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Macro Lenses | Why Everyone Needs One In Their Collection

By Wendell Weithers on September 9th 2017

Photography is full of well-established beliefs and expectations around the lenses you should own. Need a portrait lens? Get an 85mm lens. Do you shoot weddings? You need a 35mm lens; a fast one, probably f/1.4 There is truth to these conclusions, but they may be limiting your options when you decide what lenses you should consider buying.

The name “macro lens” often boxes them into a niche category that we don’t consider because we may not appreciate how versatile they truly are. However, macro lenses are useful for creative work that typically don’t use the macro moniker, such as portraits, food, and video. In this quick video, Peter McKinnon makes the case for why everyone should own a macro lens.


Macro Lens Options By Brand

Canon Full Frame

Canon 100mm 2.8L Macro IS – $899.00

Canon 100mm 2.8 USM – $599 (not image stabilized)

Canon APS-C

Canon EF-S 35mm 2.8 Macro IS STM lens – $349.00

Canon EF-S 60mm 2.8 Macro USM 2.8 – $469.00  (not image stabilized)

Canon (Mirrorless) APS-C

Canon EF-M 28mm f/3.5 Macro IS STM Lens  – $299.00

Nikon Full Frame

Nikon VR Micro-NIKKOR 105mm f/2.8G IF-ED Lens  – $896.95

Nikon Micro-NIKKOR 60mm f/2.8G ED Lens – $596.95 (not image stabilized)

Nikon APS-C

NikonDX Micro-NIKKOR 85mm f/3.5G ED VR Lens – $526.95

Nikon DX Micro-NIKKOR 40mm f/2.8G Lens – $276.95 (not image stabilized)

Sony (Mirrorless)

Sony FE 90mm f/2.8 Macro G OSS Lens – $1,098.00

Sony FE 50mm f/2.8 Macro Lens – $498.00 (not image stabilized)

Sony (Mirrorless) APS-C

Sony E 30mm f/3.5 Macro Lens – $278

Note: Many Sony mirrorless cameras offer IBIS  (In-Body-Image Stabilization)

Sony A-Mount

Sony 100mm f/2.8 Macro Lens -$798.00

Tamron SP 90mm f/2.8 Di Macro – $649.00


Fujifilm XF 80mm f/2.8 R LM OIS WR Macro Lens  – $1,199.95

Fujifilm 60mm f/2.4 XF Macro Lens – $649.00 (not image stabilized)



Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 60mm f/2.8 Macro Lens – $499.00 (not image stabilized)


Panasonic Lumix G Macro 30mm f/2.8 ASPH. MEGA O.I.S. Lens – $397.99

Note: Many Olympus mirrorless cameras offer IBIS  (In-Body-Image Stabilization)

I’ve been considering adding a macro lens to my kit for some time and this video only reconfirms that it should happen sooner rather than later. Every time I use them, I wish I had already made the purchase.

But, what about you? How do you use your macro lenses?

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Wendell is based in Atlanta where he shoots events, portraits, and food photography. He also supports his wife Andrea as she runs their cake design business, Sweet Details.

Instagram: Wendellwphoto

Q&A Discussions

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  1. Cary McCaughey

    I had a Macro and thought it was a little silly to have an additional lens for another $800+.  Why?  Extension tubes.  They do the same thing, take up less space, cost a fraction of a macro lens and macro photos usually consist of less than 5% of my photographs taken during a wedding.  Not only that, I can turn ANY lens into a macro lens. 

    That is just me.  I have an arsenal of lenses and had one before.  Wouldn’t go back just yet.

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  2. Dave Lyons

    I bought a tokina 100mm 2.8 macro… for… macro ;)~ but I agree with the video and ended up selling my 3 85mm portrait lenses when I discovered how much better this lens was for portraits. $400 for that lens and it’s fantastic.

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    • Wendell Weithers

      I don’t know if I could give up my favorite 85, but as I said in the article, I am getting coser to adding a macro. :)

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  3. Mircea Blanaru

    …and I want to thank you for this very well written article!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  4. Mircea Blanaru

    Well, I own several used macro lens, like the Olympus 4/3 50mm f2 with

    and 1:2 magnification (I use it only when I want extremely sharp results) and a m4/3 Olympus 30mm f3.5 with a maximum magnification of 1.25:1. Even it looks “slow” the Japanese engineers did a very good job here, the de-focused area being very smooth. But the crème de la crème are the manual objectives, one from the Porst, 35mm f2.8 and one from

    ‘ugly’ Russians, the 61 L/Z Industar 50mm f2.8 with his Lanthanum elements and with an only 6 blades aperture which makes an incredible smooth bokeh on my “too small sensor” Olympus m4/3.  I recommend all these objectives to all photographers… 

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