Pick)
  2. Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro USM Lens
  3. Canon MP-E 65mm f/2.8 1-5x Macro Lens
  4. Canon EF 180mm f/3.5L Macro USM
  5. Canon EF-S 60mm f/2.8 Macro USM lens
  6. Sigma 105mm f/2.8 EX DG OS HSM Macro
  7. Tamron SP 90mm f/2.8 Di Macro Autofocus Lens
  8. Tamron SP 90mm f/2.8 Di Macro 1:1 VC USD lens for Canon EF
  9. Sigma 70mm f/2.8 DG Macro Art lens for Canon EF
  10. Sigma 150mm f/2.8 EX DG OS HSM APO Macro lens

First up is the Canon EF 100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM.

1. Canon EF 100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM

Canon EF 100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM
Canon EF 100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM

The Canon EF 100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM is probably one lens that most macro photography enthusiasts have already seen in action. Be it while making images with it or actual images shot with it and then published online. This is one of Canon’s more popular special purpose lenses. At 100mm it gives the right balance between focal length and magnification that ensures that a photographer has almost everything covered as a macro photographer.

The maximum aperture of the lens is f/2.8. The lens consists of a total of 15 elements arranged in 12 groups. The internal construction of the lens includes one Ultra-low dispersion element. Additionally, the lens also comes with a super spectra coating. This Canon technology evolved out of Canon’s strict benchmark for accurate color reproduction.

Add to all these the fact that the lens also includes an Ultra-Low Dispersion element. This element takes care of chromatic aberrations (color fringing) and helps to produce a better overall color reproduction.

The lens produces a 1:1 reproduction of a subject (or life-size).  It features a powerful image stabilization feature too. This is rated to up to 2 stops. So, in most lighting situations and specially when focusing at 1:1 working distance one can use up to two stops slower shutter speed than what the camera’s metering system would recommend. When focusing at a longer distance (sub 1:1 aspect ratio) a photographer would be able to use four-stops of image stabilization.

The EF 100mm f/2.8L IS USM is powered by a ring-type ultra-sonic auto-focusing motor. This AF motor is quieter and more reliable than the older micro-motor type AF mechanism that Canon lenses sported. This technology is backed up by a full-time manual focusing override.

The lens feature internal focusing mechanism. Internal focusing ensures that the barrel length of the lens does not change when focusing. This is suitable for macro photography because a barrel that changes length when focusing can scare away insects and other creepy crawlies.

Still, on the subject of focusing, there is a focus delimiting switch. This allows the photographer to set the focusing range as per requirement. A limited focusing range allows the lens to spend less time hunting for focus and therefore should be able to produce images quicker than traditional lenses without a focus delimiter switch.

However, it is imperative to note that the advantage will only be apparent when shooting in a smaller focusing range if the subject is at infinity, then the focusing motor will shuffle between 11.8″ to infinity to lock focus.

Note the L moniker. It means this lens is designed well. It comes with weather sealing and should be able to handle inclement weather well.

Canon EF 100mm f/2.8L IS USM Macro Lens for Canon Digital SLR Cameras, Lens Only
  • 100 mm focal length and 1:2.8 maximum aperture. The EF1.4X II/EF2X II extenders cannot be used with this lens. There are no...
  • Lens construction consists of 15 elements in 12 groups
  • 23.4-Degree diagonal angle of view
  • Inner focusing system with USM and full-time manual focus option.Closest focusing distance 0.99 ft./0.3m (maximum close-up...
  • 67 mm filter size.Filter Size:58mm.Lens hood:ET-73

2. Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro USM Lens

Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro USM Lens
Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro USM Lens

This is the non-stabilized version of the Canon EF lens that we discussed before. Both these lenses share a lot of their features. They have the same maximum aperture of f/2.8, they have the same focal length and similar optics. That said, there are some major difference as well.

The most notable difference is that this particular lens does not have image stabilization. The lack of image stabilization is a big factor no doubt. But if a photographer always shoots macro photos with a tripod or almost never shoot handheld, then this is not going to be a problem anyway. The other difference, and this is something that one is will likely miss, is the build quality. Being an L lens the first one is able to withstand inclement weather better. Compared to that the lens in question will not survive bad weather at all.

