In close-up photography, a macro lens produces consistently great results. There is of course a variety of matter that can be shot in macro form, but macro lenses are most often used for product photography, while bright colors, ﬂowers and insects generally make excellent subjects too. A macro lens could measure any focal length, but a 30-60mm range is typically used for product photography and small objects. A 90-105mm range is the standard focal range used for ﬂowers and small objects, and a 150-200mm range gives more working distance and is typically used for shooting insects and other small animals.
There are a few zoom lenses available to buy that provide a macro option, but they generally do not allow a one-to-one magniﬁcation. In macro photography, if you want detailed results then it’s best to use a narrow aperture, i.e. anything above f16. This ensures that the whole image remains sharp and in focus. But if you want to blur the background and have just one focal point in the image, then you’ll need to use a shallow depth of ﬁeld. Most macro lenses aren’t as fast as primes, and usually only open as wide as f2.8, but this should be enough. If you want to use macro lenses with a shallow depth of ﬁeld, it’s unlikely you’ll need anything much wider than f2.8.
But those who don’t want to take the plunge on a macro lens need not fear, as extension tubes are available as an alternative. Extension tubes are a fair bit cheaper than a macro lens and can be attached in between the camera and standard lens. Tubes vary in length and can be stacked, decreasing lens-to-subject distance and increasing magniﬁcation. Less light will reach the sensor with an extension tube, so a longer exposure time will be needed to compensate and a tripod will have to be used. Check out our guide below to which Canon lenses you can use you enhance your macro photography.
Canon EF-S 60mm f2.8 Macro USM
The EF-S 60mm f2.8 Macro USM is the ﬁrst true Macro lens in the EF-S series from Canon. With its ability to focus crisp and sharp life size images onto the sensor, the EF-S 60mm f2.8 Macro USM offers true macro performance for a relatively low price.
Canon EF 100mm f2.8L Macro IS USM
This lens’s 100mm focal length enables a comfortable distance between the subject and the photographer, meaning that there’s less chance of scaring insects and small creatures away. There is also less chance of casting a shadow and spoiling your otherwise-perfect image.
Canon EF 50mm f2.5 Compact Macro
Light and compact, this general purpose macro lens can also function as a ﬂexible standard lens. The large f2.5 aperture enables fast, ﬂ ash-free shooting in low light settings, and creates gorgeous blurred backgrounds for portraits and close-up captures. It also won’t break the bank.