The internal construction of the lens constitutes 12 elements arranged in 8 groups. It includes one ultra-low dispersion element. This ensures that the lens is able to take care of the issues of color fringing which plagues wide aperture lenses. The lens also comes with Super Spectra coating that suppresses flares and ghosting issues.

Auto-focusing on the lens is powered by a ring-type USM auto-focusing technology. The focusing system is internal, thanks to the floating focusing technology used in the lens. This is the same as the L series lens discussed above. This lens too comes with full-time manual focusing override which allows a photographer to precisely lock focus even though the AF motor is engaged.

Another feature that is common between the two 100mm f/2.8 Macro lenses is the focus delimiter button. The focus delimiter button allows the lens’ focusing mechanism to limit hunting for focus within a predefined range, usually smaller.

Finally, the pricing factor. With the two lenses separated by only about $200 that makes the L lens a better buy compared to the non-stabilized lens.

Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro USM Fixed Lens for Canon SLR Cameras
  • 100mm macro USM lens with f/2.8 maximum aperture for Canon SLR cameras
  • Focal length: 100mm, Closest focusing distance : 1 foot (film plane to subject)
  • Secondary diaphragm blocks stray light at f/2.8 for increased contrast, Ultra-sonic monitor provides outstanding autofocusing...
  • 3-group floating system for exceptional close-up performance; full-time manual focus
  • Measures 3.1 inches in diameter and 4.7 inches long; weighs 21.1 ounces; 1-year warranty

3. Canon MP-E 65mm f/2.8 1-5x Macro Lens

Canon MP-E 65mm f/2.8 1-5x Macro Lens
Canon MP-E 65mm f/2.8 1-5x Macro Lens

There is something distinctly old-world about manual focusing lenses. They tend to give us a glimpse of what it used to be manually focusing a lens every time one needs to make an image. When it comes to macro photography, most lenses are manually focused anyways, most of the times. Therefore, unless one is absolutely hell-bent on using auto-focusing, 100% of the time, one will not miss it.

As regards the lens in question, focusing elements feature a floating design. Speaking of focus this lens gives 1:1 aspect ratio of true life size and more. The full capability of the lens is to provide 5:1 or 5x magnification of any subject that is focused at.

The Canon MP-E 65mm f/2.8 1-5x Macro lens has a maximum aperture of f/2.8. The internal construction of the lens constitutes a total of 10 elements that have been arranged in 8 groups. These include one ultra-low dispersion element that helps reduce the effects of color fringing and therefore improving the overall color reproduction and the sharpness of the images.

The overall design of the lens ensures it is able to focus properly producing sharp results regardless of the focusing distance.

The aperture diaphragm of the lens is constituted of 6 blades. The lens includes a Super Spectra Coating as well. This coating as has already been discussed elsewhere on this page, helps in suppressing ghosting and flares especially when shooting wide open.

The main issues of this lens, ironically, seems to be also its strength – the huge magnification. The extent of magnification possible with this lens is 5x. Thus, it is possible to not only get a fantastically close view of the scene, but it also means unless the photographer has paid attention to cleaning the subject (product photography, etc.) s/he is likely going to capture an incredible amount of dust and stuff that s/he doesn’t want o see in the final image don’t want to see in the final image.

4. Canon EF 180mm f/3.5L Macro USM

Canon EF 180mm f/3.5L Macro USM
Canon EF 180mm f/3.5L Macro USM

The standard focal length that is widely used for macro photography is around 100mm. The longest non-Canon focal length that we have discussed here is the Sigma 150mm f/2.8. Detailed under Best macro lenses for Canon (third party choices). The EF 180mm f/3.5L Macro USM breaks that record.

The EF 180mm f/3.5L Macro USM is able to produce 1:1 (or life-size reproduction) of a scene on to a full frame image sensor.

The maximum aperture of the lens is f/3.5. This is on the slower side compared to the f/2.8 lenses that we have been reading about. The lens aperture diaphragm is composed of 8 rounded aperture blades. This produces nice rounded bokeh.

This is a complex lens. The internal construction of the lens consists of 14 elements arranged in 12 groups. This includes three ultra-low dispersion elements which help in suppressing color fringing and improves color contrast as well as overall sharpness.

Super Spectra coating on the lens ensures that the lens is able to suppress flares and ghosting which becomes a major issue when shooting in bright light especially when shooting wide open. Overall the lens is very sharp. The lens does feature a USM technology, however, auto-focusing speed is not as fast as one would come to expect out of typical USM lenses.

It is pertinent to mention here that the lens features a floating design. This technology ensures superior focusing at any focusing range. This being an internally focusing lens helps things too. The front element does not move when the lens focuses which means small subjects like insects etc. will not be intimidated when the lens gets too close. Additionally, the lens features full-time manual focusing override.

Finally, the lens has a focus delimiter switch as well. Toggle it between the different markers and the lens would be able to focus on anything between the whole focusing range and the different shorter focusing limits as available on the delimiter switch.

A utility that every macro shooter wants to have in a macro lens is the ability to shoot in any kind of weather. This particular lens is an L series glass is able to work in most situations without much of an issue.

Finally, a physical attribute of the lens that needs mentioning is the detachable tripod ring. This tripod ring is provided with the lens. This is useful for shooting with a tripod system and helps produce more stable images.

Canon EF 180mm f3.5L Macro USM AutoFocus Telephoto Lens for Canon SLR Cameras
  • 180mm macro lens with f/3.5 maximum aperture for Canon SLR cameras
  • 3 UD glass elements and internal floating system combine to minimize aberrations
  • Advanced ultra-sonic monitor (USM) for high-speed, quiet autofocusing
  • Focusing distance range of 1.57 feet to infinity; supports EF Extender 1.4x and 2x
  • Measures 3.2 inches in diameter and 7.3 inches long; weighs 2.4 pounds; 1-year warranty

5. Canon EF-S 60mm f/2.8 Macro USM lens

5. Canon EF-S 60mm f/2.8 Macro USM lens
5. Canon EF-S 60mm f/2.8 Macro USM lens

This is the only lens in this discussion that has been designed for the smaller crop sensor APS-C cameras such as the Canon EOS 80D and the Rebel series cameras. This lens has an image circle that is optimized for the smaller sensor.

The EF-S 60mm f/2.8 gives a 1:1 perspective or life-size perspective when shooting small subjects. The internal construction of the lens includes a total of 12 elements arranged in 8 groups. The lens incorporates Canon’s Super Spectra coating technology.

Auto-focusing on the lens is powered by Canon’s ring-type USM AF motor. Speaking of focusing, the lens features an internal focusing technology which ensures that the barrel length does not extend whilst focusing.

The aperture diaphragm of the lens is constituted of 7 blades. Though a 9 blade aperture diaphragm is probably the ideal design for best quality bokeh, a 7 blade aperture diaphragm still produces decent results.

Then again, bokeh isn’t the reason for which one would be looking to buy a macro lens. What one would be looking to do is shoot with a small aperture to get a large depth of field. Unless of course a photographer is shooting something dead quiet and using the focus stacking method, in which case one would probably be shooting with a tripod and using several focus bracketed shots (focus adjusted slightly after each exposure) at the same f-number. That is also the reason why despite many of the lenses discussed here capable of shooting at f/2.8 one would likely be shooting at f/8, f/11 or smaller.

Canon EF-S 60mm f/2.8 Macro USM Fixed Lens for Canon SLR Cameras
  • 60mm macro lens with f/2.8 maximum aperture for EOS digital SLR cameras
  • 25-degree angle of view is equivalent to 96mm lens on 35mm camera
  • Focal length : 60mm, Closest focusing distance : 0.65 feet
  • Floating optical system can focus down to life-size 1:1 magnification
  • Silent and powerful ring-type ultra-sonic monitor (USM) for autofocusing

A Word on EF and EF-S Lenses

Lens buying isn’t as easy as it seems. Most newbie DSLR (as well as DSLT and MILC) buyers think they should leave the whole decision-making process for lens buying to the store owner or the manufacturer. Whatever lens the camera comes bundled with is often considered good enough. That’s what the common thinking tends to be.

The reason behind this is somewhat attributable to the millions of different acronyms and terminologies that one has to be familiar with before one can come to a conclusion. For Canon users, the first thing that they need to understand is the difference between an EF lens and an EF-S lens.

Related Post: Best Macro Cameras (Top Picks in 2019)

EF Lenses

Canon’s EF lenses are designed for the full-frame sensor cameras. These lenses are optimized to cover the full width of the 35mm sensor size (36mm x 24mm) on Canon’s DSLR and older SLR (film) cameras. In other words, the image circle inside these lenses should cover the standard 35mm sensor. A little bit of vignetting is unavoidable but that is marginal when compared to the vignetting on an EF-S lens.

EF-S Lenses

EF-S lenses, on the other hand, are designed for the smaller (and therefore compact) series DSLRs designed by Canon. These cameras have a much smaller sensor on them. Approximate size is 22.5mm x 15mm (EOS 80D). The smaller sensor makes it illogical to use larger EF lenses on them because in anyways much of the light will not be used.

It is much more useful to produce smaller lenses. Smaller in the sense they have a smaller image circle to cover the size of the smaller sensor. These lenses are lighter, and also cheaper to manufacture.

The biggest difference between EF and EF-S lenses is the image circle they cover. Therefore while EF lenses are compatible on all modern EOS cameras. These cameras have a digital coupling that connects the lens with the camera body so that information can pass to and fro between the lens and the camera body. This includes both APS-C and full-frame systems. EF-S lenses, on the other hand, are practical only on smaller APS-C cameras.

Theoretically (and practically), one cannot use an EF-S lens on a full-frame camera like an EOS 5D Mark IV. Canon EOS mounts are designed in a way so that it prevents this. That is however, possible on a Nikon body (that is, use a crop lens on a full-frame body) but the vignetting will be a huge issue.

Plus, one will also lose a lot of resolution because the entire sensor real estate is no longer utilized. Imagine buying a full-frame Nikon and then mounting a crop lens on it. It will be like driving ones new Lamborghini Huracan 3 blocks to pick up groceries. It is possible but not practical. We will discuss the Nikon bit at some other time.

And just in case if you are wondering how much will be the resulting megapixel if one mounts a crop lens on a full-frame camera, then there is actually a formula for that. Divide the megapixel of the full-frame camera (MP) by the square of the crop factor (SC) and one can get the effective megapixel.

Enough on EF and EF-S lenses, and the possibility and probability of mounting a crop lens on a full-frame camera and vice versa. Let’s get back to what we have been out to find out. We have looked at the best Canon proprietary lenses for macro photography. Now let’s take a look at some of the best third party lenses for the Canon EOS mount.

Related Post: Best Macro Lenses for Nikon in 2020

Best Macro Lenses for Canon (third party choices)

6. Sigma 105mm f/2.8 EX DG OS HSM Macro

Sigma 105mm f/2.8 EX DG OS HSM Macro
Sigma 105mm f/2.8 EX DG OS HSM Macro

A number of acronyms are associated with this lens. This is a Sigma lens and some users have complained about the weight of Sigma lenses. Let me assure you that the weight of a typical Sigma lens may be slightly on the higher side, but Canon L series lenses are not far behind in this regard.

This particular lens, for example, weighs 726 grams. On the other hand, the Canon EF f/2.8L Macro IS USM is 625 grams. You are in all probability going to shoot with a tripod or a monopod, so this should not be a matter for concern.

The internal construction of the lens includes 16 elements arranged in 11 groups. There are 9 diaphragm blades which promise a nice bokeh.

This particular lens is capable of producing 1:1 (or life-size) reproduction of a subject on to an image sensor. That makes the Sigma 105mm f/2.8 a true macro lens. There are many aspects that work for this lens. It comes with OS (Optical Stabilization), a first for Sigma’s line of macro lenses. So, technically, one can hand-hold the lens. Though, ideally, one should be using a tripod as much as possible.

There are a few buttons on the lens body. These are the OS, AF / M, and Focus Range Delimiter. The OS option comes with three possible modes. A photographer can choose to keep it switched off, or set it to Mode 1 or 2. The first mode is the traditional optical stabilization. The second mode is designed for panning. That is when shooting a subject that is moving horizontally and the camera is moving with it, any vertical hand movement will be compensated for.

Traditionally, macro lenses are seldom used for moving subjects as because even the slightest movement becomes exaggerated at such close working distances.

Then there is the Focus option which can be toggled between AF and M. Finally, the Focus Delimiter button which can be toggled between 0.45m to infinity. This basically lets one to set the focus hunting range to a minimum (or maximum) depending on the subject that one is photographing.

Sigma has incorporated the HSM (Hyper Sonic Motor) technology in this lens. Use of the lens in practical situations shows that the focusing is very quiet and accurate. However, focusing speed isn’t as fast as we would have expected. OS can be a bit noisy. So, if one is using a tripod and keep OS switched off, s/he would be able to bypass the OS noise.

Specific control of a macro lens mainly indicates control of the manual focusing ring. Thus, it is imperative that the manual focusing ring is extremely well dampened and gives solid feedback as you turn it either way. The manual focusing ring of the Sigma 105mm f/2.8 is very smooth. It does give beautiful feedback and makes it easy to make micro-adjustments.

Finally, a word on the lens sharpness. The lens is sharp but not in the same league as some of the other sharp macro lenses for the Canon mount, specifically, the Canon EF 100mm f/2.8L IS USM and the Carl Zeiss Makro – Planar T 100mm f/2 ZE. DxOMark gives the Sigma 105mm f/2.8 a lens sharpness rating of 20 megapixels when used with the Canon 5D Mark IV.

Sigma 105mm F2.8 EX DG OS HSM Macro Lens for Canon SLR Camera
  • Designed for use with full frame digital SLR cameras. May also be used with smaller APS-c size sensors with a corresponding...
  • Focuses down to 1:1 magnification ratio at its closest working distance of 12.3 inches
  • A hood adapter, lens hood, front & rear lens caps are included with the lens
  • Filter size 62mm

7. Tamron SP 90mm f/2.8 Di Macro Autofocus Lens

Tamron SP 90mm f/2.8 Di Macro Autofocus Lens
Tamron SP 90mm f/2.8 Di Macro Autofocus Lens

The Tamron SP 90mm f/2.8 Di Macro is designed for the Canon (full-frame) as well as the Nikon mount systems. We are going to take a look at the Canon version for the EF mount. Please note Di stands for Digitally Integrated Design. These lenses are developed keeping in mind the needs for digital SLR cameras.

The construction of the lens includes 10 elements arranged in 9 groups. This lens too comes with 9 diaphragm blades which promise a very nice bokeh quality.

The Tamron SP 90mm f/2.8 Di gives 1:1 perspective or life-size reproduction of the subject that one is photographing. The first thing that one is likely going to notice is the weight of the lens. The lens is extremely light.

At just 405 grams it is significantly lighter than the Canon EF f/2.8L Macro IS USM as well as the Sigma 105mm f/2.8 EX DG OS HSM that we discussed above. Thus lugging this piece of equipment when hiking is going to be that much easier.

To change from auto to manual focusing and vice versa one needs to use push or pull the focus clutch mechanism. This allows the auto-focusing mechanism to disengage. The blue ring will appear suggesting that the lens has been set to manual focusing. It is now possible to manually change focusing.

Speaking of which the manual focusing ring of the lens is smooth. This is important because it helps in getting better control over the focusing aspect. And in anyways you would be using manual focusing a majority of the time.

The lens has an interesting focus delimiting function. It is a dial instead of a toggle button. Though this is queer, it is not impractical. Just that it takes a bit of getting used to.

The lens does not have image stabilization. This is one major point of difference between this lens and the Tamron SP 90mm f/2.8 Di Macro VC USD, the other lens that Tamron manufacturers.

A fast wide aperture ensures that the lens captures a decent amount of light. This is of paramount importance. Especially when these lenses work within a small distance from the subject and that means they are likely going to obstruct some of the light.

Additionally, as is the case with most photographers, they prefer to work with a small aperture and thereby expand the depth of field. But on the flip side, this approach tends to reduce the amount of light reaching the sensor.

Tamron AF 90mm f/2.8 Di SP A/M 1:1 Macro Lens for Canon Digital SLR Cameras (Model...
  • Optimally Tuned USD Actuator for Macro Photography with Manual Override for Instantaneous Focus Control

8. Tamron SP 90mm f/2.8 Di Macro 1:1 VC USD lens for Canon EF

Tamron SP 90mm f/2.8 Di Macro 1:1 VC USD lens for Canon EF
Tamron SP 90mm f/2.8 Di Macro 1:1 VC USD lens for Canon EF

The Tamron SP 90mm f/2.8 Di Macro 1:1 VC USD lens is the VC (Vibration Compensation or Optical Image Stabilization as it is referred to by Tamron) equipped lens. If you absolutely need VC this is the one you need rather than the plain vanilla version that we discussed above. The image stabilization is rated at 3.5 stops, which ensure that a photographer can use a shutter speed up to 3.5 stops slower than what is normally required in a given lighting situation.

The lens has a wide open aperture of f/2.8 (same as the non-stabilized version).

The elements of the lens consist of one Low Dispersion (LD) glass and two Extra Low Dispersion (XLD) glass. Apart from these the lens also constitutes an eBAND unit, BBAR and fluorine coating. The first two coatings ensure that the lens suffers as less from flares and ghosting as possible. The fluorine coating ensures that the lens does not become a dust and smudge magnet. The lens, however, is not weather sealed. It has some amount of moisture resistance but it will not be able to withstand a torrential downpour or snowfall. Meaning, this is not an all-weather lens.

There are a total of 14 elements arranged in 11 groups. The aperture diaphragm of the lens is constituted by 9 rounded aperture blades. Theoretically, that should produce nice rounded bokeh.

Auto-focusing on the lens is powered by a ring-type USD AF motor.  The AF motor is supported by a USD actuator which ensures that the lens is able to focus more precisely when working at extremely close distances, something that is expected of a macro lens.

The AF motor allows full-time manual focusing override as well. This means even when the AF motor is engaged you can grab the manual focusing ring and turn it to precisely lock focus.

Just as the previous non-stabilized lens, the SP 90mm f/2.8 Di Macro 1:1 VC USD gives 1:1 or life-size reproduction of any subject on to the sensor. That said, when you print that same image on to a photo paper the image becomes larger than life because the small sensor packs in a lot of resolution and that produces a large image when printed at 300 DPI.

Tamron SP 90mm F/2.8 Di VC USD 1:1 Macro Lens for Nikon Cameras (Tamron 6 Year...
  • Moisture-Proof and Dust-Resistant Construction
  • Durable Fluorine Coating on the front element repels water and fingerprints
  • Advanced coating technology reduces flare and ghosting
  • Circular aperture to achieve beautiful, rounded blur effects (bokeh)
  • VC enhanced with shift compensation

9. Sigma 70mm f/2.8 DG Macro Art lens for Canon EF

Sigma 70mm f/2.8 DG Macro Art lens for Canon EF
Sigma 70mm f/2.8 DG Macro Art lens for Canon EF

We next discuss the 70mm Macro Art series lens from Sigma. Sigma has launched this lens recently and it is the first macro lens in the Art series. It shares the same focal length as the older (and now discontinued) Sigma 70mm f/2.8 EX DG Macro. Since the new Art series lens is a new product some of its performance related issues will remain unanswered. We will try and update this when we have a better idea of the lens’ actual performance.

This being a short focal length lens gets close enough for the purpose of capturing a large enough perspective. 70mm is also suitable for the purpose of shooting some portraits, especially with an EF-S camera where the effective focal length becomes the equivalent of a 112mm lens (1.6x crop factor) mounted on a full-frame camera.

The lens is compatible with both Canon’s EF and EF-S mount cameras. The maximum aperture of the lens is f/2.8 while it can stop down all the way to f/22. The internal construction of the lens constitutes a total of 13 elements arranged in 10 groups. This includes two FLD units which are cheaper compared to the standard (and naturally occurring) fluorite and has a performance that is comparable.

Auto-focusing is powered by a DC motor. The motor has a reliable auto-focusing performance. Plus, the lens also gets a full-time manual focusing override.

The lens diaphragm is constituted of 9 rounded blades. This produces a rounded lens aperture and the bokeh quality is very pleasing.

Flares and ghosting are two aspects that plague wide aperture lenses. Manufacturers use a multitude of technologies to ensure that this is suppressed. This particular lens comes with the Super Multi-Layer coating that ensures that flares and ghosting is suppressed as much as possible.

Also included are SLD elements and one anomalous partial dispersion elements. The lens also includes two aspherical elements. These elements suppress chromatic aberrations. Suppressed chromatic aberrations result in improved image sharpness and better color reproduction.

Sigma has utilized TSC or Thermally Stable Composite materials which do not change the form, expand or contract when the temperature fluctuates. Therefore this lens can be used in extreme temperatures without much of an issue.

10. Sigma 150mm f/2.8 EX DG OS HSM APO Macro lens

Sigma 150mm f/2.8 EX DG OS HSM APO Macro lens
Sigma 150mm f/2.8 EX DG OS HSM APO Macro lens

A long macro lens allows a photographer to get pretty close to a subject from a comfortable working distance and yet captures a life-size reproduction that separates a macro lens from a close focusing lens or anything else. The Sigma 150mm f/2.8 EX DG OS HSM APO fits that bill perfectly. That said the 150mm is slightly longer than the usual 105mm or the smaller 70mm focal lengths that most photographers tend to use. In that sense, the 150mm is an acquired taste.

This is a 150mm lens which gives a lot of room to aim at small creepy crawlies, butterflies, moths and anything else with wings and not scare them off. And it gives a 1:1 life-size reproduction of a subject. To add to that the lens enjoys a sharpness rating of 21 and a DxOMark score of 30 when mounted and tested with a Canon EOS 5DS R.

The lens consists of a total of 19 elements arranged in 13 groups. These include special low dispersion glass elements which control fringing and bleeding and help produce an image that is sharper and more saturated.

The diaphragm of the lens constitutes 9 aperture blades which ensures a nice background blur.

The construction showcases a floating internal focusing mechanism. The front element of the lens is non-rotating. That means if circular polarizers and variable ND filters are used it is much easier to get them dialed in precisely.

The lens features optical image stabilization. 4 stops of it. One can use up to 4 stops slower shutter speed compared to what the ideal shutter speed should be depending on the exposure settings dialed in and the light meter is reading.

There are three OS modes on the lens. Including the ‘OS-Off’ mode. The first one corrects any type of movement regardless of the direction the camera is moving. The second mode is all about correcting the movements that are vertical and is best used when panning with the lens.

Auto-focusing on the lens is powered by an HSM (Hyper Sonic Motor). AF performance is fairly accurate and quick. The lens also get a manual focusing override. A macro lens with a manual focusing override is very handy as half the time one would be relying on manual focusing to nail focus.

That said, sometimes the lens does not tend to focus accurately. Sometimes, it tends to wander off. This happens mostly in low light situations and in scenes which have a shortage of contrast to lock on.

The one thing that probably discounts this lens from becoming the quintessential go-to macro lens, is its weight. At 1.18 kilos this is quite hefty. Not too hefty when compared to some of the super telephoto lenses, even though it is made of plastic rather than metal.

Sigma 150mm f/2.8 EX DG HSM APO HSM IF Macro Lens for Canon SLR Cameras
  • Telephoto macro lens with Canon AF mount
  • Special low-dispersion glass for high image quality
  • 150-millimeter focal length
  • f2.8 maximum aperture
  • Ultra-quiet high-speed autofocus with full-time manual focus override
What is the best Canon macro lens?

The Canon EF 100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM is definitely a highly rated lens and one that produces optimum sharpness and image quality. It is also in that perfectly good balance point of price, performance and focal length that makes it a good buy. But if you are not under any budget constraints then you can look at the Zeiss Milvus 100mm f/2.

What is the best third party macro lens for Canon DSLRs?

The Tamron SP AF 90mm F/2.8 Di Macro (for Canon) pits the competition in a stiff battle for the best third party macro lens for Canon DSLRs.

Which is the cheapest OEM Canon Macro lens?

The Canon EF-S 35mm f/2.8 Macro IS STM is the cheapest Canon made macro lens. The lens is designed for the APS-C Canon DSLRs. It comes with image stabilization and offers 1:1 perspective.

Manual focus vs auto-focus lenses

A majority of the times photographers use manual focusing. So, technically speaking it does not really matter whether a lens auto-focuses or not. But it is still a feature that a lot of photographers use for the initial focus lock before switching to manual for fine tuning. That said, it is great to have full-time manual focus override.

Can I Use a 50mm Prime lens for macro photography?

A 50mm prime is a versatile lens for most everyday shooting situations. However, in its normal mounting position it is not the most ideal lens for shooting macro photos.

Are longer focal length the best for macro photography?

Yes. Longer the focal length of a macro lens the more working room the photographer has. That prevents the photographer accidentally coming between the light source and the subject being photographed. This is provided of course that the lens offers a true macro perspective.

What is the best aperture to shoot macro photography?

The best macro photography aperture will depend on the subject and the photographer’s idea of a great image of it. Usually, a shallow depth of field is not recommended when shooting a product like a wedding ring. But one can always use focus stacking techniques to produce an incredibly sharp image even with a wide open aperture.


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